…reply Sultan, say Plateau killings genocide, not clashes
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should appoint a Special Investigator to lead a Commission of Inquiry into the causes, as well as expose the sponsors of the religious insurgency that has bedeviled Nigeria since 2009, a coalition of Christians under the aegis of Northern Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), has demanded.
The elder statesmen also picked holes in the description by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar that the genocidal attacks in Bokkos, Mangu, and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau State were “clashes.”
The chairman of NCEF, Dr. Samuel Danjuma Gani, raised the issues in a statement obtained by Religious Affairs correspondents in Abuja, being its first reaction to the Christmas Eve killings in Plateau State.
The organization called on the Tinubu’s administration to ensure compliance with constitutional provisions which affirm the secular status of Nigeria as well as freedom of religious conviction of the citizens, warning that no government can succeed in an atmosphere of chaos and discord.
Apart from Gani, other members of NCEF are Dr. Saleh Hussaini, Vice Chairman (North); Elder Shyngle Wigwe, Vice Chairman (South); Mrs. Osaretin Demuren, Hon. Treasurer; Prof. Joseph Otubu; Dr. (Mrs) Kate Okparaeke; Dr. Ayo Abifarin; Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd); Hon. Justice James Ogebe, JSC (rtd) and Elder Moses Ihonde; Hon. Justice Kalajine Anigbogu (rtd); Elder Nat Okoro; Mr. Solomon Asemota (SAN) and Elder Matthew Owojaiye.
Others are DIG P. L. Dabup; Sir John W. Bagu; Dame Priscilla Kuye; Prof. (Mrs) Deborah Enilo Ajakaiye; HRM Oba Dokun Thompson; Dr. Taiwo Idemudia (Diaspora); Elder Minso Gadzama; Apostle Bulus Musa Kewa; Admiral Peter Adeniyi (rtd); Hon. Justice Goddy Anunihu (rtd.); Chief Sir Ferdinand Anikwe; and Pastor Bosun Emmanuel (Secretary).
Gani said, “We urge the Tinubu administration to ensure compliance with constitutional provisions that affirm the secularity of the Nigerian state as well as freedom of religious conviction of the citizens. No government can succeed in an environment of chaos and discord.
“In addition, the President should appoint a Special Investigator to lead a Commission of Inquiry into the causes, as well as expose the sponsors, of the religious insurgency that overwhelmed Nigeria from 2009. Just as the President attached importance to investigating Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), investigating the atrocities of the religious insurgents should be accorded greater attention.
“Nigeria requires a new constitution. One of the best decisions this administration can take for Nigeria is to initiate the process of giving the country a new constitution. This can easily be done with the report of the 2014 National Conference as the template. Nigeria requires a new constitution.
“NCEF prays that as the country enters a new year, government shall be more determined to solve the problem posed over the years by insurgents. It is evident that these religious irredentists do not have the interest of Nigeria at heart.”
Speaking on Sultan Abubakar’s description of the genocide in Plateau State as clashes, Gani said, “when religious insurgents attack innocent and unarmed citizens in their homes, such attacks hardly qualify to be described as a clash. NCEF urges that leaders of Islam in the country should not seek to downplay the seriousness of what is going on in Nigeria.”
He said, “This genocidal attack is a painful reminder of the dark and sorrowful days of the Buhari administration and a cause for concern that the Tinubu’s administration could be making good its words. Since we know where the former President stopped, should there not be concern that another wave of genocidal attacks has commenced in Nigeria under the watch of his successor?
“During his campaign at Dikko Stadium, Katsina, President Tinubu assured Nigerians that, ‘we will not be deterred by security threats to our people. We will deal with the terrorists. They are evil and we will defeat them, and they will not win.’ These are the words of President Tinubu that should be implemented in the best interest of Nigeria.
“The President should ensure the immediate arrest and prosecution of the terrorists involved in the Christmas Eve attacks on Plateau state. The terrorists are not spirits. They can be arrested and prosecuted. Anything short of their arrest and prosecution would be a confirmation that President Tinubu is indeed continuing from where his predecessor stopped.”