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Okowa condemns rising attacks on clerics, worship centres

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Ifeanyi Okowa

Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, yesterday, condemned the rising cases of kidnapping, killings and attacks on clerics and worship centres across the country.

He made the assertion at a security seminar tagged: Securing Worship Centres And Clergymen In Contemporary Nigeria, organised by Special Adviser to the governor on Religious Matters, Apostle Sylvanus Okorote in Asaba.

Okowa, who was represented by the Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, stated that while security agents were working hard to arrest criminals, it had become imperative to equip church leaders and their families with basic knowledge on personal security and safety at worship places.

He lamented that the country had in recent times witnessed rising cases of abductions and sometimes killing of pastors and in some cases, payment of ransoms for their release.

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“Although no fatality has been recorded among abducted clerics in Delta, this unholy trend calls for concern. Given the turbulence and uncertainties that have plagued the country in our recent political history, there is no gainsaying the fact that it is the prayer of the righteous that has kept Nigeria together,” he said.

He restated that his administration was committed to the security of the state and peaceful coexistence among the ethnic nationalities, adding: “We have continued to bolster our security architecture to ensure that together with your prayers, we win the battle against armed robbery, kidnapping, and all forms of criminality.

“We recently inaugurated Operation Delta Hawk, a joint task force with the mandate to take the fight to the criminals, whether bandits, kidnappers or armed herdsmen.”

Speaking, Okorote maintained that it was imperative that Christians should continue to pray for peace, security and progress of the country.

“It is not news any more that there is terrorism and kidnapping in the country, which has extended to our state, though not so severe.

“We have heard pastors being kidnapped and killed on several occasions, but before they start burning churches in Delta, we want to ensure that clerics know a bit of what to do to prevent such attacks,” he stated.

Keynote Speaker and Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State Chapter, Reverend Joseph Hayab, said it was important to establish that the country has security challenge and genuinely find ways of tackling it as a people.

Hayab, who said from scriptures and experience, there were ways to ensure that churches and pastors were secured, urged the church in Nigeria to wake up in prayers and stop the killings and kidnappings.

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