20 June 2018

Nigeria: CAN Warns Against Killing of Christians Allegedly Convicted of Killing Herdsman

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has warned against the killing of five men convicted of culpable homicide by a high court in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

Reports say the convicted men namely; Alex Amos, Alheri Phanuel, Holy Boniface, Jerry Gideon and Jari Sabagi who are all Christians, were charged to court for killing a Fulani herdsmen, Adamu Buba, in a reprisal attack.

The court presided by Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri sentenced the convicted men to death by hanging for the alleged offence and called on interested parties to appeal the judgement within 90 days from its ruling.

According to the statement, the court found the culprits guilty of 'willfully and intentionally attacking' three herdsmen, killing one of them whom they (the culprits) had thrown into a river.

The incident reportedly occurred on June 1, 2017.

Although PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately authenticate the date and details of the said judgement, a report from an online platform, the Nigerian Voice, said the deceased herdsman however died after falling into an ocean, while fleeing from the young men and their community members.

The report further said the men decided to take the law into their hands, two years after the herdsmen killed 48 members of their community in 2016.

In the statement by the Christian association, its President, Samson Ayokunle, noted that CAN is not in support of jungle justice, but condemned the failure of security operatives to apprehend killers of Christian victims in various parts of the country.

Citing the case of a Christian preacher, Eunice Elisha, who was killed two years ago in Kubwa, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, the statement condemned the failure of security forces to apprehend the killers of Mrs Elisha.

The statement further noted the decision of the Kano State authorities to release the killers of another woman, Bridget Agbahime, in Kano state, describing the situation as regretful.

"The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on the Federal Government to caution the Adamawa State Government against hasty implementation of the death sentence passed on five Christian youths alleged to have killed a Fulani herdsman.

"While CAN is not supporting jungle justice or any criminality, but we note with regret how hundreds of our members in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Plateau states in the North-central geo-political zones, and a state like Enugu in the South, have been killed and are still being killed on a daily basis by some criminals parading themselves as Fulani herdsmen, but are yet to be apprehended.

"Despite the outrage that has trailed the killings of Christians in Nigeria, it is disheartening that none of the killers has been brought to justice. We are shocked at the speed of light deployed by security and judicial officers in sentencing the alleged killers of the herdsman in Adamawa state.

"Why did the court discharge the alleged killers of Madam Bridget Agbahime on the orders of the Kano State Government? Why have security officials not arrested those behind the killings of Christians in Southern Kaduna, while those arrested for the murder of Mrs. Eunice Elisha Olawale in Kubwa, Abuja, have been set free by the Nigeria Police?

"In view of the above, we are asking President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the death sentence passed on these Christian youths in Adamawa. We have called on our legal team to secure and study the text of the judgment with a view to preventing a miscarriage of justice and a future re-occurrence," the statement said.

CAN also reacted, in its statement, to what it described as information suggesting that government planned to recruit rehabilitated terrorists into the security agencies.

The association called on government to clarify the rumours and desist from recruiting former terrorists into security agencies

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