Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Kaduna State, Rev Joseph Hayab has disclosed that in the last four years, local bandits and terrorists have killed 23 church leaders, shut down more than 200 churches, and kidnapped over 210 Christians in Kaduna State.
Speaking when church leaders from different Christian denominations across the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state met with the state’s Commissioner of Police (CP), Musa Garba, in Kaduna, Tuesday, Rev. Hayab lamented that the church has been at the receiving end of atrocities perpetrated criminal elements, including abductions, violent attacks, destruction of property, armed robberies.
“A pastor who was kidnapped on 8th August, 2023, told the CAN leadership that there are over 215 Christians abducted by the bandits in Birnin Gwari forest. They are still there and the pastor told us that the bandits asked him to lead prayers for the 215 Christians while he was in their den.
“We are calling on the CP to look into this issue among many others holistically to build the confidence of the people once again,” he said.
Also, speaking, during the meeting, former Secretary General of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Worldwide, Rev. Dr. Yunusa Nmadu, urged the police commissioner to also consider bringing to book pastors and imams who engaged in hate sermons and speeches.
Other church leaders, who spoke also called on the police commissioner to look into cases of drug trafficking and marketing, as they noted that most of the criminal acts in the state were committed under the influence of hard drugs.
Responding, CP Garba told the clerics that criminality has no religion and whoever engages in any act of criminality should be addressed as a criminal without profiling him or her as a Christian, Muslim or by their tribes or ethnicity.
“Security is the responsibility of all and not only that of the government. While the government takes the lead in the protection of lives and property, individuals are also expected to play their parts particularly in the area of providing information.
“The meeting was basically to strengthen relationship between the police and religious leaders and listen to their challenges and together foster possible solutions. The police force under my leadership in the state will do its very best in the discharge of our duties. We should all be our brothers’ keeper.
“Always reach out to security personnel around your communities with prompt information once you identify suspicious persons.”