From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to fortify security around churches and Christian communities in Zamfara state.
This was in response to a recent threat by bandits to unleash terror on churches and Christian communities in the state.
CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, in a statement on Wednesday, made reference to the threat letter that was sent to Christians in the state by bandits, asking them to stop worship and close down churches or risk their violent attacks.
He said the Zamfara State Police Command confirmed that such threat letter was sent to Christians in the State, and had even informed the state chapter of CAN about the threat.
He said: “We know that all kidnappings and other criminalities being perpetrated in the northwest are the handiwork of terrorists who either migrated from the northeast or those who were released under the purported rehabilitation programme of the Federal government.
“Now that Federal High Court has labelled them terrorists, we call on the police, the military authorities and other security agencies to rise up to the challenge of the terrorists who have turned kidnappings into the biggest business venture in the geopolitical zone.”
He said that the way and manner by which security agencies have been handling the criminals was totally unacceptable, reprehensible and unprecedented. “Criminals are criminals irrespective of their religious, political and ethnic affiliations, and they should be treated as such.”
He demanded that the Department of State Security and the Inspector General of Police investigate those who are speaking for the terrorists, with a view to unmasking their sponsors and beneficiaries of their criminalities.
CAN, thus called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sanction any Commissioner of Police or Zonal Police Commanders and the Director of State Security Services wherever kidnappers freely operate in the country henceforth.
This, CAN said, will go a long way in reducing the menace the yuletide season fast approaches. “We have never had it this bad. We also called on the Federal government to refund all the ransom paid for the release of those who were abducted in the last five years.”
CAN reiterated its call for the establishment of a state police force in order to reduce the security burden on the federal government-controlled police, insisting that the police has been overwhelmed with the menace of insecurity in the country.
“President Buhari should direct the Police to arraign all suspected kidnappers, bandits and terrorists in their custody with a view to stopping those who are perpetrating the atrocities.
“Failure to do this will force us to ask our members to embrace the principle of self-defence wherever the security agencies appeared compromised. This is because the perpetrators of the ‘genocide’ in the Southern Kaduna are still walking freely despite the killing of hundreds of our members. We cannot be reduced to refugees in the country that belongs to us again.”
CAN called on all Christians and peace loving Muslims to pray for the security agencies to be able to stop all criminalities in the country.