New Year's Day massacres in Nigeria prompt Christians to ask for government action

The gruesome massacre of some 50 people in Nigeria's Kaduna and Benue states on New Year's Day has prompted Christians in the northern region to call on the government to take action and bring the perpetrators to justice.

(REUTERS / Afolabi Sotunde)Women walk past an Islamic school along Chawai Faskari road in Kaduna, Nigeria. November 2, 2016.

In a statement issued in Jos on Jan. 3, the head of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Northern Nigeria, Rev. Yakubu Pam, condemned the brutal New Year's Day killings in Kaduna and Benue states. He also asked the Federal Government to find the people responsible for the deaths of the 50 victims, as well as those who killed the District Head of Numana Kingdom, Dr. Gambo Makama and his wife, The Guardian Nigeria relayed.

The CAN leader also expressed worry over the way the government was handling the security situation in the areas in question. He said such crimes could already have been eradicated if authorities had indeed handled the problem well.

"We are worried that the reluctance of the government in the poor handling of security is causing more harm than good. We are aware that if proactive measures are taken by the government where culprits are caught and disciplined, crimes in the society would have been stamped out," Pam added.

Moreover, Palm urged the government to beef up security measures in Nigeria to prevent similar killings in the future. He said the Christian church was asking for state protection for its members, in light of the recent incidents.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari expressed sadness over the New Year's Day killings and assured the people that the government was doing everything to arrest the attackers and prevent future incidents.

Meanwhile, in Rivers State, New Year's Day also turned bloody when a group of gunmen fired at Christians coming home from early morning church services. More than 26 people were hit, 14 died at the scene, and 12 were brought to the hospital for treatment, The Nigerian Independent reported.

In the wake of the New Year's Day attack, the Rivers State Police Command has reportedly dispatched troops to the area to restore peace. They have also launched a manhunt to locate, arrest, and prosecute the attackers.