“You cannot negotiate with a person who has nothing to lose.”
In an interview with Vatican Radio on 2 October 2016, the Bishop of Nsukka Diocese in Nigeria, Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, challenged the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, over persistent attacks on Christians by Fulani Herdsmen:
“We have a Northerner, a Fulani, Moslem as President. For his own credibility in the country, he needs to come out clearly and firmly … and protect the lives of Nigerians no matter where they live.”
His comments follow deadly attacks on seven villages in his diocese during which 60 persons were reported killed as well as several Christian houses and churches destroyed.
Those who carried out the attacks were heard to shout jihadist slogans and did so with military precision. Christian communities in the area are now wondering if the Fulani herdsmen have formed an alliance with Islamic militants.
The Bishop praised the Nigerian police and expressed sympathy for their predicament. “We see them expose themselves every day to great danger without much to show for it in terms of equipment or even remuneration and one would not blame them if they run at the first possibility. Many of them have been heroic…,” Bishop Onah said.
Challenging western governments, a number of whom are selling armaments to Africa, he questioned the political motivation behind their actions which are contributing to the impoverishment of the African people.
Bishop Onah added: “The world has everything to gain from a stable, wealthy Africa because, by the time you have hundreds of young people who have nothing to lose because they have been impoverished, every part of the world will feel their anger because you cannot negotiate with a person who has nothing to lose.”
This is a powerful, fearless and prophetic interview by Bishop Onah. The full 24 minute interview on Vatican Radio can be accessed here: