- Northern Christians demand urgent arrest, prosecution of killers in Kaduna, Benue
Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja, Seriki Adinoyi in Jos and John Shiklam in Kaduna
Amid violent protest in Markudi, the Benue State capital thursday over the killings in Logo and Guma Local Government Areas on Tuesday by the Fulani herdsmen, the Labour Party (LP) has called on the federal government to move fast to arrest the perpetrators in order to prevent a ripple effect.
“The LP and all concerned citizens of this great country are calling for an end to the various massacres by Fulani herdsmen across the country especially in Benue. It is imperative that we bring an end to this menace to prevent a ripple effect’’, the National Chairman of the party, Mr. Mike Omotosho, stated.
“It is the responsibility of government to protect her citizens; their security should never be threatened to the point of making them pick up arms in self-defence.’’
LP called on all Nigerians to speak with one voice against the criminal act, calling on the legislature and executive arms of government to strategically put an end to the killings.
The party added: “To this effect let us all bring attention to this with the hashtag #istandwithbenue. Change your DP to the map of Benue. Call your senators, speak out for justice this is not just for Benue we need to defend our unity; we need our leaders to prioritise our security. We must respect the sanctity of life.’’
Meanwhile, Christians in the Northern region of Nigeria have lamented the unabated onslaught against its members in which over 50 Christians were attacked and killed in Kaduna and Benue on the eve of the New Year, urging President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently arrest and prosecute the culprits, and to also do more to protect them in the region.
The Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in North, Rev. Yakubu Pam, in a statement in Jos, Plateau State said the federal government must investigate the murder of the district head of Numana kingdom, Dr. Gambo Makama, his wife and two others, and the killing of over 50 persons in Kaduna and Benue States on the eve of the New Year day.
Condemning the recent violence in the region, the cleric said: “The attacks on Gwantu, Headquarters of Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State, where the district head (Chief of Numana kingdom) and Chairman of the traditional council, Makama, along side his wife and two other youths were gruesomely murdered on new year day is condemnable and worrisome.
“Also, we are worried of the attacks in Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State where over 50 people were murdered in cold blood on same New Year day. This is equally disturbing and worrisome to us.
“CAN is not only condemning these carnages but is also calling for the immediate arrests and prosecution of all perpetrators of this heinous crimes without let.”
Pam said CAN is worried that the reluctance of the government and poor handling of security situations in the region is encouraging more attacks.
“If proactive measures were taken by government and culprits are brought to book, crime in the society would have drastically reduced.”
While appealing for calm in the attacked communities, the cleric urged government to step up security not only in the affected communities but the entire country to forestall further killings.
“The church demands state protection to our members nation wide to stop the unchecked killings.”
He also challenged the federal government to investigate thoroughly and take stringent measures on allegations of security complacency in these attacks.
Also the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) has called on the government and security agencies to evolve new strategies to stop the attacks and killings in communities in the southern part of Kaduna State.
The union was reacting to renewed killings and the abduction of a traditional ruler by unknown gunmen in the area.
At least 12 people, including a traditional ruler and his wife, were killed in fresh attacks in the area in the last two weeks.
Another traditional ruler in the area was also abducted in his house on Tuesday alongside his guard by unknown gunmen.
In a statement yesterday in Kaduna, SOKAPU’s spokesman, Yakubu Kuzamani, said government must go beyond the rhetorics of emphathy, condemnation and redeployment of more troops and be more proactive in stopping the attacks.
According to him, “Issuing press statements after each attack with intent to show empathy and even announce the redeployment of more troops also look good but has not stopped the attacks.
“Rather these approaches, good and commendable as they look have not curbed the killings because they are all reactionary in strategy.
“What is needed is more proactiveness, more sincerity and more determination to stop the attacks that have been occurring for a long time.”
SOKAPU expressed concern that despite the security presence in the southern Kaduna, none of those perpetrating the attacks had been arrested and brought to justice.
“We remember the dozens of attacks in Sanga, Jama’a, Kaura and Kauru and the fact that the perpetrators of those attacks are today walking freely around.
“This lack of arrest has simply emboldened these terrorists to keep attacking and killing at will while the government is left to issue flowery press statements after each attack and deploy security to already destroyed communities.
“In view of all these killings of our people, SOKAPU is urging the government to show more determination, willingness and sincerity in being more proactive in curbing these killings rather than the reactionary method it has been deploying which has not stopped the killings,” the statement said.
The union also called on the state government to increase the space for meaningful engagement in searching for more viable deterrents to the killings.
It further called on security personnel to increase their intelligence gathering and go after the terrorists rather than wait for them to attack.
“It is the same atmosphere of insecurity that has led to the violent abduction of the paramount ruler of the Ikulu nation, His Royal Highness, Mallam Yohanna Kukah from his palace in Anchuna, Zangon Kataf Local Government Area on Tuesday.
“His abduction is a reflection of other kidnappings all over the state and we urge the state government to do more in securing his release and all others.
“We strongly hold the opinion that putting a stop to these attacks on our communities is very possible. It is doable if the relevant authorities really and sincerely want to” the statement said.