By Ben Osawe, Jos and Polycarp Gbaja, Abuja.
As at the 18th May, 2023 the list of villages over run by terrorists in Mangu LGA are Kubwat-Bwai, Fungzai-Bwai, Aloghom-Mangu, Ntam-Mangu, Ligit-lubang/Sabon Layi-Bungha, Jwakji-Panyam, Washna-Panyam, Jwak-maitumbi-Halle, Murish-Halle, Kikyau-Halle Danhausa-Halle, Gongong-Halle, Gyambwas-Halle, Kyampuus, Ntul- Halle, Gwet-Pushit, Jwakchom-Pushit, Larkas-Pushit, Jwak, Ras-Mangu, Kantoma, and Gaude.
These attacks have left more than one hundred (100) poor, weak and vulnerable dead with mass burials ongoing as at the afternoon of 18/5/2023
What has happened in central Plateau in the last few days and weeks as we reflect are obvious “elements” of the crime of genocide as defined in Article 6 of the Rome Statute.
The key indicators which fit the above statute(Article 6) are: (a) widespread and systematic nature of the acts. (b) intensity and scale of acts and invariability of killing methods used against the people; (c) types of weapons employed (in particular weapons prohibited under international law); (d) the extent of bodily injury caused is designed to reach the foundations of the people group; (e) the nature of the atrocities, e.g., dismemberment of those already killed reveal a level of dehumanization of the people group and it’s intended to send a message of total control of the perpetrators over the poor, weak and vulnerable villagers; (f) The destruction of or attacks on cultural and religious property and symbols of the targeted group that may be designed to annihilate the historic presence of the group or groups.
The tragedy is that there has been a media blackout of the killings, government at the highest level has been non-responsive, its eerie silence across the land while the blood of the poor, weak and vulnerable flows ceaselessly.
However, the real tragedy is that if there is silence across the land, should the Church on the Plateau also lose its voice? Should the Church on the Plateau also be a spectator of this wickedness and allow this level of bloodshed in the land?
What is God’s mind? Some might call a time of prayer and fasting for the land. This, though good in themselves, is not the totality of His call at this time. “Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast? a day acceptable to the LORD?(Isaiah 58:5)
The Eternal God calls the Church on the Plateau to a time of TRUE FAST! “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? (Isaiah 58:6)
As we listen carefully to the LORD, its clear that the LORD is saying to us at this time what he said to the teachers of the law and Pharisees in Mathew 23:23 – “you have neglected the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Mathew 23:23).
In the next coming days, we would, as Church on the Plateau, give a tenth of our spices – mint, dill and cumin by way of relief to satisfy our consciences and appear that we are intervening to bring succour to the survivors? Really?
The poor, weak and vulnerable who have been historically excluded and living undignified lives just want the RIGHT to live and be all the Lord intended them to be like the rest of us. Is this too much to ask?
Is it unbiblical for the Churches on the Plateau to come together as a first instance to hold a press conference and provide the facts of the matter drawing attention to the issues and calling for immediate action by state authorities at all levels while pursuing the matter in other spaces nationally and internationally? The time to act is now?
‘We must finally stop appealing to theology to justify our reserved silence about what the state is doing — for that is nothing but fear. “Open your mouth for the one who is voiceless”— for who in the church today still remembers that that is the least of the Bible’s demands in times such as these?” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
THE POGROM ON THE PLATEAU
Thank you, Ben Osawe, for saying it as it is and as it should.
This perpetual genocide, – ad nauseam -, actually indicates the result of the gap, of not giving heed to performing the true fast. The horror we witness daily and weekly, is due to a ruthless, consistent and focused evil machine of an ethnoreligious agenda, exacting the crudest form of beastly violence, to take over land and wealth of the indigenous Nigerians. Simple. The fight through advocacy, which has done much, must also be complemented with physical action, resistance and neutralisation of the attacking Fulani Militia. Just like the South West did by the establishment and deployment of Amotekun, legally, physically and militarily.
Clearly, this murder madness actually indicates high complicity of key members of Government in cahoots with the Fulani cabals, controlling the foot soldiers of the Fulani Militia, on a free rampage for the past decade. The Legislature seems practically dead, oblivious to its mandate and duty to regulate, sanction and even impeach the President, when he consistently fails in his primary mandate and duty to protect life, property and opportunity of the citizens. The Judiciary is seen by many as bullied, intimidated or sometimes even compromised.
The leaders of the people under terrorist/Fulani Militia attack, in all the regions across the entire country, must recognize the ongoing genocide for what it is. They must vigorously activate their RightToLife&Dignity, and defend themselves, like TY Danjuma warned, five years ago, alongside legal, political, social and economic measures, concurrently. Or they will be fully exterminated or effectively paralyzed and enslaved.
The people of the Middle Belt, especially, must wake up now, intentionally, deliberately, strategically and resolutely to fight back with EVERYTHING at their disposal.
The men of this country across all regions, must rise and take their place as chief stewards of their families, communities and country, from the brazen attacks of invaders from 14 nations of the Sahel & Sub-tropical Africa. Or die miserably as visionless cowards.
There’s no two ways about this.
Two biblical verses to note:
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. Matthew 23:23
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed. Luke 4:18