Nigerian church leaders from Plateau State have appealed to the Nigerian government to deal with the killings which have claimed some 6000 lives in 2018 alone.
A statement by all the heads of the denominations and the leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria in Plateau state said that the deaths have been recorded in various attacks, especially in the northern and middle belt of the country.
The Church leaders are appealing “to the international community, particularly the United Nations, to intervene in the ongoing Fulani herdsmen pogrom in the country to avert unpleasant consequences that may spill over into other countries and continents.”
The meeting of all the Church leaders called on President Buhari “to stop this senseless and blood shedding in the land and avoid a state of complete anarchy where the people are forced to defend themselves.”
The leaders condemned the “deliberate attempt to hide the facts of the massacre that took place.”
“We strongly also disagree with the federal government’s attempt to politicize the attacks and divert people’s attention from government glaring failures and national shame by blaming it as the handiworks of desperate opposition politicians. We reject the narrative that the attacks on Christian communities across the country as “farmers/herdsmen clash”. The federal government has been so immersed in this false propaganda and deceit while forcefully pushing the policy idea of establishing cattle ranches/colonies on the ancestral farming lands of the attacked communities for the Fulani herdsmen as the only solution to the problem.”
In Abuja, the National body of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, said 218 Christians were killed in Barkin Ladi, near Jos, central Nigeria, with an unspecified number of people still missing and unaccounted for in the massacre which spanned three days (23 to 25 June).
Some 44 villages have been destroyed and many people are now living in refugee camps.
In a statement by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant the national CAN President, the Christian Association warned the Federal government of another “wave of attacks to be unleashed on Southern Kaduna and other areas dominated by Christians in some states of the Middle Belt region.”
The association said, “while we are prone to dismiss these planned attacks as products of figments of imagination, we are, however, constrained to call the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari and other security agencies to be aware and take precautionary measures.”
“Having witnessed unprecedented human carnage on the Plateau, we call on President Buhari to place the security agencies on red alert in order to avoid a similar recurrence… we are quick to remind and appeal to the Federal Government to at least stand by its promise to ensure that these blood-thirsty herdsmen are brought to book to face the full wrath of the law.”
In the statement, the Church accused the government and security agencies of deliberately being biased to one religion (Islam) and (the Northern) region of the country and have consistently shown grave bias and in.”
Hassan John is West Africa Editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos.