By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari and his government to stop paying lip service to the unending killings in the country.
It said the federal government should either “fix the security challenges or throw in the towel.”
A statement issued yesterday by the CAN’s General Secretary, Mr. Joseph Bade Daramola said until the government showed the political will by arresting and bringing culprits to book, the shedding of innocent blood would not cease.
CAN said the police and the military should be tasked to wake up to their responsibilities before the criminals turn the country into another Afghanistan.
It also suggested that the government should make haste to institute state police now, adding that some states like Kano have religious security outfits that are being used to enforce their laws.
“We don’t want to believe the thought of many that it is either the government has sympathy for those criminals or some of its top functionaries have sympathy for the terrorists, bandits and murderous herdsmen.
“The security architecture has collapsed and the evidence is the unending killings, kidnappings and other criminalities and we call on the federal government to wake up to its primary responsibilities.
“We don’t have to remind President Buhari that it is his responsibility to protect lives and property of the people under his watch irrespective of their religious, tribal and political persuasions. This we are yet to see.
“Nigerians are still waiting for the disclosure of those who are financially supporting terrorists as promised by the federal government,” it said.
While condemning the recent killing of about 22 people in Plateau State, CAN said that stopping the killing of the innocent citizens by criminals cannot be done by merely issuing press statements or holding periodical meetings with the security chiefs by the President.
It asked the federal government to stop recycling the terrorists through the so-called deradicalisation and rehabilitation of criminals.
CAN further said it was alarmed by the statement of President Buhari describing the motive behind the criminality as ‘religious persuasion.’
“This is the first time that the federal government will make this type of assertion.
“Whenever CAN cries out against the killings of its members, the government always rises up to condemn us telling us that the terrorists and bandits that are killing are not targeting any religion but innocent people irrespective of their religious affiliations,” CAN noted.
CAN said the reaction of the President was, “to say the least, provocative, unacceptable and unjustifiable.”
It said the government shouldn’t be seen as being on the side of one religion against another. “Criminals are criminals irrespective of their religious affiliations. One minister reportedly said the President lost his appetite as a result of the killing on the Plateau. Such unguarded comments and actions of the government, including the Nigeria Police appear strange since the same people never took convincing steps as this since the time criminals have been attacking predominantly Christian communities in the Middle Belt zone especially in the same Plateau State.
“Once again, we repeat that the government was wrong in tagging the unlawful actions of the criminals as religious. While we are pained in our hearts for the callous killing of the innocent people in the buses, we are not impressed by the government’s comments which are divisive, religion wise. It is shocking and disappointing to hear that the police have deployed a ‘surveillance helicopter’ to apprehend criminals. We wonder why the same police did not take same measure to apprehend those terrorists tagged bandits who are holding many people captive, including several students, in different forests?
“This government is seriously called upon to be alive to its responsibilities. Till date, no one has been held for the killing of hundreds of people in Benue State, Plateau State and Southern Kaduna. This is totally unacceptable, unjustifiable and unbelievable.”
CAN also urged the federal government to stop recycling the terrorists through the so-called deradicalisation and rehabilitation of criminals.
“In civilised nations, criminals who surrendered or arrested are prosecuted and sentenced.
“We commend Senator Ndume who has been in the forefront of this campaign. As far as we are concerned, criminals who are abducting and placing heavy ransom on their victims are not bandits but terrorists and if the government has no sympathy for these criminals, let them stop them.
“Our security agencies have what it takes to stop these terrorists but they are playing ostrich,” it said.