The Christian Association of Nigeria has urged the police to provide adequate security for Christians in Zamfara State following a threat by some terrorist groups to kill Christians who dare gather to worship in the state.
The State Police Command reportedly confirmed that a threat letter was sent to the Christians in the state asking them to stop worship and to close down churches or risk being attacked.
CAN’s General Secretary. Barr Joseph Bade Daramola in a statement said the police were said to have conveyed the threat to the Zamfara state chapter of CAN.
CAN’s statement further reads, “a Federal High Court has labelled those criminals as terrorists, we call on the Police, the military authorities and other security agencies to rise up to the challenge of the terrorists who have turned kidnappings into the biggest business venture in the geopolitical zone.”
Security agencies not doing enough
The Christian body expressed displeasure at the way security agencies have been handling those criminals.
The body states, “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.”
CAN said in the statement that a recent visit to Sokoto and Kebbi states was shocking, “We were 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 Christians and Muslims 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.”
Muslims should speak up
While stating that CAN has no problem with Islam or Muslims, CAN appealed to all peace-loving Muslims to speak against those who are painting Islam what it is not.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sanction any Commissioner of Police or Zonal Police Commanders and the Director of State Security Services wherever kidnappers operate in the country henceforth. This will go a long way in reducing the menace as we are approaching the Yuletide season.
“We have never had it this bad. We also called on the Federal government to refund all the ransom paid for the release of those who were abducted in the last five years. We reiterate our quest for the State Police in order to reduce the security burden on the Federal government-controlled Police. The Police has been overwhelmed with the menace of insecurity in the country.”
The Christan association urged Buhari to 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.
The statement warns, “Failure to do this will force the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to ask our members to embrace the principle of self-defence wherever the security agencies appeared compromised.”
The body expressed concern that the perpetrators of the genocide in the Southern Kaduna are still walking freely despite killing many Christians. “We cannot be reduced to refugees in the country that belongs to us again” CAN stated.