Nigeria's Senate summons President Buhari over church killings

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been summoned by the Senate over a spate of killings in the country's middle ...

Posted: Apr 27, 2018 1:51 PM
Updated: Apr 27, 2018 1:51 PM

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been summoned by the Senate over a spate of killings in the country's middle belt.

The lawmakers are yet to set a date for the president's appearance but said violence in Nigeria's central states could lead to "serious crisis" in the country.

"We all know that the dimension this is taking can lead to serious crisis in this country. It means we need to take drastic action. We must say 'no'. These daily killings, have to stop," said Bukola Saraki, Nigeria's Senate leader.

Members of the country's lower parliament who had invited the President Wednesday also passed a vote of no confidence in service chiefs and security advisers, calling for their dismissal over their inability to protect Nigerians.

The lawmakers said could no longer watch "our people are murdered in cold blood" and urged government to increase security measures in affected areas.

"We also resolved to summon the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces President Muhammadu Buhari in order to answer pertinent questions concerning what the Executive is doing to put a decisive end to the spate of killings in different states of the Federation," said Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives.

Buhari's media aide did not immediately respond to CNN's request for a comment.

The president is currently on a two-day working visit to Bauchi State, in north central Nigeria, where he is commissioning road projects and an air force medical facility, according to local media reports.

In the latest wave of violence to hit the middle belt region in recent months, two priests and 17 worshippers were killed Tuesday when armed men attacked a Catholic church during early morning mass in a remote village in Benue state.

The attackers razed over 50 houses in an attempt to take over the community, state police said. State police spokesman Terver Akase told CNN the attackers were thought to be Fulani cattle herdsmen,

Bello Bodejo, head of the cattle herders association, Miyetti Allah, denied the group's involvement in the attacks.

He called on the police and security agencies to investigate and reveal the identities of the attackers to put an end to speculation about his group's involvement.

"We are condemning Tuesday's attack because it is not acceptable. But we want a thorough investigation because every time there is an attack in the middle belt, they say it is Fulani people that caused it," he said in a phone interview with CNN.

"Many Fulani herdsman are not educated or organized enough to speak out against these accusations and this is why socio-cultural organizations like ours are appealing to Nigerians to assist us to get to the root of these attacks."

The violence between the Fulani herdsmen, who are mostly Muslims, and farmers, who are predominantly Christians, in the central state dates back to 2013. According to the Global Terrorism Index, Fulani extremists killed over 2,500 Nigerians between 2012 and 2016.

Cattle herders have evicted farmers by initiating deadly attacks in Nigeria's middle belt, the report from the Institute for Economics & Peace, a non-profit think tank, said.

The expanding conflict between herders and farmers in the region led to the enforcement of anti-grazing laws by local governments , a move that has exacerbated tensions in affected states.

At least 72 people were killed in January following weeks of violence between nomadic herdsmen and farmers in the central part of the West African country.

Buhari, who is ethnically Fulani, has been widely criticized by Nigerians for his perceived silence over previous attacks in Benue state.

He visited the state in March to console families and communities involved and has vowed to bring those responsible for Tuesday's attack to justice.

"This latest assault on innocent persons is particularly despicable. Violating a place of worship, killing priests and worshippers is not only vile, evil and satanic, it is clearly calculated to stoke up religious conflict and plunge our communities into endless bloodletting," Buhari said in a tweet.

International Christian rights organizations have also spoken out about what they see as persecution of some Nigerians because of their faith.

David Curry, president of Open Doors Christian Rights group, condemned Tuesday's attacks and stated that Christians are being targeted in north and central states in Nigeria.

He urged US President Donald Trump to discuss these "religious attacks" during his meeting with Buhari later this month.

"President Buhari has done nothing more than issue empty words of condolence as villages have been burned and thousands of religious minorities have been slaughtered. His inaction has meant attacks by the Fulani are becoming more deadly and sophisticated," Curry said in a statement Wednesday.

Buhari will meet Trump in Washington April 30 to discuss ways of combating terrorism, promoting economic growth among other issues.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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