500 Christians kidnapped, N300m ransom paid in Kaduna – CAN
Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said that the Church lost N300 million as a ransom for 500 kidnapped Christians in the state in the past two years.
It urged the Federal Government to immediately wade into the increasing level of kidnapping in the state.
The chairman, Rev. Joseph Hayab, warned against the activities of armed bandits and Fulani herdsmen in the state who have turned kidnapping and other acts of criminality to a business venture.
“We have been computing the number of Christians kidnapped in Kaduna State in the last two years. Over 500 of them that we know, either in the villages or in towns, have been kidnapped,” he said.
Hayab pointed out that the activities of the kidnappers forced inhabitants of 10 villages to flee from their homes to other parts of the state.
His words: “The people affected are predominantly Christians, who are residing along Abuja-Kaduna highway. They have parked out of the settlement completely and we have closed down our churches because of the activities of the kidnappers.
“We are still computing, but at the last count, we realised that the church has coughed out over N300 million as ransom to kidnappers. In one village, the church has given kidnappers over N20 million. In the case of the chief of Kajuru that was killed, it was N8 million the kidnappers took.
“There was a reverend father in Kachia, they took about N1.5 million. They still killed him. In Dankande, Birnin-Gwari, they collected over N7 million before they released those people to us.”
Hayab called on the Federal Government to immediately step into the problem and rescue the Christian population in the state from the hands of criminal elements.
Cautioning against the use of northern media by some people to blackmail him for speaking out against the Kaduna government, he added: “Those who are being sponsored by the government to blackmail us lie against us that we are doing it for political reasons. Can someone tell us whether there is a place in the constitution of Nigeria that stops me from being a member of a political party, which I am not?”
The cleric remarked that immediately he raised the alarm over the killing of Living Faith Church pastor and the kidnap of his wife in Kaduna last Monday, “the next day, they hired a columnist to lie against me in a northern newspaper that I was doing it for a political party or political reasons.”