*Civil war looms – CAN
BARELY 24 hours after about 29 persons were killed in Mubi, Adamawa State, gunmen, yesterday, struck again in the state, leaving threeother persons dead.
The scene of the latest incident, according to reports, is Lamurde.
There were insinuations that yesterday’s killings were politically motivated as the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state, slated for January 14, General Mohammed Buba Marwa, said they were designed to instil fear into the electorate ahead of the poll.
Also yesterday, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said the wanton killings in the north was “an express invitation to civil war.”
The Friday incident had been linked to the Boko Haram sect which actually claimed responsibility while the killings came at the expiration of its ultimatum to Christians to leave the north.
In a broadcast to the people of Adamawa State, yesterday, Governor Murtala Nyako described the killings as criminal, saying they were unjustifiable.
The chairman of the Marwa Campaign Organisation in Lamurde, Aiseut Amuro, said that the three persons killed, yesterday, were supporters of his principal and members of the CPC in Adamawa State.
According to Amuro, some hoodlums at about 7. 30 pm, attacked the shop of a well known CPC supporter, a vulcanizer, set the shop on fire and burnt all the machines stored therein.
The hoodlums, said to number about 10 and brandishing dangerous weapons like axes, cutlasses,bows and arrows, later made for the house of another supporter and hacked him to death.
Another supporter had his hand cut off while two persons sustained serious injuries from knife wounds by the hoodlums.
In the early hours of yesterday, at about 1. 30am, there were further reports from Lamurde that two persons were killed by unknown hoodlums who invaded the area.
Fear of civil war
Christian Association of Nigeria, yesterday, warned that the wanton killing of Christians in some parts of the north was an express invitation to civil war, saying Christians now have to define means of defending themselves.
Arising from an emergency meeting in Abuja, CAN president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor told newsmen that they would not make public their strategies. “I don’t ask them to carry arms but we have legitimate right to defend ourselves. We will do whatever it takes, we are working things out within ourselves, we are not obligated to tell you what we are working out, but let us wait and see”, Oritsajefor stated.
He went on: “Declaring state of emergency in some local governments obviously has not done any good.
Definitely we are going to do what we have to do to protect ourselves. We can not seat back and watch people being slaughtered like animals, everyday, going to the church place of worship, shooting them, this is unacceptable”.
Meanwhile, the GENERAL Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, has expressed his heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones during the bomb blasts on Christmas Day and other violent attacks in the past year.
“Nigeria’s future is very bright but the Devil is only trying to hinder and prevent our progress,” the man of God was quoted as saying, adding that “the brighter the future is, the angrier the devil becomes.”
According to the parish pastor of the headquarters church of RCCG, Pastor Goke Aniyeloye, the General Overseer has, in line with the rage of the devil, agreed to host a prayer summit to address the security situation in the country which will be tagged; “A new beginning of greatness.”
The special prayer meeting will take place at the national headquarters of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, The Throne of Grace Parish in Ebute Metta, Lagos tomorrow.
He therefore enjoined all those lovers of the country and who desire peace to join in the prayer summit.
Bayelsa to northerners: Don’t panic
In the meantime, as the fear of reprisal attack grips the Muslim community of northern extraction in southern part of the country, Bayelsa State government, yesterday, called on northerners, especially Muslims in the state and non-indigenes, not to be afraid of being attacked.
The appeal came on the heels of the weekend attack on the Muslim community of northern extraction in Sapele, Delta State and the exodus of persons of northern extraction from the state in the wake of the rising tension across the country.
Bayelsa State government, through the commissioner for information and strategy, Chief Nathan Egba, in a statement in Yenagoa, said, “the Boko Haram threat to Christians in the North and indeed the general security issues in some parts of the country are challenges in a developing society like ours and will definitely be subdued with time.”
Bayelsans, he said, respect the secularity enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which explains why there has not been and there will not be any crisis arising from differences in religion or worship. Security has been beefed up around settlements hosting the Muslim community of northern extraction in Yenagoa the state capital.
Armed police patrol team and men of the Nigeria Civil Defence and Security were yesterday noticed around the Aretalin area of Ovom with large concentration of the Muslim community.
The security presence notwithstanding, it was gathered that some of them (northerners) left in the last couple of days in the wake of the three days ultimatum issued by the dreaded Isalmic sect, Boko Haram, calling on northerners in the southern part of the country to return to home and southerners in the north to return to the south.
Muslims, Hausa told to remain in Rivers RIVERS State Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi,yesterday, called on Muslims and Hausa resident in the state to go about their businesses, assuring that the government would ensure no harm befalls any one.
The governor, who spoke through his media aide, Mr Dave Iyofor, said the government was committed to promotion of peace and safety of lives of its citizens and residents in the state at all times.
“We are appealing to all residents of the state, particularly our Muslim brothers and sisters from the north to remain calm and go about their normal businesses because Rivers State is safe and the government is doing everything to ensure that it stays that way”, the governor said.
Meantime, unconfirmed reports said Hausa were moving out of the state for fear of reprisal attacks. But when Sunday Vanguard went round Mile One market most Hausa traders were seen still selling their wares.
Also on Okija Street, where most of them sell roast meat, called Suya in local parlance, they were seen doing their business. Some of them who spoke said they had no intention to relocate from the state. They also called for peace in all the north and other parts of the country.
Atiku condemns atrocities
Also yesterday, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar condemned in the strongest terms the latest round of ethnic and religious terrorist attacks in Jigawa, Gombe and in Mubi and Jimeta, Adamawa State, by yet to be identified gunmen.
Speaking to newsmen, shortly on arrival at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Atiku said the killings were not only criminal and barbaric but also a dangerous threat to the unity of this country, especially coming two weeks after the terrorist attack on Christian worshippers at the St. Theresa Catholic Church at Madalla on Christmas Day.
This spiral of violence, he said, is unacceptable because it was targeted at destroying Nigeria’s hard efforts to sustain unity in diversity.