The Supreme Council of Bishops, otherwise known as World Council of Bishops, has written President Muhammadu Buhari, pleading for pardon for five young men sentenced to death by a court in Adamawa for the killing of a herdsman.
A Yola High Court had on June 11, 2018, sentenced the five men from Kodomun in Demsa council area of the state to death by hanging for murdering a herder in retaliation to the several killings in the area.
However, in the letter, the bishops noted that Nigeria “has suffered untold bloodshed from killings, maiming, traumatisation of innocent citizens around the north eastern, north central and Middle Belt states, as a result of the frequent attacks by the militia herdsmen times without number.”
The correspondence, titled, “Special request for presidential pardon: Killing by hanging of five young men,” was signed by founding Primate, Abuja, Nigeria, Archbishop (Dr.) P. Sunday; Ecclesiastical Prelate Administrator, Houston, Texas, United State, Archbishop (Dr.) H. Parker; Apostolic Nuncio and Prelate to Africa, Lagos, Nigeria, Bishop (Dr.) J. Onyegbulem; and Ecclesiastical Prelate to West Africa, Niamey, Niger Republic, Bishop (Dr.) J. Hussein.
The clerics regretted that “till date no adequate justice had been meted out on them commensurate to the lives and property lost.” It therefore “totally condemns and disapproves vehemently the death sentence passed on the five young men on Monday, June 11, 2018 by a court of competent jurisdiction in Yola, Adamawa State, Nigeria accused and charged for killing a herdsman.”
The letter, dated June 13, 2018 from the World Episcopal Headquarters in Texas, U.S., was routed through the Africa Episcopal Headquarters, Lagos and copied the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo; Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Samuel Onnoghen; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; as well as Governor Mohammed Jibrilla and the state’s Attorney General, Silas Bala Sanga.
The bishops added “what our nation Nigeria sues for now in our nascent democracy is peace and tranquility, and not otherwise.”