‘Christians have become endangered species in Nigeria’ – CAN

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said with the current happenings and the recent killing of the Adamawa State Chapter President of CAN, Christians in Nigeria have become endangered species.

The CAN President, Reverend Dr Samson Ayokunle, said this during a world press conference on the state of the nation, held in Abuja.

He said: “Christians have become endangered species in their own country. Nigeria is under a siege orchestrated by the murderous blood-thirsty and criminally- minded Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani terrorist herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers who are all armed to the teeth, dressed in army uniforms, and gradually overwhelming our security agencies.”

He recalled that before the beheading of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Reverend Lawan Andimi by Boko Haram, a clergyman, Rev Denis Bagauri was also murdered by unknown gunmen in his residence at Mayo Belwa of Adamawa State.

“You are also aware of the beheading of 11 Christians by Islamic State in West Africa on Christmas Day of 2019 in Maiduguri including a bride to be.

“Few days ago, four seminarians of the Good Shepherd Catholic Seminary in Kakau, were kidnapped along Kaduna-Abuja Road and we have not heard anything about them.

“In Kaduna State, the most recent happenings were those of 35 people killed and abduction of 58 persons when bandits raided 10 communities in the Chikun and Birnin Gwari Local Government areas on January 13, 2020,” he added.

Reverend Ayokunle said the perpetrators of these crimes are everywhere operating with impunity and they have been stopping commercial and private vehicles asking them to come down and telling them to say what their religion is.

“Whoever claims to be a Christian is either killed on the spot or abducted and a demand for a ransom issued. Police, Army officers and even judges are not exempted. This is reprehensible, unacceptable and unprecedented since Nigeria came into being.”

“They have been going around invading predominantly Christian villages and towns, killing and maiming our youths and elders, men and women; raping our women and daughters, decapitating children and disembowelling pregnant women, and subjecting people to coldblooded murder,” he said.

The CAN President said it is saddening that whenever the government claims that they had defeated the terrorists, more people would be killed by the terrorists.

“It is reprehensible and saddening that each time the government comes out to claim the defeat of the insurgency, more killings of our people are committed.

“In the light of the current developments and the circumstantial facts surrounding the prevailing upsurge of attacks against the church, it will be difficult for us to believe that the Federal Government under the present administration is not colluding with the insurgents to exterminate Christians in Nigeria, bearing in mind the very questionable leadership of the security sector that has been skewed towards a religion and region,” he added.

He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to overhaul the security council with a view of bringing in new heads of all the security agencies and the para-military which no religion or part of the country will dominate.

In their demands, CAN said, “the Federal Government should either label the Miyetti Allah Fulani Association a terrorist organisation as being regarded in the terror index.

“The Federal Government should order the arrest of the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Groups in who are sponsoring and perpetuating the crime of Nigeria and prosecute them for all the killings in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and Taraba states, among others.

“The Federal Government should publish names of all kingpins of the terrorists who are in detention and those who are being prosecuted.

“The Federal Government should stop releasing the so-called repented terrorists since they are reportedly joining their colleagues in the forest to unleash terror on the land.

“The Federal Government should reverse the recent controversial Police promotion with a view to balancing religious and ethnic divides in the country.

“The Federal Government should stop sending a delegation to all Islamic international organisations and let our Muslim counterparts be doing so as we are doing in all international Christian religious organisations.

“The Federal Government should stop discriminating against our female Youth corps who refuse to wear the NYSC trousers for religious reasons since they allow their Muslim counterparts to wear hijab.

“The victims of the consistent attacks should be assessed and adequately compensated. The victims in various IDPs be provided with adequate security and enough resources for continual survival.

“It is painful and a betrayal to note that the government gives more attention to so-called repentant terrorists than the victims of their evil with the claim that they are being reinstated and rehabilitated, even into the Nigerian Army.  This is a major contradiction.”

The CAN Leadership, however, declared Friday, 31st January to 2nd February 2020 as days for Special Fasting and Prayer for Nigeria in all churches, home and abroad, for the gruesome killing of innocent Nigerians to stop and for our government to develop the capacity to overcome the criminals troubling the nation.

CAN also declared Sunday 2nd February, a Special Prayer Walk by Christians in all the States of the Federation in the form of a procession to be led by States CAN Chairmen in their CAN Secretariats and pastors of churches in all churches in Nigeria.

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