The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the killing of Christians in southern Kaduna State, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari, by remaining silent on the matter, is effectively endorsing the perpetrators.
CAN General Secretary Musa Asake said Mr. Buhari's failure to speak out against the killings "speaks volume over perceived official endorsement of the dastardly and ungodly acts," according to Punch Newspaper. Mr. Asake referred to the killings as "ongoing genocide," saying that the killers are "Islamic fundamentalists disguising as Fulani herdsmen" seeking to cleanse southern Kaduna State of Christians.
Punch Newspaper further reported that Mr. Asake called for January 8, 2017 to be a day of national mourning by Christians in Nigeria and the diaspora.
"We are to pray fervently for our Southern Kaduna brothers and sisters who are victims of these wanton killings, and also for the peace of our country, Nigeria," Mr. Asake said. "Therefore, all Christians are to dress in mourning attire of black dresses in all our church services on January 8, 2017."
The CAN General Secretary explained that Christians in Nigeria have been subjected to "systematic genocide" since 2009, when the Boko Haram terrorist organization began its deadly campaign in northern Nigeria, adding that "the current unprecedented onslaught against Christians in Southern Kaduna by the Islamic fundamentalists disguising as Fulani herdsmen under the watch of Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai and President Muhammadu Buhari has reached an alarming stage."
Meanwhile, Mr. Buhari has assured Nigerians that he is not ignoring the issue, saying that he has been briefed by Mr. El-Rufai over the killings. But according to the CAN, simply meeting with the Kaduna State governor is not enough to stop the violence.
"The recent defense of the President's silence that he (the President) received briefing from the governor of Kaduna State over the matter is unacceptable, because the Presidency knows that the people of the affected areas had already protested against the governor's unacceptable and biased handling of the continuous killings," Mr. Asake said.
"Common sense tells anyone that at that instance, the President has to be more direct in wading in because lives are involved. The killings have shown that the governor of Kaduna State lacks the will to arrest the situation and bring it under effective control."
To bring peace to southern Kaduna State, and Nigeria in general, Mr. Asake suggested that a more even balance of both Christians and Muslims are represented in security agencies. "Such balance," Mr. Asake said, "will build trust and confidence among all citizens of Nigeria in the security empowered to protect our nation."
"We implore the state and federal governments to increase their efforts in putting an end to these killings and as well ensure that those behind the killings are brought to book under the laws of our land and those affected are compensated," Mr. Asake concluded.