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Killings: CAN accuses Buhari, security chiefs of gang up against Christians

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• Nigeria’s unity, my paramount objective –President

Fred Ezeh; Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of activating power of the state security agencies against Christians in Nigeria, particularly in the North. The President has, however, said the nation’s unity is his paramount objective at the moment.

CAN, the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, justified its allegations with the unending killings in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, Nasarawa and some other parts of the country, which it said, was targeted at Christian communities.

Its General Secretary, Rev. Musa Asake, who addressed a press conference in Abuja yesterday, said the Christian leaders were worried that Nigeria was fast tilting towards anarchy and is being turned into a killing field by some set of people who apparently enjoy government’s protection.

He said it seemed the President has deliberately or otherwise, turned deaf ears to the call by Nigerians for urgent actions that would herald an end to the bloodletting in the affected states, and also proffer solution to security challenges in other parts of Nigeria.

Asake added that CAN also supported the call for the impeachment of the President for his alleged failure to uphold section 14 (2) of the 1999 constitution that clearly makes the security and welfare of the people the primary purpose of government.

He added: “The silence of the Federal Government in the unending killings is an indication that it has relegated its constitutional responsibilities and had willingly permitted the perpetrators of this evil to freely kill people, destroy communities with intention of forceful occupation.

“The worst was that the military and other security agencies that ought to be impartial have pitched their support with murderous  herdsmen and have shielded them from facing the wrath of law.”

The CAN scribe also fingered the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) in the violent uprising in the Middle Belt region of Nigeria, through its previous statements and incitement of the herders against farmers. He expressed support for the disbandment of the association and subsequent arrest of its leaders for prosecution.

Meanwhile, President Buhari has reassured Nigerians that the unity of the country remains his paramount objective and that of his government.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, in a statement said, Buhari gave the assurance when he had audience with a delegation of the Tijjaniya Movement led by Sheikh Muhammadu Mahi Ibrahim Inyass at the Presidential Villa, Friday. The President said, ‘‘I will continue to do everything within my powers to unite Nigeria.’’

He commended the religious group for the peaceful conduct of their annual convention and urged them to bring the same to bear in promoting peace, unity and inter-religious harmony in Nigeria.

President Buhari also lauded the group for complementing government’s efforts in bringing socio-economic development and stability in the country by encouraging discipline, unity and spirituality among its members.

He reiterated his remarks on Thursday at the palace of Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, after he was presented with the Holy Quran, the President said the gift of the Holy Quran is the highest anyone can receive and a reminder to seek and uphold justice in the service of the nation.

In his remarks, the leader of the group, Sheikh Inyass, told Buhari that members of the group would continue to support and appreciate his “noble agenda for the benefit of all Nigerians,” because they believe elected officials must be “accountable, incorruptible and God-fearing.”

“It has never been easy. Even our Holy Prophet (SAW) was never totally accepted in his lifetime. It was only after he had long gone people saw the wisdom in his preaching and sacrifices. We, therefore, urge you not to relent in your efforts.

“Therefore, it is pertinent for you to note, Your Excellency, that majority of us are with your government and would ensure a total support for you in your effort to return Nigeria to the path of greater progress and development,” Sheikh Inyass said.

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