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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has directed churches in Kaduna State to suspend this year's Christmas Eve services.

CAN gave the directive amidst escalating terror killings and kidnappings by bandits in the state, saying pre-Christmas services, usually held during nightfall to herald the birth of Jesus Christ should not hold this year.

CAN chairman in Kaduna state, Rev. John Joseph Hayap, told SaharaReporters that "leaders of the Christian body were perturbed by the spike in violent crimes being perpetrated against Christians in the North".

He added, "Yes, we have written to churches to suspend this year's Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve events because of security concerns.

"We took this decision because the government of Nigeria and its security agents have failed the Christian community.

"All they do is to make press statements expressing sadness anytime our people are killed; we're tired of that.

"However, in areas our people feel they can afford to congregate for Christmas Eve services, they should do so under security measures. Even at that, all services must end before 6:00 pm." 

SaharaReporters on November 29, 2021, reported that a group of bandits had written to the Christian community in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria to close churches or risk ferocious attacks.

Also on December 15, 2021, it was reported that the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP)'s faction of Boko Haram terrorists had sent threat letters to some communities in Adamawa State, saying it would attack during the Christmas season.

To allay the fears of Christmas season attacks as threatened by the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP), the Adamawa State governor, Ahmadu Fintiri spent three days in some of the communities under threat.

SaharaReporters had learnt that Fintiri on Friday, December 17, 2021, embarked on a three-day confidence-boosting visit to the area.

Meanwhile, a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, says the deteriorating security situation has resulted in a humanitarian emergency, with more than 8.7 million people requiring urgent assistance in northern Nigeria.

It further says, "Since 2011, inter-communal violence, rooted in competition over scarce resources, has escalated in central and north-west Nigeria. 

"Violence between herding and farming communities has become increasingly deadly as a result of the proliferation of armed groups and gangs who engage in organized cattle-rustling, kidnapping, plunder, murder and rape. 

"The emergence and expansion of armed banditry in the north-west resulted in at least 4,900 people killed between 2018-2020 and has displaced hundreds of thousands.

"Kidnappings by armed extremist groups and bandits have become endemic in northern Nigeria, with more than 950 children kidnapped since December 2020. More than 200 students remain missing." 






Original Author

SaharaReporters, New York

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