STEFANOS FOUNDATION’S PRAYER SUMMIT: HERDSMEN AS THREAT TO NATIONAL SECURITY
By Engr. Mark Lipdo
Engr. Mark Lipdo was one of the 3 keynote speakers at the Stefanos Foundation’s Prayer Summit of 12th July 2018, which held at Eliel Center, Jos, Plateau State.
In his paper, Lipdo says he sees an opportunity given for him to share facts he has gathered in his fifteen years’ work with ethnic minority Christians of Northern Nigeria who have struggled with insecurity in their communities.
He pointed out that insecurity is increasingly becoming rampant all over the world. And although governments have been struggling to combat these vices, none can really say they have been hundred percent successful. He made it clear that Nigeria as a sovereign state is having to face its own challenges in the ongoing instances.
In his findings, Lipdo said, 19 Northern states of Nigeria are home to over 670 ethnic people of diverse cultures and traditions, most of whom are Muslims as well as Christians. However, Violent riots and militant attacks have continued to target ethnic minority religious people of the region.
According to him, the Fulani, who are traditionally from North Africa and the Middle East are a people, numbering between 20 to 25 million. They are one of the largest most homogeneous ethnic groups of the Sahel region. Over time, they have intermingled with local West African ethnic groups and are widely dispersed across the region. They are bound by their language, history, culture and Islamic religious affiliation. About 7 to 8 million of them are pastoralists – this has made them the largest nomadic pastoral community in Africa.
Mark gave a brief history of the ancient Fulani warfare that attempted to subdue most part of the Sahel region from 1050 to 1903 before the British conquered their Caliphate in Sokoto around Northwestern part of Nigeria. It was then he said that the British amalgamated the various regions into one entity called ‘Nigeria’.
According to him, Fulani militants have recently targeted innocent armless ethnic minority Communities with violence in Nigeria. They burnt houses, killed men, women and even children, especially in the north and middle belt regions of the country.
As this situation persists, Engr. Lipdo admonished Ethnic Minority Christians never to be distracted but to emulate Jesus and His Non-violence peace building principles in dealing with the situation. He advices that Christians should never lose sight of the fact that we serve a Just God who will always bring Justice in every unjust situation.
Mark calls on the church to earnestly unite in their responsibility towards their immediate communities. He advised churches to design their mission with the aim of reaching their communities with evangelism, faith, Justice programs, as well as developmental projects.
Stefanos Foundation therefore calls on all Christians to unite in speaking against the injustice being perpetrated against Nigerians.
We believe that;
“Only a united Church can build a united nation.”
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