The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Uche Secondus, has urged the Presidency to halt the killings going on in Benue State immediately before it degenerates into a national crisis.
Mr Secondus, in a condolence message sent to the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and the Catholic Church in Nigeria on the Tuesday morning’s brutal murder of two Catholic priests and 17 other worshippers said the killings which began on New Year’s Day is no longer bearable.
On Tuesday morning, worshipers at the St. Ignatius Quashi Catholic Church parish in Ukpor-Mbalom in Gwer Local Government Area of the state were attacked and killed by suspected herdsmen.
At least 19 people were killed during the attack, including two priests.
Several attacks by suspected herdsmen have left hundreds of people dead in various communities within the state in recent months. A visit by President Muhammadu Buhari and a six-weeks military operation deployed to curb the killings have not stemmed the crisis.
The PDP chairman, in a statement signed by his media adviser, Ike Abonyi, said the continued bloodletting in Benue and other parts of the country raises a lot of concern on the future of the country.
“From whichever angle you are witnessing what is happening in this country, one thing is agreeable that this country is sliding dangerously. Nigerians and the global community have continued to watch as all the tenets of democracy are being eroded and giving way to dictatorial tendencies.
“In the last one week, we have watched as disturbing indices continue to crop up ahead of the forthcoming general election with APC administration either unconcerned or involved in a tactical endorsement of such act,” the party said.
The official said the “choreographed” tension is designed by the APC administration to charge up the polity to enable them carry out an agenda of abusing democratic processes and the rule of law ahead of 2019.
“I find it unexplainable that some group of gunmen should hold a state to ransom since January killing and maiming citizens and destroying their houses and the security operatives appear helpless. Where are the military operatives that carried out Python and Crocodile dances in South-east and South-south region respectively lately brandishing their might to less dangerous citizens and who have been unable to tackle the Benue killings.
“How can anybody expect Benue State for instance to contribute its own share of the $1bn security votes when the nation security architecture is not designed to protect their people? The president had recently said these herdsmen are foreigners trained by late Libyan leader, Muammar Gadhafi.
“If we are to give in to the President’s assertions lately that these killer herdsmen are foreigners and that a dead Gadhafi could leave behind such deadly force that a living President and its army have no answer to, where then lies our pride as a nation,” he asked.