Kaduna — For the umpteenth time, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 Northern states and the Federal Capital Terroritory (FCT) yesterday urged President Goodluck Jonathan to demonstrate the political will to bring an end to the activities of terrorist groups in the North before it is too late.
In a statement on the killings of over 100 people in 10 communities in Barakin Ladi local government area of Plateau State including the Senator representing Plateau North Senatorial District, Dr. Gyang Dantong, and the Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Gyang Fulani, CAN urged the President to go beyond the usual condemnation and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
"This time around, the President should stop at nothing until he brings the activities of terrorists in the North to an end. We would not accept a situation where only one tribe in Nigeria is trying to bring the entire country to its knee. This is absolutely unacceptable." CAN said.
In a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Mr. Sunday Oibe, the Christian body also declared support for the convocation of a national conference to decide whether the future of the country "so that people who loves bombing and killing can have their country and those who want to live in peace and make progress like other parts of the world can have their country.
The statement criticised the Special Military Task Force in Plateau State, maintaining that the Task Force has questions to answer for failing to respond to the distress calls by the chairman of Barkin Ladi local government over the attacks, until several hours after the perpetrators of the dastardly act had fled.
According to the statement, some powerful elements who are sponsoring the Boko Haram attacks are the same people sponsoring the massacre of innocent people by the Fulani herdsmen.
"We believe that there are some powerful elements that are behind the activities of these so-called herdsmen. We want to ask pertinent questions: Has the Government of Nigeria legalised the possession of arms by unauthorised individuals? If the answer is no, how did the Fulani herdsmen in the North come to be in possession of sophisticated weapons, including military uniforms and bullet proof vests?
"Who supplied these weapons and the military uniforms to them? Why was the Special Military Task Force deployed to Plateau State when this massacre was going on? Why did it take them five hours to get to the scene of the incident?
"The President once declared that there are some Boko Haram members in his government; we can now see the manifestation of this, especially in the activities of the Special Task Force in Plateau. It is high time he came forward to disclose who these people are."
Our stand as Christians in the North is that, we have lost confidence in the ability of the Special Task Force in Plateau to protect the lives and property of Christians in the state. We will not accept any intimidation of Christians by security agencies over this issue" the statement said.
The statement further called on members of the National Assembly to forget about their personal interest and convoke national conference to determine whether Nigeria can remain together or break up "so that those people who want to live by the swords and bombs can have their own country and kill themselves and allow those who want to live in peace make progress and catch up with developments that are going on around the world".
The statement stressed further that "it is the activities of some members of this tribe that is undermining the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) which seeks to integrate Nigerians as a nation; one tribe must not be seen to be loading it over the rest of Nigerians.
"Nigeria is bigger than any tribe or religion. We must, as a people with good conscience, sense of patriotism and sense of justice and fair play resist these mindless, barbaric killings.
"It is now very imperative that Nigerians must sit on a round table to decide whether we can stay together or not, so that one section of the country will not continue to draw back other parts who want to make progress".
Oibe called on "peace loving Nigerians who want to live freely and make progress to demand for the convocation of a national sovereign conference so that we will bring an end to these killings and destruction of property. This is the only way we can peacefully bring an end to this madness so that those who want to make progress can make progress and those who want to be killing can go on killing themselves when they are in their own country.
The statement urged Christians in Plateau state not to lose hope and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of these unprovoked mass killings.
It further called on Christians in the north to raise alarm by calling on the security agencies whenever they see Fulani herds men in their communities, noting that the Fulanis have now become special terrorist as deadly as the dreaded Boko Haram Islamic sect.
The statement directed Christians in the north to fast and pray for three days and seek God's intervention in their predicament.