BY UMAR YUSUF, YOLA
Last Wednesday, the 1st of August 2018, the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN organized a peaceful protest to draw the attention of government and security operatives to the endless killing of people arising from clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
The organizers intended the protest march to be a peaceful one but it was gathered that the State Police Command did not grant permission for the protest.
Despite this, as early as 8 o’clock in the morning, hundreds of CAN members started gathering at the Saint Theresa Catholic Cathedral located along the ever busy Bishop street.
The crowd continued to troop into the Church until the entire premises was filled to capacity. The procession then commenced with all the protesters wearing black attire.
As they marched along the streets, heading towards the Government House, uneasy calm enveloped the entire Adamawa State capital.
As the protesters got to the popular Police Roundabout, a detachment of anti riot Police was already stationed there determined to abort the protest march. But the insistence of the protesters to continue met a stiff resistance from the policemen which led to a violent confrontation
In the ensuing confusion, the policemen started throwing teargas while the protesters responded with missiles.
Scores of protesters were injured in the confrontation as the Police confirmed the arrest of no fewer than ten protesters.
It was gathered that hoodlums took advantage of the chaotic situation to cause havoc, smashing vehicles on sight and destroying the billboards of Governor Mohammed Jibrilla.
Reacting to the destruction of the governor’s billboard, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Ahmed Sajoh exonerated CAN members and blamed the hoodlums for the attack.
The Commissioner added that the hoodlums were shouting “bad government of APC”, “Sai PDP! Sai PDP”.
He said CAN has been disturbed over the growing cases of killings arising from Hersmen/ Farmers clsh which he said has claimed not only christians, but Muslims alike.
Bishop Mamza stated that it on this basis that the body embark on the street walk to draw the attntion to government to put a halt to the carnage.
Calm has however returned to the Adamawa state capital after the incident, but property, billboards and other structures which were destroyed still littered the streets.
As at Press time, the Spokesman of Adamawa Police Command, Othman Abubakar( SP ) could not be reached for confirmation on the number of arrest over the protest.
Earlier while addressing the protesters before they took off on the peaceful march, the State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Adamawa, Reverend Dami Mamza asked them to be peaceful and maintain law and order while explaining the reason for the protest.
In his speech addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, he said the Adamawa state Christians were demanding an end to the mindless massacre of innocent citizens.
According to him, “the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), wishes to convey her grievance as a result of the mindless massacre of farming communities by arms wielding herdsmen.
“CAN is constrained to take this action as the killings have continued with reckless abandon, more so that perpetrators of the killings appear to be above the laws of the land. CAN is deeply disturbed that these killings affect mostly agrarian communities in their own lands.
As the president may be well aware, there is hardly a day or two that there is no major raid taking place; leaving scores of local people across several communities dead with property worth millions of naira destroyed. These killings by the invaders were going on even as we have been calling for security protection without receiving the appropriate protection.
“CAN is worried by the seeming conspiracy of silence, especially among critical security stakeholders on these killings. We have it on good authority that often government officials detest it when journalists broadcast news of herdsmen killings.
“As a religious body, we must confront issues with the truth no matter whose ox is gored. Therefore, be informed in all honesty, that Nigeria under your leadership is more divided than at any time in our history.
While Adamawa State CAN does not share in the view that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is supporting the killings, we however hold strong reservations about the President’s docile posture while the killings continue just as the president’s body language may sway us to lean towards the belief that security operatives were not decisive on the herdsmen menace because they were the President’s kith and kin.
We implore you yet again to look into our matter and act with immediate deployment of the military to stop these terrorists so that posterity will be kind on you”.