Insecurity: Christians at receiving end of banditry, cannot afford pilgrimage to Jerusalem – CAN

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State says the association is more concerned about peace and security in the state rather than the challenge of going to pilgrimage in Jerusalem

CAN claimed the insecurity in the state also affected the possibility of many Christians performing pilgrimage to the Holy land, as a majority already paid their life savings to bandits and cannot afford the trip.

The body also alleged that Christians were mostly at the receiving end of banditry and churches cough out huge sums for ransom.

The state CAN chairman, Rev. John Joseph Hayab who hosted the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Pilgrim Welfare Agency, Mallam Yusuf Yakub Arrigarayyu during his courtesy visit to the CAN headquarters said, “The issue of going to pilgrimage, to us at CAN is not the priority, our priority is how people can be secured and live peacefully. Christians in Kaduna state paid huge sums of money to bandits and I can’t see a group of Christians that have paid bandits millions of naira to again sponsor themselves to Jerusalem for pilgrimage. It is not about going to Jerusalem but it is about the restoration of peace in the state.”

“Today, people think it is well in Kaduna but we can’t just stop talking about the kidnapping. You know very well that every day, things are happening. What we want now is how we can work together to restore peace in Kaduna and stop the pretence and face the reality of what is happening around us.”

The CAN state chairman said the Church wants every agency in the state to effectively work but lamented that the people are sick because of insecurity all over the state.

He lamented, “Offerings that come from churches end up paying bandits as ransoms for the release of their loved ones, with all that is happening, Christians find it very difficult to go to Jerusalem for pilgrimage.”

Commenting on the establishment of the pilgrim agency, he explained, “It is the conventional practice Worldwide and according to law and practice that if you want to do anything that you want to establish an agency by law, you don’t do it by being coercive, you will ask the State House of Assembly by sending a bill. The House will have a first or second reading and then have a public hearing. We are stakeholders, a letter will be written to us and we will come as stakeholders and give our contributions on the issue supporting or against the establishment of the agency, then the House will vote, but in Kaduna, we are not being governed by law but by coercion and whatever is given to us, we take it and nobody will talk.”

“So many things have happened in the state, sometimes, we talk, sometimes, we don’t talk as if we don’t know and the establishment of the pilgrim welfare agency is one of such.”

Rev. Hayab lamented that it is an agency for both Christians and Muslims but noted that almost all the Directors are of the same faith, saying, “and you wonder if the state government thinks that the Christians are fools by not knowing what is happening. We should stop deceiving each other and fear God because in all we do, there is God’s judgment.”

He added that the reason Christians no longer go on pilgrimage is because, they are at the receiving end of the banditry, stressing, “In 2019 when this evil of banditry and kidnapping started, within a short time over 500 Christians were kidnapped and over N300 million was paid as ransom, this CAN found out by issuing questionnaires and served about 1,500 Pastors for them to fill and tell us the number of members kidnapped, how much paid as ransom and those killed.”

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