Plateau Killings: ECWA President, Rev. Panya says attack is genocide, ethnic cleansing ...urges FG to bring perpetrators to book ...commends State Governor for his swift response
By Adetokunbo FAKEYE
Nigeria - The President of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Rev Dr. Stephen Baba Panya, has vehemently condemned the horrific and genocidal attacks on over 20 villages in Bokkos and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau State, where more than 100 people were killed.
According to the man of God, in a statement, the attack is reprehensible, ungodly, satanic, totally unacceptable and condemnable. "As a church, we are pained that this attack was carried out against innocent and harmless Christians who were climaxing preparations to celebrate Christmas. Unfortunately, their joy was turned into pain, weeping and sorrow", he said.
Below is the full statement:
PRESS RELEASE ON THE KILLINGS OF INNOCENT CHRISTIANS AND DESTRUCTION OF THEIR PROPERTY IN BOKKOS AND BARKIN LADI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS OF PLATEAU STATE
The horrendous and genocidal killings and destruction of property and other means of livelihood by very wicked, evil, criminal militias in over 20 villages of Bokkos and Barkin Ladi Local Government Areas of Plateau State is reprehensible, ungodly, satanic, totally unacceptable and condemnable. As a church, we are pained that this attack was carried out against innocent and harmless Christians who were climaxing preparations to celebrate Christmas. Unfortunately, their joy was turned into pain, weeping and sorrow.
I pray that God will comfort the families of the bereaved and the entire church of God; and bring healing and restoration to all the injured. I appeal to relevant agencies of government and NGOs to provide relief materials to the affected communities. I also appeal for adequate deployment of security forces to forestall any further attacks.
If not for reasons of genocide and ethnic cleansing, what could be the reason for such unprovoked, premeditated, simultaneous and well-coordinated attacks on Christmas eve against communities that are predominantly Christian. This speaks volume of the evil intentions of the attackers and their sponsors. It is very clear that some people have vowed never to allow peace reign on the Plateau.
Reports indicate that well over 100 people were killed and many injured, with very gory sights of victims on the hospital with machete cuts of very beastly inhuman nature. The attacks were carried out on Sunday 24th December, 2023 between 8.30pm and 12 midnight, a period of almost four (4) hours without any form of response from the security agencies. The attackers, as was the case in previous attacks, had enough time to execute their evil plan. In some communities such as Maiyanga in Bokkos LGA, well over 80 percent of houses and crops were completely burnt down.
While commending the Plateau State Governor for his swift response to the attacks, and doing all he could within his power, in mobilizing security agents as fast as he could, to stem further carnage, these attacks have again raised a number of questions. How possible is it for such massive and well-coordinated attacks to take place across two local government areas without any iota of intelligence? Why did security agencies fail to respond swiftly despite several distress calls? Why the choice of Christmas eve for the attacks despite assurances from security agencies to provide adequate security during the yuletide? Why have these militias been allowed to continue doing their havoc despite the fact that their enclaves, from where they lunch these heinous attacks, like Mahanga and other such enclaves, are common knowledge to the general populace, and especially the security agencies? While it is not my intention to draw any inference, it is pertinent to stress that these are questions that can diminish public confidence in government’s ability to decisively address insecurity on the Plateau and other parts of the country. These questions must be sincerely answered if this tragedy is to be prevented in future.
These attacks once again call for strategic intelligence, synergy, sincerity of purpose, commitment and the political will to address insecurity on the Plateau in particular and the country at large. I urge the government and security agencies to track, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators and sponsors of this heinous crime against humanity. The message must be unambiguous that no one is above the law. The only way to rekindle the hope of Nigerians and build public confidence in the government is to bring all the criminal elements to book.
Churches on the Plateau, especially COCIN, ECWA, Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal Churches and many others, have lost many of our members in these attacks. I expect the government for once to take decisive action on this. Romans 13:3-5 states that those in governing authorities, are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoers.” Let this be seen to be the case in the case of Plateau.
As peace-loving Church organizations, COCIN, ECWA, Catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal and other churches in Nigeria alike, have invested heavily in all positive aspects of the lives of millions of Nigerians irrespective of their faith and tribes. It beats our imagination as to why we have been made to constantly face cold blooded deaths, been constantly subjected to IDP Camps, and our places of worship and communities outrightly uprooted by those we welcome to live with us.
I call on the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Bola Tinubu and his security outfits to put a stop to this unwarranted menace and others against the Church in Nigeria and other innocent Nigerians that have been held captive in their own motherland. There is so much of patience that individuals and communities can sustain as they have already taken more than their fair share of buffetings. Also, the government must do all within its powers to resettle hundreds of thousands of Nigerians practically sacked from their ancestral homes by these criminal militias and other groups.
Nevertheless, we as Christians take solace in the fact that no matter what, ultimately, our God is able to deliver us. No matter how long it will take, good will always triumph over evil. When the Israelites faced a similar situation, after several hundreds of years of oppression, maltreatment and genocide by their Egyptian slave masters, Moses said to them, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” (Exod.14:13).
As we stand firm to see God’s deliverance, I appeal to all Christians to remain calm, peaceful and prayerful. Our help will surely come from above, the maker of heaven and earth, for our God, neither slumbers nor sleeps ( Psalms 121:4).
I pray that the year 2024 will bring forth greater love, peace, unity and progress for our beloved country Nigeria.
God bless Plateau
God bless Nigeria
In Jesus name!
Rev (Dr) Stephen Baba Panya
ECWA President Worldwide,
Head of Denominational Churches Leaders on the Plateau.
27th December, 2023.
What's Your Reaction?