“Such an act must be denounced in all human society and offenders be made to face the wrath of the law. But it is important to point out that, whether it is as a result of ethnic or religious or pastoral reasons, no killing should be condoned in any God-fearing society. We, therefore, call on our leaders to rise up with equal political weight to condemn each time suspected herders or farmers commit atrocities deserving of such condemnation”

The Plateau State is boiling again. Tension is high and curfew has been imposed in Plateau State. This was as a result of the last weekend killings of 23 passengers at Rukuba Road in Jos North Local Government Area of the state which elicited nationwide condemnations with many rightly calling for the arrest and prosecution of those who carried out the dastardly act. We join other well-meaning Nigerians to condemn in totality the evil act. Such an act should never be tolerated in any decent society.

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) condemned the killings and called for prompt action by law enforcement agencies to investigate and go after the suspects. In a statement issued by its Head, Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazaque BelloBarkindo, in Abuja on Sunday, the body described the act as barbaric and senseless. According to the statement, “These dastardly actions of Nigeria’s once peaceful locals, which have resulted in unwarranted and needless deaths diminish us all as a people and pull our country down to the deepest recesses of the absence of civilization. They also cause all kinds of reprisal killings and injurious interactions that do nobody any good.

The Forum views with extreme disgust the horrible and thoughtless loss of precious lives and declares unequivocally that it must stop forthwith”, it stated. Obviously referring to the ethnic-ethnic dimensions of the conflicts in Plateau, the Forum maintained that no human life deserves to be wasted on any ground; be it religious or ethnic, or even on the frivolous altar of mistaken identity. It thus called Nigerians to exercise restraints and desist from taking the law into their own hands. The presidency was the first to react swiftly and called for perpetrators of the act to be brought to book. In a statement signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), the president condemned the killing of ‘religious travellers’ “from a religious event in Bauchi, passing through Jos, the Plateau State Capital, and regrets the reported deaths of at least twenty-two persons with several others injured in that ambush on their travelling party”.

Mr. President as well acknowledged that “Plateau State has been one of the states affected by herder-farmer clashes, which have, in a significant way, been curtailed following the intense peace-building efforts of the administration of Governor Simon Lalong. However, to be clear, this is not an agriculturalist-on-pastoralist confrontation – but rather a direct, brazen, and wickedly motivated attack on members of a community exercising their rights to travel freely and to follow the faith of their choosing. “With the evident preparedness of their attackers, it is clear this was a well-conceived and prearranged assault on a known target, location and religious persuasion of the travellers, not an opportunist ambush”, the president stated and reinstated his “commitment to protect all Nigerians”. Such an act must be denounced in all human society and offenders be made to face the wrath of the law. But it is important to point out to that, whether it is as a result of ethnic or religious or pastoral reasons, no killing should be condoned in any God-fearing society. We, therefore, call on our leaders to rise up with equal political weight to condemn each time suspected herders or farmers commit atrocities deserving of such condemnation.

 


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