A prominent Christian leader in the North, Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam said the way the issue of the killer herdsmen was being handled by the federal government is like playing ‘safe’ with an explosive time-bomb.
Para-Mallam disclosed this in an interview with Veloxnews in Jos.
“The issues goes beyond Northern Christians, feeling protected or unprotected. It’s the fundamental and constitutional right of Christians to live anywhere in Nigeria. This is a constitutional guaranteed right.
“The more fundamental truth is that Christians in the North are living on their ancestral lands.
“Where do you want to drive them to? Why do you want to grab their lands – using cows as a disguise?” He asked.
“Christians in the North are peace loving but will never cede an inch of their ancestral God-given lands to wicked invaders”, he added.
Para-Mallam who is a staff of International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES), maintained that “This nonsense has lasted this long because of hypocrisy and politics of blackmail and manipulation. It will not stand.”
“Sadly, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is playing ‘safe’ with an explosive time-bomb”, he warned.
“I believe in peace building and will continue to work in my sphere of influence to promote peace but I will never support any peace that lacks justice. That kind of peace is called graveyard peace. I am yet to see any sane person who relaxes under such peace arrangement”, he said.
When asked if he was aware of petitions by some Christian groups to the UN, USA and other world powers, he said, “I do not know of this group. However, I am not surprised. Christians in the north feel very uncared for in Nigeria.
“Approaching the UN with such a petition makes the statement, which announces to the world that there is no justice for them at home here. As for their specific objectives I do not know.”
On his view as an average northern Christian on constitutional amendment, restructuring and devolution of power, Paramallam said, “Constitutional amendments are on-going exercises in the life and evolution of a nation. Therefore, there is nothing unusual or abnormal about it.
“However, in Nigeria, the problem most times has more to do with the people implementing the constitution.
“Having said that, I feel that any aggrieved section of the country who feels short-changed should be listened to and the Constitution should never be used as an excuse to keep people in perpetual oppression in their own country.
“I am fully for restructuring Nigeria. The concentration of so much power at the Federal level has now led to centralization of power which is not good for a culturally diverse and multi-ethnic and religious society as we have in Nigeria”, he stressed.
Speaking on his feelings about the killings by herdsmen in the north and particularly the middlbelt communities, he said, “Terribly sad. Words are inadequate. Many have spoken and condemned these senseless and needless killings.
“As someone observed rather pensively and I totally agree, ‘if it is grass they are looking for, why are human beings being killed?
“And I will like to add, why kill human beings in the name of looking for grazing grass for cows, and also to kill people with such reckless abandon and animalistic salivating venom?
“The killing fields of the Middlbelt are there as living witnesses where innocent blood is shed in Southern Kaduna, Plateau, Taraba, Adamawa and Benue states.
“The government even plays denial and selective acknowledgement. I am also aware such killings also took place in Zamfara and Nasarawa states”, he lamented.
On his thoughts in the forthcoming 2019 general elections, the Cleric said, “Nigeria was bleeding and dying towards the end of President (Goodluck) Jonathan’s administration. Nearly everyone, but I must quickly add, not all, heaved a sigh of relief.
“Sadly, almost three years into Buhari’s administration, Nigeria appears worse off.
“This is not a wholescale condemnation of this government, for to do this is unfair”.
“However, the high expectations and goodwill with which this government was welcomed, has now evaporated. All the goodwill has been squandered.
“The real question is, what is it that has really changed?” He asked.
“It’s a sad narrative of a government of change which has offered no change. You don’t tell people about change, they just see change and start talking and telling people about the change your government has brought about.
“Today, it is only the APC sycophants and blind party enthusiast who still see APC as a party of change, not Nigerians”, he stressed.
“From the little insider information, I got, prior to the 2015 elections, Buhari emerged as a strong candidate who could unite this country. In truth however, Nigeria is a more divided country today with Buhari in power – unless the candidate of change, changes. Nigeria cannot be united by force but by actions which celebrates justice and fairness for all, irrespective of tribe and religion.
“2018 is still there for Buhari to redeem his image”, he advised.