The recurrent wave of violence and the taking of human lives in different parts of our country have not gone unnoticed, as the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has called on those in public offices, indeed all Nigerians, to save the country from an impending war.

The 16 January CBCN statement was jointly signed by Archbishops Ignatius Kaigama and William Avenya, president and secretary, respectively.

Certain parts of our beloved country are under siege; repeatedly, innocent citizens in different communities across the nation are brutally attacked and their sources of livelihood mindlessly destroyed. Places of worship, schools and hospitals are not spared.

The criminal elements among us have made life “nasty, brutish and short.” Fear, anxiety and desperation are now our bedfellows. Who will save us now?

Though the federal government is gaining an upper hand in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the north-east, it is appalling that other ugly incidents are tearing communities apart and generating tensions continuously.

Unfavourable climatic factors have forced herdsmen to move in search of greener pastures to save the lives of their cattle, but must we humans die in their stead? To think some unscrupulous ones mindlessly drive their cattle into farmlands to graze on people’s crops is unacceptable. And when the local farmers resist such wanton destruction of their means of livelihood, they

were made to pay for doing so with

their blood as they are visited with deadly night attacks.

Unarmed citizens were recently slaughtered in some communities in Benue, Adamawa, Kaduna and

Taraba states; it shocked the nation

but government is too blind to

see the carnage and stone-deaf to

hear the outcry.

The bishops have totally condemned such brutal acts stating that herdsmen may be under pressure to save their livestock and economy but this

is never to be done at the expense

of other

peoples’ lives or property or both.

 “If government is incapable or unwilling to protect the lives of her citizens before marauding herdsmen, people might be tempted to resort to self-help to defend themselves when threatened or attacked. This will, no doubt, lead to a complete breakdown of law and order in the country,” the CBCN says and we agree with the bishops in toto.

We, therefore, advise government to urgently and seriously rise up to

her primary responsibility of protecting the lives and property of her citizens

and ensure that such mindless killings become history.

The people have a part to play in all this. This perilous situation demands that we should be more security conscious by reporting strange faces and movements promptly and unreservedly to security agents. Meanwhile, with the array of intelligence at government’s disposal, one wonders why the authority cannot expeditiously take measures to unmask the perpetrators of these dastardly acts and their sponsors, disarm them and bring them to book?

On grazing colonies as a way of settling the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers, the bishops say that “a better alternative to open grazing should be sought rather than introducing ‘grazing colonies’ in the country. Government should rather encourage cattle owners to establish ranches in line with

 international best practices. Farmers and herdsmen have a lot to contribute to the socio-economic prosperity of our nation.

A more enduring strategy must be

worked out for their peaceful co-existence and mutual respect.”

Indeed, nothing matters now other than national interest. Short of this, the drums of war can hardly be silenced.

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