The northern Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria said on Saturday that none of its members was among the eight persons burnt to death over an alleged blasphemy at the Talata Mafara area of Zamfara State.
The Public Relations Officer of the northern CAN, Rev. John Hayab, who spoke with our correspondent in Kaduna on the outcome of its emergency meeting held in Jos, the Plateau State capital, said, “Our people on ground confirmed to us that none of our people was killed. We don’t need to mention those that were killed.”
However, the CAN spokesperson said the association frowned at any killing of any Nigerian under the cover of religion or any other guise in any part of the country.
Hayab, who did not give further details on those killed, said it became necessary that the CAN come out to let the world know the truth and halt the rumour game over the Zamfara killings.
He said, “We met on Friday over the killings going on in northern Nigeria. We clearly understood that those killed in Zamfara State were not Christians. Thus, the erroneous story going on in the social media and many others claiming that those roasted were Christians should be corrected.
“But as an organisation, we frowned at the killing of human beings in whatsoever guise. Human beings are human beings. If they are criminals, there are police. We should report them to the police to arrest them and not burn them in the house. Our concern is that our nation is becoming barbaric.”
The CAN leader noted that there was no justification whatsoever for the shedding of blood of any citizen, adding that the killing of innocent souls continued unabated in the region as well as other parts of the country because the government had failed to live up to its responsibility to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.
The cleric said the lives of those killed would have been saved if security operatives had acted swiftly.
He said, “When the killing of the eight persons occurred in Zamfara, it took a long time before those who committed the atrocity carried out their nefarious act. If there were proper security on ground, those people would not have been burnt. But why set your fellow citizens on fire? Whatsoever reasons adduced is not justifiable.”
Meanwhile, the CAN has called on the Federal Government to re-double its efforts in solving the myriad of challenges facing the country and stop the blame game it had embarked upon since coming to power in May 2015.
According to the organisation, the current socio-economic hardship in the land calls for pragmatic action and not blaming past administrations for the economic woes that has bedevilled the country.
The body noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government must sit up to the realty of the moment.
The CAN, therefore, called on the President and his team to, as a matter of urgency, find measures to cushion the effects of the sufferings in the country.
According to the spokesman, “We feel strongly that there is never a time in Nigeria that we need to join hands to unite with all sections of the country to address the challenges of Nigeria. Nigerians are suffering. There is hunger all over the country. There are pains everywhere.”
On whether or not the Christians in the North had pulled out from the CAN, Hayab said there was no time the northern CAN sat and took such decision.
“Clearly, we (CAN in northern Nigeria) never said we were pulling out from the CAN. We have never. We only said the election was not properly conducted and we wanted to find a way of resolving the crisis or differences that came as a result of the election. Thus, we are still part of the CAN so that we can correct whatever wrongs that had been done and enjoy the respect of the people whenever we address any challenges in the future.”
The northern Christians under the Concerned Christians of Nigeria and Northern Nigerian Christians had said recent political happenings and alleged ‘corruption’ in the CAN forced them to revert to their pre-independence Northern Nigerian Christian Association.