President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle has cautioned the Federal Government over continued excuses for the killing of Christians in the North even as he urged the administration to avoid accusation of favouritism of one religion in its appointments.
Rev. Ayokunle at a press conference in Abuja yesterday said that it was regrettable that the Federal Government with its instruments of coercion has simply been unable to apprehend or prosecute several of the alleged herdsmen he claimed were responsible for the killing of Christians in many parts of the country.
Dr. Ayokunle who is also president of the Nigerian Baptist Convention spoke at a press conference to herald the 104th annual session of the convention holding in Abuja.
While claiming that the recent classification of Nigeria as about the most dangerous place for Christians on earth should be troubling, Ayokunle nevertheless applauded the administration’s efforts to rid the country of corruption and the successes recorded against the Boko Haram insurgency.
He said: “Just in February this year, the United States House of Representatives cited Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world. Certainly, this is a most unpleasant classification for a country that is a democracy and the giant of Africa. What type of giant are we? It is a classification that should not make patriotic Nigerians glad in a country where population is roughly divided equally between Islam and Christianity.
“It is essential for the Federal Government in whose care instruments of cohesion lie to quickly remedy this situation. It will be in the interest of national development and peaceful co-existence. If continuous killings have not been happening, we would not have been shouting wolf where there was none. We appeal to the government to desisit from giving excuses anymore why the killings are still occurring. We what an end to be put to the killings henceforth. Enough is enough.
“All must be done in political appointments and in the conduct of government business to reflect federal character not only on ethnicity but equally ensuring religious balance. The suspicion of favouritism by government of one religious group to the detriment of others must be avoided. The more the government adheres to these admonitions, the more coherent we would be as a people and the greater the peace and development.”
In commending the administration’s efforts against the Boko Haram insurgency, he said:
“We appreciate the Federal Government for waging war against Boko Haram and for sustaining it. We equally salute the courage of our gallant military and we shall continue to pray for them over this good work of defending the people on this matter. Equally, the release of the 21 of the several Chibok girls kidnapped three years ago is commendable but more efforts is solicited for the release of the rest before their lives are completely ruined for no sin of theirs.
”We commend as well the recent efforts of the Federal Government on the economy especially on strengthening the local currency. More sincerity should be shown on this so that the siege of economic hardship that has almost crippled the lives of Nigerians and increased the rates of suicide might be lifted. Salaries owed the workers all over the nation must be paid without delay. My Bible says that the wages of the workers must not be delayed overnight.”