By Ralph Madugu
The leadership of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) has expressed disappointment over the persistent killings and destruction of homes and its churches in Miango communities of Bassa LGA of Plateau State.
Making its position known through a statement signed by the ECWA President, Rev. (Dr.) Stephen Baba Panya, the church said it was sad and inexplicable that many of the villages where these killings and burnings were taking place were located behind the 3rd Armoured Division Barrack of the Nigerian Army yet these militias were allowed to continue their heinous murders and carnage with no intervention by the Army and other security agencies.
Recalling that for 21 years, the Irigwe people of Miango, a predominantly Christian community, had been under attacks from Fulani militia that have resulted in loss of lives, property and farmlands, ECWA said that July 23 to August 2, 2021, has witnessed the “worst nightmare of the entire Irigwe land.”
The statement alleged that the Fulani militia had invaded not less than 15 villages, burnt and destroyed not less than 405 houses and churches, displaced about 20,000 people and destroyed thousands of hectares of farm crops.
The statement said: “The main town of Jebbu Miango and its surrounding villages such as Kpachudu, Kpetenvie, Nche-Tahu, Tifagana, DTV and Zahwra are completely burnt down and displaced. Irigwe villages in Kwall and some in Southern parts of Kaduna State have experienced similar attacks within the same period. Some of these villages include; Isho, Zirshe, Chuweh, Ntireku, Ghey, Kangbro, Dundu and Hwraa.”
ECWA stated that the IDPs from the affected villages were camped within Miango and Kwall town, adding that even the two villages of refuge were currently threatened by attacks from the militia.
“We call on the state and federal governments and security agencies to intervene and prevail on the Nigerian Army and all security agencies to stop the genocide.
“The government must rise up to their responsibility of protecting lives and properties for all citizens irrespective of their tribes, ethnicity or religion, otherwise the country would fastly degenerate into total anarchy.”
The ECWA leadership called on the federal and state governments to send relief materials to the displaced and distressed victims of the crisis, emphasizing that many of them were hungry, homeless and helpless.
“We are further calling on well-meaning Nigerians, to be their brothers’ keepers and open up their homes for the displaced persons, provide support for food, water, clothing and medical services to all victims.”
ECWA further stated that as a predominant Christian community under attack, the body of Christ in Nigeria and the world at large is particularly and deeply affected with crisis and called on the entire Christendom to return to God in “deep confession, repentance, supplication as we uphold our brethren in prayer.”
While encouraging believers not to give in, the ECWA leadership said, “God is watching and listening to our prayers and supplications. We should not give up calling upon Him and depend on Him wholly for this situation to be brought to an end, especially that all human authorities have woefully failed us.
“The gates of hades shall not prevail against the Church of God in Jesus name! We should like King David in1st Samuel 30:6, to continue to find strength in the Lord!
“Nevertheless, ECWA in obedience to Matthew 5:9 injunctions, shall as much as God gives us the grace, continue to work with government, NIREC, security and all other agencies for lasting peace that is premised on equity, justice and fair play. We have no option that this, because the Spirit of Christ Jesus compels us.
“We also pray that this incidence will not end as usual, with no single AK47 wielding militia being arrested, prosecuted and brought to justice, while the indigenous locals, who tried to defend themselves with crude instruments are paraded as aggressors as had happened in some past incidences. Justice must be done and seen to be done.”