Following yesterday’s killing of 17 catholic worshippers and two priests by armed herdsmen, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has carpeted the lacklustre approach of the federal government in containing the menace and punishing offenders sternly, telling President Muhammadu Buhari that his condemnation of the killings is not enough.
The Catholic Diocese of Makurdi in Benue state had on Tuesday confirmed the killing of two of its priests, Rev Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, in an early hour attack on St Ignatius Quasi Parish, Ukpor, Mbalom in Gwer West Local Government Council of Benue.
Buhari reacted shortly after by describing the killing of worshippers and two priests at a Catholic church in Ukpor-Mbalom community in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue state as vile and satanic, stressing that the latest assault “is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting”.
Reacting in a statement by its national coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and national media affairs director, Ms Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA stated that the Buhari administration is watching while the country gradually sleep walks into a full blown civil war “due to the mass killings by armed Fulani herdsmen and their hired freelance armed terrorists who have continued to have free reign of maximum terror even when the Fulani dominated command and control security forces watches on”.
It condemned the failure of the President to declare armed Fulani herdsmen and the identifiable platform – Miyetti Allah cattle owners Association – as a terrorist group, as it called on the international community to intervene so the Nigerian government can be compelled to do the needful to check the killings.
HURIWA warned that refugees from Nigeria will soon flood neighbouring countries which may create spectacular nightmares for the global refugees commission of the United Nations.
It stated that Africa will be destabilized should the international community continue with the apathy and lackadaisical attitudes of “we don’t care whether Nigeria burns” of watching Nigerians as they are slaughtered in their country sides by armed Fulani herdsmen and other affiliate terrorists.
The statement reads in part, “Nigeria is at the precipice of an imminent civil war if the coordinated mass killings by armed and motivated Fulani herdsmen and their registered association are not brought to justice by declaring the organization as a terrorist group and the leaders who had made statements in the media directly claiming responsibility for the attacks on farmers arrested and prosecuted.
HURIWA blamed the Nigerian internal security heads all of whom are of the same ethnicity and religion from the North just like the suspected killers, for not adopting proactive action to stop the killing of the two catholic priests when one of the two priests had raised alarm on his social media page on the imminent invasion of his community by armed Fulani herdsmen even when the nation’s intelligence community spends billions of dollars monitoring activities of the 16 million active account holders on the popular social media platform of Facebook.
“We have consistently condemned the lopsided top security appointments by president Buhari -a Fulani from Northern Nigeria who gave all the strategic national security and intelligence gathering agencies to his kinsmen from same ethnic-religions group as against constitutional provision on fedeal character principles which outlaws concentration of top flight jobs in the hands of just a few ethno religious communities.”