The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign, according to the Punch newspaper. This shows their belief that the killings start and end with Buhari.
It is in response to 16 Catholics killed earlier this week by people the bishops suspect were Fulani herdsmen.The victims included two Catholic priests. A reported reprisal attack killed 27 people and destroyed two mosques but the Benue State government has denied that.
The statement, part-published in Punch, suggests that authorities are deliberately ignoring attacks: “How can the Federal Government stand back while its security agencies deliberately turn a blind eye to the cries and wailings of helpless and harmless citizens who remain sitting ducks in their homes, farms, highway and now, even in sacred places of worship?”
Clashes between herdsmen and farmers are increasingly common as the struggle over grazing rights and access to water becomes more acute.
In an unusual step, earlier this week the president was summoned to parliament to explain what he intends to do to tackle these attacks.
Many commentatos however observe that the herdsmen versus Tiv farmers issues and skirmishes have been there for decades, only getting bigger by the year as grazing lands get slimmer in the north and as Boko Haram crisis makes the north east not safe to graze.