The Christian body noted that the only reason why the Boko Haram fighters are still holding Leah Sharibu captive is that she is a Christian and not a few Pastors and Christians have been attacked by the insurgents.
Leah, a Christian schoolgirl aged fourteen at the time of her capture, is the only remaining Dapchi schoolgirl still held hostage by the sect.
Speaking with SaharaReporters on Tuesday, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, the Spokesman for the CAN President, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, said that the body was not happy with the development but at the same time glad that it had caught the world leaders’ attention.
He said, “The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria is not happy that the US has placed Nigeria on a religious freedom blacķlist because of the implications, which include possible sanctions if it does not improve its record.
“But at the same time, we are encouraged that the world is aware of what is happening in the country. Although there is religious freedom in the country here, there is a lot of religious persecution in most of the states of the federation, especially in the northern part of the country.”
Highlighting the issues faced by Christians in parts of the country, the spokesperson said that in many states like Kano and Jigawa, Christians are denied the Certificate of Occupancy, churches are not allowed to purchase lands. They have to go through individuals to buy lands.
He added that some states in the North do not allow churches to be built within the towns and cities but rather to be situated in locations far away from the city
“In towns like Zaria, there are no churches within the city. Bible Knowledge is not being taught in most of the states in the North. Those state governments have forgotten that there are indigenous citizens who are Christians. Are these Christians not free to practise their religion if you said no to their quest for the Certificate of Occupancy?
“All these discriminatory policies are nothing but religious persecutions. If you ask them, mosques are built wherever they desire, and no government dare to ask for their Certificates of Occupancy. Recently in Jigawa State, churches were pulled down for not having the Certificate of Occupancy, and nobody dares touch the mosque in the same areas.”
Courtesy: Sahara Reporters