With no practical solution in view with regards to the lingering Fulani herdsmen attack on different communities in Nigeria, a prominent bishop and Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Ughelli, Delta State, Diamond Emuobor, has called on Christians in the country to “own a sword and defend themselves” against further attacks by the terrorists.
Bishop Emuobor gave the charge in Ughelli on Wednesday, January 25, against the backdrop of the recent killings in Southern Kaduna which had resulted to the loss of many lives and destruction of properties worth millions.
According to the cleric, who is also the General Overseer of Trinity Gospel Mission, the herdsmen attack/killings in the northern part of the country particularly in Southern Kaduna was an attempt to wipe out Christianity, emphasizing, nevertheless, that it was a war against God, which the perpetrators would not win.
He stated it clearly that it was not unbiblical for a Christian to defend himself against external aggressors.
“Christians should defend themselves and he who has no sword, should sell his coat and buy one to defend himself. We are all human beings, nobody should catch you like a snail and slaughter because you believe in Jesus Christ.
“We all would not die and those of us, who are alive, have the right to defend ourselves. Jesus says in the Book of Luke that those who have no sword should sell their coats and buy one for the defence of their lives.”
Bishop Emuobor however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to put in more effort towards ending herdsmen attack against Christians, especially in the north.
Meanwhile, the founder of Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, Apostle Johnson Suleiman was in the early hours of yesterday, saved from being arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) following the timely intervention of Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose. The man of God was in Ado Ekiti for a two-day crusade which was attended by a massive crowd including the governor.
The attempted arrest of Johnson Suleiman was in connection to a sermon he preached at his church calling for the killing of Fulani herdsmen. In a video footage, Apostle Johnson was heard saying:
“…And I told my people, I said any Fulani herdsman you see around you, kill him. (cheers from the congregants).
“I have told them in the church here that any Fulani herdsman that just enter by mistake and want to pretend, kill him. Kill him. Cut his head. If they are busy killing Christians and nothing is happening, we will kill them and nothing will happen…”
After his foiled arrest, the man of God took to his Twitter handle to explain that he only told his members to kill any herdsman who tries to attack them in self-defense and not to go about killing herdsmen who are going about their business.
In the same vein, Taraba state governor, Darius Ishaku, on January 8, urged Christians in communities affected by the religious crisis, to express their constitutional rights to self-defense or face been wiped out by some of these extremists that have continued to wage war against them.
He said this during a thanksgiving service organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to celebrate the new year and to also pray for victims of Southern Kaduna massacre and other victims of terrorism across the country.
Speaking against the backdrop of the repeated attacks on Southern Kaduna and some other Christian communities by some supposed Fulani herdsmen in some parts of the North, Ishaku said Christians should not fold their hands and watch as they are wiped out by these extremists.
Speaking through the Secretary to the State government, Anthony Jellason, who represented him at the event, the governor said:
“I was at the site of the mayhem in parts of Ardo Kola this morning and the level of destruction there is unimaginable. A few weeks ago, it was in Gassol, then Karim. We are all aware of what is going on in Southern Kaduna.
“The people must wake up from their slumber and defend themselves. You can’t just lie down and allow yourselves to be annihilated by other groups. You have a constitutional right to self-defense and now is the time to use it. The government alone cannot do it.”
For more than one year now, many communities in the South-east and North-central have faced severe attacks allegedly perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen, with the number of deaths increasing with each attack.
In 2016, 10 Agatu communities in Benue State suffered unprecedented hardship in the hands of men suspected to be Fulani herdsmen who also killed over 500 Agatu villagers, nearly turning the community into a city of ghosts. Similarly, hundreds of lives have been wasted in the southern Kaduna killings which are still unsettled, just as many more are still being sent to their early graves by the terrorist herdsmen.
In the midst of the heavy bloodshed, Nigerians have accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s government of not responding firmly to the attacks and being nonchalant about securing the lives of people, especially Christians.
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said on Monday, April 25, 2016, that the government was working “silently” to end the carnage, while in a statement signed by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, Mr. Buhari said stopping the violence was now a priority for his administration.
However, there are presently, no indications that the government is making any practical move to stop the attacks.