By Kenneth Atavti
Members of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) from 19 Northern States and Abuja yesterday asked all Christian leaders to withdraw their participation in Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), until their counterparts in Islamic faith show commitment to tame their followers on equal terms.
The decision was, perhaps, as a result of a recent incident in Sokoto State where Deborah Samuel, 200 level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, was burnt to death by alleged Islamic extremists over alleged blasphemy.
Public Relations Officer of CAN (19 Northern States and Abuja), Jechonia Gilbert, in a statement yesterday, condemned the gruesome and barbaric murder of Deborah Samuel by some religious extremists.
He said: “While CAN does not and will not encourage casting aspersions on any religion or religious leader of any faith, it frowns at hiding under the gab of any religious extremism to perpetrate any form of criminality against its members especially in Northern Nigeria.”
“God Almighty is not and can never be a weak God for mere mortal to fight and defend Him. On the contrary, it is He who keeps; watches and defends us. CAN believe that life is sacred and must never be taken by another unless as directed by the State”, he said.
He expressed the belief of CAN that Nigeria is a country governed by the rule of law and order, hence any act of lawlessness and criminality must not be swept under the carpet.
He discouraged Christian parents across the nation especially, Northern states from sending their children to any school in Sokoto State, pending when the Federal and State governments are ready and willing to secure the lives of the students both in Sokoto and other States that are hostile to Christians and Christianity.
He, equally, called on the Federal and Sokoto State government not to resort to usual rhetoric but demonstrate political will and capacity to bring the perpetrators of the criminality to justice; otherwise, others may take queue from it and turn Nigeria to a country of lawlessness at every slightest provocation.
The Association prayed for the immediate family and the church of late Deborah Samuel and asked them not to lose hope in God’s ability to avenge the killers of their daughter.
“We appeal and counsel those who feel and think that killing and oppressing Christians is a demonstration of their service to their God to learn from history. Those that tried it in Egypt and their experiences should be enough warning. There is a Red Sea awaiting them, even those who are secretly encouraging them, must partake in the Red Sea experience,” he warned.