Individuals and groups yesterday condemned the mindless killings that have taken place around the country since the eve of the New Year.
No fewer than 17 people were killed in Omoku and three other communities in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area Rivers State in the wee hours of January 1 as gunmen opened fire on innocent people in the communities.
The Rivers incident occurred almost simultaneously as an attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen on residents of Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State in which about 20 people were shot dead.
The traditional ruler of Numana chiefdom in Sanga Local Government Area of Kaduna State and his wife were similarly shot dead by suspected herdsmen on New Year’s day.
In separate reactions to the incidents yesterday, a former Minister of Science and Technology and pioneer Commandant of the Nigerian Army War College, Gen. Sam Momah; retired Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav and a retired army officer, Ayuba Mallo all condemned the killings.
So also did the Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie; the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern youths, Middle Belt youths and a Niger Delta leader, among others.
In his reaction yesterday, Gen. Momah called on the federal government to carry out an immediate action that will convince the citizenry of their security.
The government, he said, has to ensure that the culprits are apprehended and brought to justice to act as a deterrent to others.
He also called on the federal government to put its weight behind the anti-open grazing bill that would ensure that herdsmen are restricted to ranches as against the current situation in which they roam around the country, causing avoidable tension.
On his part, Retired Army Officer Ayuba Mallo, said it is unfair for herdsmen who are strangers in a particular area where they are grazing their herds to engage their hosts in hostilities. He called for the building of healthier relationship among everyone in the land.
Tsav believes that the country is a serious situation where killings are carried out on children and pregnant women.
“It is an appalling development,” he said. “And if we say that we should arm our people for retaliation, it will get out of hand and perhaps snowball into a full blown war.
“So I suggest that the government sets up a commission of enquiry to unravel why the herdsmen that are killing people all over the place and thereafter ensure that the findings are implemented and the culprits are brought to justice to make way for a deterrent.”
ACF Chair, Coomassie, Northern youths condemn Benue, Kaduna killings
It’s unfortunate bloodletting—Coomassie
Coomassie, the mouth piece of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents yesterday, described the bloodletting that is going on in different parts of the as “unfortunate”.
He however asked the parties involved in the crises to sheath their swords and bring forward their grievances in the interest of peace and development of the states and the region.
According to Coomassie, “the situation is extremely unfortunate and something must be done to address it. We in the ACF are particularly worried about the killings in Benue, which has persisted.
“I have spoken to a very important member of the ACF, Senator (Joseph) Waku, who is there, to study the situation and come back to brief us, so that we see how we can come in.
“Tribal clashes are not good for us in the north. We need peace and unity, which will propel our development. If we don’t have peace, we cannot be united, and if there is no unity, our governors cannot provide the desired development in their various states.
“I urge the warring parties to in the interest of peace, unity, development and sacredness of every life, sheath their swords and present their grievances before the authorities.”
The umbrella organisation of all youths in the north, the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF), expressed worries about the Kaduna and Benue killings, saying that they were mindless.
National President of the forum, Gambo Gujungu, said: “AYF is worried about the mindless killings all over the country, especially those in Benue, Kaduna, Kwara and Rivers. Also that this carnage is taking place in the New Year. Our thoughts are with those affected.
“We are even more amazed this is coming shortly after the extension of the tenure of the service chiefs. As such, it calls for serious concern.
“Is this the good work that the President extended their tenure for?”
Gujungu said it was time for the service chiefs to justify their continuous stay in office or give way to those that can bring out a security architecture that can protect Nigerians.
“We expect the President to visit some of the states. And when he came to Kaduna, he should have commiserated with the people or even visit the area,” he said.
Act now, CAN tells FG
The Federal Government came under fire from the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday over the series of attacks by Fulani herdsman on farmers around the country.
CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, said the government was not serious about putting an end to the crisis.
Ayokunle who reacted to the killings by the Fulani herdsman through a statement he issued in Abuja, said government should act decisively before it becomes a national war.
He said the Buhari government had failed to uphold the constitution which it swore to uphold “because they have failed in protecting Nigerians from the attacks of Fulani Herdsmen in the affected areas.
