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“Defend yourselves” Jang tells Nigerian Christians

West & Central Africa

“Defend yourselves” Jang tells Nigerian Christians

Following the killing of over 17 people in the predominantly Christian town of Jos, the Plateau State capital in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria, the former governor of the state, Jonah David Jang, has called on Christians to rise and defend themselves.

Jonah Jang, whose eight years of governance in the state was also bedevilled by attacks on communities by both Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group and Islamic Fulani cattle herdsmen, has initiated and insisted that the constitution must be reviewed to allow the creation of state police.

Jonah Jang

The former governor said the call for christians to defend themselves has become necessary because “the people… are no longer safe wherever they are in our towns, villages, and city,” saying the people must “defend themselves within the perimeters of the law.” Because it has now become “dangerous to trust (President) Buhari with their security.”

Jang, now the senator representing Plateau North in the National Assembly, said both President Muhammadu Buhari and the current state governor, Lalong, should “resign with immediate effect having displayed unfathomable insensitivity and cluelessness in the aspects of security and value for human life.” 

Last Thursday, 27 September, 14 people, including a family of nine, were killed by Islamic Fulani militia on Rukuba Rd in Jos. The killing was followed by reprisals by youths who were angry and frustrated by the over a decade of blood letting in the state without any effective action by both the state and federal governments to stop the killings.

 Jang pointed out that “under the present administration, hardly a day passes without news of people getting killed by herdsmen or unknown gunmen with ancestral lands forcefully occupied and people rendered homeless and internally displaced on their own land.”

Jang made an appeal to the “United Nations to intervene in Nigeria and act on behalf of the poor, innocent, and abandoned people of Plateau State and their endangered kinds in the Middle Belt, to protect and guarantee them a future of longevity, pride, and prosperity.”

Meanwhile another wave of attacks erupted in Jos on Sunday, 30 September, as Christians were coming out of churches services. Unconfirmed reports said a woman was killed by Muslim youths as she was walking home after a Church service around Dutse Uku in Jos. In an immediate reprisal, the youths in the community killed a Muslim and within two hours, the entire township was engulfed in crisis as different communities in the religious divide were seeking the other to kill. 

Two students of the university of Jos were reportedly killed by soldiers who were saddled with the responsibility of enforcing peace in the state in since 2010. Unconfirmed numbers of people were reportedly killed in Jos as the attacks in communities continued through to Sunday night.

There has not been any official statement about the attacks and killings in Jos yet but the State Police commissioner, Undie Adie, had called for a shutdown streets and forced people indoors in communities around Students Village, Bauchi Ring Road, Bauchi Road, Tina Junction and Angwan Rukuba all in Jos.

Fulani Herdsmen

A similar call for Christian to defend themselves, was made earlier this year by a former Defence Minister, Theophilus Danjuma. He said the Nigerian army is compromised and cannot he relied upon to stop the Fulani Islamic militia nor can President Buhari be trusted to safeguard lives and property. Danjuma’s  call had generated a lot of debate but many more groups, including the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, have joined in calling on Christian communities to defend themselves otherwise “they will all be wiped out” Danjuma had said.

 

Hassan John is West Africa Editor GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos

Image Credits/Street riots/Jonah Jang/

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