- A Catholic leader, Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins in Lagos, has condemned the sentencing of five Christians to death by hanging for allegedly killing a herder in Adamawa
- Martins called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and revoke the verdict which he believed if executed will cause more crisis and increase tension in the country
- The cleric said that the country needs policies and laws that will promote peace and unity
Most Reverend Alfred Adewale Martins, a Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the recent court verdict in Adamawa state which sentenced five Christian youths to death by hanging for the alleged murder of a herder.
The cleric said that the president “needs to consider the social import of this judgment and the social impact that it would have if the young men are put to death.” Martins advised the president to decry and object to such ruling, the Vanguard reports.
The young suspects identified as Alex Amos, Alheri Phanuel, Holy Boniface, Jerry Gideon and Jari Sabagi, were convicted by Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri of Adamawa High Court for attacking three herdsmen at Kadamun village in Demsa local government area of the state, killing one, Adamu Buba, and maiming two others and several cattle.
Rejecting the judgment as what he thinks may further throw the country into more crisis, the archbishop said: "The President must be seen to be fair, objective and purposeful in resolving the herdsmen crisis by ensuring that justice was done to all victims across board."
He said that the way in which the suspects were tried and sentenced to death was rather quick and triggers suspicion in a situation in which cases of the murder of such high-profile figures as the late Bola Ige and Alfred Rewane among others have remained mysteries for years.
Martins stated: ”The judgment was capable of sending the unhealthy signal that the apparatus of the state is also being used to kill people whose kith and kin are already being murdered by criminal elements in the country.
“I am not in any way excusing the action of the young men since it is not right to take laws into their hands. However, the killing they have been convicted of did not happen in a vacuum and so it is necessary to put the social cost of going ahead to carry out the sentence of the court into consideration.
“People are already asking: ‘Why has a similar measure of seriousness not been applied to arresting and bringing the killer herdsmen who have been murdering people in cold blood over these past years to justice? What has happened to the killers of the Ukpor-Mbalom 19, for instance?’
"Is it that they are above the law or they are spirits such that Security Operatives have not been able to apprehend them not to talk of bringing them to justice? What is happening to Leah Sharibu etc?
“Our President, as the father of all, has the moral duty of ensuring equity in the dispensation of justice, speedy justice must be seen to be done to all irrespective of religion or any other primordial consideration.
“The President has the constitutional power to bring all these unnecessary crises to a halt by insisting that the various arms of government to do the right thing. At present, what we are seeing, seems to be selective justice at play and this will take us nowhere,”
Meanwhile the archbishop has also insisted on his earlier call on the federal government to compensate families of the Ukpor-Mbalom 19 and other victims of the herdsmen crisis throughout Nigeria in a bid to inspire reconciliation.
Furthermore, he said that the country needs action, laws and policies that will reduce or possibly end the growing tension and promote unity and peace instead.
In an earlier post, NAIJ.com reported that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had decried the death sentence passed against five faithful by a high court in Yola, Adamawa state capital, for allegedly killing a suspected herdsmen in a vengeful attack.
Presided by Justice Abdul-Azeez Waziri, the court sentenced the convicted men to death by hanging for the alleged offence and called on concerned parties to appeal the judgement within three months from its ruling.
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