By Ralph Madugu
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has tasked security agencies in the country to provide adequate security to all churches in Zamfara State in order to prevent terrorists from carrying out their threats against Christians.
It would be recalled that the Zamfara State Police Command reportedly confirmed that a threat letter was sent to Christians in the state asking them to stop worship and to close down churches or risk violent attacks.
Information gathered indicated that it was the Police that informed the state chapter of the Association about the threat.
CAN, in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Barr. Joseph Bade Daramola, said it is aware that all kidnappings and other criminalities being perpetrated in the North western part of the country were the handiwork of terrorists who either migrated from the Northeast or were released under the purported rehabilitation programme of the Federal Government.
The Association added that now that a Federal High Court had labelled the criminals as terrorists, the Police, the military authorities and other security agencies should rise up to the challenge of the terrorists who had turned kidnapping into the biggest business venture in the geopolitical zone.
The statement read in part “The way and manner by which our security agencies have been handling those criminals is totally unacceptable, reprehensible and unprecedented. Criminals are criminals irrespective of their religious, political and ethnic affiliations and they should be treated as just. We also called on the Department of State Security and the Inspector General of Police to Investigate those who are speaking for the terrorists with a view to unmasking their sponsors and beneficiaries of their criminalities.
“The leadership of the national Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in our recent visit to Sokoto and Kebbi states was alarmed, surprised and shocked by the record of those criminals who are killing and kidnapping with impunity in the area as if there was a pact between them and the security agencies. Now that both the leaderships of Christianity and Islam in the country are working together on how to stop their criminalities in the Northwest, they are now trying to introduce divisive ways by declaring war against Christians and churches in the zone especially in Zamfara State where they are gradually turning into their strongholds.”
CAN maintained that the Christian community had no problem with Islam or Muslims but with the few fanatics and their financiers who had declared war against Christianity.
While appealing to all peace loving Muslims to speak out against those turning Islam into what it is not, the group called on President Buhari to sanction any commissioner of police or zonal police commanders and the Director of State Security Services wherever kidnappers operate in the country as this would go a long way in reducing the menace especially as the Yuletide season approaches.
CAN also called on the Federal Government to refund all ransoms paid for the release of abductees in the last five years and reiterated its call for the establishment of state police in order to reduce the security burden on the Federal government because the existing Police Force had been overwhelmed by the current menace of insecurity in the country.
While calling on President Buhari to also direct the Police to arraign all suspected kidnappers, bandits and terrorists in their custody with a view to stopping those who are perpetrating the atrocities, CAN pointed out that failure to do so would force the Association to ask its members to embrace self-defence wherever the security agencies appeared compromised.
“Up till today, the perpetrators of the genocide in the Southern Kaduna are still walking freely despite the killings of hundreds of our members. We cannot be reduced to refugees in the country that belongs to us again.
“Finally, we call on all Christians and peace loving Muslims to pray against their threats and for our security agencies to be able to stop all criminalities in the country. Enough is enough.”