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Southern Kaduna Killings Now Highly Suspicious, Alarming, CAN Alerts

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday, described as ‘highly suspicious and alarming’ the wanton attacks on Southern Kaduna people.
The CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, in a statement, said the ongoing crisis in Southern Kaduna shows Nigeria at war with internal enemies of the state.
He said despite assurances from both the federal and Kaduna State governments to nip the crisis in the bud, the spiralling of the attacks indicate that the perpetrators are yet to sheathe their swords against communities in Southern Kaduna.
Ayokunle said, “There is no doubt that the victims of these incessant assaults are indigenes of Kaduna State who are mostly Christians.
“Why is it the predominantly Christian Southern Kaduna all the time? Don’t we have Northern Kaduna?
“While the senseless murder is not desirable in any part of the state or Nigeria, the continuous assault of the Southern Kaduna people has become highly suspicious and alarming. Only a fool or somebody who is a party to this evil would not know that there is something fishing.
“The leadership of CAN expressed shock when the presidency described the current bloodshed in Southern Kaduna as politically motivated coupled with banditry deployed along ethnic and religious lines.
“Where is the statistical evidence for that? Who are politicians sponsoring this inhuman and callous act? Why have the Federal authorities failed to apprehend or name them? Do they have the right to be doing this scot-free if it is true?”
The CAN President, therefore, described the bloodbaths in southern Kaduna as acts of criminality that should attract severe sanctions.
He said, moreover, the lacklustre disposition of the government in stopping further massacre of Christians and decimation of their communities by terrorist herdsmen speaks volumes on how it values human lives.
“Should the gunmen and terrorists be more powerful than a legitimate government? Why couldn’t the Kaduna State Government with Federal authorities go into the bush where these herdsmen are and apprehend them? Why couldn’t they mop up the ammunition with which they are doing havoc?
“We have discovered that whenever security personnel get deployed to a place, the herdsmen go to other villages to attack and kill people in their sleep or when they are about to sleep or when they are waking up. Should the criminals be more professional in tactics than the government trained security personnel?
“It is regrettable that despite assurances from Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai to bring perpetrators of the Southern Kaduna crimes to justice, the state and security agencies involved in the maintenance of law and order are yet to fulfil their pledge.
“If our leaders are not able to nip evil in the board, then, why are they there? Should they be there for jamboree? Why do we call them ‘His Excellency’ when they cannot guarantee our security?”
Ayokunle, equally, urged the federal government to address the constant murders and ethnic war going on in Taraba State. And, the constant herdsmen’s attack on people of Benue State and the banditry in the entire Northwest.
“If the size of our security agents is too small to effectively secure the lives of the citizens of this country, why can’t the Federal Government engage more people? We have millions of young people who are jobless and are ready to defend their nation against internal and external aggression.
“The time is now for those God has committed leadership to their hands to show pragmatism and commitment.
“We have no other people to look up to for security than those of you in government. That was one of the reasons we put you there for all of us.”
Ayokunle warned that Nigerians should not be allowed to resort to self-help.
However, he stressed that if the situation is not addressed, self-help might be the alternative.
“As umbrella body for Christians in Nigeria, we share in the pains of victims of terror, particularly, those terrorized in Southern Kaduna and other communities.
“There is the urgent need by government and the security forces to walk their talk. They should combat the raging insecurity squarely across Kaduna state and other parts of the country.
“The government should not think that we are not appreciative of their efforts. However, we say without mincing words that your present best is unacceptable. It is not the best Nigerians expect. How can we see and read about mass burials and be happy when we are not fighting a civil war? We deserve peace in Nigeria.”
He said CAN will keep praying for government to find courage to tackle the insecurity giving Nigeria negative image abroad.
Meanwhile, the Commander of Operation Safe Haven, Maj-Gen Chukwuemeka Okonkwo has denied the killings in Southern Kaduna as ethnic cleansing.
The killing, he said, were activities of criminal elements on both sides.
On his part, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, said his administration has done everything within its constitutional powers to bring peace in Southern Kaduna and all parts of the state for over five years.
Okonkwo and El-Rufai spoke at a high level security meeting at the Executive Council Chambers of Government House, Kaduna, yesterday.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, Okonkwo said: ‘’What we have were attacks on some communities and reprisal attacks.’’
According to him, both sides of the conflict have been attacking each other but ‘’the reports are not balanced. Perhaps, most of the media houses don’t know, both sides are actually involved.
‘’You have Kataf youths, Fulani militias and the criminal elements of both sides.
“Some people are also leveraging on the security situation to perpetuate their criminal activities, aside communities involved in the crisis,’’ Okonkwo added.

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2023: CAN Pushes For Christian President, Self-Defence

