Christian Leaders Outraged 5 Men Sentenced to Death for Killing Fulani Herdsman in Self-Defense

(Photo: REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)Protesters gather during a demonstration against Fulani herdsmen killings, in Abuja, Nigeria March 16, 2017.

Christians in Nigeria are outraged that while five men were sentenced to death last week for the killing of a Muslim Fulani herdsmen, not a single Fulani has received a similar sentence for the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Christians.

Nigeria's Daily Post reports that Yola High Court sentenced five men in Kodomun to death by hanging for murdering a Fulani herdsmen, reportedly in retaliation for the killings of Christians in the area.

Alex Amos, Alheri Phanuel, Holy Boniface, Jerry Gideon and Jari Sabagi were found guilty of criminal conspiracy and culpable homicide, after they attacked three Fulani herdsmen and killed one of them, Adamu Buba. The Fulani's body was apparently thrown into a river.

The Supreme Council of Bishops, also known as World Council of Bishops, has directly written to President Muhammadu Buhari, asking him to spare the five Christians.

The bishops say in the letter that Nigeria "has suffered untold bloodshed from killings, maiming, traumatization of innocent citizens around the northeastern, north central and Middle Belt states, as a result of the frequent attacks by the militia herdsmen times without number," as reported by The Guardian.

Fulani herdsmen have been carrying out escalating attacks on Christians and other civilians over the past several months, killing hundreds of believers each month this year, according to International Christian Concern and other persecution watchdog groups. 

Others, such as Femi Fani-Kayode, the former Minister of Aviation, said that more than 5,300 Christians have died in 2018 alone.

Kayode spoke out against the judge that sentenced the Christians, who he said were defending themselves from "Fulani terrorists." He also wondered if "Nigeria is an apartheid state where the herdsmen are above the law."

"The jihadists who killed the RCCG evangelist for preaching in Abuja were set free. The ones who killed Bridget, the Deeper Life Pastor's wife in Kano, were set free," the politician said, pointing to numerous cases of suspected Fulani killers going free.

The bishops' letter, which was sent from the World Episcopal Headquarters in Texas, and was routed through the Africa Episcopal Headquarters, Lagos,  insisted that Nigeria is not handing out justice.

"Till date no adequate justice had been meted out on them commensurate to the lives and property lost," they wrote, referring to Fulani attacks on villages.

It added that "what our nation Nigeria sues for now in our nascent democracy is peace and tranquility, and not otherwise."

Christians have continued to face nearly daily attacks in some regions, such as central Nigeria.

Two Christian men were hacked to death by radical herdsmen as they were going home last week following worship at the Evangelical Church Winning All in Kwall village, Plateau state.

"Fulani herdsmen have continued to kill innocent Christians in our villages, yet the Nigerian government has not taken proactive measures to end the onslaught," said resident Lawerence Zango.

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