…says gunmen target Christians in Southern Kaduna, Middle Belt
By Levinus Nwabughiogu – Abuja
Vice Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Northern Nigeria, Pastor John Hayab has questioned the moral right of President Mohammadu Buhari to travel to Mali to mediate in the political crisis there when his home country was in bigger crisis.
Hayab said that the perennial killings especially in southern Kaduna and in the middle belt generally required the urgent intervention of the president.
Speaking to Vanguard against the backdrop of the recent killing in Kagoro, southern Kaduna, Hayab who doubles as the Chairman, Kaduna State Chapter of CAN also said that Christians were mainly the target of the gunmen.
He urged government to desist from seeing the killings from the perspective of herders/farmers clashes and go against the criminals head on.
He said: “You know very well that no sick man ever gets cure if he lives in denial. If you have a problem and you are dying that you have a problem, then you will not be given the right medication.
“The problem with Nigeria is that our leaders live in denial of the reality of what is happening to their subjects. The question you may ask is why are they living in denial?
“I am not sure I know. To my own thinking, they are not good leaders. It is a sign of weakness in leadership. It is a sign of lack of dexterity in leadership.
“Our leaders have so much divided us to the extent that if we dare understand the reason why they are dealing with us, we will chase them out.
“So, what they always do is to create confusion amongst us and give some other people a wrong picture as if they are helping them not knowing that they are after all of us.
“Killing generally in Nigeria is unfortunate. It has gone beyond what one can explain. Life no longer matter in this country. You kill or die, nothing happens.
“They announce the number of deaths and they don’t even feel it. If you talk about it, they come up with a different story as if it did not happen in their land.
“That is why people like me will ask the question, what moral right has our President to go to Mali because of crisis when he has a bigger crisis than that of Mali in his home?
“He has not done anything. So, we are just paying lip service to the issue of security. We are just playing to the gallery in the regional or international level while in reality we have not even solved the problem of our own.
“So, the problem is that government is living in denial. They are even naming the crisis with terminologies that are not sincere. How can you tell me that it is a farmers/herders clash when innocent people are sleeping in their home and someone just comes, shoots them, burns their homes and kills them?
“Where is “herders” in that context? Where is “farmers” in that context? When people are celebrating a marriage feast and gunmen will appear from no where and start shooting them and killing them?
“Let’s use the case of Southern Kaduna for an example. There is no known case of fight in that community in the last 6 or 8 months. So, who is now coming for a reprisal attack?
“On which crisis is he coming for reprisals? You can see there is no justification but they want to put it that way to continue to cover up. I remember very well that in the area where this thing happen two day ago, the people saw some kind of suspected bandits.
“They were not comfortable. They raised alarm. Instead of government going to check and do what is right, they came out and refuted the story that there is nothing like that around Kagoro.
“Here we are, innocent people, jubilating and happy, gun men just killed them. This is pure failure of government and lack of love and patriotism in the mind of government.
“These are the people who are telling us to love our country, but they don’t love us.”
Christians as target
“The crisis in southern Kaduna and middle belt in general; you cannot in anyway separate Christians as the target from it. The criminals abound in this country.
“They are doing it in Katsina, they are doing it in Zamfara and then, there is this group among whose special target are the Christians.
“They are enemies of Nigeria but they also have an agenda to hit at Christians either to create unnecessary tension in the country or in their own thinking to promote their identify.
“That’s why we are calling on the government that if they are sincere to take them as criminals and go after them as criminals, deal with them as criminals without some protection and giving it some cover because when government comes out publicly and says it is reprisals, you are just shielding those criminals.
“Which law do we have in our country that says that because someone hits you, you should now take guns and hit him. If you do that, you are a criminal.
“If the man really hits you, take him to the court of law. Report him to the police. But here, there is even no evidence that someone has hit you and you are busy killing people everywhere and someone will say it is a reprisal. Which reprisal?
“There are so many factors in these killings. Yes, there are those who are targeting Christians, there are also those who are out for certain reasons, targeting certain communities, all of them are criminals and government must deal with them.”
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