The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and immediate past deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Timi Frank have reacted to the ongoing killings in Plateau State and other parts of the country.
CAN, in a statement signed by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the Special Adviser on Media and Communication to its President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, expressed disappointment and shock at the spate of killings by herdsmen in the State and other parts of the country.
While Timi Frank urged President Buhari to stop the killings or resign his position as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the religious body queried the significance of the intelligence gathering of the Department of State Security (DSS) and other security agencies.
It would be recalled that about 86 persons were killed by suspected herdsmen, according to figures from the police in Barkin Ladi, Plateau State.
The victims, including women and children were hacked to death while they were reportedly returning from a funeral ceremony.
The killings, condemned by Buhari, were also described as a ‘possible retaliation’ by a leader of the herders, via a statement on Monday.
Danladi Ciroma, the chairman of the North-central chapter of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), said, “These attacks are retaliatory”.
The religious body, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari, who doubles as Chief Security Officer to go beyond assurances to ensure security of citizens, noting that killing across the country is recurring.
It wondered why criminal elements could perpetrate such attacks without resistance from security agents posted to the affected area, saying increasing attacks has given rise for the review of the security machinery in the country.
The statement partly read, “CAN is at a loss how scores of people can be killed without any form of resistance by soldiers deployed to contain the security challenge.
“How could dare devil criminals assault communities without resistance by security agencies to stop these killings. Are these herdsmen in bed with soldiers to unleash mayhem on these peaceful communities?
“Of what relevance is the intelligence gathering by the Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies? If communities can be attacked and hundreds slaughtered without security organisations providing rescue efforts, then, it becomes obvious that the Nigeria’s security system has been compromised.
“From all indications, these attacks on the Plateau clearly show that the Federal Government needs to review its security machinery in a bid to make it effective.”
In his party, Frank alarmed all Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, to be ready to discharge their duty with a view to salvaging Nigeria from the current administration.
The Bayelsa-born politician, who sent another open letter to President on Tuesday with the title, “Stop the killings or resign now”, said, “The entire North Central has become a killing field with the lives of Nigerians being lackadaisically wasted without the security forces accepting the challenge to stop what now amounts to ethnic cleansing.
“It is high time the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG), Petroleum and Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and all well meaning Nigerians, woke up and defended the people,” he said.
The letter further read, “Nigerians have continued to die in their hundreds despite yearly increases in defence and security budgets and other extra budgetary allocations, the recent being $1billion withdrawn from the excess crude account by this administration.
“Notwithstanding, the security agencies have failed to protect Nigerians while it does appear that the more huge money is expended on security, the more deaths we procure.
“Mr. President, may I remind you that one major plank of your electioneering campaign was the promise to personally lead Nigerian troops to dislodge and destroy Boko Haram and restore full security to all parts of the country.
“Regrettably, Nigerians have not seen you doing that in the last three years. However, the increasing ferocious mass murder being carried out by Fulani herdsmen has made the Boko Haram insurgency seems like a child’s play.
“May I remind you that in Washington D.C, you told President Donald Trump that the merciless killers were trained by Moumar Gadafi of Libya?
“In another breadth, your Minister of Defence, said the killings can only stop when the open grazing laws enacted in Benue and Taraba states are repealed.
“Tell me, is there any open grazing law in Plateau and Zamfara States? Besides, you have refused to declare the killer Fulani herdsmen as a terrorist organization because of your soft spot for them, which is contrary to the haste with which the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) – a group of agitators that never engaged in any bloodshed – was branded a terrorist organization and outlawed.”
Also, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has condemned the attack, demanding the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators.
The Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Anthony Ojukwu, who addressed journalists said the incident is proof of government’s inability to fully combat terrorism.
According to him, “This may be another Boko Haram in another guise. Because I am surprised to see that herdsmen can kill people like this. That people will just wake up and take joy in killing others.
“I think there is more to it than meets the eye, but because we want to believe that Boko Haram have been defeated, we don’t want to consider that narrative.”