From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) has noted with great concern the socio-economic hardship ravaging millions of Nigerians, urging the federal and state governments to take urgent steps to address the challenges of hunger, mass poverty, unemployment and high cost of foods.
In a communique issued after a meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) of CAN in Kaduna, the Christian body said life was becoming a living hell in the country.
The communique was jointly signed by the Chairman, Yakubu Pam, and Secretary General, Sunday Oibe.
It said the meeting deliberated on a wide range of issues affecting Christians in the North and the state of the nation, among them, the 2023 general election, insecurity, and prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
“Our weak economy has thrown millions of Nigerians into abject poverty and hunger. Life is becoming a living hell as people struggle to make ends meet. Almost on a daily basis, prices of food and essential items are on the increase. Many families can barely get one square meal in a day. There is no denying the fact that there is poverty and hunger in the land.
“The reality on the ground is evident for all to see. Poverty and hunger affects all spheres of life, it fuels criminality and crime, it affects education, it affects quality healthcare. Hunger affects citizens political choices. Already, those who mismanaged the economy are using hunger as a weapon as the 2023 general election approaches. We call on governments, at all levels, to address the problem of poverty and hunger in Nigeria,” CAN said in the communique.
The group called on Nigerians to ensure the 2023 elections are conducted under peaceful atmosphere without rancour.
“Election is not war, no politician is worth dying. No one should take the laws into his or her hands. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should ensure the elections are free, fair and credible. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure peaceful transition at the end of his tenure in 2023. That is the enduring legacy he will leave behind.
“Northern CAN is deeply concerned about the prolonged strike by ASUU. We called on the university teachers and the Federal Government to resolve their differences in the best interest of the nation and the future of our children. Northern CAN commends our gallant military and other security agencies for the ongoing efforts to crush bandits, terrorists and other criminal elements unleashing mayhem on Nigerians, especially in the North. We are happy with the release of the remaining 23 abducted victims of the March 28 attack on the Abuja-Kaduna passenger train.
“We wish to appeal to the security agencies to take urgent steps to free many people who are still being held captive by terrorists. In some communities, bandits demand millions of naira from the villagers before they are allowed to access their farms. We called on the Federal Government to take more drastic action against the criminals.”