The Christian Association of Nigeria is demanding answers from the Nigerian government as the interdenominational body calls for three days of prayer and fasting after the execution of one of its leaders.
Following the beheading of Rev. Lawan Andimi at the hands of Boko Haram Monday, CAN issued sharp words of criticism for the Nigerian federal government due to its inability to thwart attacks and abductions carried out against Christians by Boko Haram and the Islamic State’s West Africa Province in Nigeria’s northeast.
Andimi, a Church of the Brethren pastor and chairman of CAN’s chapter in the Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, was abducted by alleged Boko Haram militants in early January.
Days later he appeared in a ransom video pleading with church and government leaders to secure his release. However, the pastor was said to have been executed because the underserved Christian community could not raise enough funds to meet the ransom demands of his captors. Additionally, sources say that Andimi refused to renounce his faith in Christ.
“We recall sadly that Late Rev. Lawan Andimi while in captivity made a passionate appeal to the leadership of his church and the federal government to come to his rescue,” a CAN statement issued by CAN’s Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel Vondip, reads.
“The church did everything within her reach to secure the safe release of this pastor gentleman but it was not possible because they didn’t have the military power to do so.”
The CAN statement, obtained by The Chrisitian Post, also mourned the killing of Lutheran Pastor Denis Bagauri, who was killed in his home Sunday by unknown gunmen.
“The church views the unabated kidnappings, extortions and killings of Christians and innocent Nigerians as shameful to the government that each time boasts that it has conquered insurgency,” CAN noted. “It is reprehensible and saddening that each time the government comes out to claim the defeat of the insurgency, more killings of our people are committed.”
One human rights nongovernmental organization estimates that at least 1,000 Christians were killed by Boko Haram and Fulani radicals in 2019.