Nigerians woke up on Saturday last week with the bad news of the gruesome murder of innocent travellers returning from the annual national Zikr in Bauchi. They were intercepted along Rukuba, Gada-Biyu axis of Jos-North local government by suspected Irigwe ethnic militias who killed them and burned their buses. Every peace-loving Nigerian should condemn the atrocity.
The killing of these innocent travellers came at a time when Plateau State, the epicentre of ethno-religious crises, had started enjoying relative peace courtesy of Governor Simon Bako Lalong’s commitment to bring lasting peace. The militias who carefully selected their victims have a hidden or ulterior motive. Some of their reasons are to set the State on fire and fuel retaliation across the country. The victims came from other states of the country and were only on transit. What did they do?
Even before the unfortunate killings, there have been reported cases of innocent travellers being killed on some roads, which are considered no-go-areas for certain faith. If this crude way of life displayed by the mobs can be adopted in other states, one imagines the dire consequences it will bring to the peace, unity and development of the country.
I learnt that the Nigerian army apprehended some suspects. This is a good development. However, the problem is not whether the perpetrators of the heinous crime are arrested or not. The question remains, are the culprits going to face justice according to the laws of the land? So long as the government continues to temper justice with mercy on those who commit grave offences against humanity, we should rule out any possible end to the unnecessary carnage.
Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State. He can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.