Nigeria’s Church Leaders Condemn Sunday Killing, Abduction of Christians in Kaduna Region

A map of Kaduna State in Northwest Nigeria/ Credit: Bioreports

Church leaders in Nigeria’s Kaduna region have condemned the Sunday killing and abduction of Christians of a local church, saying the incident is an expression of the “sorry state of the security situation in the country and in particular, Kaduna State.”

Armed gunmen reportedly attacked Haske Baptist Church at Manini village, in Chikun Local Government Area on Sunday, April 25 at 9.00 a.m. and started shooting indiscriminately killing one person and abducting four others.

In a statement seen by ACI Africa, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kaduna Chapter says, “Innocent worshipers who went out for nothing but to worship and pray to God were attacked ... This is happening in a nation that her constitution allows freedom of religion yet this freedom is not guaranteed.” 

“Our hearts are saddened over the sorry security situation in our dear state (Kaduna State). It has grown so unfortunate and on a daily basis continues to grow worse with no appreciable resistance given the unholy terrorists who have continued to hold our dear state and nation to ransom,” the Christian leaders further say.

In their statement signed by the Secretary of Kaduna CAN, Rev. Caleb Maaji, the Christian leaders among them Catholic officials in the region said that they continue “to wonder what the crime of innocent citizens is.”


“How come the terrorists appear more free and protected than the citizens?” CAN representatives pose, adding, “This is a challenge to the government, indeed a government that is unable to guarantee the safety of its citizens and their properties will be best termed a failed government.”

They express their solidarity with the affected local Church, the Nigeria Baptist Convention and family members of the deceased, praying “for the safe release of the abducted members and indeed all others in captivity.”

“We also enjoined all men and women of goodwill to continue to wake up and do the needful before we are all consumed by the ongoing evil of banditry and kidnapping that has hijacked our country especially Kaduna State,” the Christian leaders say in their April 25 statement.

Further, the members of CAN call on the Kaduna State Government and the Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to “stop making noise about insecurity and simply act now before Nigerians will have no option than to turn to self-help.”

Located in Northwestern Nigeria, Kaduna State has “experienced various forms of conflict since the early 1970s leading to division along religious, ethnic, socio-cultural and regional lines,” an official of The Kukah Centre (TKC) in Nigeria told ACI Africa in an April 22 interview.

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According to the Project Coordinator of TKC, Hajara Vicham Waziri, Southern Kaduna, which has witnessed frequent conflicts, “has become the threshold for violent and massive killings especially in the years 1987, 1992, 2000, 2011, and 2016 to 2020.”

“Ethnic minority tensions and conflicts in Southern Kaduna have probably engendered far more serious violence than any other forms of communal instability in recent Nigerian history,” the official of the Catholic-based policy research institute named after the Bishop of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Hassan Kukah, further said.

The leadership of the policy research institute appeals to the parties in the conflict to consider changing the military approach in resolving the crisis, as it is a “continuous failure” and instead consider a “soft approach.”

“It is time to change the strategy. A soft approach that should not involve the military or the use of force. There should be some form of structural approach that provides jobs and discourages young people from joining militant gangs,” Ms. Waziri told ACI Africa.

She added, “Stakeholders should create platforms for dialogue and reconciliation between and among warring parties and non-governmental organizations and private companies/individuals to take charge of this process. This should be built on the premise that survivors of this conflict have lost trust and hope in the government.”