By Sam Eyoboka
lagos—METHODIST Church Nigeria, acclaimed to be the first missionary church in the country, yesterday, reiterated its call on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare armed herdsmen responsible for the spate of orgy of killings across the Middle Belt, terrorists.
Reading a 17-point communiqué signed by the Prelate, His Eminence Samuel Kanu Uche and Secretary to Conference, Rt. Rev, Michael Akinwale, respectively, at the end of its 36th Council of Methodist Bishops at the Hoarse Memorial Methodist Church in Yaba, Lagos, the Church Prelate, said the call became necessary because of the herdsmen’s ideologies that established it as Boko Haram, which was declared a terrorist organization in 2013.
According to the Prelate who was flanked by six Bishops, “It will be a height of injustice to declare the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist group, without doing same to armed herdsmen who have graduated from carrying bows and arrows to sophisticated weapons, including AK-47 assault rifles which they deploy against host communities across the country.”
The Methodist Prelate faulted the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to declare IPOB which was peacefully campaigning for self determination, a terrorist organization, while it remained silent over the activities of the Herdsmen.
The Bishops also condemned the recent killing of two Catholic priests and several church members in Mbalom, Benue State by suspected herdsmen and called on the Buhari administration to “protect Nigerians of all faith because by virtue of our constitution, Nigeria is a secular state and rights and freedom of association to any religion should not be suppressed, attacked or subverted.”
To douse the tension already generated by the bloodletting and sucking Herdsmen, the Methodist Bishops applauded recent decision of government to ban open grazing of cattle and establish ranchers in states affected by the Herdsmen onslaught, following recommendations by a sub-Committee on Herdsmen/Farmers clashes.
“Everything must also be done to promote religious tolerance and peaceful co-existence amongst the citizens, not minding their faith, religious bias or creed,” the communiqué stated, expressing disappointment over what it described as apparent disconnect and lack of cohesion and synergy between the nation’s security agencies , attributing it to the kidnap of the Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe State.”