By Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant, (Media &Communication) to the CAN President, His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is disappointed and shocked at the spate of killings that was unleashed on three local government areas of Plateau State by herdsmen.
We noted that the affected communities are yet to come out with the exact figure of the death toll, we are alarmed that no fewer than 86 lives, as confirmed by the police, have been lost, including defenceless women and children.
We are sad that despite assurances and promises by President Muhammadu Buhari that his government is committed to safety of lives and property, these coordinated and premeditated attacks on Plateau towns were not only horrendous but also unprecedented.
CAN is at a loss how scores of people can be killed without any form of resistance by soldiers deployed to contain the security challenge. How could dare devil criminals assault communities without resistance by security agencies to stop these killings. Are these herdsmen in bed with soldiers to unleash mayhem on these peaceful communities?
Of what relevance is the intelligence gathering by the Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies? If communities can be attacked and hundreds slaughtered without security organisations providing rescue efforts, then, it becomes obvious that the Nigeria’s security system has been compromised. From all indications, these attacks on the Plateau clearly show that the Federal Government needs to review its security machinery in a bid to make it effective.
Considering the level of human carnage of these attacks, we once again call on government not to rest on its oars until these criminals are brought to book as promised.
CAN and relations of victims of these attacks need more than assurances and promises of tracking down these criminals by the President. Much as these assurances are needed; they have become irrelevant in the face of incessant attacks that have claimed the lives of thousands of Christians.
Against the backdrop of the wave of attacks on innocent citizens, CAN has come to the conclusion that the Federal Government has been overwhelmed by the current security challenges. We once again call on the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations and the African Union, among others, to assist the Nigerian government to protect us against these criminals.
Meanwhile, following media reports of a secret ongoing recruitment of former members of Boko Haram into some military and paramilitary formations by the Federal Government, CAN is concerned over the security implications of such recruitment that pose security to our nation if the report turns out to be true.
In authenticating the veracity of the report, CAN had called the attention of the Federal Government to the disturbing media report and sought responses from Nigeria Army, Nigeria Police, with other relevant security organisations, to either deny or confirm the report.
Sadly, after two weeks of CAN’s request on relevant security organisations to speak on the matter, we are shocked that silence has been the answer. While we insist that silence, on this matter, can never be golden, we call on the Nigerian Army and other relevant security organisations alleged to have been involved in the recruitment of the former members of the militant Islamic sect to speak out.
While we continue to pray for the peace of our nation, we are, however, constrained to call on the Federal Government to respond to our fears over the alleged recruitment of former members of Boko Haram into the nation’s military and paramilitary formations.
CAN is particularly worried with report that the Federal Government allegedly recruited former members of Boko Haram group into security agencies. If the report is true, we are at a loss on how the former terrorists could be so trusted with the protection of people they once killed with reckless abandon.
Unlike the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua that offered amnesty to former members of Niger Delta militants, none of them was recruited into any of the nation’s security agencies.
While CAN commends the Federal Government in embarking on the de-radicalisation programme for the former Boko Haram fighters, we are quick to advise that they should not be recruited into any of the nation’s military and paramilitary organisations.