• CAN wants Buhari to break religious monopoly on security architecture
• Empower citizens to defend themselves, says Anglican Bishop of Ondo, Taraba CAN
• Ortom: terrorist attacks on churches, attempt to scare Christians, restriction of religious freedom
• Threat to Christians: private security offers to help the government
Yesterday, a leaked memo from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) sounded the alarm about the upcoming attacks in the Islamic State West Africa (ISWAP) province.
The new threat targets the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), compounding the heightened tension and fear that had already enveloped Abuja following last week’s terrorist attack on Kuje medium security detention centre.
According to the note entitled NSCDC/CMOT/FCT/INT/VOL. X/188 and dated July 8, 2022, “certified intelligence reveals that members of the decimated terrorist group, ISWAP, have concluded plans to launch more coordinated and spontaneous attacks against selected targets within the FCT and have declared war to Christians in Nigeria”.
Recall that the federal government had linked the dreaded ISWAP to the Owo massacre in Ondo State, where dozens of worshipers were killed at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on June 5, 2022.
The document further states that the group claimed responsibility for the Kuje jailbreak attack, which freed its members from custody, was emboldened and is now targeting larger targets.
Part of the document reads: “Intelligence abounds that ISWAP claimed responsibility for the July 6 attack on the Kuje medium-security detention center. The above is to allow them to hibernate in targeted FCT communities and strategies for further terrorist activity, especially on soft targets like churches, to keep the group’s agenda alive.
The memo also pointed out that the Kuje attack went unhindered for two hours without any security intervention.
Meanwhile, attempts to confirm the veracity of the NSCDC document were unsuccessful. Corps public relations officer Olusola Odumosu did not respond to messages and phone calls made on his line.
HOWEVER, in its reaction, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) called on President Muhammadu Buhari to break the religious monopoly on security architecture, alleging that the nation’s security has been compromised by those who view terrorists as their brothers.
MAY again oppose any attempt by any political party to steal a Muslim/Muslim ticket in the 2023 presidential election, arguing that “if terrorists kill, maim and kidnap Christians and their leaders with impunity then that we have a pastor as vice president, he wonders what they would do if there was no one to represent Christianity in the State House.
Reacting to the leaked memo allegedly written by the NSCDC to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on planned ISWAP attacks on Christians, the CAN President’s Personal Assistant on Communications, the Pastor Bayo Oladeji, told the Guardian that Nigerians are under a government that has failed to protect life and property, adding that the same government is against self-defence.
He said: “The question should be to those in charge of the security architecture, what do they do with the intelligence gathered since the information was released? Did they do anything different from what was happening on the ground before the attack on Kuje prison? What can the church do other than intensify prayers for divine protection since the government has failed to provide security?
“We warned them to break the religious monopoly on security architecture, but they turned a deaf ear. Today, the security architecture has been compromised by those who regard terrorists as their brothers. History is there to tell the unborn generation what the country is going through. We are under a government that has failed to protect life and property.
FCT Baptist Conference President Rev. Dogara Raphael Ghana lamented that the situation where repentant terrorists who have caused so much suffering to families and institutions in the country are now being reintegrated into society and even conscripted into the military. was a very dangerous situation. movement.
Ghana said it was within the ability of the military to contain the situation if there was government will and real commitment to counter the insurgency.
MEANWHILE, the Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Diocese of Akure, Reverend Simeon Borokini, has slammed the government at all levels for its failure to protect citizens from ravaging insecurity.
Expressing concern for the safety of worshipers in the state and the nation as a whole, he pleaded for churches to protect and defend themselves against marauding bandits who wander in to kill harmless Christians. Borokini said so yesterday during the synod at St. Andrews Anglican Church, Oyemekun, Akure.
According to him, church members should be ready to defend themselves against attackers.
“I will not oppose the call for churches to defend themselves because the government seems to be insensitive to the security situation in the country, so anyone who is ready to get something to protect themselves should get the permit. if it is a firearm.
The Anglican Archbishop rallied support for the creation of a state police to tackle insecurity in the country, saying it remains a better option than community policing.
Referring to state government guidelines that CCTV must be installed in churches and public places, he revealed that the Anglican Church had ordered the devices to be installed by August 1, 2022.
In the same vein, the CAN leadership in Taraba State denounced the alarming rate of killings in Takum and Ussa councils in the state. Apart from the killings, valuables worth millions of naira have been destroyed by the rampaging militias.
Disturbed by the development, the body, in a statement yesterday, said: “If the government cannot guarantee the safety of the people, then the people should be allowed to protect themselves.”
Stressing that the attack on innocent communities is condemnable and unacceptable, CAN said it “cannot sit back and watch innocent people being killed”.
The statement, which was signed by CAN Chairman, Reverend Dr Isaiah Magaji Jirapye, said “the attacks, which are unfolding unabated, have resulted in the deaths of many innocent people, while several commuters are also victims. “.
BENUE State Governor Samuel Ortom again condemned the ongoing terrorist attacks taking place across the country. Ortom described Nigeria as being under siege due to the activities of terrorists who have killed, maimed, kidnapped and raped Nigerians, and recently attacked churches and Christian clerics.
The Governor said this in London this weekend as he addressed Nigerian Nationals in the Diaspora and Friends of Nigeria at the International Ministerial Events on Freedom of Religion and Belief organized by the Para-Mallam Peace Foundation and the International Peace-Building and Social Justice.
He said: “The Constitution of Nigeria guarantees freedom of religion or belief. This is not the reality on the ground. We are besieged by terrorists. Nigeria is on the verge of collapse.
He advised Nigeria to respect certain freedoms for all as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the constitutions of most nations including the Nigeria and other rights documents to end the threat.
He said: “The bombing of churches and the murder of worshipers was a calculated attempt to scare the living into restricting their religious freedom.”
REACTING to the threat of terrorists against Christians, Chairman of Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria, Dr. Wilson Esangbedo, said it would be difficult for the government to avoid it, with the current security architecture. “The government must embrace private security companies now before it’s too late. The government is focusing more on the use of armed security forces, but unfortunately our numbers are too low due to the way government armed security personnel are used.
“Private security can provide effective surveillance systems that can signal enemy advances from miles away. Drones can be used to engage the enemy leading to more victories for government security forces.
“Every intelligence should be used to reinforce the security of soft targets. I am surprised that even at Abuja International Airport there is no security cordon as vehicles are allowed to pick up and drop off passengers right next to the departure and arrival hall.
“Most soft targets act as if there is no threat because we wait for a soft target to be hit before activating our security measures. The large estates must activate their protective measures, which must include armed men to repel the attacks of the invaders.
“Hotels and banks need to improve their security measures now to prevent attacks. There may be more kidnappings and bank robberies to fund their terrorist activities. Everyone must be involved in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria. This is the only way to win this war.
The national coordinator of the Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA), Emmanuel Onwubiko, urged the government not to take the threat lightly.
According to him, “the federal government is not engaged in the war on terror in Nigeria because the president has done nothing to prosecute the Boko Haram terrorists who have been arrested and detained while the president has a policy of release arrested Boko Haram terrorists as repentant terrorists.”