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CAN Warns Against Killing of Convicted Christians

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CAN President Oyekunle
National President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. Samson Oyekunle
CAN Warns Against Killing of Convicted Christians

The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has warned against the killing of five men convicted of culpable homicide by a high court in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

Reports say the convicted men namely; Alex Amos, Alheri Phanuel, Holy Boniface, Jerry Gideon and Jari Sabagi who are all Christians, were charged to court for killing a Fulani herdsmen, Adamu Buba, in a reprisal attack.

CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, noted that while the umbrella Christian body does not support jungle justice or criminality, it regrets how hundreds of its members in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Enugu States and others have been killed and are still being killed daily by yet-to-be apprehended criminals parading as Fulani herdsmen.

Citing the case of a Christian preacher, Eunice Elisha, who was killed two years ago in Kubwa, a suburb of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, the statement condemned the failure of security forces to apprehend the killers of Mrs Elisha.

The statement further noted the decision of the Kano State authorities to release the killers of another woman, Bridget Agbahime, in Kano state, describing the situation as regretful.

“The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on the Federal Government to caution the Adamawa State Government against hasty implementation of the death sentence passed on five Christian youths alleged to have killed a Fulani herdsman.

“While CAN is not supporting jungle justice or any criminality, but we note with regret how hundreds of our members in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Taraba, Plateau states in the North-central geo-political zones, and a state like Enugu in the South, have been killed and are still being killed on a daily basis by some criminals parading themselves as Fulani herdsmen, but are yet to be apprehended.

“Despite the outrage that has trailed the killings of Christians in Nigeria, it is disheartening that none of the killers has been brought to justice. We are shocked at the speed of light deployed by security and judicial officers in sentencing the alleged killers of the herdsman in Adamawa state.

“Why did the court discharge the alleged killers of Madam Bridget Agbahime on the orders of the Kano State Government? Why have security officials not arrested those behind the killings of Christians in Southern Kaduna, while those arrested for the murder of Mrs. Eunice Elisha Olawale in Kubwa, Abuja, have been set free by the Nigeria Police?

“In view of the above, we are asking President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the death sentence passed on these Christian youths in Adamawa. We have called on our legal team to secure and study the text of the judgment with a view to preventing a miscarriage of justice and a future re-occurrence,” the statement said.

CAN also reacted, in its statement, to what it described as information suggesting that government planned to recruit rehabilitated terrorists into the security agencies.

The association called on government to clarify the rumours and desist from recruiting former terrorists into security agencies.

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) also urged government to tread cautiously on the matter.

Its National Publicity Secretary, Bishop Emmah Isong, said, “It sounds ridiculous that even when no herdsman has been arrested, prosecuted and condemned to death by any court in Nigeria for killing thousands of Christians in Benue, Taraba, Nassarawa and Kogi States, in Yola, Christians are being sentenced to death.”

Stressing PFN is not in support of illegality, Isong, noted, “It looks as if it is vengeance for a Yola court to condemn five Christians to death for allegedly killing a herdsman when herdsmen are rampaging everywhere, killing and maiming innocent Christians and going free. It is high time the Federal Government intervened and ensured those Christians are not killed, to forestall further religious conflict within that axis.”

Caritas Nigeria, an advocacy arm of the Roman Catholic Church, also warned politicians to be “conscious of their utterances and actions, as wrong choices could escalate violence, which could plunge the West and Central African sub-regions into refugee theatres, as any major conflict in Nigeria has the potential to destabilise the entire continent. Dealing with the humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram and the ongoing crisis in the Middle Belt is bad enough,” it said in a statement in Calabar, signed by its National Director and Chief Executive Officer, Fr. Evaristus Bassey, yesterday, ahead World Refugee Day.

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