The Nigerian Police in Adamawa State have stopped a peaceful protest organised by the state Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN.
The protest called by the CAN chairman, Adamawa State, Most Reverend (Dr.) Stephen Mamza, on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 drew a large turnout from Christians who trooped to St. Theresa Catholic Church, the venue initially planned for the take-off of the procession.
Reverend Mamza, shortly before the take-off of the protest scheduled for 9am told the congregants who had turned up for the protest that the police had canceled it.
CAN said the protest was to draw the government’s attention to the protection of human lives whether Christian, Muslim or Fulani.
He gave an instance of the recent attacks in Mayo-Belwa which claimed the lives of several Fulani.
CAN also spoke against the federal government’s neglect of the state on matters of security. It said the FG’s silence was disturbing because the killings have not abated.
Mamza, who said the procession would have afforded the church the opportunity to present its petition to the state governor, Mohammed Jibrilla, who will then pass it on to President Muhammadu Buhari, was refused the permission for the peaceful procession.
“The police have refused to grant us the permission but they cannot refuse us access to God. The police have no authority to stop us access to God,” Reverend Mamza said.
A terrorist group known as the Fulani herdsmen militia have been attacking villages the Middle Belt region of Nigeria – namely, Taraba, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa States and Southern Kaduna – leaving a trail of blood and bodies. Most of their victims are Christians – men, women, children, even babies.
Human rights activists say that as many as 8,800 Christians have been murdered by the terrorists since President Muhammadu Buhari came to office in May 2015.
A Washington Post report, in July 2018, says that the Fulani herdsmen terrorism has now surpassed Boko Haram in death toll.
Below is the full statement which the Adamawa CAN wished to present to President Buhari.
1st August 2018
Federal Republic of Nigeria
His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR
ADAMAWA STATE CHRISTIANS DEMAND AN END TO MINDLESS MASSACRE OF INNOCENT CITIZENS
Mr. President, greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), wishes to convey her grievance as a result of the mindless massacre of farming communities by arms wielding Herdsmen.
CAN is constrained to take this action as the killings have continued with reckless abandon, more so that perpetrators of the killings appear to be above the laws of the land. CAN is deeply disturbed that these killings are revolving mostly within and around agrarian communities in their own lands.
As Mr. President may be well aware, that there is hardly a day or two that there is no major raid or two taking place; leaving scores of local people across several communities dead with properties worth millions of Naira destroyed. These spate of killings by the invaders are still ongoing even as we have ceaselessly been calling for security protection without receiving the appropriate protection.
What is glaring to us as a community of peaceful and law abiding citizens is that the incessant attacks tinge a suspected ethno-religious cleansing, and the president must act fast to prevent it; or at best, neo-colonization. Further still, CAN is worried by the seeming conspiracy of silence, especially among critical security stakeholders on these killings. We have it on good authority that often government officials detest when journalists broadcast news of herdsmen killings.
Your Excellency, as a religious body, we must confront issues with the truth; no matter whose ox is gored. Therefore, be informed in all honesty, that Nigeria under your leadership is more divided than at any time in our history.
While Adamawa State CAN does not share in the view that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is supporting the killings, we however hold strong reservations about the President’s docile posture while killings rage. Just as the President’s body-language may sway us to lean towards the perception which suggests that security operatives are not decisive on the herdsmen menace because they are Mr. President’s kith and kin.
We implore you yet again to look into our matter and act with immediate deployment and order to the military to stop these terrorists so that posterity will be kind on you. We demand the following:
Security of Lives and Property: The killings and invasions should stop
Establishment of a New Military Barracks: We need the establishment of a New Military Formation along the Numan – Lau axis and the deployment of Special Forces to Adamawa as you deployed to Zamfara State two days ago.
Justice and Fairness: Government should stop taking sides by being just and fair.
Provision of Medical Care for IDPs: There should be provision of Food and Healthcare to affected communities.
Provision of Shelter for IDPs: There should be reconstruction and rebuilding of destroyed infrastructure in the affected communities.
Sir, we demand justice; we demand an end to killings in our state and the country at large. While we await positive action, we pray God almighty to give you the grace, good health and strength to do the needful.
Thank you and God bless you!
Most Rev. (Dr) Stephen Dami Mamza
Rev. Anthony Elishama
Click on any image to enlarge