The Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) has described as “heartless” the killings on Saturday of members of a Muslim group by suspected militiamen in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State.
The Church’s president, Stephen Panya, in a statement on Sunday, urged Nigerian security agencies to “intensify effort in investigating and fishing out such bad and criminal elements responsible for the Bassa Irigwe massacres and the Rukuba road killings from all quarters, without discrimination and make them all face the full wrath of the law.”
The Church also said: “It is very sad and most unfortunate that killings have persisted, in spite of the commendable initial response and effort of the Plateau State Governor, in mobilising the various security arms, to stem the tide of the unrest and killings.”
Newsmen reported how the travellers were ambushed by the militiamen while returning to Ondo State from Bauchi where they attended an Islamic function.
Many other Nigerians have also condemned the killing, including President Muhammadu Buhari, Plateau Governor Simon Lalong and the Christian Association of Nigeria; all of whom have called for the arrest of the perpetrators.
Officials in Plateau State said about 20 suspects were arrested over the incident.
This is coming when the storm of the killings in Irigwe land in Bassa LGA by alleged herdsmen is yet to die down, the Church said.
Read below the full statement from the ECWA Church president
I bring you greetings from the ECWA Executive and ECWA family worldwide.
Suffice it to say that Nigeria has continued to witness terrible, unnecessary, and avoidable deaths, the most recent in Plateau State being killing of passengers along Rukuba Road by criminal elements. This is coming when the storm of the killings in Irigwe land in Bassa LGA by alleged herdsmen is yet to die down.
It is very sad and most unfortunate that killings have persisted, in spite of the commendable initial response and effort of the Plateau State Governor, in mobilizing the various security arms, to stem the tide of the unrest and killings.
ECWA, as a major Church denomination in Nigeria and beyond, does not subscribe to wastage of human lives and property in line with clear Biblical injunctions against such. We believe in the sanctity of human life, that the life of every human being, no matter one’s tribe, ethnicity or religion is sacred, because every human being is created in the image of God.
We, therefore, condemn in its totality, the reported killing of some quoted 22 persons and injuring of others by some criminal elements along Rukuba Road in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau state. This is simply unacceptable.
We call on all to avoid taking laws into their hands and to report any suspicious person (s) to law enforcement authorities for appropriate response and necessary action.
We urge security agencies, to intensify effort in investigating and fishing out such bad and criminal elements responsible for the Bassa Irigwe massacres and the Rukuba road killings from all quarters, without discrimination and make them all face the full wrath of the law.
On behalf of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) worldwide, we pray for comfort for the families whose members were so gruesomely murdered and for speedy and total healing for those injured. We call on the government to also take responsibility for the injured in this latest attack that are in the hospitals.
Families and religious bodies must continue to preach and pursue peace and tolerance in the face of these turbulent times. Those who truly know God and are His children would pursue peace at all cost; for blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
We reiterate that as a church, we shall continue to work with the government at all levels, NIREC, security agencies and all other agencies for the peace and progress of Plateau State and Nigeria at large.
Rev. (Dr) Stephen Baba Panya