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“Enough is enough”: Nigeria’s Youth Christian Leaders Say Following Plateau State Killings

The Logo of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Youth Wing (YOWICAN). Credit: YOWICAN

Christian youth leaders in Nigeria have condemned the increased killings in the country’s Plateau State and called for an end to the bloodshed. 

Plateau State has been experiencing heightened insecurity since August 14 when Muslims who were returning from the commemoration of the Islamic New Year in Nigeria’s Bauchi State were ambushed and murdered. 

The attack left at least 22 people dead, Reuters reported.

“The act of willful killing in Nigeria, especially the recent ugly situation in Plateau state must stop with immediate effect. Enough is enough,” the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Youth Wing (YOWICAN) has been quoted as saying in a Monday, August 30 news report

“We condemn the killings in totality,” the Christian youth leaders say, and emphasize that the murders “must stop.”

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Since the August 14 ambush, there have been increased cases of violence, the most recent being an attack on the predominantly Christian dwellers of the  Yalwa Zangam community, near Jos University. 

The August 24 Yalwa Zangam attack reportedly resulted in the deaths of 36 people.

Tensions in Plateau State have been aggravated by threats of retaliatory attacks.

Islamic cleric Uztaz Abubakar Salihu Zaria has been quoted as threatening to kill Christians in different Nigerian States following the August 14 attack on Muslim travelers. 

According to the UK-based human rights organization Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), at least 70 people belonging to predominantly Christian ethnic minority groups in Plateau State have lost their lives within a fortnight.

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In the August 30 news report, YOWICAN members call for an end to the killings saying, “All Nigerians must live together as people of one indivisible nation.”

The Christian youth leaders also question the laxity of the government to address the country’s insecurity saying, “Where are our leaders? The labors of our hero’s past are beginning to be in vain. Nigeria is sliding into anarchy were religious and ethnic terrorism is spreading like wildfire.”

On August 27, the leadership of CSW said it found it surprising that President Muhammadu Buhari was yet to comment on recent or previous attacks in Plateau State.

CSW President Mervyn Thomas, also condoled with the victims of the Plateau State attacks, which he said, brought to the fore the impunity enjoyed by militias in the country.

“We extend our condolences to the families and communities who lost loved ones in the latest attacks in Kaduna and Plateau States,” said Mr. Mervyn.

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He added that “these brazen assaults, that have now extended to a key military installation, indicate the existence of a well-resourced, highly coordinated militia that appears to enjoy high-level sanction.”

Last week, Catholic Bishops in Nigeria called upon the government to “take full responsibility for the present culture of violence.”

The members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) added, “Regrettably, except for the civil war, our nation has never witnessed the kind of widespread evil, wanton destruction and murderous bloodletting.”

The Bishops also urged the State authorities at all levels “to provide the enabling environment that would make it possible for both the Government and the private sector to create job opportunities for our teeming youth population. This would surely reduce the danger of insecurity and unrest in our land.”