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Senior Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, Pastor Tunde Bakare, in his state of the nation broadcast, declares that it is time to renegotiate Nigeria’s union, in his speech, he said he was saddened about the terror attacks in worship centres? but assured that “this year promises to be a fruitful one.?”
On Fulani Herdsmen Killings across the country, he said, “Not only has the government failed to stop these killings across the country, it has done so against the backdrop of conspiratorial silence, choosing rather to label such attacks “an issue of communal misunderstanding”, as the Inspector General of Police recently did in respect of the Benue attacks[xxii]; it has treated the menace with kid gloves even after the Global Terrorism Index 2015 described “militant” herdsmen as “the fourth most deadly group of 2014”[xxiii]. Worse still, some of these killings have reportedly been carried out in collusion with the military[xxiv].
Read Excerpts of Pastor Bakare’s broadcast below..
“Recently, the Secretary to the Adamawa State Government, Umar Bindir, justified the bearing of arms by the herdsmen[xxv] but failed to tell where the herdsmen get their guns from and with which government agency these guns are registered. Who authorised them to bear arms? Who gave them immunity against section 3 of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act 1990[xxvi], which prescribes punishment for illegal possession of arms? Who monitors the use of these guns? Why have the relevant government agencies failed to act? In particular, why has the name Department of State Services (DSS) become synonymous with the phrase “Deliberate Sinful Silence” (DSS)? Or is it now the Department of Sinful Silence?”
“As expected, due to the incapacity of the states, not even the anti-grazing laws of states like Benue have succeeded in dealing with these issues. These one-sided and incomprehensive legislations by state governments that lack the constitutional powers to provide security for their people have yielded little or no results. Therefore, the federal government has become complicit for the following reasons:
- By not advancing and vigorously executing policies aimed at pre-empting or preventing these killings even with sufficient warnings: I am reminded of the open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari by a former Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada and Second Republic senator, Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher. Permit me to quote excerpts from that letter:
“Your Excellency Mr. President…I am pained that you ignored my advice in my private memorandum to you dated 30th July 2016. I had warned you of the possibility of a horrendous genocide in Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Southern Kaduna, and Southern Adamawa States. I asked you to be proactive and stop the genocide that has been ongoing but which would burst out in the open and shock the world within 18 months. Your office replied my letter…thanking me “immensely” and giving me the assurances that the advice would be heeded…I regret to now inform you that it is seventeen months since my warning and prediction and your government did nothing to pre-empt or prevent the genocide.[xxvii]
- By failing to make it an issue of importance in national discourse: Despite the antecedents of the marauders, including the recent Adamawa incidents[xxviii], Mr. President, in his New Year address to the nation, did not consider the menace or the pain of victims of previous attacks worth a mention in his address[xxix];
- By failing to give victims a path to reconciliation and the hope of a united Nigeria: It has been reported, for instance, that as a result of the failure of government to act, there have been reprisal attacks on herdsmen[xxx], resulting in a vicious cycle of death and destruction;
- By rejecting the call to restructure our nation in order to bring lasting solutions to these and other signs of sectional discontent:
In his New Year address, Mr. President further alienated his government from the voice of reason in relation to the call to restructure Nigeria. In his words:
“…I have kept a close watch on the on-going debate about “Restructuring”…When all the aggregates of nationwide opinions are considered, my firm view is that our problems are more to do with process than structure.”[xxxi]
“I totally agree with Mr. President that we need process reforms; otherwise, we would not be appointing dead men to head parastatals[xxxii], but can process reforms replace foundational structural reforms? Never. Be that as it may, let no one confuse the genuine call to restructure the nation with the gimmicks of political opportunists who ride on the restructuring wave for their perceived advantage. Many of them talk the talk but neither walked the talk in the past nor will do so in the future.”
“Therefore, I say to those who have the power to take the decisions and actions necessary to end these atrocities, especially by restructuring the nation, but have failed to do so for political gains, that they are attempting to establish a city by iniquity and there are dire consequences. I am reminded of the word of the Lord in the Book of Habakkuk: “…For the stone will cry out from the wall, And the beam from the timbers will answer it. Woe to him who builds a town with bloodshed, Who establishes a city by iniquity!…”[xxxiii]”
“The current edifice of state has become a deathtrap. All around are cracks on the wall that originate from the structural foundations. Those cracks are dripping with blood and the stones in the wall are crying out. The stones are crying out from Benue State and every part of the country where herdsmen have slaughtered the innocent in unspeakably barbaric attacks while the government failed to act until there were yet more bodies in morgues. The stones are crying out in every state in the federation where workers’ salaries are unpaid and poverty prevails because states are nothing but institutional and constitutional vegetables on life support from Abuja. The stones are crying out because young men and women are leaving the shores of a country so rich yet so poor and are enslaved, prostituted and murdered in other lands. By maintaining the status quo, Nigeria has once again become a land filled with crimes of blood.”