Methodist Church seeks terrorist tag for herders, arrest of backers
The Council of Bishops, Methodist Church Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to declare the killer herders terrorists as well as unmask their sponsors.
In a communiqué yesterday at the end of its 36th meeting by the Prelate, Dr. Samuel Emeka Kanu Uche and Secretary of Conference, Rt. Rev. (Dr.) Michael Akinwale in Lagos, the church predicated its call on the ideologies of the herdsmen and established links to the Islamic State of Iraq, the Levant’s Branch in Libya (ISIL-Libya), proscribed as a terrorist organisation in 2016 as well as ISIS-West Africa banned same year and Boko Haram sect prohibited in 2013.
On the state of the nation, the council urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use same might he deployed in the anti-insurgency war in uprooting the armed herdsmen, noting that they both operate in a similar fashion.
It noted that the implementation of the National Executive Council’s (NEC) decision to ban open grazing and encourage establishment of ranches would douse the tension and check the bloodletting in the affected states.
The bishops, who also condemned the recent murder of two priests and scores of church members in Mbalom, Benue State by suspected herdsmen, called on the Federal Government to protect Nigerians of all faiths, noting that by virtue of the constitution, Nigeria was a secular state which guarantees freedom of association.
They maintained that the right to practise any religion must not be suppressed, attacked or subverted.
“Everything must also be done to promote religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence among the citizens not minding their faith, religious bias or creed,” the communiqué reads in part.
The bishops alleged disconnect and lack of cohesion among the nation’s security agencies, pointing out that the development led to the abduction of the Dapchi schoolgirls in Yobe State.
They also condemned the alleged lopsidedness in the appointment of heads of security organizations, urging the President to urgently correct the observed anomaly in deference to the principles of federal character and fair play.
The clerics also called on the government to effect the immediate release of Leah Sharibu and the remaining Chibok girls.
However, the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused the Buhari administration of allegedly treating the killings with kid gloves, saying the action amounts to aiding and abetting.
The state chairman of the association, Rev. (Dr.) Ndueso Ekwere, at the Itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency Solemn Assembly/thanksgiving organised by CAN, noted that every well-meaning Nigerian was dissatisfied with the government’s handling of the issue, adding that its response on Leah
Sharibu was non-challant and condemnable.
He said: “We condemn in strong terms the killing of innocent souls, including the Catholic priests during their mass in Benue State. The remaining Chibok girls should be freed without further delay.
“We are resolute in our decision to ceaselessly pray for unmerited favour, protection of lives and property. We strongly urge Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love as well as that of kindness and tolerance as exemplified by our Lord Jesus Christ and his
No comments yet