Posted by News Express | 3 July 2018 | 1,020 times
Former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, has added his voice to those calling on the federal government to identify and punish the culprits behind the spate of killings in parts of the country in order to ensure justice for those aggrieved.
Gowon spoke during the 2018 national prayer rally of Nigeria Prays, North West Zone, tagged: “The Lord’s Inheritance,” held at St. Martins De Porres Catholic Church, GRA, Katsina. Gowon, who is also the board chairman of Nigeria Prays, expressed regret that the killings had been going on for too long, even as he condemned the coldblooded murder of people of any race, tribe or religion. “I want to appeal to the government to identify and deal with the culprits and ensure justice to the aggrieved,” he said.
LEADERSHIP reports that Gowon’s call resonates with those of many Nigerians, including other past leaders, for the federal government to end the killings and punish the culprits and their sponsors.
President Buhari had told the US president Donald Trump that those behind the killings in Nigeria were foreign bandits trained and armed by the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, while the minister of defence Mansur Dan Ali had attributed the killings to herdsmen’s reaction to the blocking of grazing routes.
Both Dan Ali and the inspector general of police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, also blamed the bloodshed on the anti-open grazing laws enacted in some states and called for their suspension as a way of de-escalating the violence. Anti-open grazing laws are in place in Benue, Taraba and Ekiti States.
However, conflicts between herders and farmers have been recorded in many states, with the heaviest killings recorded in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa, Plateau, and Zamfara states. The latest mass killings in Plateau State in which over 100 people were slain is the latest to cause public outcry. Different accounts put the number of deaths in such attacks and reprisals at nearly 2000 since the beginning of the year.
But dismissing the insinuation that most cases of violence in the country were reprisals over perceived wrongs, Gowon warned that such violence was totally unacceptable. The former military head of state urged Nigerians to eschew violence and continue to pray to God to heal the country, the land and the people, saying these killings were pushing the nation to the brinks.
According to him, the challenges confronting Nigeria are created by those who are unwilling to change their bad attitude.
“That is the reason there is need for more prayers for those in authority to be able to deal with the problems,” he said.
“We are gathered here in the true spirit of worship; we intercede fervently at this difficult time for our dear nation. The situation in Nigeria calls for prayers and best wishes from men of goodwill.”
In his speech, the national director, Nigeria Prays, Dr. Moses Aransiola, noted that for about 20 years, Nigeria Prays had dedicated itself to mobilizing regular, fervent and result-oriented prayers for the nation.
“Nigeria is indeed a nation of destiny, and as seen in various instances in the scripture, the enemy is always out to ferociously attack the glorious destinies of nations or personalities. This informed the continued challenges we have been facing as a nation,” Aransiola said. (Leadership)
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