By John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 Northern States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has described statements by the Muslim Rights Concerned (MURIC) on the alleged abduction of nine children in Kano as “reckless, irresponsible and provocative”.
In a statement, CAN warned the Islamic group against associating criminality with Christ.
MURIC Director, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, while condemning the abduction of the children in a statement on Monday, was qouted as saying that kidnapping was done for Christ.
“Kidnappers have taken over the house of God. The phenomenon of kidnapping for Christ has now rented the air. We are shocked to our marrows.
“It is the height of acrobatic religiousity, gymnastic spirituality and paradoxical criminality. It is such a big shame that some Christian fanatics will live among us only for the purpose of abducting our children, converting them to Christianity and selling them into slavery. Kidnapping for Christ is disgusting, nauseating, wicked and reprehensible.
“We see it as an extension of the ‘Nigeria for Christ’ slogan. Christian evangelists are no longer satisfied with their illegal taking over of commercial vehicles where they scream over the heads of peaceful and law-abiding Nigerians going or coming from work…” the MURIC Director was qouted.
However, reacting in a statement on Friday in Kaduna, Vice Chairman of Northern CAN, Rev. Joseph Hayab, said there was nothing like kidnapping for Christ.
“While we condemned the abduction of the children in very strong terms, we wish to state that, we take very strong exception to MURIC’s reckless, irresponsible, derogatory and provocative utterances” Hayab said.
He said: “Criminals abound in everywhere and in every religion, for MURIC to say a crime was perpetrated for Christ, is sheer mischief aimed at provoking Christians.
“How could rational, sane and educated person, associate the action of criminals to a religion?
“There are many instances where Christian girls were abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and married off by criminals in Northern Nigeria. In some of these cases, the police either refused to act, or turned blind eyes.
“Will it be right to accused all Muslims for the action of such criminals? The answer is no.
“A particular group which belongs to a particular religious group has always been alleged to be responsible for the rampant kidnappings and banditry across the country, especially in the north, will it be right to say that they are committing the crime to promote their tribe or religion?
“We also have the case of Leah Sharibu who is still being held by Boko Haram insurgents for refusing to denounce her Christian faith and convert to Islam. No Christian has associated Muslims with such criminal acts.”
The statement called on the authorities to investigate and prosecute the culprits involved in the abduction of the children.
“If we have any witness against the culprits behind the abduction, we will join hands with the people of Kano to testify against him or them in court.
“There is nothing like kidnapping for Christ. This evil kidnapper or child trafficker, knowing that he did not carry away the children for religion gave them new tribal names”, MURIC should note.
“CAN northern states, therefore, condemn anybody carrying peoples children away and supports security agencies to investigate the matter and prosecute the culprits.
“Abduction of children is a criminal offence. MURIC can call whoever is found doing that whatever name they like, but don’t associate criminality with Christ” Hayab said.