THE leadership of Council of Imams and Ulama in Kaduna State has condemned the recent statement credited to the state chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Joseph Hayab, over the number of Christians kidnapped in the state.
Addressing the press in Kaduna on Saturday, Secretary General of the council, Yusuf Yakubu Arrigasiyyu, noted that “the politicisation of the security challenge in Kaduna State by CAN chairman is worrisome and he should be called to order before it’s too late.
‘As stakeholders in the state, we will no longer fold our arms and watch the divisive rhetoric of Reverend Hayab, which is endangering the lives of innocent citizens and pitching the people of Kaduna State and indeed Nigeria, against one another. Hayab, who is a politician in celestial robes, is hiding under the platform of CAN to execute a hidden agenda.”
To this end, the council said “as followers of peace, the Council of Ulama finds it pertinent to sound this alarm in order to forestall breakdown of law and order.
“The CAN chairman, in a widely circulated press statement, claimed that over 500 Christians have been kidnapped in the last two years and that over N300 million had so far been paid as ransom to kidnappers.
“This statement is as divisive as it is patently false, especially the claim that kidnappers only abduct Christians in Kaduna State. Kidnapping has become a nationwide security challenge and the criminals as well as their victims cut across ethnoreligious divides. Along Birnin Gwari-Kaduna Road alone, between June 22 and July 30 2019, over 55 persons have been kidnapped and over 20 persons killed, including five Nigerian Air Force and Army personnel, according to reports.
“Majority of those 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 properties of all Nigerians, irrespective of where they are or how they worship.”