By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The recent attacks in Plateau State is a deliberate attempt to wipe away Christianity from that part and let Muslims take over their lands.
Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN) expressed this in a statement signed by Rev. Justin Ahmadu, PRO/Protocol Officer, for the President, Church of Christ in Nations.
“These killings which have persisted and only increased in frequency and scale over the past eight years certainly amount to genocide.
We wish to clarify here that this is nothing but an attack on Christendom and a calculated effort to annihilate our members, for the purpose of creating a grazing field for local and foreign Fulani herdsmen.
“The ultimate goal from all indications, especially given the silence and sympathy from the Government and Muslim leaders within and outside Nigeria which the marauding herdsmen have enjoyed in their conquest is therefore to forcefully dislodge and take over ancestral land from the indigenes and not clashes between farmers and the herdsmen as widely insinuated by both the Federal and State governments.
It said that it is with serious concern that they wish to draw the attention of the Government, the press and the world to the massive terror attacks on their members in Barkin Ladi and Riyom LGAs since Saturday 23rd June 2018 which claimed the lives of over 200 people from more than eleven villages. As follows:
Gindin Akwati (Nekan), Gana-Ropp, Ruku, Nghar, Kaikayi, Kakuruk, Kuzen, Shonong, Zakerek, Rokok and others. Many more from feelers are still missingand possibly decomposing in the bushes, or in difficult humanitarian and/or medical situations.
“Suffice it to say that these attacks have occurred without any provocation by the locals. Instead, it is usually after the attacks that the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) concocts and circulates one form of defense or the other, and the governments as well as the security agencies join them to justify their senseless and dastardly acts which are clearly forbidden by the Law.
“This they do without taking conscious steps to investigate the authenticity of their claims and/or consider the fact that taking the laws into one’s hands, or using prohibited firearms is illegal.
“The question in fact is, as much as we do not support any act of criminality by any of our members, does the killing or rustling of a cow justify such attacks on human lives without a thought as is being done in Plateau and other Central Nigerian States?
“The claims by the MACBAN leadership in the Northcentral region regarding the Plateau killings, which link them to a case of cattle rustling are therefore strongly condemnable and call for action, to arrest and investigate the leaders of the association if the government must prove its innocence on the allegations of planning to Islamize the country.
“Right now, we are left to mourn the death of many of our members and sympathize with those whose homes and sources of livelihoods have been taken from them on account of missing cows that not only compare to the value of human lives but are not proven by a competent court of law to have been taken or killed by our people who are under attack.
“What even agonizes us the most is that while the attackers who have killed hundreds in the name of retaliation are still out in the bushes having a field day terrorizing the defenseless civilians, youngmen who were protesting the killings in Jos are continuously being arrested by securities.
“Again, the securities especially the STF who have failed in their responsibilities of protecting lives and properties have refused to allow our already traumatized members recover the corpses of their massacred relations for a mass burial, in order to shield the world from the realities of the sustained injustice in the state.
“They have in fact, from reliable sources sworn to withhold any medical, humanitarian or security intervention until they silently bury the dead members without any media coverage.
“This to us is totally unacceptable and a prove that we have been strategically alienated in our own country by the very government we voted into power, with the hope of enjoying the best of welfare and security as guaranteed by the constitution.
“We therefore wish to state categorically that we have had enough of the government’s insensitivity and if nothing will be done to salvage the situation and restore hope amongst the already desperate populace, we will be left with no option than to believe that our government has abandoned us and therefore deserves no chance in future elections,” it concluded.