‘Bandits rob Northern Christians of pilgrimage fund’
Deny thousands visit to holy land
CHRISTIAN Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State chapter, has decried the adverse effect of insecurity on thousands of Christians in the North, particularly in the state.
According to CAN, the millions of naira that would have been used for pilgrimage to Jerusalem are used to pay ransom to terrorists.
The Vice Chairman of CAN for Northern States and Chairman of Kaduna chapter, Rev. Joseph Hayab, stated this when the Executive Secretary, Kaduna State Pilgrim Welfare Agency, Yusuf Arrigarayyu, visited Kaduna CAN headquarters.
Lamenting that very few Christians go to Jerusalem, Hayab said: “The issue of going to pilgrimage, to us at CAN, is not the priority; but our priority is how people can be secured and live peacefully. Christians in Kaduna paid huge sum of money to bandits, and l can’t see a group of Christians that have paid bandits millions of naira to again sponsor themselves to Jerusalem for pilgrimage. It is not about going to Jerusalem, but it is about the restoration of peace in the state.”
He accused the Kaduna government for not governing by the rule of law, but by coercion.
“Today, people think it is well in Kaduna. But we have just stopped talking about kidnapping. You know very well that things are happening everyday. What we want now is how we can work together to restore peace in Kaduna, stop the pretence and face the reality of what is happening around us.
“Offerings that come from churches end up in bandits’ den as ransom. With all that is happening, Christians find it very difficult to go to Jerusalem for pilgrimage,” he stressed.
On the establishment of the pilgrim agency in Kaduna, he explained: “It is the conventional practice worldwide and according to law and practice that if you want to do anything that you want to establish an agency by law, you don’t do it by being coercive; you ask the House of Assembly by sending a bill. The House will have a first or second reading and then have a public hearing.
“We are stakeholders. A letter will be written to us and we will come as stakeholders and give our contributions on the issue supporting or opposing the establishment of the agency. Then the House will vote. But in Kaduna, we are not being governed by law, but by coercion and whatever is given to us we take and nobody talks.”