Nigerian Cleric Calls for Prosecution of Suspects in Jos Massacre

The Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, has called on the authorities concerned to ensure they prosecutes suspects in the recent massacre of Christians in Jos as this will help in checkmating future religious violence in the northern part of the country.

Makinde who pointed this out in a statement said the Federal Government cannot continue to watch the senseless killings of innocent people in Plateau State without taking a decisive step to halt the unnecessary lost adding that the lack of political will on the part of authorities is responsible for the persistent religious uprising in the country.

“I wish to commiserate with the families and friends of the innocent lives that were lost in this latest incident of terrorism, killings and wanton destruction of properties in Jos, Plateau State. Going by the sequence of events, it has become clearer than ever that the perpetrators of these evil acts are not prepared to sheathe their swords and yield to the words of reasoning. Rather, to continue hiding under the veil of religion fanaticism to perpetuate all sorts of criminal acts,” he said.

He noted that the barbaric act of internal terrorism is more sickening and worrisome than ever, considering that this is coming at a time when the nation is making frantic efforts to get the United States of America de-list our name from the list of terrorist nations of the world.

“But I wish to say boldly that their plans will fail because destruction is not far from them since life is sacrosanct and no man has the right to kill in God’s name. Let me reiterate that until the Federal Government takes seriously the actions of these unscrupulous elements, who are bent on making live miserable for Christians mainly in the North and Plateau State, these unfortunate occurrences may continue,” the Prelate further stressed.

Makinde, also called on the Federal Government to apprehend without delay the sponsors of the mayhem, while lamenting that the perpetuators of this crime against humanity are still walking the streets as free people. He warned that decisive action must be taken in order to bring to book those behind this heinous crime as justice delayed is justice denied adding that no religion, ethnic or social group is superior to the other.

“Freedom of worship and association are all fundamental human rights of every citizen of this country which cannot be eroded by anyone or group. It is time for people, especially the political elite to put an end to the politicizing of religion because it is doing us no good. It is pulling us further apart even as we strife for a united and indivisible country,” he also said.

In a related statement, General Secretary, World Council of Churches (WCC) Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, (WCC) urged the Nigeria Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to stop violence and human rights violation in the country.

In a recent letter to Jonathan over the situation in Jos, Tveit, said the Council had been observing the deteriorating situation with great distress and that the ongoing conflicts and violence in several parts of Nigeria, demonstrate that these unfortunate events are exacerbated due to various factors such as economic disparities, under-development, ethnic rivalries and struggle to control political power.

Tveit said: “Nigeria's system of constitutionally classifying its citizens as "indigenes" and "settlers" further intensifies competing interests and conflicts. It is unfortunate that these constitutional flaws further increased the violations of human rights and denial of justice and equity of all citizens of Nigeria irrespective of their religious and ethnic identities.”

He emphasized that the constitutional flaws can lead to the deepening of ethnic and religious conflicts and as a result, will make Nigerians to lose their sense of belonging and their spirit of communal harmony, which always enable them to live in peace.

“It is our sincere hope that your government will take immediate measures to ensure security and peace with justice for all Nigerians. As members of churches who are committed to peace and justice for all God's creation, we pray that peace and reconciliation will prevail among all people and communities in your country," he added.