The Kaduna State Chapter Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Joseph Hayab has lamented the killing of clerics in the state, disclosing that no fewer than 4 pastors have been killed while 18 were kidnapped since banditry began in the state in the last five years.
Hayab spoke at the Peace and Security Summit organised by the ECWA Goodnews Church in Kaduna yesterday.
According to him, in 2019, CAN published records of kidnappings where it recorded a total of over five hundred (500) Christians who had been kidnapped.
He said; ‘On record, CAN had about eighteen (18) pastors kidnapped with four (4) of them killed. Past. Jeremiah Omolara – Living Faith Church, Romi New Extension, Rev. Iliya Anto – Former Vice President of HEKAN Church, Rev. Fr. John Bako Shekwolo – St. Theresa Catholic Church, Ankwa, Kachia Local Government Area and Rev. Hosea Akuchi – Nasara Baptist Church, Guru were killed.’
‘CAN gather these records through a questionnaire developed and shared in one of her meetings with hundreds of Pastors and relations of kidnapped victims in over twenty (20) communities that were sacked from their communities as a result of their abductions.’
‘Data gathered also revealed an approximated amount of money paid as ransom to have people freed within the period, on a survey, to be over three hundred million naira (N 300,000 000) as at 2019.’
‘Today, the amount has risen to over a billion naira with many victims’ dead and even more still in the hands of kidnappers as we speak. When CAN presented the statistics above, CAN was misinterpreted, but a Kaduna state 2020 annual Security report released by government and published by Guardian Newspaper on 10th of March, 2021 vindicated CAN and furthered showed that our record did not capture the colossal damage that the spade of kidnapping has brought to bear on the population.’
‘The government’s report as published stated that 937 people were killed by Bandits and 1972 kidnapped within the period. Another first quarter 2021 security report published by government reported by premium time, on the 30th of April 2021 indicates that 323 people were killed, and 949 people have been kidnapped.’
‘CAN believes that the second-quarter report that we are waiting for from government may have a higher figure than what we already have. Manifestly, the trouble with Nigeria’s security, like most of our challenges in Nigeria, simply lacks a sincere collaborative effort in solving it.”
‘To drive home this message, I will make use of an illustration where a story is told of an engineer in a car manufacturing company who designed a world-class car.”
‘The CEO was impressed with the outcome and praised him a lot. While trying to bring out the car from the manufacturing area to the showroom, they realized that the car was 2 inches taller than the entrance. The engineer felt bad that he did not notice that before creating the car.”
‘The CEO was confused about how to take it outside of the manufacturing area. But the painter said that they can bring out the car and there will be a few scratches on top of the car which could be touched up later on.”
‘The engineer said that they can break the entrance, take the car out and the CEO was not convinced with any ideas and felt like it was a bad idea. However, a watchman who had observed all the drama slowly approached the CEO. He wanted to give an idea if they had no problem listening to him. They wondered what this watchman would tell them that the experts could not give. The watchman said: “The car is only a few inches taller than the entrance. So, simply release the air in the tyre and the height of the car will sink and can be easily taken out.” At this point, everyone clapped for the brilliant idea.”
‘The moral lesson to learn from the above is, we should not always analyse the problems from an expert point of view alone. The issues of life are similar. Let us listen to everyone ready to suggest a way out, not only the ‘professionals.’ Traditional leaders, religious leaders, association leaders and even the common people, youths, women, and children all have a stake in this matter.
‘It is against the above background that the church in Kaduna State thought it wise to bring together pastors and church leaders in this great assembly to jointly deliberate and come out with practicable strategies within Christian teaching and biblical provisions meant to complement the government’s efforts in the great task of handling the challenge of insecurity,’ he said.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK