CAN Embarks on 3-day Fasting, Prayers Over Spate of Killings of Christians

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said on Thursday that it will organise a three-day prayer and fasting to seek God’s intervention for an end to the growing rate of killings across the coun
In a statement by the media assistant to the CAN President, Adebayo Oladeji, the association said it will also embark on a peaceful protest across the country on July 11 to register its dissatisfaction with the spate of killings.
“The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has declared July 9-11, 2018 as national days of prayers and fasting against unwarranted killings in the land and calls on all well-meaning Nigerians, both within and outside the country, to join Christians on 11 July, 2018 for a peaceful protest against the killings.
“CAN’s decision is hinged on wilful and persistent killings of fellow citizens in general and Christians in particular nationwide and mostly in Plateau and Benue where mass burial has become the norm without any positive response from the country’s security agencies.”
The statement also expressed what the association’s disappointment over the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the leadership of Nigeria’s security sector.
“CAN is worried, disturbed and disappointed that despite all the clarion calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to re-organise his security team by replacing all the security chiefs, he has consistently turned a deaf ear to such calls. From all indications, the President seems to be satisfied with their poor performance and the attendant problems that have led to avoidable loss of lives and property.
“We call on all Christians in the country and in the Diaspora to participate in the three-day prayers and fasting programme for God to end all the senseless, unwarranted, and selected killings in the country. If the government has failed us, we are very sure that Our God will never fail.
“All National Executive Committee’s members of CAN, the Church and Denominational leaders have been invited to participate in a peaceful protest march to both the National Assembly and the State House to impress on the government to see the need to effectively stop the unprecedented killings.
“CAN has also directed its leadership at the state and local government levels to organise the same Peaceful Protest March to the Government House and the Local government headquarters respectively on 11 July. We are to tell the government; enough is enough. We appeal to our members to be law-abiding before, during and after the protest.”
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, Thursday, urged Christian leaders in the country to remain united and shame those stoking the fires of ethnic and religious conflicts in the country for their short-term political gains.
Receiving members of the CAN from the 19 Northern states and Abuja led by Yakubu Pam, at the Presidential Villa, the President reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to bring violent conflicts in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, Zamfara and other flash-points to a decisive end.
He urged the Christian community to complement government efforts by working firmly for a united and strong Nigeria.
“Government can achieve lasting peace only with the sincere and active cooperation of communities, religious leaders, youths and other stakeholders.
“These include the media in whose hands lies the power to frame, shape the perspectives and narratives which influence the thinking of millions of people within and outside Nigeria.
“Let us collectively shame those who are stoking the fires of ethnic and religious conflicts for their short-term political gains.
“This country belongs equally to Christians and Muslims and even those who claim ignorance of God,’’ the President told the Christian leaders.
Condemning the recent killings in Benue, Zamfara and lately Plateau, which he described as ‘‘wicked, condemnable and completely unacceptable acts”, the president stressed that Nigerians are religious people and no religion or culture accepts the killing of people for any reason whatsoever.
“This is why we must all rise as one to condemn these vile and wicked acts to ensure that all the culprits are brought to justice
“We owe it to the memory of those who lost their lives in the violence in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, Zamfara and elsewhere since 1999 to bring the conflicts to a decisive end. I assure you that we will do this.
“Let me make it clear that even a single life lost in any part of the country is one too many. I came to office vowing to ensure the protection of lives and property, and I remain committed to this despite the challenges we have experienced,” Buhari said.
He also used the occasion of the visit by CAN Northern leaders to enumerate some steps taken by his administration to check the recurring violence in some parts of the country.
“In recent weeks, we have beefed up Operation Safe Haven in Plateau State, with the deployment of extra Special Forces from the Defence Headquarters.
“Besides, we currently have no fewer than three special military intervention forces in the troubled zones.
“Operation Safe Haven to secure Plateau State, Operation Whirl Stroke 1 (OPWS) to secure Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa and OPWS 2 to secure Zamfara and Kaduna States.
“These forces are supported with investigative and intelligence gathering capabilities from the Nigeria Police Force, Department of State Services and other agencies,” he said.
Acknowledging that it is the full responsibility of government to deploy law enforcement agencies in troubled spots, the president noted that creating the platform and mechanisms for dialogue remained a collective effort for all citizens.
He told the Christian leaders that the military and police have arrested hundreds of suspects across the various flash-points in the region and several prosecutions are going on, noting that there have been a number of convictions.
“Nigerians are right when they say they want to see more convictions and I would like to appeal to the judiciary to help us fast track these cases,’’ he said.
President Buhari also condemned insinuations that his government has done nothing about the recent killings.
“When some, for clearly political purposes, attempt to suggest that this government is doing nothing about the killings and that I, being Fulani, must be encouraging these satanic acts, it seems to me that there is no limit to the evil in the minds of men.
“Otherwise, how can anyone in their right minds suggest that I, as an elected president even with substantial votes in the affected areas, will for any reason do harm by an act of omission to those same people?
“Secondly, the problems in all these areas, as you all know, are historical. There is no administration that has not had to contend with killings in these same areas over the years.
“Indeed, in 2001, you may recall that after thousands were killed in Plateau State, a State of Emergency was declared and a governor was replaced by an administrator,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the delegation, Mr Pam had enumerated some demands from the Christian community in Northern Nigeria, including an urgent review of the nation’s security architecture; rebuilding of communities ravaged by the attacks and provision of adequate security for farmers in the region.
The cleric, among others, also challenged the Federal government to encourage herders to acquire land for ranching across the country as a means of private business investment.

Author: News Editor

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