BY ISAIAH BENJAMIN and NONYE EKWENUGO, Kaduna
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern States and and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, has said that paying of ransom and giving amnesty to kidnappers and bandits will not bring an end to the menace of banditry.
Instead, the Northern CAN said information gathering and intelligence that would lead to exposing the perpetrators and sponsors of banditry could help in ending the menace.
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Pastor Yakubu Pam, who is also the chairman of Northern CAN, told journalists in an interview on Saturday shortly after paying a condolence visit to the pioneer Secretary-General of Northern CAN and national secretary-general of CAN, Engr. Samuel Salifu, over the death of his wife.
“The issue of paying ransom to kidnappers will not solve this problem, what will solve this problem is our intelligence. People are being cheated because of lack of information, when we have information of whom these bad people are, I think Nigeria will solve the problem, if we are very sincere in bringing them out even if it is my son, let him face the wrath of the law. I think that will be very important in solving these problems.
“Giving amnesty to such people, I think amnesty is not something that will just be giving on platter of gold just like that, amnesty is when people come out to show remorse, when they show that they regretted what they did, it should be done in a way that he who is receiving the amnesty will know the value and it shouldn’t be given just like that, it should first and foremost be preached to these people, let them come by themselves and government will assess them together with Nigerians.
“We are so worried about the state of the nation regarding banditry, kidnapping and insecurity. And that is why yesterday (Friday) we called for Northern CAN NEC meeting and throughout the night we had to discuss, we are living in a troubling time, challenging time. We have agreed that we must appeal to the federal government, state governors leadership down to the grassroot local government and particularly here in northern Nigeria, that they must at this time around stop giving mere assurance in the media and go on practical where they will engage citizens in solving these problems.
“Security must be engaged in solving these problems and all from the local to the national level the situation is very challenging, government must engage citizens in finding solutions to these problems and citizens at all level both local to the national is the only way we can come out of this.
“Coming to our own here in the north, we have peculiar problems, fundamental issues that have risen to be the cause of some of these problems and one of them is unemployment. Our youths are roaming the streets and we must address the issue of lack of employment and also lack of justice. Injustice is all over, criminals are seen walking on the streets, we must rise up and address these issues holistically and objectively.
“Community leaders must also take responsibility at this moment to make sure we address our young people. Patience has a virtue, patience in building our nation and also we must learn from other nations that have passed through all kinds of challenges like ours as Nigerians. Go to Rwanda today, Rwanda was a no place yesterday, full of genocide, ethnic wars, religious wars.
We can stop this ugly situation and make a U-turn to make our country better. Our worry is more on northern Nigeria and to make sure that our women and youth are gainfully employed.”
Earlier, while consoling the bereaved, Pastor Pam said: “We are here on a sad note because of what happened to one of the first Secretary-General of Northern CAN. He was also a founding member of CAN. We are supposed to be around him as CAN family. We have learnt so much from him as a man of endurance.
“He is a strong believer of Christ. We came to give him a word of comfort. He lost an understanding and caring wife. Our father and brother fought for this nation by contributing to democracy in the country. We pray to God to guide him and comfort him.
Responding, Salifu said: “There is always a moment of truth. We must hold onto the truth no matter how unpalatable. The real truth which people don’t want to hear is to hold onto Jesus Christ .
“We must hold onto truth without compromise because government will come and go. If we don’t take to the words of Christ, we are wasting our time. Nobody should trade the truth for anything.
“My wife was a good woman. She stood by me in times of want and plenty. She lived a Godly life, I missed her, but I will soon join her. I will surely meet her again. She has gone to the eternal life.