– Catholic Bishops, Ohanaeze, Afenifere, tell Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari is not at all serious about ending the killings in the country or punishing those involved.
Killer-Fulani – herdsmen are taking many lives across the country, particularly in Benue, and the Federal Government is dilly-dallying about it.
That is why Catholic Bishops, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere Yoruba and former Vice President Abubakar Atiku do not believe what President Buhari said on Democracy Day, concerning the killer-herdsmen.
Buhari had said the Federal Government would deal with the killer- herdsmen and their sponsors but the groups said it is lip service.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) said the church was dissatisfied with President Buhari’s remark. The Director, Social Communications at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Fr. Chris Anyanwu, said the President’s speech was vague and evasive.
He said the Catholic community expected to hear that the killer herdsmen and their sponsors had been arrested and awaiting prosecution. Anyanwu charged President Buhari to demonstrate through concrete actions that he has the capacity to secure every citizen irrespective of religious inclination by the prompt arrest of the killer-herdsmen
“It is unacceptable to the church that President Muhammadu Buhari simply made a vague reference to the killer herdsmen in his Democracy Day speech. There is the issue of the recent attack on a Minor Seminary in Jalingo which happened a day before he addressed the nation but he did not even reference that incident. We find his promise to bring the killer herdsmen to full wrath of the law as evasive and the Catholic Church is not comfortable with that. We had hoped to hear him tell the nation that the murderous herdsmen have been arrested and being made ready for prosecution,” Fr Anyanwu said on behalf of CBCN.
Ohanaeze dismissed the President’s statement, saying it trivialised the killing of Nigerians in their churches and homes by armed herdsmen. Media Assistant to the President- General, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Emeka Attamah, said the whole thing smacked of insensitivity.
“The President concluded his speech without sympathising with the relations of those who were killed while sleeping in their homes or praying in their churches. This is condemnable. His attempt to reduce the wilful killings of Nigerians in their homes to clashes between herdsmen and farmers is a mockery of the situation. He has trivialised the issue and this is like pouring petrol into raging fire,” said Ohanaeze.
Afenifere described Buhari’s remark as the height of political deception. It said if Buhari had been President for three years without bringing anyone to book for the killings, his statement should be viewed with suspicion.
“No one has been brought to book for the killings across the country. He talked as if he is a presidential aspirant. He does not know that 2019 is not about what he will do but what he has done.” Yinka Odumakin of Afenifere said.
In his own reaction, Atiku said Nigeria should learn a lesson from Somalia, Burundi and Rwanda torn apart by ethnic violence. He said Government should stop making ridiculous excuses and engaging in diversionary finger-pointing.
“The killings have even extended to sacred places of worship where innocent Imams and Christian clergy and worshippers are slaughtered. This carnage has gone on for too long and must stop,” Abubakar said.