The Council of Imams and Ulama in Kaduna state have disagreed with the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) Chairman in the state, on kidnapping of Christians in the state.
The council accused the CAN Chairman, Rev. Joseph Hayab of politicizing security challenges in the state, saying such is capable of inflaming crisis.
It would be recalled that Reverend Hayab recently claimed that, over 500 Christians have been kidnapped in the last two years and over N300 million paid as ransom to kidnappers.
Addressing a press conference at the headquarters of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) in Kaduna, the council, through its Secretary, Malam Yusuf Arigasiyu, described the CAN chairman’s statement as divisive and patently false, “especially the claim that kidnappers only abduct Christians in Kaduna State.”
He said kidnapping has become a nationwide security challenge and the criminals as well as their victims cut across ethno-religious divides.
“For instance, along Birnin Gwari-Kaduna Road alone, between 22nd June and 30th July 2019, over 55 persons have been kidnapped and over 20 persons were killed, including five Nigerian Air Force and Army personnel, according to news reports.
“Specifically, majority of the citizens killed and kidnapped along Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Igabi and Abuja-Kaduna roads and the border towns with Niger, Katsina and Zamfara States have been Muslims.
“However, we never viewed the unfortunate situation from a religious angle. In fact, we have always condemned the act of criminality and have called on the State and Federal Governments to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians, irrespective of where they are or how they worship.
“If we may ask, where was Rev Hayab when on the 24 July 2018, Professor Halima Idris, former Commissioner of Education in Katsina State was killed along Kaduna-Abuja Road by kidnappers? Where was he on 18 September 2017, when Sherrif Abidu Yazid was killed on the same Kaduna-Abuja Road by bandits who also went away with his wife? Even recently, top civil servants from Zamfara State where kidnapped and killed on 16 July 2019 along Kachia-Kaduna road, what did the likes of Rev Hayab say about all these killings?
“Only yesterday, (Friday) the CAN Chairman also resorted to telling his tall tales on television, by mischievously dressing a security issue as a religious one. In his wild allegation, Hayab claimed that there is a grand design to exterminate Christians and pastors in Kaduna State. This conspiracy theory is already breeding tension in the State. We also have it on good authority that Hayab’s divisive campaign is a ploy to set the stage for bloodshed that is being hatched by the CAN Chairman.”
He, however, called on the security agencies, federal and state governments to call the CAN chairman to order.
“We are also appealing to people of goodwill and conscience, to put these divisive elements to shame, by ignoring their drumbeat of war. In fact, they are ethno-religious warlords disguising as peacemakers.
“For this reason, we are calling on all Muslims to have nothing to do with Hayab’s interfaith activities because they are mere camouflage to mask the hidden motives of a double-faced zealot.
“However, Muslims should work together with genuine Christian faithfuls in order to curb the activities of hate-mongers and purveyours of falsehoods, in the name of evangelism.” He said.
Source: The Nation