By Jude Atemanke
Kaduna, 26 May, 2023 /(ACI Africa). Published with permission.
The killing of “at least 130 people” in Nigeria’s Plateau State is a matter of “deep concern” for the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
In a statement obtained by ACI Africa Friday, May 26, the President of the entity that includes representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) says CAN condemns “in the strongest terms possible” the massacre of dozens in the country’s North-central State.
The massacre that started mid-May shows a “resurgence of mindless killings of innocent citizens in Mangu and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State,” Rev. Daniel Okoh says, confirming the BBC News report about gunmen storming villages in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State killing dozens, mostly women and children.
“The killings which started in Mangu villages on Monday, May 15, 2023, by so-called unknown gunmen have claimed many lives and properties with many persons still missing,” CAN President says, and adds, “About 130 people were killed, about 1000 buildings were burnt, and about 22 villages were affected.”
He goes on to highlight the villages that were affected, which he says included “Fungzai, Hale, Kubwat, Bwoi, and many other communities of the Kombun District of Mangu Local Government Area and some communities in the Riyom Local Government Area.”
“We condemn these barbaric acts in the strongest terms possible. It is disheartening to see innocent citizens being killed and their properties destroyed in such a gruesome manner,” Rev. Okoh says.
CAN President thanks Nigeria’s security forces for efforts being undertaken to maintain peace, and challenges the government’s law enforcement agencies “to bring the perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice and to ensure the protection of lives and properties of all citizens.”
He goes on to appeal “to all Nigerians in Mangu and Riyom Local Government Areas and indeed, all over the country, to remain calm and law-abiding in the face of these challenges.”
“We must not allow ourselves to be provoked into taking actions that will further escalate the situation,” Rev. Okoh says.
Nigeria has been experiencing insecurity since 2009 when Boko Haram insurgency began with the aim of turning the country into an Islamic state.
Since then, the group, one of the largest Islamist groups in Africa, has been orchestrating indiscriminate terrorist attacks on various targets, including religious and political groups as well as civilians.
The situation of insecurity in the West African nation has further been complicated by the involvement of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen, also referred to as the Fulani Militia, who have been clashing frequently with Christian farmers over grazing land.
In the statement dated May 22, CAN President implores “all parties involved to embrace peace and dialogue as a means of resolving their differences.”
“Violence only begets more violence and we must break this cycle if we are to build a peaceful and prosperous society,” he says.
Rev. Okoh who was elected President of CAN in July 2022 says the entity “unequivocally opposes any form of violence or reprisal as we strive to advance the well-being of all individuals, regardless of their religious or ethnic background.”
“Let us all work together towards building a peaceful and prosperous society where all citizens can live in dignity and security. May God bless Nigeria,” the President of the Abuja-headquartered entity that includes representatives of CBCN says.
SOURCE ACI Africa. Published with permission.