Following the release of a video showing one of its Local Government Area Chairmen in captivity and pleading for concerted efforts to get him freed, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on the Federal Government to deploy every necessary and available resources at its disposal to ensure that all Christians in the captivity of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists are freed.
The umbrella body of ChristIans says the latest attacks are evidence of Christian persecution in Nigeria, in obvious reference to the placement of the country on the United States government watch list of countries where Christians are persecuted.
In a statement by the President of CAN, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, issued by his Special Assistance on Media and Communications, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji in Abuja on Monday, the Christian body stated that, “The Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria in Michika, Adamawa State, Rev Lawan Andimi was abducted by Boko Haram terrorists last week when they invaded the predominant Christian community.
“Although we were told that the troops repelled them but not until they had successfully forced Rev Andimi into their Toyota Hilux and taken him away. The innocent cleric, in a video footage released by his captors, has been making an appeal to the Federal Government, the Adamawa State Governor and the leadership of CAN to come to his aide”, Rev. (Dr) Ayokunle stated.
The CAN President further lamented that, “As if that was not enough, there was a bandit attack on Kasaya village, another Christian community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State Monday about 6:30 am where they abducted 41 people, including a Pastor, Rev Joshua Samaila. Up till now, nobody knows what has become of them.
“On the 27th of November last year, Mr Bitrus Bwala, a principal lecturer at the College of Education Gashua in Yobe State and 10 others, who are all Christians, were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists and Bwala in a short video cried out for help. Up till now, the government has not secured their freedom or said anything about them.
“These are all evidences of the Christian persecutions in the country and when we cried out in support of the position of the US government, they said it is not true. If criminals are invading the Christian communities, killing and abducting unchallenged, what do we call it if it is not persecution? How many terrorists, Fulani herdsmen killers and bandits are in the custody of the security agencies? How many of them have been arraigned in court?
“We once again call on the Federal Government and all the security agencies to expedite action with a view to securing immediate and safe release of all these hostages and to ensure adequate security in all the affected Christian communities that have become the targets of these criminals. We also call on the United Nations, the US, the UK and others (In the) developed world to assist our government in securing our lives before it is too late. They should help our security agencies to live up to the expectations before the situation gets out of hand by stopping these killings and abductions with impunity.
“CAN and all well-meaning Nigerians want to assure all those in captivity and those facing religious persecution under the current dispensation that our prayers are with them and our God who delivered the people of Israel from the Egyptian bondage will surely deliver them. They will not die in captivity in Jesus Name.”