The latest bloodshed by armed Fulani gunmen in Gwer local government area council of Benue State in which 19 catholic worshippers and two catholic priests were slaughtered has attracted the ire of a human rights group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) which carpeted the lackluster approach of the federal government in containing the menace and punishing offenders sternly.
In the considered estimation of the Rights group the president Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is watching whilst the country gradually sleep walks into a full blown civil war due to the mass killings by armed Fulani herdsmen and their hired freelance armed terrorists who have continued to have free reign of maximum terror even when the Fulani dominated command and control security forces watches on.
HURIWA which stoutly condemned the failure of president Buhari to declare armed Fulani herdsmen and the identifiable platform – Miyetti Allah cattle owners Association as a terrorist group has also called on the international community to intervene so the Nigerian government can be compelled to do the needful to check the killings. The Rights group warned that soon refugees from Nigeria will flood neighbouring nations which may create spectacular nightmares for the global refugees commission of the United Nations.
In a media statement signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said Africa will be destabilized should the international community continue with the apathy and lackadaisical attitudes of ‘we don’t care whether Nigeria burns’ of watching Nigerians as they are slaughtered in their country sides by armed Fulani herdsmen and other affiliate terrorists. “Crimes of epic proportions are going on by armed Fulani herdsmen but the United Nations and World leaders are doing nothing may be because we are blacks. One of the top officials of UN grom Nigeria is Fulani and Moslem”.
“Nigeria is at the precipice of an imminent civil war if the coordinated mass killings by armed and motivated Fulani herdsmen and their registered association are not brought to justice by declaring the organization as a terrorist group and the leaders who had made statements in the media directly claiming responsibility for the attacks on farmers arrested and prosecuted.”
HURIWA blamed the Nigerian internal security heads all of whom are of the same ethnicity and religion from the North just like the suspected killers, for not adopting proactive action to stop the killing of the two catholic priests when one of the two priests had raised alarm on his social media page on the imminent invasion of his community by armed Fulani herdsmen even when the nation’s intelligence community spends billions of dollars monitoring activities of the 16 million active account holders on the popular social media platform of Facebook”.
“We have consistently condemned the lopsided top security appointments by president Buhari -a Fulani from Northern Nigeria who gave all the strategic national security and intelligence gathering agencies to his kinsmen from same ethnic-religions group as against constitutional provision on federal character principles which outlaws concentration of top flight jobs in the hands of just a few ethno religious communities.”
HURIWA recalled that the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi had confirmed the killing of two of its priests, Rev Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, in an early hour attack on St Ignatius Quasi Parish, Ukpor, Mbalom in Gwer West Local Government Council of Benue.
HURIWA recalled that a statement by its Director of Communications, Rev Fr Moses Iorapuu, said that the attacks were perpetrated by herdsmen who stormed the Mbalom community and killed the two priests during the morning mass at the church.
HURIWA quoted the Diocese as expressing regret at the nonchalant attitude of the security agencies in containing the killings even as the Rights group said it has confirmed from authoritative sources that the herdsmen, who stormed the community, burnt down houses, destroyed crops and killed people.
HURIWA recalled that the church, therefore, urged the relevant authorities to stop the killings in the Benue valley. Iorapuu said the Diocese had been active in providing food and relief materials to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP’s) since the onset of hostilities in the state and wondered why it could be marked as a target of attacks.
HURIWA shares the sentiment with the affected community that “The attack on the priests is an attack on everything that we ever stood for and believed in.”
HURIWA recalled that Rev. Fr. Gor had before the attack written on Facebook; “Living in fear. The Fulani herdsmen are still around us in Mbalom. They refuse to go. They still go grazing around us. No weapons to depend on ourselves”.
HURIWA stated that security forces did nothing but the daredevil Herdsmen in the early hours of the morning attacked a Catholic Church and parishioners who went for 5.30 a.m. mass even as impeccable reports say the bodies of the dead have been taken to St. Theresa’s Hospital Makurdi.