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Northern CAN: Ransom, amnesty won’t end banditry

•Advocates intelligence gathering, naming of banditry sponsors

 

Baba Negedu KADUNA The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 Northern states and Abuja yesterday insisted that payment of ransom or granting amnesty to kidnappers and bandits would not end the prevailing insecurity in the country.

 

This came as the association noted that intelligence gathering leading to exposing the perpetrators and sponsors of banditry could help in ending the menace. Pastor Yakubu Pam, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), 19 Northern States and Abuja, disclosed this to newsmen in Kaduna, shortly after paying a condolence visit to the pioneer Secretary General of the Northern CAN, Samuel Salifu, over the death of his wife. Pam, who is also the Executive Secretary, Christian Pilgrims Commission, said: “The issue of paying ransom to kidnappers will not solve this problem. What will solve this problem is our intelligence.

 

People are being cheated because of lack about information. When we have information about whom this bad people are, I think Nigeria will solve the problem. If we are very sincere in bringing them out, even if it is my son, let him face the wrath of the law.

 

I think that will be very important in solving these problems.” He also said: “Giving amnesty to such people, I think amnesty is not something that will just be given on platter of gold, just like that.

 

Amnesty is given when people come out to show remorse; when they show that they regretted what they did. It should be done in a way that he who is receiving the amnesty will know the value and it shouldn’t be given just like that. It should first and foremost be preached to this people, let them come by themselves and government will access them together with Nigerians.

 

“We are so worried about the state of the nation regarding banditry, kidnapping and insecurity. And that is why yesterday (Friday) we called for northern CAN NEC meeting and throughout the night, we had to discuss. We are living in a troubled time, challenging time.

 

“We all agreed that we must appeal to the Federal Government, state governors, leadership down to the grassroots, local government, particularly here in northern Nigeria, that they must, this time around, stop giving mere assurance on the media and become practical where they will engage citizens in solving these problems. “Security must be engaged in solving these problems from the local level to the national level.

 

The situation is very challenging. Government must engage the citizens in finding solutions to these problems from local to national levels. It is the only way we can come out of this.

 

“Coming to our own area here in the North, we have a peculiar problem; fundamental issues that have risen to be the cause of some of these problems and one of them is unemployment. Our youths are roaming on the streets and we must address the issue of lack of employment and also injustice. Injustice is all over. Criminals are seen walking on the streets. We must rise and address these issues holistically and objectively.

 

“Community leaders must also take responsibility at this moment to make sure we address our young people. Patience has a virtue; patience in building our nation and also we must learn from other nations that have passed through all kinds of challenges like ours.

 

Go to Rwanda today. Rwanda was a no place yesterday, full of genocidal ethnic wars, religious wars. We can stop all these ugly situations and make a Uturn to make our country better. Our worry is more on northern Nigeria and we must make sure that our women and youth are gainfully employed.”

 

Earlier, while consoling the bereaved, Pastor Pam said that they were there on a sad note “because of what happened to one of us, the first Secretary General of northern CAN. He was also a founding member of CAN.

 

We are supposed to be around him as CAN family. We have learnt so much from him as a man of endurance. “He is a strong believer of Christ. We came to give him a word of comfort. He lost an understanding and caring wife. Our Father and brother fought for this nation by contributing to democracy in the country. We pray to God to guide him and comfort him.”

 

Responding, Salifu said that there is always a moment of truth. “We must hold onto the truth no matter how unpalatable. The real truth, which people don’t want to hear, is to hold onto Jesus Christ.

 

“We must hold onto truth without compromise because government will come and go. If we don’t take to the words of Christ, we are wasting our time. Nobody should trade the truth for anything.”

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