The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on the Nigerian government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to issue directives to the police to arraign the bandits and terrorists in their custody.
The nation’s Christian body said this would serve as a deterrent to ravaging Boko Haram insurgents and others assailants in the North.
CAN said failure of the government to do this would make its members resort to self-defence against the marauding criminals spreading their tentacles in northern Nigeria.
All these were contained in a statement by signed its General Secretary, Joseph Daramola.
The statement has alleged that terrorists perpetrating violence in the North-West were either from the North-East or those who were released under the purported rehabilitation programme of Buhari’s government.
CAN said the state police command reportedly confirmed that a threat letter was sent to the Christians in the state asking them to stop worship and to close down churches or risk their violent attacks.
“We also learnt that it was the police that even informed the state chapter of the Association about the threat,” CAN said in a statement.
The statement said, “We know that all kidnappings and other criminalities being perpetrated in the Northwestern part of the country 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 a Federal High Court has labelled those criminals 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.
“The way and manners by which our security agencies have been handling those criminals are totally unacceptable, reprehensible and unprecedented.
“Criminals are criminals irrespective of their religious, political and ethnic affiliations and they should be treated as just. We also called on the Department of State Security and the Inspector General of Police to Investigate those who are speaking for the terrorists with a view to unmasking their sponsors and beneficiaries of their criminalities.”
CAN said in its recent visit to Sokoto and Kebbi states, and it was alarmed, surprised and shocked by the record that the criminals were killing and kidnapping with impunity in the area as if there was a pact between them and the security agencies.
“Now that both the leaderships of Christianity and Islam in the country are working together on how to stop their criminalities in the Northwest, they are now trying to introduce divisive ways by declaring war against Christians and churches in the zone especially in Zamfara State where they were gradually turning into their strongholds”, CAN said.
The Christian apex body said it has no problem with Islam or with Muslim brothers and sisters but with the handful of fanatics and their financiers who have declared war against Christianity.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sanction any Commissioner of Police or Zonal Police Commanders and the Director of State Security Services wherever kidnappers operate in the country henceforth.
“This will go a long way in reducing the menace as we are approaching the Yuletide season. 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.
“We reiterate our quest for the State Police in order to reduce the security burden on the Federal government-controlled Police. The Police has been overwhelmed with the menace of insecurity in the country.
“President Buhari should also 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 the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to ask our members to embrace the principle of self-defence wherever the security agencies appeared compromised,” the statement added.