Nigerians are outraged over the killing of Reverend Lawan Andimi, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika LGA of Adamawa State, Northeast Nigeria.
Andimi, a pastor was with Eklissiyar ‘Yan’ uwa A Najeriya (EYN) at Kwarhi in Hong LGA, was abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents on January 3 and executed on January 20.
The clergyman hailed from Chibok LGA of Borno State but was pastoring in Adamawa State.
He was reportedly killed and beheaded for refusing to renounce his Christian faith and after the insurgents rejected the N50 million ransom offered to them.
President Muhammadu Buhari described the killing as cruel, inhuman and deliberately provocative.
In a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu, Buhari consoled the Christian community all over Nigeria, the government and people of Adamawa as well as the Bishop’s family over the sad loss of the man of God.
He said terrorists would continue to pay a heavy price for their actions and “comprehensively be defeated by our determined armed forces.”
The president asked countries of the world to end all support provided to the Boko Haram and Islamic States in West Africa (ISWA) terrorist groups whose only goal, according to him, was to sow death, violence and destruction in the sub-region.
Also reacting, the Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State described Andimi’s killing as barbaric.
In a statement by his Director General of Media and Communication, Solomon Kumanga, Fintiri expressed deep sadness by the “gruesome execution” of the clergyman.
The national leadership of CAN condemned the killing and that of other Nigerians by Boko Haram, saying it was “reprehensible, unacceptable and unprecedented since Nigeria came into existence.”
CAN President, Samson Ayokunle, at a press conference in Abuja on January 22, said “Nigeria is under siege orchestrated by the murderous blood-thirsty and criminally-minded Boko Haram terrorists, Fulani terrorist herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers who are all armed to the teeth, dressed in army uniforms, and gradually overwhelming our security agencies.”
The Northern Christian Association of Nigeria, in a statement by its chairman, Reverend Yakubu Pam, decried the killing, saying Christians in the North were under siege following the killing of faithful in the region by Boko Haram and ISWAP.
Also, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) described Andimi’s killing as “barbaric, provocative and a flagship example of man’s inhumanity to man.”
The Council led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, said if the killings were not checked, it would send wrong signals to Christian faithful in the North West and North Central geo-political zones.
“The council believes that Boko Haram is trying to make the country ungovernable and to incite Christians against Muslims in Nigeria,” it said.
The Council expressed its heartfelt condolences to the immediate family of Pastor Andimi.
The statement by its spokesperson, Aselemi Ibrahim, said “The situation on the ground looks like the entire northern Christians are “under siege.”
It said, “The situation on the ground looks like the entire northern Christian are ‘under siege.’
“The inter-religious leaders in the North have worked so hard to bring Christianity and Islam adherents to work closely with one another for peace in the northern states in recent years.
“The gains made are now being eroded with the recent development of upsurge of Jihadist on the loose in the North eastern states.”
The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), in a statement by its National President, Felix Omobude, condemned the killing, saying it was barbaric.
“We strongly condemn the barbaric killing of this innocent man on account of his faith by this evil gang of terrorists, whose record of crimes against humanity continues to worsen by the day,” Omobude said.
“We are shocked that the activities of Boko Haram have, of late, been on the increase, in spite of the claims by the federal government that the group has been technically defeated.”
Omobude, who is the general superintendent of Covenant Bible Church, asked the federal government to take the security of life and property of Nigerians more seriously.
He added, “Redeployment of security chiefs will bring in fresh ideas and revitalise the operation and find ways to tackle the acts of banditry, kidnapping and other heinous crimes being perpetrated across different parts of the country.”
Omobude also enjoined Christians to continue to pray for the bereaved family and uphold Nigeria in prayer “so that this orgy of violence and bloodletting can come to an end and the will of God for the country might come to pass.”
On its part, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), in a statement by it spokesperson, Muhammad Ibrahim, described the killing as cruel and despicable.
“The cruel act by the abductors was barbaric, despicable and should be condemned by all peace-loving people,” it said.
Ibrahim asked the federal government to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act and prosecute them.
The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) described the killing and beheading Andimi as “yet another sad tale of the inhuman activities of the terrorist group which is bent on unleashing sorrow in the hearts of Nigerians.”
In a statement by its chairman, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, described the killing
In a statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Makut Macham, Governor Simon Lalong. urged the Andimi family not to allow the ugly incident affect their faith in God and love for humanity.
He added, “The Northern Governors’ Forum remains united in their support for security agencies to continue to rise up to not only terrorist groups, but all forms of criminality that seek to divide the country along ethnic, religious or political lines.”
Amnesty International (AI), on its part, condemned the killing, adding that crimes committed by the insurgent must not go unpunished.
Director of AI in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho, urged the government to rescue all those in Boko Haram’s captivity.
“Since December last year, Boko Haram has been escalating attacks on civilians, commuters, infrastructure and humanitarian facilities across northeast,” he said.
“Amnesty International is appalled by reports that Reverend Lawan Andimi, the chairman of a local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), was killed by Boko Haram yesterday,” the statement said.
“With this horrific murder and an increasing number of attacks in recent weeks, Boko Haram has again shown its brazen disregard for the sanctity of life. These deplorable crimes must not go unpunished.
“It is appalling that Boko Haram followed up the killing of Rev. Lawan Andimi on Monday with an attack on his village – in Chibok local government Borno state. Targeting civilians is a crime under international law.
“Boko Haram must immediately stop its attacks on civilians. All those responsible for war crimes and other human rights violations and abuses in Nigeria must be brought to justice in a fair trial.
“The Nigerian authorities must re-double their efforts to rescue the hundreds of civilians still detained by Boko Haram.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State, has announced scholarship awards to the children of the executed clergyman.
The governor disclosed this during his visit to Andimi’s family.
Fintiri also visited the headquarters of Eklissiyar ‘Yan’ uwa A Najeriya to commiserate with the church over the killing of Andimi.