The Christian Association of Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the safe return of the 140 students abducted from Bethel Baptist College, Kaduna by bandits.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by the Association's President, Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, the body condemned the abduction of the students, warning that the incident of the Chibok girls must not be replayed in the abduction of the Baptist College students.
CAN also observed that Nigeria's leaders have become overwhelmed as the country has become a den of kidnappers and other criminals who are operating almost unchecked
It, therefore, called on the international community to intervene in the affairs of the country.
The statement read, “As it is gradually becoming a norm in Nigeria, Nigerians were yet again taken by surprise to read about the news of the 180 innocent pupils of Bethel Baptist College, Kaduna who were kidnapped by the notorious Boko Haram Terrorists or bandits on Monday 5th July 2021. These are children of innocent Nigerians who left the confines of their parents in pursuit of education and a better tomorrow.
“According to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the welfare and the security of all Nigerian citizens is the primary responsibility of Government. A Government has no business shaking hands, attending international fora, sending emissaries to other countries and commissioning projects when the lives of an average citizen of its own country is greatly at stake. It is a sin and a crime against humanity to have zero regard for the lives of others or be unable to provide security for citizens.
“Kidnapping and abduction are now a thriving business in Nigeria and it is almost becoming synonymous with the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. It is very evident by each passing hour that this present administration is just paying lip service to the issues of security.
“Whereas, provision of adequate security for all Nigerian citizens was one of the campaign promises of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, in the 2015/2019 general elections and the major reason people voted for him was being an ex-military man, the administration has failed woefully to keep a campaign promise.
“The former administration of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was severely criticised by our present leaders for inability to curb the activities of Boko Haram, but today we are not only being harassed by Boko Haram and Islamic State of West African Province (who recently appointed their own governor for Borno State), we are terribly traumatised by bandits, kidnappers and other criminals.
“Nigeria is no longer a safe haven. It has gradually become a den of kidnappers and other criminals who are operating almost unchecked. It is obvious that the security operatives are overwhelmed.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) hereby condemns the abduction of these school children and other abductions in its entirety. We hereby call on international communities to come to the aid of Nigeria as they did in Syria because it appears that our leaders are incapacitated and are not humble enough to admit failure. They are unwilling to seek help.
“Furthermore, the situation in Kaduna has become quite terrible because of the uncouth, unbridled and acidic statements credited to the state Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai who appears to be talking too much than acting! Nigeria, a land once flowing with milk and honey has become a wasteland and a land that is devouring its inhabitants in the hands of this present leadership.
“On the other hand, it is quite appalling that while some people are working hard to climb the ladder of success and greatness through hard work, some crazy criminals make up their minds to be making a living from kidnapping and murder of their fellow human beings.
“These have turned themselves to beasts amidst us, thus causing pains and sending many to early graves. We plead with them to repent of this evil because they will never escape the judgement of God and that, very soon. For God’s sake, what evil did these students they kidnapped do against them?
“Once again, we appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari and all newly appointed service chiefs to, as a matter of priority, rise up to the situation as nobody is to take responsibility in the first instance than them. Improve on intelligence gathering as a matter of priority and provide employment to make recruitment of young Nigerians into criminality unpopular any longer.
“The story of these 140 innocent pupils of Bethel Baptist College, Kaduna must not be like the story of Chibok Girls who are still missing till date despite plummeted boast and blank promises by the present administration in 2015 to recover them if they win the election.
“Conclusively, we again summarise our prayers as follow: That President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR must ensure a safe return and reunion of all the 140 innocent pupils of Bethel Baptist College, Kaduna to their families and others in captivity.
“That President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR should summon all the security chiefs and cause them to explain why the criminals are operating with ease in Nigeria without being brought to book.
“That President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR should caution His Excellency, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai from talking more than acting.
“That President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR has indeed lost grip on the leadership of this nation, especially his inability to provide security for citizens of this nation. He should therefore seek foreign assistance before it is too late.
“We enjoin all Christians nationwide to lift up their voices to God to get the students of Bethel Baptist College and all those in captivity released as soon as possible.”