“If they continue to allow Fulani herdsmen to be having a field day in killing people like this, is it not the Fulani alone that would remain that they would be governing? God forbid.”
The statement reads in part: “There is the need for the government to act decisively on the rampaging Fulani herdsmen before it becomes a national war.
“We in the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) are forced to make this press release on the continuous inhuman and wicked activities of Fulani herdsmen all over the federation who are going from community to community killing innocent farmers with impunity.
“They have killed more people than the Boko Haram sect and almost displaced more people than them. We are now reaching a breaking point in our patience and toleration of this wicked impunity before degenerating to a civil war.
“While the government has taken the battle to Boko Haram terrorists, the Indigenous People of Biafra, the Badoo boys, the Niger Delta Avengers and other groups, the government has not shown any serious willingness to checkmate the murderous Fulani Herdsmen. This to us is a betrayal of the confidence reposed in this government by Nigerians when they voted them into power.
“We need to know why the intelligence units of all security apparatus we have in this country has not been able to discover the sources of supply of ammunition to Fulani herdsmen living virtually in the bush.
“The Customs and the Immigration services together with the Police have case to answer. Who are the suppliers of these weapons?
“If the murderous herdsmen are foreigners, as it is being claimed in some quarters, why did we allow dangerous foreigners into our country to come and kill us? Our government has a case to answer too.
“We are therefore tasking the government of the day; the Executive, the Senate, the House of Representatives and all security agencies to rise up to their responsibilities, and we equally call on all stake holders in this nation together for a solemn assembly that would address all these things and come out with lasting solution to these senseless attacks.
“The international community cannot afford to be watching us without lending a voice to our cries to our government to checkmate the murderous Fulani herdsmen who appear not to care about the future of this nation.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is further appealing to the international community to come to our aid by providing relief for many in the hospitals and those that are displaced as a result of these attacks.
“We urge all churches to set aside time this coming Sunday, January 7, to pray for Nigeria and for victory over the wicked killings of Fulani Herdsmen.
Our nation can never be great in a state of insecurity and war as we are presently experiencing it. This government owes the entire Nigerians the responsibility of competent action, not just action by words of mouth.”
Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 Northern States and Abuja condemned the attacks as did Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State who vowed that no amount of intimidation from any quarters would stop the implementation of the law prohibiting open grazing in the state.
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State blamed international oil companies for encouraging the culture of violence in the state by giving lucrative contracts to youths who in turn spend the money on the procurement of weapons of terror.
Buhari summons IGP over killings, gives marching order
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday met with the Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris behind closed doors over the nation’s security situation.
As he did, the police arraigned six suspects at a Chief Magistrate Court 1, Makurdi,for their alleged involvement in the murder of farmers at Akor village in Guma Local Government area of Benue State.
IGP Idris, who spoke with State House correspondents after meeting with the President, said: “You know that any time we meet Mr. President, the area of discussion is how to have effective security in the nation.
On Benue killings, he said: “You know I deployed my DIG there yesterday, and you know we have different stages of police. You have the AIG in Benue, the Commissioner of Police in Benue and all of them are putting their heads together to see how we address this issue of community problems in Benue.”
Asked why herdsmen killings is escalating in parts of the country, Idris said: “Like I said, you know we have different levels of Police in this country. We have the Commissioner of Police in Benue, the AIG of Police in Benue, and yesterday I deployed my DIG operations there, and definitely we are doing all we can to see that we maintain law and order in all parts of the country.”
On the belief that Police is being reactionary rather than proactive in respect of the killings, the IG, using Benue as example, said “you know most of these states where you have several languages, you know is an issue of communal misunderstanding.
“I think what we should be praying for is for Nigerians to learn to live in peace with one another. I think is very important.”
On the reaction of the President to his briefing and the new measures, he said: “Of course, every time we meet with the President, he gives a charge. He said that we should go and take care and ensure that we tighten our security.
“There are so many measures. For instance, in Benue, we are going to deploy more units to support the efforts the Police is making in the state to ensure we have adequate protection to the men and communities and members.
He also assured that the killings won’t repeat itself.
Asked if the country is under-policed, he said: “I cannot say Nigeria is under-policed. We cannot be overwhelmed.”