The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has asked the Federal Government to put an end to the abduction and killing of religious leaders by bandits in the country.
CAN’s Vice Chairman (Northern region), Rev. John Hayab, was reacting to the killing of a catholic priest of the Minna Catholic diocese, Fr. John Gbakaan during the weekend.
A Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Minna, Reverend Father John Gbakaan Yaji, was reportedly killed by bandits in Niger state.
It was gathered that the Priest was first kidnapped before he was killed by the bandits. His body was discovered on Sunday.
The priest according to reports was kidnapped on Friday night alongside his brother in Tufa village along LambataLapai road on his way to his station after a religious meeting in Lambata.
Reverend of the Catholic Diocese of Minna, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the incident, saying that search has intensified towards recovering the younger brother of the priest.
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, Rev. Hayab described the killing of the Catholic priest as ‘shocking and painful’, stating that insecurity in the North has assumed a more alarming dimension. Hayab said.
“We received the news of the kidnapped and killing of our dear Rev Father John with great shock and pains. “Sadly, those in power are wanting us to be singing their praises while our loved ones are being killed.
No responsible citizen will enjoy criticising his leaders for fun or because he hates them. Citizens criticise leaders so that they will sit up and do what is right.
“Today in Northern Nigeria many people are living in fear and many young people are afraid to become pastors because pastors’ lives are in great danger.
“When Bandits or kidnappers realised that their victims are a priest or pastors it seems a violent spirit do take over their heart to demand more ransom and in some cases go to the extent of killing the victim.
“We are simply pleading to the Federal Government and all security agencies to do whatever it will take to bring this evil to a stop.
“A person living in fear can never be productive and effective in the things he is doing. All we are asking from the government is protection from evil men that are destroying our lives and properties.”
Meanwhile, at least 17 people have also been kidnapped by bandits in three communities in Bassa/Kukoki ward of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.
The people were kidnapped over the weekend in Madagwa, Wongo and Marenje communities.
It was learnt that the bandits stormed the town at different times on Saturday night.
It was also gathered that five people were abducted from Wongo and Marenje communities while about seven people were abducted from Madagwa.
The Co-convener, Concerned Shiroro Youths, Sani Abubakar Yusuf Kokki, confirmed the abduction, saying the whereabouts of the victims were yet to be identified.
He described the abductions as disheartening and unfortunate, saying “it is unfair that the locals have been left to their fate.
Kokki lamented that kidnappings and other related criminal activities have become the order of the day in the entire Rafi and Shiroro Local Governments areas of Niger State.
Also, about 20 other people, who were on their way to Madaka market, were said to have been kidnapped by the bandits from Duguru in Madaka Ward of Rafi Local Government Area, Niger State on Thursday.