The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in Kaduna State, Rev Joseph Hayab has said that within the past four years, terrorists locally dubbed as bandits have killed 23 pastors and shut down over 200 churches across Kaduna State alone.
Speaking in Kaduna on Tuesday during a meeting with the Commissioner of Police, Musa Garba, and pastors from different church denominations from the 23 Local Government Areas, LGAs, of the state, Hayab explained that the church had gone through difficult times due to the activities of criminal elements in the state, Vanguard reports.
“A pastor who was kidnapped on 8th August, 2023, told the CAN leadership that there are over 215 Christians abducted by the bandits in Birnin Gwari forest. They are still there and the pastor told us that the bandits asked him to lead prayers for the 215 Christians while he was in their den.
“We are calling on the CP to look into this issue among many others holistically to build the confidence of the people once again,” he said.
Former Secretary General of the Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, worldwide, Rev. Dr. Yunusa Nmadu and other pastors who spoke at the meeting, urged the Commissioner to also consider bringing to book Pastors and Imams who engaged in hate sermons and speeches.
They called on the CP to look into cases of those selling hard drugs, saying most of the criminal acts were committed under the influence of hard drugs.
In his remarks, the CP told the pastors that criminality had no religion and whoever engaged in any act of criminality should be addressed as a criminal without profiling him or her as a Christian, Muslim or by their tribes or ethnicity.
According to him, “Security is the responsibility of all and not only that of the government. While the government takes the lead in the protection of lives and property, individuals are also expected to play their parts particularly in the area of providing information.
“The meeting was basically to strengthen relationship between the police and religious leaders and listen to their challenges and together foster possible solutions. The police force under my leadership in the state will do its very best in the discharge of our duties, We should all be our brothers’ keeper.
“Always reach out to security personnel around your communities with prompt information once you identify suspicious persons.”