Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Mathew Kukah has said that the killings in Plateau state are beyond herder-farmer clashes as murderers “want their own kind of Nigeria according to their ideology”.
Kukah who was commenting on the attack which claimed over 200 lives with hundreds of houses and farmlands burnt in Bokkos and Barkin-Ladi Local Government Areas of the Plateau State on Christmas eve, urged the federal government to resist the agenda of the marauders and protect Nigerians.
He described the attackers as “sons of Satan” who “opted to extinguish and snatch the light of the joy of Christmas from thousands of people on the Plateau”.
“There is a method to this madness. The choice of location, communities, timings, the seeming hooded identities of the killers mask a fact: we may not know who they are, but someone wants something from the Middle Belt. Stretch your imagination from the emergence of the modern Nigerian state and connect the dots.
“We may pretend that we are not at war, but truly, a war is being waged against the Nigerian state and its people. God forbid, but we could snap anytime, anywhere and for any reason.
“By the banks of the Niger river, on the hills of the Plateau, across the lush savannah of the middle belt, we have sat down and wept.
“We have questions crying for answers: Who are these killers? Where are they coming from? Who is sponsoring them? What are their grouses and against whom? What do they want? Whom do they want? Who are they working for? When will it all end? Why are they invincible and invisible? Who is offering them cover?
“Can we continue to believe that there is no long-term plan to take over the reins of power of the Nigerian state? These people want power. They want it on their own terms. They want their own kind of Nigeria according to their ideology.
“These killings are just a preface. These killings are no longer acts by herders and farmers over grazing fields. No, there is more and we as a nation will do well to face this threat before it is sunset. No evil lasts forever. The world defeated Slavery, Apartheid, Nazism, Racism, and forms of extremism.”
Kukah said rebuilding the affected communities required more than mere physical infrastructure. “There is need for clearer, more imagined strategies for rebuilding community cohesion and resilience. Rebuilding hearts is more urgent than rebuilding houses.”
The Catholic Bishop also said the military cannot continue to suffer intelligence failure. “There is an urgent need to re-set the national security architecture. Enough is enough,” Kukah asserted, adding that the culture of investigation as excuses must end. He said if investigations are made public and rewards or punishment are carried out, then it builds confidence.