Christians are worried by the “unchecked attacks” on innocent Nigerians.
The government should ‘act fast before it’s too late,” the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said.
According to the Christian bodies, the security agencies appear helpless in tackling the increasing kidnapping and killings in the country.
They also urged the judiciary and the electoral umpire to be truly independent.
The above formed parts of the communiqué issued at the end of the 106th Annual Session of the denomination that took place in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, where a vote of confidence was passed on CAN President Dr. Samson Ayokunle, who doubles as the President of the NBC.
Acknowledging Ayokunle’s sterling leadership of the Association, the members also endorsed his second term.
The communique issued yesterday reads in part: “It is an understatement to say that there are security challenges in Nigeria today. We observed with disappointment the unchecked attack of both Nigerians and foreigners due to terrorist and various criminal activities in the country.
“The news is filled on daily basis with sad stories of terrorist and other criminal attacks carried out by Boko Haram, herdsmen, bandits and other criminal groups resulting in kidnapping, blood shedding, raping, ritual killings and destruction of properties in all parts of Nigeria.
“The situation has deteriorated to the extent that our law enforcement agencies appear helpless. As a matter of fact, most areas reportedly captured by military are now being recaptured by Boko Haram and other terrorist groups.
But the military insists Boko Haram is not holding any territory.
The CAN communique continued: “It is unfortunate that despite various promises by the government on the release of Leah Sharibu and other people still being held captive by Boko Haram terrorists, the lady is yet to be released.
“Premised on the foregoing, we implore the Federal Government to uphold the sanctity of lives and protection of properties of Nigerians. We further urge government to:
- Be proactive in responding to security challenges and bringing the perpetrators and their sponsors to book.
- Leave no stone unturned in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency and their sponsors at all levels.
- Intensify efforts to secure the release of Leah Sharibu and other people in the custody of terrorist groups.
- Equip and empower our law enforcement agencies to enable them tackle the security challenges in our nation.
- Provide enough security in various areas under constant threat of terrorist groups’ attacks in Nigeria.”
On the just concluded general elections, the NBC noted various allegations from different quarters of the irregularities recorded during the polls which are now subject of litigations before the election petitions’ tribunals.
“While we are not oblivious of doubts being expressed on daily basis by concerned Nigerians about the independence of our Judiciary to handle election matters with dispatch, we are also aware that some issues raised touch on the independence of our electoral bodies to free itself from being partisan during elections and be truly independent of government.
The NBC stated: “Premised on the foregoing, we urge the election tribunals to expeditiously resolve matters pending before them to return confidence in our judicial system.
“We strongly call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be truly independent and free itself from partisanship in the conduct of future elections in Nigeria.
“The Baptist Church kicked against the militarisation of the just concluded election and condemns the involvement of soldiers in strong terms and identified the dangers associated with it.
“We observe with dismay the heavy deployment of Armed Military personnel during the just concluded elections. We recall that the duty of the military, among others, is to monitor country’s external boundaries to ward off external aggressions and definitely not to interfere in the civic duty of police and other para-military personnel during elections. We make bold to say that this is what is obtainable in civilised climes the world over.
“There is no doubt that the presence of the military at polling units during the just concluded elections created fear in the minds of the electorate and made some voters to stay at home to avoid harassment and embarrassment.
“In view of the dangers in using military personnel during the conduct of elections, government is strongly advised to stop deploying the military during election period. It should rather create conducive environment during elections and allow the military to concentrate on its primary duty of defending the territorial boundaries of Nigeria against external aggression.”
The Church also expressed reservation on the failure of the government to tame unemployment and its consequences, saying: “Our youths and other victims of unemployment constitute nuisance and menace to the country”.
“There is a need therefore for the government to totally overhaul our school curricular with a view to focusing on entrepreneurial training of our youths and create conducive environment, such as soft loan to young graduates to start business on their own and infrastructural facilities in order to overcome unemployment and reliance on white collar jobs after graduation.”
The communiqué, which was signed by the Chairman of the Resolution and Communique Committee, Prof. S. Akinlolu Fagbemi on behalf of other members, was circulated to reporters in Abuja by Pastor Oladeji Adebayo, Special Assistant (Media & Communications) to the CAN President.
It also condemns the various external influences and undue pressure and meddlesomeness regarding the election of the Ninth National Assembly’s leaders without regard to principle of separation of power, among the three organs of government.
The communique stated: “We therefore call on both government, especially the executive and other Nigerians, to stop putting undue pressure on members of the National Assembly and allow members to elect their leaders without external influences.
“We insist that in the election of the principal officers in the National Assembly, the principle of Federal Character and equal representation of major religions in the country should be followed.
“As CAN prepares for another round of election of its national leadership, the Baptists, who eulogised the leadership style of its President, who also doubles as the CAN President, throw their weight behind the second term bid of Rev Samson Ayokunle and urge all the blocks that make up the Association to support him for the second term.
“We appreciate God for a successful first term, which is about to finish, in office of our President as CAN President. There is no doubt that the quality of leadership and innovations introduced by our president in the operation of CAN in Nigeria (and still provides) are unprecedented.
“We particularly note that all the allegations against him by his detractors were unfounded as people making the allegations failed to appear and prove their allegations before the Panel set up by CAN. We are also aware that he is eligible to contest for the second term in office as CAN President.
“Having proved himself as a worthy ambassador of the NBC and for not betraying the confidence we collectively reposed in him in his first term in office as the President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), we hereby pass a vote of confidence on him and hereby resolve that we robustly recommend him for second term and seek the support of other blocks of CAN to vote him into office for second term as the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).”