By Ralph Madugu
‘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.”
Those were the words of the National Christian Elder Forum, NCEF while condemning the Christmas eve attack on communities in Barkin Ladi, Bokkos and Mangu LGAs.
In a statement titled “Sorrow in a season of Joy,” the NCEF while commiserating with the government and people of Plateau State said the attacks were “indications of malevolent hatred against adherents of the Christian faith in Nigeria” describing the attacks as “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.
The statement signed by its Chairman, Dr S. D. Gani, said “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.”
NCEF stated that “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?
The Elders Forum said it was also taken aback that the Sultan of Sokoto, referred to the genocidal attacks in Bokkos, Mangu, and Barkin Ladi as “clashes”.
“When religious insurgents attack innocent and unarmed citizens in their homes, such attacks hardly qualify to be described as a “clash”.
While urging leaders of Islam in the country not to seek to downplay the seriousness of what is going on in Nigeria, NCEF called on 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 stating that no government can succeed in an environment of chaos and discord.
In addition, the NCEF called on the President to 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 the Central Bank of Nigeria, the NCEF added that investigating the atrocities of the religious insurgents should be accorded greater attention.
Restating its clamour for a new Constitution, the Christian Elders maintained that one of the best decisions this administration can take for Nigeria is to initiate the process of giving the country a new Constitution as according to NCEF, 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.”