By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, says many of the bandits executing mass abduction of school children in the North were sponsored by Boko Haram whose basic ideology opposed the acquisition of western education.
Vice Chairman of CAN, Northern region, Rev. John Hayab said this during an interview with Vanguard on Thursday.
He said, “The challenge of the mass abduction of school children in the North has multiple faces. We suspect the bandits carrying out these attacks are an extension of Boko Haram. The primary objective of the terrorist group is the disruption of western education in the country. That has been their ideology. These people carry sophisticated weapons and rockets. They are not mere bandits. They are terrorists. Today, many parents in the North are afraid to send their children to school. The attacks on schoolchildren have discouraged many families.”
Hayab, who doubles as the CAN chairman in Kaduna State, said he was also concerned that the bandits were using the future of children in the North to spin huge ransom money from the government.
“Many years ago when these bandits were attacking and kidnapping church leaders for huge ransoms, we cried out, but some politicians in Kaduna called us wailers, and politicised our concerns. Today, our children are abducted and used as human shields whenever these criminals want to make big business with the government.
“Had the government listened to us when we cried out, our children would have been spared the horrors of kidnapping and the disruption of their education,” he said.
The Christian leader also disagreed with the approach of some state governors on the issue of negotiating with bandits for the release of abducted school children.
Hayab said it was wrong to offer bandits money for the release of abducted school children and then make no provision to improve the quality of education and the safety of schools.