CHRISTIAN Association of Nigeria (Can) president Reverend Samson Ayokunle has called on the federal government to arrest the leaders of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) for sponsoring crime across the country.
Earlier this week, Boko Haram murdered Can leader Pastor Lawan Andimi, a leading church figure, kidnapped in northeast Nigeria on January 2. A video announcing the pastor’s murder, which took place on 20 January, was released today by Boko Haram via its regular journalist contact, Ahmad Salkida.
In his final message to his family and colleagues, Pastor Lawan Andimi urged them not to cry or worry about him but to “thank God for everything. Leaving behind a wife and seven children, Pastor Andimi was the chairman of Can in Adamawa State.
In a video released by his captors on 5 January, the pastor had called on senior CAN colleagues to ask the State governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, to intercede for his release. It is thought that the church was involved in negotiations with the captors when Pastor Andimi was killed.
Pastor Andimi, in his final statement, had told his family and colleagues not to cry or worry about him but to thank God for everything. One regional analyst has warned that there are indications that Boko Haram is extending its territory in northeast Nigeria.
At least four murderous Islamist attacks have taken place in the region in less than a month, including the beheading of 10 Christian men and shooting of an eleventh by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (Iswap). Over the past year there has also seen a significant increase in Boko Haram activity in neighbouring Cameroon.
Pastor Ayokunle said: “The federal government should order the arrest of the leadership of the Miyetti Allah groups who are sponsoring and perpetuating the crime of Nigeria and prosecute them for all the killings in southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and Taraba states, among others.”
He raised concerns that the group may be progressively combining forces with other terrorist militia including Iswap, Fulani herdsmen and Al Shabaab. However, Pastor Andimi said he was resigned to his fate as it was the will of God.
He added: “I have never been discouraged because all conditions that one finds himself is in the hands of God. By the grace of God, I will be together with my wife, my children and my colleagues. If the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God.”