…. wants govt to prosecute perpetrators
By Innocent Anaba
The Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, has condemned the recent killing in Jos, the Plateau State capital, in which no fewer than 500 people lost their lives.
The organisationâ€™s Executive Director, Mr Ibuchukwu Ezike, said in a statement in Lagos, said â€œwe received with intimidating shock, the news of resumed pogrom in Plateau state, few months after over 300 persons were murdered in cold blood in Josâ€.
â€œThe attack occurred in the early hours of Sunday, March 7, 2010.Â According to our independent investigations and media reports, over 500 citizens were exterminated in what is described by both local and international communities as a barbaric, colossal and crude reprisal attack by herdsmen, with women and children as the worst hit victims. In the two crises recorded in the first quarter of 2010 in Plateau State alone, Nigeria has conservatively lost over 1,000 lives and property in the region of billions of naira to the senseless crises.
â€œOn Monday, March 8, over 500 citizens made up of mostly women and children were interred in mass graves as previously announced by the Plateau State government as in the previous ones.
Beyond the 500 bodies, eight corpses were reported to have been deposited at the Jos Specialist Hospital, seven of who were women and children. The Chief Medical Officer, CMD, of the hospital, Dr. Pam Datong, told newsmen Monday in the Tin City.
â€œCLO notes with utter disgust, the wicked manner in which citizens are slaughtered by fellow citizens in Nigeria like fowls with little or no concern by government to either deal decisively with the sponsors and perpetrators of the crimes, or take measures to stop or curb further occurrences. This is very unfortunate.Â In the past few months, Nigerians were massively killed in numerous crises that erupted in Bauchi, Borno and other states of the North without any serious attention by the government.
â€œIn like manners, Nigerians are being killed in the oil rich Niger Delta region every day by military men in addition to monumental environmental pollution, gas flaring and degradation while armed robbers and kidnappers have taken over the land. Similarly, clashes resulting from land and other clannish disputes as in Ebonyi State all have culminated in mass elimination of our people. The list is limitless. And all these are in addition to hunger, poverty and diseases resulting from the suffocating economic crunch facing the citizens.
â€œAlthough, the sponsors and perpetrators of the crises and government tend to make the world believe that the crises in the country are either ethnic or religious inspired, CLO holds the sacrosanct view that these crises are politically motivated. They are caused by greedy, insatiable and godless politicians, who hide under the ethno-religious canopy to foment troubles and sacrifice the poor citizens to such crises to satisfy their primitive interests.
â€œIt is worrisome that such heinous crime was executed in Africaâ€™s largest democracy against women and children as a gift at a time when the world is celebrating the International Womenâ€™s Day. The human rights implications of the crises are enormous. One is the abuse of, and threat to right to life which is sacred. The second is the rendering of the citizens homeless and, therefore, making them refugees in their fatherland.
â€œThe CLO blames the cause of these crises on the wickedness of mindless and conscienceless politicians and the lack of courage and will power on the part of government to fish out the sponsors and perpetrators of the mayhem and bring them to book in accordance with the laws of the land. In the thinking of the CLO, nobody, no matter how highly placed or connected, is above the law. Government, at all the levels, should summon courage to deal decisively with this ugly issue once and for all and restore sanity to the society.
â€œThroughout the world, no religion preaches violence or taking of life. The resort to violence and killing of innocent persons is ungodly and, therefore, condemnable.Â We condemn, in its strongest term, the endless killing of unsuspecting Nigerians and residents-alike and destruction of their property without or on the slightest provocation.
â€œWhile we enjoin the government to seek political solution to the problem by identifying places that have similar cases in the country as Plateau, and create separate local government areas for the different peoples that make up the areas where such conflicts exist irrespective of their populations in order to find lasting peace in those places and save lives and property. But we insist that all the sponsors and perpetrators of these crimes must not go unpunished.
â€œSo far, CLO commends the initiatives taken by the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in the crisis but fails to understand why government should continue to recycle people in office as if Nigeria is in want of qualified personnel. Government should try as much as possible to assign national duties to virile, honest, hard working and transparent young persons,Â who have the zeal, patriotism and strength to work.
â€œWe urge the Acting President to take the bull by the horns and ensure that these unprovoked killings come to an end as no society can progress under crisis. We sympathises with the families of the victims as well as the government and people of Plateau State while asking God Almighty to grant the departed souls eternal rest in His kingdomâ€, he added.