Rev. Joseph John Hayab, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State, stated that in the past four years, bandits have taken the lives of 23 pastors and forced the closure of 200 churches across Kaduna State. During a meeting with the State Commissioner of Police, Musa Yusuf Garba, and pastors representing various denominations from all 23 Local Government Areas of the state, Rev. Hayab emphasized the challenging times the Church has faced due to criminal activities in the state.
He shared a distressing incident where a pastor, kidnapped on August 8, 2023, reported that over 215 Christians were being held captive by bandits in the Birnin Gwani forest. The pastor recounted that the bandits even instructed him to lead prayers for the captives while he was in their custody. Rev. Hayab urged the Commissioner to address this issue comprehensively to restore the people’s confidence.
Former Secretary General of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) worldwide, Rev. Dr. Yunusa Nmadu Jnr, along with other pastors at the meeting, called on the Commissioner to hold accountable any pastors or imams involved in hate speeches or sermons. They also urged him to address cases of drug trafficking, noting that many criminal acts were committed under the influence of narcotics.
The Commissioner of Police stressed that criminality transcends religion and ethnicity, emphasizing that anyone engaged in criminal activities should be treated as a criminal, without categorizing them by their faith or background. He emphasized that security is a shared responsibility, with both the government and individuals playing crucial roles. The meeting aimed to strengthen the relationship between the police and religious leaders, address their challenges, and collaborate on potential solutions. The Commissioner assured that the police force, under his leadership, will do its utmost to fulfill its duties, and encouraged community members to promptly share any suspicious information with security personnel.