The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday came hard on President Muhammadu Buhari, describing his government as deceptive, just as it blamed the ongoing killings in Southern Kaduna on Governor Nasir el-Rufai.
Apparently rankled by the call for arrest of its leaders by the Council of Imams and Ulamas in Kaduna, the Christian umbrella body also knocked the Islamic clerics, describing them as hypocrites.
CAN voiced its dissatisfaction about Buhari’s war against corruption, which it said was deceptive and selective, which would not make him to win the antigraft war.
“Everything about the President is deceptive and selective because of which he will not win the antigraft fight,” said Chairman of Kano Chapter of CAN, Bishop Ransome Bello.
Speaking before the commencement of the annual prayer week, Bishop Bello said: “President Muhammadu Buhari’s crusade against corruption and the lethargic approach in addressing the alleged wanton killing of Christians in Southern Kaduna were reprehensible and lopsided.”
The cleric particularly said that the anti-graft war was targeted at a few persons, who were believed not to be in the good book of his administration.
According to him, members of the ruling party are being shielded from the anti-corruption periscope, noting that in staging the war against graft in the country, nobody should be accorded the status of a sacred cow.
“He can’t win the war against corruption by fighting a few. He can’t win when his party members are protected. We all love this country.
We should stop deceiving ourselves. We are living in deception,” he said. On the crisis in Southern Kaduna, he lamented that the president has failed to develop the political willpower to address the crisis appropriately.
“The killings in Kaduna are carried out by Fulani herdsmen. We all know it. If it is not religious or tribal, what is it? We are not honest.
Then, till date, nobody has been arrested, no one has been prosecuted,” he said Also, the 17 Southern States of CAN accused el- Rufai of being responsible for the killing of Christians in Southern Kaduna.
Secretary of CAN in the region, Dr. Joseph Aka Ajujungwa, who spoke alongside the Chairman of CAN in the South-East, Rev. David Eberechukwu, said the association was holding El-Rufai responsible for the murder of hundreds of Christians in Kaduna State.
They said it was regrettable that the governor, who took oath of office to protect lives and property in the state, was now looking the other way while residents of the Southern Kaduna were being slaughtered.
“The nonsensical killings in Southern Kaduna cannot be justified in whatever way and as such, CAN is holding Governor El-Rufai responsible for the murderous activities of Fulani herdsmen in the area.
“How can the chief security officer of the state watch Christians die in their number even at a time he placed curfew on them?
This is why we hold him responsible for the killings,” they noted. They called on Buhari “to quickly intervene in the ongoing killings by taking decisive action before the situation gets out of control.”
“We want to make it clear that no matter the level of intimidation, CAN would not fold its hands and watch this atrocity continue.
We won’t be coerced into keeping quiet while our members are being mowed down in thousands. “We, therefore, call on Christians and the good people of Nigeria to be vigilant and watchful so that these herdsmen will not take them unawares any longer,” they said.
In a related development, the leadership of the association also reacted to calls by the Kaduna State Council of Imams and Ulama in which the Council demanded the arrest of leadership of the association. CAN described the Islamic clerics as hypocrites.
The Christian umbrella body, in a statement issued by its General Secretary, Rev. Musa Asake, said that demand of these Muslims preachers has again reaffirmed their hypocrisy.
“To CAN, this is a surprising shameless, veiled criminal support for evil. CAN therefore, has no apology over what comment it has made on the religious cleansing in Southern Kaduna and other places in the country.
“These are the Muslim clerics that encourage and inspire the jihad carried out by their foot soldiers.
“These Imams are very sad that we have refused to keep silent as we are speaking up to government and telling the world the devilish plot against the Christian community in Southern Kaduna and other affected areas.
“While those they inspired through their wicked sermons to kill and conquer new territories for Islam are carrying out their instructions, they are now intimidating the victims with Governor el- Rufai’s infamous position of “call for self-defence is hate speech,” it said The Council had, on Monday, at a press conference in Kaduna, called for the arrest of CAN President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle; the Senator representing Southern Kaduna, Danjuma La’ah; the President of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), Dr. Solomon Musa; Rev. Zechariah Gado, Hon. Sunday Marshal, Dr. Danfulani, and Rev. Dr. Musa Asake. It alleged that the CAN leaders had made comments that stoked the ongoing killings in Southern Kaduna.
Asake, in the statement, lamented that while the killings of children, women, aged and the most defenseless of Southern Kaduna natives and the destruction of entire communities was at its peak, no one knew that a group called Council of Imams and Ulama existed in Kaduna State.
“If indeed, this Council of Muslim clerics claim to preach peace, tolerance and respect for human lives, we would expect them to have come out to call the rampaging Muslim herdsmen to order; condole with the victims and join in the process of looking for a lasting solution, but mum was their response,” the CAN scribe stated.