By Chimaobi Nwaiwu
NNEWI—THE Diocese on the Niger, Anglican Communion, has challenged the Federal Government to deal with killer-herdsmen the same way it dealt with the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, if it is really serious about giving Nigeria adequate, unbiased and nepotism – free security.
The Bishop of the Diocese, Rt Rev. Owen Nwokolo gave the challenge while addressing newsmen yesterday in his office.
He said: “The killings and murderous activities of herdsmen in Nigeria are enough for the Federal Government to treat them as a more dangerous group than the IPOB and any treatment short of what has been given to IPOB amounts to support of what the herdsmen are doing to Nigerians.
“If the Federal Government fails to sit up and show genuine commitment and readiness in addressing the menace of herdsmen squarely, I urge Nigerians not to trivialize or ignore the call by the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma for them to defend themselves.
“Nigerians should therefore, look at the activities of the herdsmen and the reaction of the armed forces from what retired Lt. Gen. Danjuma said. We have waited for so long for him to say something about the security of the country and the activities of herdsmen.
“Having been the Chief of Army Staff and the Defence Minister and having fought for independence of Nigeria, fought for Nigerian unity during the civil war and always stood for the unity and peace in the country, calling for people to defend themselves means something bad is seriously happening that he could no more ignore and contain.
“Coming up to say Nigerians please defend yourselves, is an indication that there is no more security for the people and we do not expect the government to bring sentiment and politics into it. They should not pretend that all is well or play politics with the statement when they should sit up and address the situation that made a man like Danjuma to make that call and accuse his constituency, the military of taking sides and not doing enough.”
According to Bishop Nwokolo, “we have seen the way the issue of herdsmen are being handled. It appears the Federal Government is turning deaf ear to the pleas of the people. They feel unconcerned about the killings in different states of the federation, behaving as if nothing will happen because they have the power.
“Nigerians are tired and there is nothing else we can do. We have appealed to the Federal Government to defend the citizens. It appears nothing substantial is happening. It’s not as if the Armed Forces are not making any effort but they have not applied drastic measures that will curb the activities of herdsmen.
“When the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, was reigning and engaging in their protests and rallies, we saw how the government sent different ‘dancers’: the Python dancers, and the Crocodile dancers and what have you. They dealt with the problem but nothing substantial has been done about this one.
“We do not know what else to say other than to ask people to defend themselves but we still appeal to the Federal Government to tackle the matter headlong, because that is the only solution.
“We do not want to believe that the recent directive by the Inspector General of Police to withdraw arms and ammunition from even those who registered with the government whether you call them community vigilante or any name is to make way for more killings by the herdsmen.”