CAN raises alarm over fresh killings

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ABUJA – The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday, raised fresh alarm over the renewing killing of people, particularly the Christians in the northern region of the country.

The Christian national body noted that from Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, and Kaduna states, the gory stories of killings through sporadic shootings, burning of Christian houses and their churches remain the same, and the situation was getting worse every day.

Giving its account, CAN said only in Plateau state, it recorded death of over 100 Christians in one month between 6 January to 6 February this year.

The body, arising from its first National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting in Abuja, expressed grave concern about “the insecurity challenges that have continued to face us as a nation and Christians in particular in our dear country, Nigeria.”

Presenting the three paragraphs communiqué in Abuja, the Secretary General of CAN, Rev. Musa Asake said the body believed that security agencies were doing their best, “however, more needs to be done in the area of securing lives and properties.”

He maintained that, though the federal government had been trying its best, its best was not enough; therefore, the government needs to evolve a new strategy to address the Boko Haram, Gunmen and Fulani Herdsmen, who were killing innocent people in villages.

“The federal government should come up with an efficient and enduring system that can overwhelm the resurgence of Boko Haram, Gunmen and Fulani Herdsmen, who are prowling villages, shooting and killing innocent Christians, and at a time we have been enjoying peace through articulated and sustained security programme, the scourge of Boko Haram, Gunmen and Fulani Herdsmen has continued to pose serious security problem to Christians, particularly those living in the northern part of the Nigeria.

“From Borno, Yobe and Adamawa to Plateau, Nasarawa, Benue, and Kaduna states, the story is the same-killings through sporadic shootings, burning of Christian houses and their churches, and that has made frightened Christians to become increasingly helpless.

“The figures from these assaults on our brothers, sisters and children are a confirmation of the stark reality on ground. NEC recalls the incidences in some states. It noted that in Plateau state alone, for instance, CAN recorded the death of over 100 Christians in one month – between 6 January to 6 February this year.

“It noted that no fewer than 30 people sustained various degrees of injuries. These attacks occurred in the northern and southern parts of the state.

“This month, the murderous and callous elements attacked Atakar and Rajat villages where 30 people were killed, while scores of others were wounded, and that, two days later, 22 people were killed in Mavo village of Langtang by hundreds of attackers.

“That chronicle of the gory details in Southern Kaduna shows that there were attacks on villages there leading to loss of hundreds of lives.

“CAN is alarmed that the list of victims is becoming endless, particularly in the affected states of Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and Kaduna. Recently, these evil men disguised as soldiers, went inside a Catholic Church, while the church was in session, locked the doors of the church and killed the worshipers.”

Asake also recalled the recent incidence in Kaura Local government Area of Kaduna state, where a family of seven was killed by Fulani Herdsmen.

According to him, “just last week in Katsina state, the Chairman of CAN in Kankia Local Government and Pastor of the Assemblies of God Church, Pastor Paul was attacked in his residence, beaten thoroughly and later killed in the hospital where he was rushed to for treatment.

“Thereafter, his assailants went to his house and burnt it. The question majority of those in attendance asked was; where were the security agencies when this dastardly act was happening?

“The charge leveled against the Pastor was that a corpse was found near his residence. His assailants did not stop there, a church building was burnt down and houses belonging to Christians in the neighbourhood.”

The Christian body noted that after taking a critical look at the pattern of attacks and the places, it believed that “the details are instructive”, expressing worry over churches being marked for demolition in New Bussa, Niger State and in Jigawa state.

CAN called on “all Christians to be alert and protect their neighbourhood”, while charging “the federal government to be more proactive in the manner it deals with boko haram menace.

“The government should accord the issue of sedentary pastoralism the prominence it deserves with strong legislation. The forthcoming national conference offers a brilliant opportunity in this regard.”

The meeting also appealed to politicians and all relevant stakeholders in the 2015 general election “not to engage in the unguarded, inflammatory and inciting statements that may plunge the country into confusion and violence.”

Asake urged the federal government “to investigate the source of the weapons and ammunitions used in their various attacks and to expose their sponsors.”

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