Christian Association of Nigerian Americans, CANAN, has raised concern over the recent killing of people by herdsmen in several states in Nigeria, particularly in Benue and Nasarawa.
“We observe that there have been mix messages from the presidency pointing to the fact that the Herdsmen marauders are foreigners from the neighboring countries namely Niger republic and Chard. Nigerian citizens are being told that our nation is being overrun in broad daylight by foreign militia with our Military looking helpless in utter bewilderment. Our trusted Commander in Chief who was elected with the credential of a gallant fighter seems not to be getting the right advice from the service chiefs,” said Dr. James Fadel, CANAN President & Chairman, CANAN Board of Trustees.
Dr. Fadel said in a press statement that it is appalling that the Federal government has not followed through with the disarming policy by giving a section of the citizenry monopoly of violence.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the Special Adviser to Governor Umaru Al-Makura on Security Matters, Mohammed Adeka, disclosed that over 18,000 people were displaced in Nasarawa State due to spill-over of the killings in Benue.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the briefing had in attendance all the security chiefs in the state; the Tiv Development Association, TIDA; and Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, MACBAN; among others.
He calls the attention of the government of Nigeria to the Firearms Act, Chapter 146, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1990, which prohibits carrying of firearms and prescribed due punishment for offenders.
“CANAN recalls that most of us Nigerians grew up in highly diverse communities in Nigeria where people of different ethnicity cohabited peacefully. The Fulani that we knew are law-abiding amiable people who because of their nature have always been welcomed to graze open lands,” Dr. Fadel said, adding that never in the history of Nigeria have been a section of the citizenry carrying highly sophisticated weapons like AK47 just because they are rearing cattle.
“We recall that on April 2016, the Nigeria Police Force outlawed carrying of weapons by the herdsmen as reported in Thursday Newspapers published on April 20, 2016.
“We urge that the Federal government take immediate step to disarm the herdsmen and prosecute the culprit for illegal possession of firearms.
“As a matter of urgency and duty to our compatriots most of whom are vulnerable children and women, we ask that all the internally displaced persons (IDPs) from these dastard attacks should be treated with decency in accordance with the relevant United Nations Standard to which Nigeria subscribes. And at any rate as our fellow citizens, we hold them this sacred duty. They should be enabled to return to their homes with full protection of our government. It is equally important that they are fully compensated for all their needless losses.”