The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the killing of about 22 people of the Plateau State and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to stop paying lips service to the unending killings in the country.
CAN said, “stopping the killing of the innocents by the criminals cannot be done by mere issuing press statements and holding periodical meetings with the security chiefs by the president.
CAN in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Barrister Joseph Daramola, said until the government shows the political will by arresting and bringing culprits to book, the shedding of innocent blood will not cease.
“While we commiserate with the bereaved of the dastardly attack on those travellers, we were 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,” the statement said.
CAN said, the reaction of the president is, to say the least, provocative, unacceptable and unjustifiable.
The statement 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,” CAN noted.
“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 the 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 is divisive, religion-wise,” the statement asserted.
The statement further stated that it is shocking and disappointing to hear that the police have deployed a ‘surveillance helicopter’ to apprehend criminals.
CAN wondered why the same Police did not take the same measure to apprehend the 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.
“We also call on the federal government to stop recycling the terrorists through the so-called deradicalisation and rehabilitation of criminals. In civilised nations, criminals who surrendered or were 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.
“We charge the federal government to fix the security challenges or throw in the towel,” CAN said.
CAN said the Police and the military should be tasked to wake up to their responsibilities before criminals turn the country into another Afghanistan.
“Let there be State Police now after all 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 called 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,” the statement added.