AFRICA/NIGERIA - Christmas massacre: “The anger of the people can only be appeased if the culprits are brought to justice”

Wednesday, 10 January 2024 massacres   bishops  

Rev. Dr. Gideon Para-Mallam, photo by Plateau State Government Media Team.

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "The people who are victims of these crimes want to see real action taken to bring justice to their dear ones. People’s anger can be assuaged only if those found culpable are brought to book", said the Archbishop of Lagos, Alfred Adewale Martins, who addressed the Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, demanding justice for the victims of the Christmas massacres in Plateau state (see Fides, 2/1/2024). In his statement, the Archbishop of Lagos points out that all the government has done so far is to condemn the killings and make promises that have not been kept, fueling the anger and frustration of Nigerians. "The cliché is beginning to sound like a broken record, and people take such promises with a pinch of salt because no one has actually heard of anyone being taken to court or convicted for such heinous crimes. This cannot be allowed to go on", said Bishop Martins.
"We want to know who the perpetrators are and all those who sent them on these inglorious missions. Until these are done, the general impression would be that the culprits are being shielded by powerful forces in and out of government circles".
In attacks on Christmas Eve and in the following days in the Bokkos and Barkin Ladi areas, armed gangs attacked about 20 villages and killed at least 198 people, according to authorities in Plateau state. The violence forced thousands of people, most of them Christians, to flee. However, around thirty Muslim herdsmen were also among the victims, the Plateau State Muslim Cattle Breeders Association said at a press conference on Sunday, January 7. Meanwhile, on January 8, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), a coalition of the main Christian denominations in Nigeria, organized a peaceful protest march through the streets of Jos, the capital of Plateau State, to demand greater security in the region. About 5,000 demonstrators took part in the march. The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Daniel Okoh, described the attacks and destruction of houses and places of worship as an attack on the peace and unity of the people of Plateau State. Okoh assured that they would stand with the population and state institutions during this difficult time. In this regard, the CAN President commended the swift intervention of the state Governor, Caleb Mutfwang, and the Nigerian Army, calling on them to strengthen security measures to prevent further attacks in the region. Meanwhile, Nigerian police announced they had arrested 11 people accused of being involved in the attacks. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 10/1/2024)