The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Adamawa State, has described attacks by herdsmen in the state and other parts of the country, as ‘dastardly act of terrorism’ unleashed on Christian farming communities.
The Christian body also said that Governor Jubirila Bindow’s inability to condemn the narrative of the Secretary to the State Government, Umar Bindir, rationalising Fulani herdsmen possession and use of firearms amounts to government’s insensitivity on the killings, thus fuelling a distasteful allegations of side-taking in some instances.
Chairman of the association, Bishop Dami Mamza, made the remarks, in Wednesday, in Yola State.
According to Bishop Mamza, “We wish to call on the state government in particular to caution it’s officials on unguarded utterances during and after conflicts, as it has come to CAN’s notice that the secretary to the Adamawa state government has propounded a new firearms narrative which seeks to justify the use of firearms by Fulani in the country.
“This is dangerous and reprehensible as the law of the country does not allow any civilian the possession of illegal firearms whether Herdsmen or farmers.”
The CAN condemned the silence of the state governor who, it said, failed to rebuke or dissociate himself from the SSG’s position, saying the silence over those particular utterances was suspicious and condemnable and also a display of nonchalance attitude.
The CAN said it wishes to state in “Unequivocal terms that violent elements are easily embolden and fuelled to terror Killings by such reckless and unguarded utterances.”
The association also decried that the violence associated with herdsmen in the state has assumed a worrisome dimension saying it is unacceptable and that enough is enough.
Bishop Mamza continued, “We are saddened by the death of over 50 people killed in the repeated attacks carried out by herdsmen in Koh Village of Girei.
“This has happened after Lawaru, Dong, Kodomti, Shafaron, Plum, Kikan, Bilachi, Bang and Nzoruwe villages of Fufore, Numan and Demsa fell to the exploit of the same herdsmen and their expatriate mercenaries killing close to 150 people, injuring several hundreds and destroying properties worth millions of naira before the start of Christmas festivities.
“It on record that less than one week ago, no fewer than twenty innocent Christian farmers were killed in separate attacks in and around Tambo.
“Luru village in particular saw its worst days when Herdsmen wielding sophisticated firearms stormed the area Killing fifteen people.”
Mamza said, “Within the period under review, not less than 10 churches were burnt down and in some instances worshippers killed.
“On the basis of these, we stand to believe that the ongoing carnage is an attempt to discourage Christianity and to silence Christians from free religious practice.”
The Christian body also said, “We make bold to reject this attempt and ask the government to stop the unfortunate development.
“Extremism seem to taken persecution to a new dimension with armed herdsmen burning down churches especially the recent attacks two days ago in Sagal community in Maiha where four of our Churches were burnt to ashes and properties destroyed.
The CAN lamented the inaction of security operatives to prevent the killings in the state explaining that in all the attacks there have been sufficient alarms raised long before the actual carnages were done.
“With the incessant and spreading attacks, we feel the land is under siege and therefore calls for serious concerns from all well-meaning individuals and organisations to support any course that will restore lasting peace in the land as against sponsoring and equipping of the said herdsmen by their sponsors.
The CAN, therefore, called on the state government to, “Work around the current Committee set-up on those matter that their work is objectively done and timely and ensure that previous reports on farmers/herdsmen conflicts are implemented and that Nigerian’s land borders are protected at all costs to keep none Nigerian herdsmen from flowing into the country.”
The Christian body said it felt constrained to remind both the Federal and state government of their duty in the protection of lives and property of citizens as the hope of an end to the incessant Killings seems to be Fading as Nigerians are losing confidence in government’s ability to protect their lives and property.