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The Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) has said that the next President should be a Christian to ensure balance in leadership.
YOWICAN also said rotation of the office of the President will promote equity, unity and peace.
The youths further protested the activities of bandits and kidnappers, threatening to resort to self-defence if nothing is urgently done by the government.
They warned bandits and kidnappers to desist from perpetrating evil and put a stop to the ongoing kidnappings and killings.
The Christian association also pledged collaboration with Muslims and Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC) towards peace building.
These were contained in a communiqué at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of YOWICAN and read by its National President, Belusochukwu Enwere.
Enwere said, “The next President should come 2023 should be a Christian because the present administration, the president is a Muslim and so the President should rotate amongst the Christians and Muslims so that there will be balance in the leadership of Nigeria.
“We have competent Christian leaders who can represent and manage the affairs of this country. We urge our leaders to fully participate in politics so that we can produce a good president for Nigeria.
“As such the emergence of a Christian and youthful President come 2023 will be a true expression of equity, fairness and justice for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“That YOWICAN shall continue to collaborate and work in concert with brothers from the Muslim faith to pursue the desired peace, unity and progress of the nation; and more particularly under the auspices of the Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC),” the group said.
“YOWICAN decries the increasing rate of insecurity in Nigeria, yet commends the efforts of government and security agencies in combating the nefarious activities of bandits, killer herdsmen, insurgents etc.
“YOWICAN in the performance of Christian tenets and faith believes strongly in peaceful coexistence, but this piety should not be construed as cowardice, therefore kidnappers, bandits, killer herdsmen, terrorists and unknown gun men should not push Christian youths to the extreme, such as to make them consider deploying self defence strategies as the last option,” Enwere said.
According to him, despite the efforts so far made in combating crime, YOWICAN observes the urgent need to curb the rising wave of attacks, killings, destruction of lives, properties, farmlands and livelihood of innocent citizens within the Northern states, and specifically within Christian communities in Southern Kaduna.
The CAN youths demanded the immediate release of all abductees and particularly the students of the Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna State, who have been in captivity.
The NEC meeting held at the National Christian Centre on Saturday was attended by National Executive Members, Zonal Leaders, State Leaders (drawn from the 36 States of the Federation plus the FCT) and representatives from the Blocs/denominations under CAN.

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Clamping Down On Agitators Can Fuel National Crisis -OPC

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The Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) has advised the Federal Government against clamping down on agitators for self-determination, warning that such could lead to a national crisis.
OPC said this in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Barrister Yinka Oguntimehin, weeks after the raid on the residence of Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), during which two persons were killed.
The statement also followed Igboho’s arrest in the Republic of Benin after he was declared wanted by the DSS.
In the statement, the group “flayed Federal Government’s approach in Igboho’s ordeals, maintaining that the use and application of force on self-determination agitators has only justified Federal Government’s lack of respect for human rights and intolerance to the views of others.”
The group described the “treatment meted out to Igboho in Nigeria and also in Cotonou as very unpleasant, insisting that Federal Government ought to know that the citizens have rights and that such rights must be protected under the law.”
Oguntimehin said, “Unfolding events have shown that there are lapses in the way the Federal Government handles cases of self-determination agitators like Sunday Igboho, and I will like to state it clearly that the Federal Government must desist from clamping down on self-determination agitators because such move can only fuel national crisis.”
The publicity secretary urged the Republic of Benin to be fair with Igboho as he revealed that the rights activist will be facing immigration-related offences in the country, adding that he can also seek asylum to ensure his safety.
He warned against having Igboho brought back to Nigeria the way the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, was brought back from Kenya.
He said, “The Federal Government has been silent on the extradition order because it might trigger more crisis. You cannot treat Igboho the Nnamdi Kanu way, it would not work, so I am appealing to the Federal Government to learn from history and ensure that the fundamental human rights of the citizens are protected in such a way that we can begin to appreciate the fact that we truly follow the tenets of democracy.”
The statement said Nigeria and the Republic of Benin have no extradition agreement, adding that Nigeria has not been able to come up with charges that could lead the court to order Igboho’s extradition to Nigeria.
Oguntimehin said, “What Federal Government came up with were mere allegations against Ighoho such as trafficking in arms and inciting violence that could result in the social disturbance without evidence and the Government of Benin Republic had considered all that to be untenable and insufficient to warrant extradition.
“The case has been adjourned till Monday, July 26 to allow the Federal Government bring up whatever evidence they may have, and Mr. lgboho has been taken back to the police custody.”
He pointed out that the rights activist had been peaceful with his agitation, as he urged traditional leaders not to ignore him at his trying time.

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Nasarawa Monarchs Console Odili Over Brother’s Death

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The Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers has commiserated with former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili over the death of his elder brother, Chief Fidelis Obi Odili.
The Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers and Emir of Lafia, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad 1 (rtd), said monarchs and people of his state were saddened by the bereavement of the Odili family.
The Emir, who was accompanied by the Andoma of Domia, Alhaji Ahmaou Aliyu; and the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Rivers State, Engineer Emeka Woke, stated this during a condolence visit to Odili in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
He described Odili as a very generous, hospitable personality and one of the best leaders that Nigeria has produced.
To this end, he declared that whatever affects him (Odili), affects people all over the country.
“We have come here to commiserate with you, to pass our condolences to you on behalf of all of our people, the people of Nasarawa State and our respective kingdoms.
“As one of the elders of this nation, very respectful elder of this nation, anything that affects you, will touch us, will affect us. We ask you to take heart.”
He further added, “You’re one of the best we have in this country. You’re very generous, hospitable. Your Excellency, not because you’re here, this is a statement of fact. You’re one of the best that this country has produced.”
The Emir of Lafia, prayed God to grant the Odili’s family the fortitude to bear the loss of their beloved one.
He also urged God to continue to keep Odili in good health so that he’ll continue all the good works that he has been doing and will continue to do for the nation.
“On behalf of all the chiefs that are not here, we commiserate with you”, he said.
Responding, the former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, said he felt honoured by the condolence visit and words of encouragement by the Emir of Lafia.
“I can’t find words appropriate to thank you for this consoling honour.”
Odili said he felt elated by the kind gesture of the Emir of Lafia.
According to him, the visit has further demonstrated the importance the Emir attaches to his relationship with the people of Rivers State.
“You’ve come with your colleague to pay this condolence visit, which was totally unplanned and unscheduled. But, like they say, people make out time for what they consider important.
“We feel honoured by your gesture, and so, we want to thank you and your colleague for this rare honour and for your kind words. Your friendship with our state goes back in history.
“Your new position in Nasarawa State has not altered it, rather it has strengthened it”, Odili added.

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