Buhari Reacts To CAN, Adeboye Prayer-Walk Protest Against Insecurity
President Muhammadu Buhari has reacted to the protest by leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Enoch Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), saying that every Nigerian has the right to a peaceful protest.
Leaders of CAN had declared Friday, 31 January, to Sunday, 2 February, 2020, as days for special fasting and prayer for Nigeria in all churches, home and abroad.
President of the Christian body, His Eminence Dr. Samson Ayokunle, said that the fasting was for the gruesome killing of innocent Nigerians to stop.
“Sunday 2nd February 2020 is declared a Special Prayer Walk by Christians in all the States of the Federation in the form of a procession to be led by States CAN Chairmen in their CAN Secretariats and pastors of churches in all churches in Nigeria,” Ayokunle had declared.
He urged churches to process round their area, pray for God’s permanent intervention and help from all over the world so that all Christians might not be consumed one by one.
However, Buhari, in a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said CAN leaders have every right to protest if they are not happy with the rate of insecurity in the country.
According to the president, either as a Christian or Muslim, all Nigerians and their beliefs must be respected.
He said: “The actions of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in recent days represent the peaceful right of all Nigerians to protest and express their views on matters of religion, ethics, politics and society.
“The origination of their protests is the shocking, unacceptable death of Pastor Lawan Andimi at the hands of Boko Haram. The President feels their pain, and that of his family, for his loss.
“The President believes, as does every member of his administration, both Christian and Muslim in the words of CAN’s placards: “All life is sacred.”
Buhari added: “The duty of all of us is to uphold the rights of others to worship according their faith – and to respect the rights of each other to do so freely in the spirit of brotherhood and respect – and without interference.
“This means, however, that we must stop false claims that only serve to divide one community against the other. There is no place in Nigeria for those who politicise religion. This is the President’s message to both Muslim and Christian communities alike.
“In the light of this, the CAN-inspired prayers and street enlightenment in our cities are much welcome as sensitizers to the need for ALL CITIZENS irrespective of faith, religion or language to accept their duty and role in law enforcement, to prevent crime in all its manifestations, be it corruption, theft, terrorism, banditry or kidnapping. Without citizen involvement, there is no miracle with which less than half-a-million policemen can effectively protect a population of 200 million.
“CAN is right to arouse popular consciousness to this duty to the state.
“One more thing is this: it is the added need for citizen-consciousness to stand up for nation. Nigerians, only Nigerians can defend their nation against these abhorrent killings and all sorts of crimes worrying us as a nation.
“From the prayers and advocacy by CAN, citizens need to take an important lesson, which is, that our people must rally around the flag. Together, they rise to defeat the enemy and defend the state. In Nigeria, some groups rally against the government instead of the enemy. This is not right. It has the effect of playing into the hands of the enemy of the state.
“We will not defeat the terrorists, nor speed the return for those citizens, young and old taken by them by division in our own ranks. To pull apart is to play into the hands of the terrorists: this is what they want,” he added.
There has been a resurgence in attacks by Boko Haram terrorists and bandits in the country.
CAN recently condemned the killing of Rev. Lawan Andimi, the Chairman of CAN in Adamawa.
Andimi, a pastor with the Church of the Brethren at the District Church Council of Michika, was reportedly killed in Michika by suspected Boko Haram members.
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