By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said securing the freedom of Pastor Bulus Yakuru, and other Boko Haram captives will be a litmus test for the new Service Chiefs, saying the world is watching to see whether they will live up to expectations or not.
President of the CAN, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, stated this in a press release in Abuja, on Saturday.
He said the military authorities, under the new leadership, have an opportunity to prove sceptics of the government’s ability to contain the spate of mass kidnappings by insurgents and bandits wrong by acting decisively to rescue Pastor Yakuru.
Ayokunle also appealed to the Federal Government to maintain a keen eye on security, declare a state of emergency in the sector, and channel more funding to keeping the people safe.
The apex Christian body noted that the early Friday kidnapping of about 300 schoolgirls in Kangere, Zamfara State was giving it a cause for worry.
CAN says, “We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order the military to rescue Pastor Bulus Yakuru from the Boko Haram terrorists before it is too late.
“Pastor Yakuru of EYN Church of the Brethren was reportedly abducted on 24 December 2020 when the terrorists attacked Pemi Village in Borno State and killed not less than seven people.
“The Pastor who has been in the custody of the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram since December last year was on Wednesday, February 24, reportedly given a one-week ultimatum for their demands to be met by government or Pastor Yakuru will be killed.
“Although we are not aware of the demand, our appeal is to the President, the military and the Borno State government to ensure that Pastor Yakuru is not murdered like the district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) and CAN Chairman of Michika Local Government in Adamawa State, Rev Lawan Andimi.
“The leadership of CAN believes that the freedom of Pastor Yakuru is a litmus test for the new Service Chiefs and the whole world is watching whether they will live up to the expectations or not.
“If the then American President, Donald Trump could put his acts together from far away from America and ordered his military to rescue one kidnapped American in Nigeria, then our President has no excuse or whatsoever not to act decisively and rescue Pastor Yakuru.
“Why should the government leave the citizens of this country at the mercy of insurgents, bandits and kidnappers? What then is the essence of having a government in place?
“The most recent case of kidnapping is that of about three hundred school girls in Kangere, Zamfara State. This serial incident of the mass abduction of our school children and citizens is shocking beyond words and must be stopped by this government immediately.
“The ease with which the bandits and insurgents are carrying out their nefarious activities is totally embarrassing and a cause for concern.
“When will this government give the citizens of this country cause to breathe a sigh of relief with the assurance that their lives and property are safe and secured?
Mr President, where shall we go from here? Have the criminals taken over where there is a legitimate government?
“Though we are praying earnestly and continuously, we know faith without hard work from the side of the government in vain. While we are aware that you may be doing your best, your best is not the best yet going by the current negative outcomes.
“The bitter truth is that no place is presently safe in this country. From all indications, it is high time the government declared a state of emergency in the security sector of the country.”
Ayokunle also advised that all public secondary schools – boarding or otherwise – in the Northern part of the country should be closed until the security situation improves.
“The Police should be directed to recruit more personnel with a view to assigning effective and well-armed standby force to every secondary school in the North and other parts of the country.
“We also call for adequate funding, training, equipping and morale-boosting of our security forces in order to enhance their performances nationwide.
“It seems the banditry is more dangerous than COVID-19. While individuals can protect themselves from the pandemic, the same cannot be said of the security challenges.
“Let the government stop every frivolous spending and focus more on ending the menace of insecurity challenges. May God intervenes for us in this nation where human efforts have failed in Jesus’ name,” he prayed.