By Mike Ebonugwo
â€œTHE people that did this are just simply animals; theyâ€™re not human beings at all,â€ angrily exclaimed a parliamentarian, Chuks Ojukwu at a bus-stop gathering in Lagos. He was reacting to the gory pictures of the women and children who were murdered in their sleep in Jos by some fanatical, blood-thirsty Fulani herdsmen.
Still unable to contain his emotion, Chuks continued: â€œHeh! Look at innocent children who do not know anything or have wronged anybody slaughtered like this in cold blood. Oh, God will judge the people that did this; they must surely roast in hell fire!â€
An equally angry Steven Adah took it up from there. â€œHell fire ke? Whoâ€™s going to wait until they get to hell? They must first face the hell fire of our anger. What they have done is a crime against humanity for which they deserve instant punishment. Good enough, I heard that Police have arrested many of them and they are already confessing to have done it. The next thing is for them to face the penalty. Since they have killed innocent people in cold blood, they must also be killed,â€ he recommended with feeling..
But parliamentarian Sadiq Akanni called for restraint. â€œNo, thatâ€™s not how to handle it. In a situation like this, the law must take its course. Which means those arrested in connection with the killings will go on trial and if found guilty will suffer the penalty prescribed by the law…,â€ he was saying before being interrupted by Chuks who went on to query heatedly thus: â€œWhat do you mean by saying if they are found guilty…? Are you questioning the fact that they are guilty of this terrible crime? People who were caught red-handed committing the crime and who are even proud to say they did it? Is there any other evidence we need to believe that they are guilty?â€
Another parliamentarian who identified himself as Victor Okon had this to say on the matter: â€œItâ€™s not even enough to punish those who have been arrested. What about those who sent them? These killers; these animals were sent by some people. According to media reports, they said some highly-placed people sent them on that satanic mission to avenge the death of some Fulani people during the religious clash in January. So the best way to address this tragedy is for security agents to thoroughly interrogate the arrested killers to enable them fish out the brains behind this massacre and bring them to book. If this is not done, I can assure you that Jos will never know peace and the killings there will go on and onâ€.
Stevenâ€™s response to this was: â€œIn this case we donâ€™t have to look far to identify those behind it. Can anybody explain why this killings that took several hours can happen and yet both the Army and the Police that have very strong presence there couldnâ€™t do anything to stop the killers.
My thinking is that they knew about the plan to kill those innocent villagers, but they preferred to look the other way. Iâ€™m more than convinced about this after reading what Governor Jonah Jang said. He said that he informed the Commander of the Army in Plateau State about what was going on but the man refused to deploy troops to stop the killers. If it was in Niger Delta that they heard that some militants are disturbing public peace, they would have deployed troops immediatelyâ€.
Victor quickly chipped in thus: â€œThat is why Acting President Goodluck Jonathan must immediately overhaul the leadership of the military, especially the Army. He should remove the Chief of Army Staff and the GOC of the Army in Jos because from every indication the GOC has a question to answer for his failure to act when he shouldâ€.
â€œYes, I agree with you,â€ concurred Chuks. â€œPresident Jonathan and the National Assembly must act now because the whole world is watching to see how government will handle this genocide. The other time, the United States(of America) branded us a terrorist state because a Nigerian tried to blow up a plane bound for the US. This is the time to prove to them that we cannot condone terrorism. If government fails to bring those who committed this mass murder in the name of religion to book, then Nigeria will remain a terrorist country in the eyes of the world,â€ he submitted with conviction.