BY SAM EYOBOKA
CHRISTIAN Association of Nigeria, CAN, has condemned recent killing of over 40 students of the Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, Adamawa State University and the School of Health Technology, in Adamawa State as the chairman of CAN in North East zone, the Rev. Shuaibu Byal has disagreed with the Senate recommendation of capital punishment for terrorist acts.
A statement signed by the National Secretary of CAN, Rev. Musa Asake, said after a study of the various reports on the issue coupled with the latest information that there is currently a stampede of students and lecturers who have taken advantage of the free period preceding the curfew imposed by the state government to flee the institutions, CAN vehemently condemns the barbaric act, suspected to have been perpetrated by members of the Boko Haram sect.
It commiserates with families who lost their loved ones, students and authorities of the affected institutions.
“CAN rejects the theory of election dispute as responsible for the massacre of over 40 students, considering the manner it was reportedly carried out. It believes that the reason is phoney and that such a theory, arrived at in haste, can only serve to shield the real culprits and cover up their motives.”
Continuing, he said: “We are, however, consoled by the directive of the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan that security agencies should promptly arrest the killers of the students. But CAN is of the view that the Federal Government should go beyond this directive and ensure that those caught are made to face the full weight of the laws.
It is unacceptable to CAN that students whose parents have spent fortunes on their education would be cut down by some elements in the society whose trade-mark is blood and sorrow.
“The Association was happy that some arrests had been made by the Police, and called on the Nigeria Police Force to ensure that those arrested are the real culprits so that the innocent would not suffer for the sins of villains like the gunmen.
It added: “The Police should not arrest those fleeing in the name of making a breakthrough. Security agencies must fish out the gunmen and there should be no cover up,” stressing that CAN believes in the oneness of Nigeria in accordance with her secular status and would, therefore, kick against any divisive actions of groups or individuals”.
“It is for this reason that we call on all men and women of goodwill in Nigeria to join the government to fight what may snowball into a religious or ethnic war on account of the siege on her.
We plead with the National Assembly to speed up the bill on anti-terrorism and to introduce clauses that would discourage those with penchant for murder, bombing and other terrorist activities,” he maintained.
In his reaction, the regional chairman, Rev, Byal said much as he would support severe punishment for any anti-social behaviours, it will be out of place for the National Assembly to contemplate introducing capital punishment in an age when people are vehemently opposed to such primitive legislations.