Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
- Kicks against disarming registered vigilante groups
The Bishop on the Niger, Anglican Communion, Omitsha, Anambra State, Rt. Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo, has said that the activities of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen indicate an agenda to Islamize Nigeria, saying that Christians should not allow that to come to fruition.
He called on Nigerians to be watchful, and that Christians should take a stand for their faith.
Bishop Nwokolo, who stated this yesterday while addressing newsmen on the activities to mark this year’s Easter, said that Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem Mankind and to bring salvation to the world; the Bishop warning against sin and murders across the country.
“The Boko Haram… is purely to Islamize Nigeria,” Nwokolo said. “Fulani herdsmen, whether they say it is cultural or outsiders coming into Nigeria, the whole idea of herdsmen bearing AK47 guns, going around killing and intimidating people to Islamize Nigeria. In the case of the Dapchi Girl in Yobe State, where some abducted school girls were released and they held one because she refused to denounce her Christianity – that was a typical example; in as much as we are hearing rumors that she has been released at last. Why was she detained after others were released? Just because of her faith in Christ.
“We are saying that Nigerians should be watchful. Christians should also pray and be watchful and speak out concerning their faith and take their stand.
“The issue of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen is an agenda to Islamize Nigeria and Christians should not allow that to happen. We must hold our faith, we must stand our ground, we must defend our churches, we must defend our fellow Christians, we must also watch and pray,” Nwokolo exhorted.
He said that he supported the call by Gen. T.Y Danjuma for self-defense because Nigerians won’t fold their hands and watch their people be slaughtered by Boko Haram or Fulani herdsmen, stressing that Nigerians should rise and defend their territory and stop the killers of innocent citizens, mostly Christians, in the country.
Bishop Nwokolo went on to say that:
“It appears that the Federal Government is turning a deaf ear to the plea of the people, behaving as if nothing will happen because they have the power, that there is nothing else anybody can do. We have said so many things before now, we have appealed to the Federal Government to defend the citizens, and it appears nothing substantial is happening. It is not that the Army is not doing anything or they are not making any effort, but we have not seen drastic measures that will curb the old system.
“When IPOB was reigning, we heard how the government… dealt with the problem; but this one, nothing really substantial has been done. So, I don’t know what else to say rather than to ask the people that, if they have any means to defend themselves, they should do it but still appeal to the Federal Government to tackle this matter headlong, because that is the only solution,” he said.
On the call by IGP to mop-up arms from vigilante groups, Nwokolo said: “I don’t know the people that [belong to] vigilante groups and those who are not. If any group has been registered in by the government and have obtained licenses to own and use weapons, withdrawing their weapons from them is to make room for anarchy. In this country, we don’t have enough security men, we don’t have enough policemen to cater to the citizens. I don’t think [we have] up to 500,000 [Police officers] but we have over 180 million Nigerians; with about 500,000 policemen to guard them, it is insufficient, there is no way it can work.
“So, because the situation is like that, the government in one way or the other permitted local people to organize themselves to secure their area working with the police, and to come now to withdraw their weapons in the guise of security is something we can’t support because we see it as a deliberate attempt to destroy the people. If the government will withdraw the weapons of the people, they must first of all increase the number of policemen to match the population and it will still take them a number of years to do that, and Nigeria is not yet prepared to take such steps, unless there is a hidden agenda of eliminating the people.
“We are calling for the introduction of state police so that every state will take care security measures. The Governor of a state is the chief security officer of the state [but as things stand now], he has no power over the security of his state” Nwokolo stated.