Kaduna — The president of the Fellowship of Churches in Nigeria, popularly known as Tareyar Ekklisiyar Krista a Nigeria (TEKAN), Rev. Emmanuel Dziggau, has faulted the composition of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee set up by the governors of the 19 northern states to find lasting solution to religious violence in the North.
He alleged that the real stakeholders in the peace process were not involved.
Dziggau told journalists in Kaduna Thursday that if the northern governors were sincere about finding lasting solutions to the religious crises and insurgency in the North, they ought to have carried the real stakeholders in the crises that have continued to bedevilled the region rather than assembling some people who "live in their comfort zones in Sokoto and Abuja and have little or no in-depth knowledge about the issues causing the crises."
The president who spoke through TEKAN media coordinator and Public Relations Officer of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Sunday Oibe said TEKAN with over 25 million communicant members in the North, especially in the North-east and Plateau, Taraba, Benue, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Kogi States had been at the receiving end of religious conflicts in the North.
He wondered why TEKAN churches which had suffered so much during religious crises and in attacks by the Boko Haram sect was not represented in such a committee aimed at bringing about peace in the North.
Dziggau frowned on the recent meeting of the committee, which was held recently in Kaduna, saying it was more like the meeting of religious elite rather than an all encompassing meeting that would discuss the issues at stage with a view to finding solution peace.
According to him, "the governors of Northern states should stop wasting our resources in bringing people who have no direct bearing with the issue of reconciliation or peace in the north. These group of people that they gathered together have been on their comfort zones in Sokoto State and in Abuja, having the federal might protecting them. How will they know about what is happening in our churches?
He maintained if the northern governors were serious about lasting peace in the region, "they should have involved the real stakeholders so that we can talk about peace. As am talking to you now, a reverend of one of the TERKAN churches, Church of the Brethren was slaughtered and his wife shot.
"This are the people who should be involve in this issues. The TERKAN cut across the entire North-East, who represent Yobe, Maiduguri, Bauchi, Kano, Kaduna, Plateau? We have the President of the Church of Christ in Nations in Plateau state, he was not involve, the President of TERKAN churches in Nigeria was not involved," he added.
He disclosed that the churches that made up TEKAN family include, Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN),Lutheran Church of Christ (LCCN) Evangelical Church of Christ (ECC), Nongo Kristu Hen Sudan Tiv ( NKST), Christian Reform Church of Nigeria (CRCN), Church of the Brethren (CB), All Nations Christian Assembly (ANCA), United Church of Christ in Nigeria (UCCN), Evangelical Reform Church of Christ in Nigeria (ERCCN), united Methodist Church of Nigeria (UMCN), Nigeria Reformed Church ( NRC) and Mambilla Baptist Church of Nigeria
Dziggau disclosed further that as at today, TEKAN has over 25 million registered communicant members "and you did not involved them in such an important committee for peace, you are bringing people like Sultan, Mathew Kukah and Onaiyikan and leaving out the key stakeholders in the issues. These leaders are in their confort zones and they don't know what is happening in grassroots."
He stressed further that "the Northern governors are not honest neither been sincere on the issue of insecurity in the north. If they are sincere, people like Sheik Zakzaky who has been identifying with the people should be drafted into this committee so that we can talk."
"They should bring people like Sheik Dahiru Bauchi, who are who are well respected. When you bring people who are always pro-government, they are not the people who can discuss issue of peace. Even they themselves admit that the Northern governors and politicians in the north are not honest.
"So, we are advising the government to stop spending money on those who have no direct bearing with the people. We are sad because some people are talking about peace whereas everyday, churches are being burnt down and our pastors are being killed.
"We don't accept that and they should stop deceiving people. That is our position from TERKAN and if they really want a road map for peace they should involved the real people," the TEKAN president said.