The President, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Baptist Conference, Reverend Dr Dogara Raphael Gwana, has condemned the seeming compromised security architecture which allows terrorists and kidnappers to operate with impunity and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address the menace.
Rev Dogara, who also cautioned the political parties against fielding same faith presidential ticket, made this known while addressing journalists at the opening of the 7th Annual Session of the Conference in Abuja.
He said, “The cases of insecurity are increasing exponentially. Most recently, in the Kajuru area of Kaduna State, some churches were attacked by the usual unknown gunmen killing three people and abducting scores of others. The attacks have become so regular that using the appellation ‘unknown’ appears a contradiction.
“Government cannot claim that these men are unknown gun men, considering the regularity of their operations. Daredevils cannot continue to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens while government maintains that the assailants are unknown.
“The tragic massacre of Christian worshippers in a Church in Owo, Ondo cannot be easily forgotten. Kidnapping for ransom has become a big business in Nigeria and the Christian fold has suffered immensely in this menace. Bethel Baptist Comprehensive High school children were taken and the church went through the harrowing experience of having to pay ransom and most recently the Prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, His Eminence, Samuel Kanu-Uche and two others were abducted and the church had to pay a huge amount of money to secure their release.”
The Baptist pastor who condemned the monetization of the process that produced the presidential candidates of some political parties warned parties against fielding Muslim/Muslim ticket or Christian/Christian ticket.
“The National elections are here with us and several alliances, coalitions and all forms of political maneuvers are already ongoing. What we saw recently during the party primaries leaves a very bad taste. It is unfortunate that the few people called delegates who have the responsibility of presenting elective options to Nigerians were practically bought by those with deep pockets. It is most unfortunate that those who aspire to govern Nigeria were spending foreign currencies unabated.
“Now the presidential candidates are selecting running mates and some are considering picking their kin from the same religious enclaves. They do not have any argument as to the region where the running mte should come from but they make attempts to pick from their religious bedrooms. The FCT Baptist Conference joins other well-meaning Nigerians especially the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to state unequivocally that such actions are most unfair and unjust. It is not in keeping with the principles of fair play and equal representation to go this path.”
Recalling the role of Governor Nasir el-Rufai in the controversy, the cleric reminded him that since the Governor dropped his Christian deputy, Kaduna State had remained polarised with attendant consequences.
“We heard the governor of Kaduna state making statements to justify this and citing the fact that he did same in Kaduna. What he has failed to state is how that action had helped in uniting the state. We live in Nigeria and we know that there is no state in Nigeria that is as polarized as Kaduna.
“The state is bleeding and is being overtaken by terrorism and yet the governor comes to national media to justify an act that is condemned by all even including some of his revered Islamic clerics.”
Dogara who expressed disappointment in the extended ASUU strike appealed to the Federal government and the leadership of ASUU “to return to the negotiating table with the sole aim of rescuing the future of our younger generation.”
On the recent Supreme Court’s decision on the wearing of hijab in public schools, the cleric disclosed that the verdict did not “go down well with Nigerian Christians especially the Nigerian Baptist Convention.”
According to him, “All over the country, there are some schools that were established by some Islamic organizations which were taken over by the Federal government when the Christian missions’ schools were taken over.
“Yet till today, those schools with the Islamic origins are still maintaining their traditions and cultures. But their Christian counterparts are being denied such rights. This is why we are joining the Nigerian Baptist Convention in calling for the return of all Christian schools that were taken over by the government during military era.
” Returning those schools will help their original owners to restore sanity back to the system.”