National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) commiserates with the government and people of Plateau state over the unprovoked and unwarranted murder of over 200 Christians in Bokkos, Mangu, and Barkin Lardi LGAs. The Islamist jihadists, like Hamas, chose a period of religious festivity to inflict pain and destruction on the people of God. The attacks on Christmas Eve against Christians in Plateau state are indications of malevolent hatred against adherents of the Christian faith in Nigeria.
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 Administration could be making good its words. On 15th October 2022, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at a public event in Kaduna said, “I promise to continue from where Buhari stopped.” The Nation Newspaper reported on 6th February 2023 that in similar manner, former president Buhari told a campaign crowd in Katsina that “Tinubu will continue from where we stopped.” 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.
National Christian Elders Forum is also taken aback that his eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, referred to the genocidal attacks in Bokkos, Mangu, and Barkin Lardi as “clashes”. 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.
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 CBN, investigating the atrocities of the religious insurgents should be accorded greater attention.
National Christian Elders Forum wishes to use this medium to restate its call that 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.
God bless Nigeria.
Dr S. D. Gani, CON
3rd January 2024