– The general state of insecurity in Nigeria has affected religious leaders in the country
– Daily, stories of clergymen being kidnapped or maimed are reported in the media
– Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state is worried about the trend and has called for prayers
Delta state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on Monday, January 18 decried the rising cases of kidnapping, killings and attacks on clergymen and worship centres in Nigeria.
A statement sent to Legit.ng by the Delta state government, indicates that Governor Okowa made the remark at a security seminar organised by his special adviser on religious matters, at a church in Asaba, the Delta state capital.
Represented by the Delta state commissioner for information, Mr Charles Aniagwu at the event, Okowa stated that while security agents were working hard to apprehend the perpetrators of heinous crimes, it had become imperative to equip church leaders and families with basic knowledge on personal security and safety at places of worship.
According to him, in recent times, the nation has witnessed rising cases of pastors abducted and sometimes killed, or in some cases ransomed.
“Although no fatality has been recorded among abducted clergymen in Delta, yet this unholy trend calls for concern.
“Given the turbulence and uncertainties that have plagued this nation in our recent political history, there is no gainsaying the fact that it is the prayer of the righteous that have kept this country together.”
He, however, said his administration was committed to the security of Delta and the peaceful coexistence of the various ethnic nationalities in the state.
He commended the efforts of the commissioner of police and other security agencies for the work they are doing to maintain law and order and called for prayers for the success of the security agencies both in Delta state and Nigeria as a whole.
Keynote speaker at the event and chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna state chapter, Rev. Joseph Hayab, said it was important to establish that Nigeria currently has a security challenge and as a nation genuinely find ways to tackle it.
He said that from scriptures and experience, there are ways to ensure that churches and pastors are secured and called on the church in Nigeria to wake up and stop the killings and kidnappings.
Meanwhile, the national body of CAN has dismissed the claims of Borno state governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, who stated that some Christians are members of the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
CAN general secretary, Joseph Daramola, stated that Christians can’t be members of the sect due to the group’s constant identification with Islam.
Recall that Governor Zulum recently stated that contrary to the popular belief, some members of Boko Haram are Christians and white men.
Zulum made the disclosure during the 17th Gani Fawehinmi’s lecture organised by the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) held on Friday, January 15, in Lagos state.
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