By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, Niger Delta, Sam Oyadongha, Emma Una, Ike Uchechukwu, Ozioruva Aliu and Chancel Sunday
CHRISTIAN leaders in the South-South region have warned that Christians were not animals to be slaughtered on daily basis by Boko Haram and other insurgents in the North, saying enough is enough and Federal Government should stop the bloodshed.
While the National Publicity Secretary of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, Bishop Emma Isong, who spoke at Calabar , Cross River State, said the latest killing of a CAN leader in Adamawa State, Reverend Lawan Andimi, was part of the plot to islamize Nigeria, Bishop of Bomadi Catholic Diocese, Delta State, Hyacinth Egbebo, said it was a strategy by Boko Haram to provoke Christians to retaliate so as to launch into a full-scale war.
Isong, in a chat, said the beheading of Andimi was barbaric and the most degrading human act ever, saying that Christians should be allowed to protect themselves.
His words: “We have been shouting about the islamization of Nigeria and it seemed as if it was crying wolf but it is gradually playing out.
“The killing of a Christian in any position is barbabaric and a further proof that islamization is real.
“And it is a fact that the Federal Government has overwhelmed. All these and more are all steps to islamize the country. Christians must stop talking that talk and carry out action, time for talking is over.
“The Federal Government must expunge self-defense from our Constitution if they cannot allow Nigerians to defend themselves.
“The beheading of the CAN leader in Adamawa is the height of barbarism and a step-by-step approach to islamize Nigeria”
Also speaking, Ekwok, Chairman, PFN, Cross River State, said: “The slaughtering of the CAN Chairman in Adamawa is unacceptable. The Church in Nigeria must not accept this. It is one killing too many.
“Christians have become endangered species in Nigeria. It is time for the Church leadership to act before it becomes too late.
“We do not even know the situation with Leah Sharibu and other Christians that were captured earlier.
“Why should Christians be made to live and worship their God in fear in their own land? Why should Christians be captured and murdered like animals? Why should Christians be rounded up in churches and massacred? Why should Christians be set ablaze in their homes in their sleep in a country that has democracy?
“There is something seriously wrong somewhere. I suspect a conspiracy. But the Church must not fold her hands. The Church must do something now”.
On his part, the Bishop of Bomadi Diocese of the Catholic Church, Egbebo, told Sunday Vanguard: “It is unfortunate that this CAN Chairman was killed. This is a high-profile killing and it is one of the many killings of Christians by Boko Haram.
“This killing is part of the strategy of Boko Haram to inflame the process of their campaign to provoke Christians to action, even though it is out of character with the Christians to fight.
“As painful as these killings are, we should not see it as Muslims against Christians. Boko Haram is just a stray group from the Muslim world unleashing this havoc on humanity.
“The Federal Government has not been seen to be doing enough in terms of security. To allow only the security agencies to engage in this fight, the Federal Government has missed the point.
“They need to engage religious and civil groups in this fight as well because Boko Haram is recruiting from the civilian population.
“The Federal Government should engage religious leaders to preach peace. All hands must be on deck to save this country, we need peace in Nigeria.
“Even this Amotekun talk, though it was not done very well, it should be spread out to all regions to help support the fight against insecurity. We need intelligence, we need prayers in this fight against insecurity in the land”.
Vice Chairman of CAN in Bayelsa State, Rev Father Joseph Opelema, also speaking on the murder, said: “I received the news of the execution of Andimi with anger, frustration and disappointment.
“It saddens the heart to hear about abduction and execution of Christians almost on a weekly basis in a country that professes to be a secular state.
“I am deeply worried that after the long battle against insurgency in the North-East, the level of insecurity, especially for Christians, is still very high.
“Right now, four seminarians of the Good Shepherd Senior Seminary in Kaduna are in the custody of their abductors. I pray that they release them unharmed.
“I am calling on the President to rise to the occasion to prevent this country from drifting into war.
“Enough is enough. Christians are not cows to be slaughtered every day. We have our lives to live and we have the right to practice our faith in freedom just as those of other faiths have”.
In Edo State, the Bishop of Akoko-Edo Diocese of the Anglican Communion, Rt Rev Jolly Oyekpen, said: “We want to believe that we are not degenerating as a nation into a state of anarchy because what we are seeing is almost like the Christians have become endangered species in our country, which is not supposed to be.
“We are pleading with government to look into this matter with all urgency so that we will not degenerate to a state of war and anarchy in our country.
“The leaders have a very big role to play and they must rise to play the role, not just by making comments, to make comments in the media is not enough, we need action.
“The state of security in our country is becoming a cause for concern for everybody. You are travelling, you don’t know whether you will get to your destination, you are at home, you don’t know who will pounce on you, it has become so bad that we are pricing human beings instead of commodities and our leaders are not doing anything.
“If you ask me, there should be a general overhaul of the security apparatus in our country. The people at the helm of affairs of our security agencies are too old, they should retire, let them go home and let our young and vibrant people take over.
“In the computer age, we still have old men who cannot open ipad as our security chiefs, it is a problem”.
To Rev Olu Aderigbigbe, a leader of CAN in Edo State, the murder of the Adamawa CAN leader is a sign of the end times as Christians are being targeted.
He said the Federal Government was responsible for the killing of Indinmi with its slow response to raising the ransom demanded by his abductors.
“Andimi’s killing is a product of the carelessness on the side of government because that man cried out that that they should help him to pay the money; if they had paid that money, his captors could have released him and that is why this Amotekun issue is good, it should be allowed to stand since everybody has to defend himself. “The states should organise such security outfits to protect lives. I see it as a way of islamising this country, it has gone beyond the issue of Book Haram, we now have ISWAP.
“We used to have Bakassi in the South-East and they were doing well until politicians hijacked it. Now that some governors have put heads together to secure their people, it is okay.
“The Bible says time like this will come. We are not doing enough in the South. We want to be Paul and Silas by miracle but we don’t want to be Paul and Silas by stoning.
“Christians in the North-East are the ones facing persecution; we are in end time, it is in the North today, it may be in the South tomorrow because information has it that these people are already in the forests of the South-South, even in Edo State.
“So, everybody has to be vigilant, prayerful because this is the time to know who are Christians and not about television miracles.
“Let Christians come together, pray together and be united”.
About Article Author