Secure Release of Christians in Terrorists’ Captivity, CAN Tells FG

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on the federal government to deploy all necessary means to secure the release of Christians in terrorists’ captivity.

It urged the government to deploy every necessary available resource at its disposal to ensure that all Christians in the captivity of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists are freed, adding that the latest attacks are evidences of Christian persecution in Nigeria.

The Chairman of CAN in Michika, Adamawa State, Rev Lawan Andimi, was abducted by Boko Haram terrorists last week when they invaded the predominantly Christian community.

In a statement issued by the President of CAN, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, which was signed by his Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, in Abuja yesterday, the Christian body stated: “Although we were told that the troops repelled them but not until they had successfully forced Rev Andimi into their Toyota Hilux and took him away. The innocent cleric in a video footage released by his captors has been making an appeal to the federal government, the Adamawa State governor and the leadership of CAN to come to his aide.”

The CAN president further lamented that there was a bandit attack on Kasaya village, another Christian community in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, yesterday about 6:30 a.m. where they abducted 41 people, including a Pastor, Rev Joshua Samaila, adding that: “Up till now, nobody knows what has become of them.”

According to him, “On November 27 last year, a principal lecturer at the College of Education Gashua in Yobe State, Mr. Bitrus Bwala, and 10 others, who are all Christians, were abducted by Boko Haram terrorists, and Bwala in a short video cried out for help, and up till now, the government has not secured their freedoms or said anything about them.

“These are all evidences of the Christian persecutions in the country and when we cried out in support of the position of the United States Government, they said it is not true. If criminals are invading the Christian communities, killing and abducting people unchallenged, what do we call it if it is not persecution? How many terrorists, Fulani herdsmen killers and bandits are in the custody of the security agencies? How many of them have been arraigned in court?

“We once again call on the federal government and all the security agencies to expedite actions with a view to securing the immediate and safe release of all these hostages and to ensure adequate security in all the affected Christian communities that have become the targets of these criminals. We also call on the United Nations, the US, the United Kingdom and other developed world to assist our government in securing our lives before it is too late. They should help our security agencies to live up to expectations before the situation gets out of hand by stopping these killings and abductions with impunity.

“CAN and all well-meaning Nigerians want to assure all those in captivity and those facing religious persecution under the current dispensation that our prayers are with them and our God who delivered the people of Israel from the Egyptian bondage will surely deliver them. They will not die in captivity in Jesus Christ name, amen.”