FEATURE ARTICLE

Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaMonday, September 5, 2016
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WHAT AN ATROCITY!

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here is a green snake in the green grass. There is fire on the mountain: run, run, run! It is still on the news that a rat bit someone to death, when a lizard goes ahead to sharpen its teeth. An old woman who was given a baby to hold and she said that her teeth have all fallen off, was the baby given to her to bite? An elder does not stay at home while a pregnant she-goat gives birth tittered on a rope. Why it takes evil to prevail is that the good men keep silent.

Nigerians are still wailing due to hunger, unemployment, high cost of living, lack of electricity, the agony of the kidnapped Chibok girls, the killing of innocent Nigerians by Boko Haram terrorists, etc. Our roads, especially the Federal ones in the Southeast of the country, are terrifying. Few days ago I travelled to Emekuku in Imo State. I saw hell on earth. Both the Federal and State roads in that State are death traps. I drove through oceans here and there. At a particular spot, my jeep was drowned with myself and another occupant trapped inside. Courageously I swam to safety through the vehicle window. With a rope I rescued my colleague gasping for breath inside the jeep. My next action was to look for a towing van. God being so kind I succeeded in getting one at a high price. Then the jeep was also rescued. We were all wet including the jeep. Fortunately the engine was not dead as we drove ahead in great trepidation. I thought that the State is ruled by a change government. I thank God that the past and present governors of my State Anambra beginning from Chris Ngige, Peter Obi and the incumbent Willie Obiano have done us proud by good road network and other infrastructural developments. Many State governors at the moment are either owing workers or no more able to pay them. The Imo State governor Okorocha has even directed the civil servants in his State to work for only three days in the week and then utilize the other three days to go to the farm. By so doing, they would be entitled to half salary and make it up from their farm products. What of those who have no farm lands? What about the sick ones? My people say that the hunger which kills a rich man buries the poor man alive. If active civil servants can no longer be paid, then the retired civil servants have no more hope. They should prepare for their imminent death. Anambrarians should rejoice that our able Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, is among the six governors who are still paying workers. Willie is paying and working. Let support and pray for him and for Anambra State. May God come and rescue the governors who are bankrupt so that their workers may hope to live till tomorrow.

The unfavourable wind of the Change Government is blowing very strong across the nation. Nigerians are learning to withstand it by all means. Last time I admonished Nigerians not to despair. What has a beginning must have an end. I still appeal to the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Church to rise to their responsibilities. When all hands are on deck, things must change for better.

As Nigerians are trying to cope with the present hardship in the land, the Fulani herdsmen are throwing spanner into the work. Rearing cattle is a private business. It is not a national issue and should not be sponsored by the government. Every herdsman should take care of his cattle. A herdsman should not destroy people's farm in the name of feeding his cattle. If the Grazing Bill should be approved, then the Federal Government must provide shops for all business men and women across the country. She will also build houses for people to live in. The Fulani Herdsmen has no priority over other Nigerians. These herdsmen feel that since their brother is the President of Nigeria, then they are superior to other Nigerians. They are armed with dangerous weapons and ammunitions. A bird dancing in the middle of the road has someone in the forest beating the drums for it. Who provides these arms and ammunitions for the herdsmen? What is a herdsman doing with A-K 47 riffle? The normal instrument a herdsman uses is stick, which he uses to direct his cattle and to flog the straying ones. Strangely these days, the Fulani Herdsmen have transformed themselves into terrorists. They kill, maim, rape and destroy people's houses here and there. Despite all these atrocities, President Buhari has not vehemently condemned these new terrorists by words and actions. The army and police maintain that they have not received any order from above to go after the terrorists in herdsmen's clothing. Hence, they kill innocent Nigerians in their sleep and go free. This bloody atrocity has taken place in the States of Benue, Kogi, Enugu, Adamawa, Anambra, and Plateau. Hundreds of innocent lives have thereby perished.

The most recent atrocity happened in Attakwu in Enugu State. The herdsmen struck at the silent hours of the night. They killed a Catholic priest-to-be (Seminarian). By so doing, the herdsmen have struck in the Sanctuary. They ripped open the belly of a six-month pregnant woman and seriously maimed the others. Another died later in the hospital. The Church is mourning. Enugu State is wailing. Nigeria is bleeding. The Enugu State born prophet known for prophesying in favour of President Buhari should also prophesy against this mindless bloody atrocity of the Fulani Herdsmen. How can he be making prophesy for the President at Abuja and look on as his own people are being ruthlessly slaughtered at home by wicked herdsmen? Charity begins at home.

Human life is has a primary value and should be protected above everything. Only God the Creator can take away life through the natural process of death. The fifth dictate in the Decalogue forbids the wilful taking away of human life through murder, assassination, homicide, suicide, infanticide, abortion and euthanasia. We all have the duty of protecting human life right from conception. The Government has the onerous duty of protecting the lives and properties of her citizens. Murderers must be brought to face justice from the arms of the Law. There should be no preferential treatment because no life is greater than the other. President Buhari during his inauguration said emphatically, "I am for everybody and for nobody." Therefore he should be fair to all Nigerians. All criminals should be brought to book without fear or favour. The terrorist herdsmen should be arrested and punished. If the Government can no longer protect her citizens, then we have to go back to the State of Nature where might is power and the survival of the fittest is the order of the day. No one has the monopoly of violence. Everyone has the right of self-defence by all means when unjustly attacked. The Federal Government should as a matter of urgency disarm the Fulani Herdsmen all over the country. If they are allowed to carry arms and ammunitions, then every Nigerian should do likewise. My people say that a person surrounded by enemies must be alert and watchful.

The incessant killing of Christians here and there in Nigeria is alarming. The Federal Government must stem this tide before it escalates. Nigeria is a multi religious country. Recently in Niger State, some irate Muslim youths stormed a Catholic Church and destroyed objects of worship in the church on the ground that members of the Church should not worship on Fridays. A Christian woman was unjustly clubbed to death in Kano on false allegation of blaspheming the Islamic religion. At Abuja a female pastor was gruesomely murdered as she was doing her early morning preaching. The Nigerian Constitution stipulates freedom of Worship. Why can one religion then monopolize others? Every religion has her time and place of worship. We must respect each other. The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary should promote Religious Tolerance. Each Religion should be friendly to the other since we are all children of one God.

On her own part, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) should be proactive and active. She must speak out in the face of injustice and religious intolerance. The different denominations believe in Jesus Christ. There should be unity in diversity. Love of God and neighbour is the common denominator. Let us be our brother's keeper. The killing of one Christian affects the others. We vehemently condemn the killing of Christians in any guise. The Church condemns the awful murder of a Seminarian and one other at Attakwu in Enugu State by Fulani Herdsmen. Other wounded ones are in danger list. We appeal to the Governor of Enugu State and President Buhari to find out the culprits and punish them accordingly. This will serve as a deterrent to others. The Church should also follow the case to a logical conclusion. If we allow our seminarians to be killed unjustly like that, then the future of the Church is bleak. A stitch in time saves nine.

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