The Nasarawa state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday turned down an offer of five slots to perform this year’s pilgrimage exercise to the holy land of Jerusalem by the state over the persistent killing of its members and destruction of churches by ‘imported mercenaries’.
The state government had, through the office of the state Christian Pilgrimage Welfare Board, allocated five slots to CAN for the 2014 pilgrimage exercise but in a letter addressed to Governor Al-Makura, the association said that it would not embark on a journey in the name of pilgrimage while victims of the incessant crisis in the state are wondering without places to live.
In the letter, jointly signed by the association’s chairman and secretary, Apostle Nwakamuo and Elder Yohanna Samari and made available to newsmen in Lafia, the state capital yesterday, CAN maintained that it’s action was predicated on the fact that the association is a body of faith and conscience and would not embark on the journey while the immediate community was in chaos without proactive measures by the state government to restore peace.
The letter reads in parts: “Our action is predicated on the fact that CAN is a body of faith and conscience and judging from the recent happenings in the state, particularly the southern zone, where law-abiding, peace-loving and hardworking citizens of Nigerian and indigenes of Nasarawa state are being killed, slaughtered, raped, maimed and displaced from their villages and communities by imported Fulani mercenary/militia/fundamentalist on daily basis without any visible proactive measure taken by Nasarawa state government”
“Your Excellency, our Holy Scriptures, in the book of Mathew 5:23-24 forbids our carrying out of sacrifices without first mending broken fences. We cannot embark on a journey in the name of pilgrimage while so many souls are wondering without a place to put their heads on to sleep, food to eat and water to drink”.
While demanding for full compensation of homes and churches destroyed by the imported insurgents, the association called on the state government to end the brutal and senseless killings and to create an enabling environment for the rural dwellers to return to their places of abode without molestation or fear of further attacks.