The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Plateau State held a rally on Monday to protest the ongoing killings in the state and across the country.
The rally, termed the ‘Plateau Peace Walk’, was led by the state’s CAN chairman, Rev Polycarp Lubo, and attended by the President of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Rev Dr Stephen Panya.
Plateau State Governor Caleb Mutfwang greeted the gathering at the Government House in Rayfield, Jos.
Plateau State has recently been devastated by blood-thirsty marauders, with over 200 people slaughtered in Christmas Eve raids in the Bokkos and Barkin Ladi local government areas. Many residences and farmlands were also destroyed in the nocturnal onslaught, and other people were hurt.
The coordinated killings in villages throughout the two local governments sparked local and international indignation, with the governor criticising the military for its slow response and describing the deaths as a slaughter.
The attacks were alleged to have affected over 50 villages, and the United Nations urged the Federal Government to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the crimes.
Following the attacks, Vice President Kashim Shettima paid a visit to the state’s people, and the Federal Government promised to put an end to the menacing trend of blood-spilling marauders, but the people want more than promises; they want decisive action and protection from their aggressors by the government.
Bandit militias have long terrorised northern and central Nigeria, operating from camps deep in the bush and raiding villages to pillage and kidnap citizens for ransom.
Competition for natural resources between nomadic herders and farmers, fueled by fast population increase and climate change, has worsened social tensions and provoked bloodshed.
With the latest attacks, there have been fresh calls for individuals to be granted licences to bear arms, but the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, believes the Nigerian Army can defend the country and that self-defense will lead to anarchy.