STOP THESE KILLINGS
For some time now, the Islamic terrorist sect, Boko Haram, has carried out unending killings and mayhem in many parts of the North. In recent weeks, the sect has specifically issued threats targeting non-muslims. The killing of scores of Christian worshippers on Christmas Day last year at St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, near Suleja in Niger State, remains one of the most gruesome attacks yet by the fundamentalist sect.
Apparently emboldened by its dastardly acts and government's inability to rein in on the masterminds, the sect has made good virtually every threat it has issued so far. On New year day (Jan.1), the sect issued a three-day ultimatum, specifically asking all Southeners residing in all the Northern states to leave. Just a day after the expiration of its ultimatum, the sect went on a killing spree in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.
Their targets were unmistakably people from the southern part of the country. In two separate incidents last Thursday and Friday, members of the sect invaded a townhall in Mubi, Adamawa State, where the Igbo community in that town was holding a meeting on how to bury one of their own killed earlier. Twelve Igbos were murdered in the process by the Islamic extremists. Shortly after, the sect opened fire on a local beer joint along Maiha Road in Mubi town. At least two persons reportedly from the South were killed instantly.
Also, the sect had stormed a church in Yola, the Adamawa state capital, leaving eleven worshippers dead. These latest incidents resulted in a dusk-to-dawn curfew in some parts of the state. But, the sect appears undeterred.
Undoubtedly, these spate of killings are causing unprecedented panic and security concerns across the country. These disheartening developments fall short of assurances by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Hafiz Ringim, to Christians and Southerners residing in the North of their safety. The last few days have witnessed a large exodus of Southerners in the North. Also, many muslims living in the south have been leaving in droves to the North. All of this portend a present danger to the corporate existence of the country. Certainly, if these trends and killings continue, there is a legitimate fear that reprisal killings might follow unless urgent measures are taken. The consequences of such reprisal attacks could be incalculable.
We urge that these killings should stop forthwith. Indeed, the quit notice issued to southerners residing in the north, and the killings that followed, soon after the ultimatum elapsed, is yet another confirmation, if not the clearest message that Boko Haram and its sponsors represent the greatest security challenge to Nigeria and Nigerians.
Repeatedly, we have urged government and security agencies to respond in equal measure to the divisive and subversive posturings of this extremist group. Since the sect has bared its fangs and its vicious and treasonable intentions to divide the country into north and south, based on religious lines, contrary to the laws of the land, not responding appropriately and decisively, will amount to a capitulation to the demands of an illegitimate group.
This is the time for government to show demonstrable evidence to keep Nigeria as one indivisible entity. Very often, the sect has shown that its threats are neither empty nor baseless. On the contrary, it has proved that it is bent on carrying out its mission to incite Nigerians against themselves. Of greater concern is the recent revelation by President Jonathan that the sect has infiltrated his government. What is the government still waiting for to protect itself and the safety of the citizens? The president needs reminding that authority is meaningless if it is not exercised to the greater good of the society.
Without security, the sovereignty of the country, democracy and development will be imperiled. We reiterate that this is the time for government to act fast to curb the deadly attacks by Boko Haram and protect all Nigerians, especially non-muslims who are the latest targets of the sect. The president should also look inwards, if as he said, the enemies are within his government.