Rigwe Christians – Equity International Initiative (EII) believes in oneness and sanctity of human life, we support humanity and peace by condemning the act of violence and skirmishes that occurred along Rukuba Road Jos on Saturday August 14, 2021 where some criminal elements engaged commuters in an ungodly act which led to several loss of lives. We deeply sympathize with the families of those affected and pray for the quickest recuperation of the injured.
However, we want to condemn in the strongest terms, the sentimental, biased and unprofessional statement issued by the Plateau State Police Command via the Police Public Relation Officer (PPPRO), ASP Ubah Gabriel Ogaba that ” A group of Attackers suspected to be Irigwe Christian Youth and their mourners along Rukuba Road of Jos North attacked a convoy of five buses with Muslim faithful who were coming back from annual Zirk prayer in Bauchi State and heading to Ikare in Ondo State.”
It’s a known fact that Rukuba Road as a cosmopolitan area, does not only house Rigwe Christians; hence the prompt and swift ethnic religious inclination or attachment is not only a display of partiality in the act of discharging duty but a demonstration of non-objectivity, sidedness, partisanship and prejudice against Rigwe Christians
One would wonder the level of investigation and interrogation that took place in less than 5 hours to come out with the ethic and religious identity of culprits and perpetrators where as it has taken them years to investigate yet no revelation of the identity of people who have terrorized and still terrorizing almost every part of Nigeria.
It would be recalled that Rigwe Christians have been under attack for more than three weeks and they have never issued a statement, let alone attach an identity of the perpetrators in spite of numerous submission of names of suspects. But have been comfortably using the profile “UNKNOWN GUNMEN“
Furthermore, viewing the prompt arrival of the CP and GOC coupled with the desired interest demonstrated, as well as solid reiterated call for a swift investigation to bring out the perpetrators of the attacks and comparing it with the silence from the same when the Rigwe Christians were attacked, killed and displaced. Houses, farms with grown crops mowed down in days, just within the areas where the Headquarters and Barracks of the 3rd Army Division is located; it goes without saying that the CP and GOC arrived promptly because they already intended to blame the event on the Christians. An action that lowered the average of the Nigerian Army. At this point, it is important to note that this partisan action has made the Army, suspected culprits in the attacks and killings of the Rigwe Christians.
Let it also be known to the general public that the identity of the suspects the police claimed they arrested in connection with the Killings of three Rigwe women on the 10th August, 2021 has not been released nor publicized. The culprits must be faceless people or ghosts, even in police detention we think.
It is on record that Rigwe Christians spent the day mourning and bidding final farewell to six out of over 70 people killed by Fulani militias.
Equity International Initiative (EII) also wishes to condemn the report published by DailyTrust Newspaper on Sunday August 15, 2021 outrightly; the report affirmed that the Saturday, August 14 attack along Rukuba Road of Jos North was carried out by Irigwe Christian Youths even when they have no eye witness and no court of competent jurisdiction has declared the rigwe Christian Youths guilty of committing the act. This we consider a stain on journalism.
The caption of the report which reads; ” Irigwe Youths kill 25 Fulani Travellers in Jos, over 50 missing” is not only malicious but vicious in its entirety and capable of placing the Irigwe Christians on the map of bad people as well as have the propensity of inducing other noble people against the Rigwe people.
One would wonder how quickly this National Daily arrived at the identity of the victims and perpetrators when no formal investigation has been carried out. Equity International Initiative, as well as patriotic Nigerians are getting the impression that there is more to this swift profiling of Rigwe Christians.
No doubt that the report was done on the platter of religion and ethnicity as the elements used are purely inciting, instigating and trouble fomenting. This is completely against the ethics and codes of journalism and reportage which stipulates that a journalist should refrain from making pejorative reference to a person’s ethnic group, religion, sex or any physical or mental illness as well as disability. A Journalist should strive to enhance national unity and public good. A journalist should promote universal principles of human rights, democracy, justice, equity, peace and international understanding. A journalist should not copy, either whole or in part, other people’s work without attribution and/or consent.
This has not only revealed the unprofessional nature of the Daily Trust Newspaper but has shown how unqualified they are in terms of information management as peace journalism has been relegated by them and had their focus shifted to emotion, promotion and propagation of violence and conflict.
Asides this being a deviation and violation against the Nigeria Broadcasting Code(NBC) 6th edition where the introduction 2(3a) states that “Broadcasting shall adhere to the general principles of legality, decency, truth, integrity and respect for human dignity as well as the cultural, moral and social values of the people within the provisions of the Constitution.” it also shows a negation of Chapter 1(2.4) which stipulates that “Sensationalism shall be avoided by refraining from speculations, statements, details or exaggerations that could aggravate mass panic or hysteria.”
Worthy of note is that the said National Daily has not been publishing the reports of atrocities committed by Fulani Herdsmen in Rigwe Nation for over three weeks where over 70 people have been killed, over 2,500 households burnt down, over 25,000 people displaced, over 1000 hectares of farmlands mowed and destroyed, many domestic animals and household items looted. This is an attestation that they are completely out for an agenda which is, to promote evil against good.
By this, no one can object that the act done by Daily Trust Newspaper is a defamation of character for the entire Christian Community and therefore must not go unpunished.
Equity International Initiative (EII) as a faith based organization promoting religious freedom in Nigeria and around the world hereby calls for a swift retraction or withdrawal of the report from the management of Daily Trust Newspaper as the dragging of innocent Irigwe Christian names to the mud is unacceptable and uncalled for.
We want to call the attention of the Director General of National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) Mr Balarabe Ilelah to this as a matter of utmost importance. Sanction Daily Trust Newspaper for violating the established ethics of professional journalism in order to serve as a deterrent for others nursing the same thing.
We want to advice the media outlets to always check and verify information before they are dished out to the public in order to avoid flaming the nation.
Lastly, we are calling on security agencies to investigate the ongoing killings of University of Jos students in a Muslim Community close to the student hostel; we want the perpetrators brought to books and compensation given to the parents of the Unijos Students. Although no amount will be able to bring them back to life.
As part of EII’s Mission in Nigeria, we will, in the next few days commence engagement with several media organizations, Religious Groups, Security Agencies, Civil Society Organizations as well as Government Stakeholders with the aim of coming up with a new frame work for peace building engagement in Plateau State; it’s obvious that the peace building strategies of over 20 years has little or no impact in the state.
There shall also be a citizens round table to redesign a new policy frame work in order to restore lasting peace to the city of Jos.
Remember, a nation grows when EQUITY, JUSTICE and FAIRNESS supersedes Emotions and Sentiments based on ethnicity, religion and political affiliation.
Thank you and God bless.
Dr Chris Iyama
Equity International Initiative.