17th September, 2021
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has blamed the worsening cases of banditry, kidnapping, terrorism and armed robbery in the country on the almajiri system in northern Nigeria.
The chairman of CAN in Imo State, Rev. Dr. Eches Divine Eches, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja, ahead of the organisation’s 45th anniversary and Founder’s Day billed to hold today in Owerri, the Imo state capital.
Eches said banditry and kidnapping are increasing because the authorities have failed to pay more attention to the critical factors behind the widespread insecurity in the country.
He also expressed concern over Sheikh Ahmed Gumi’s links with the bandits terrorising the Northwest and the alleged helplessness of the government to arrest and caution him for his many ‘unguarded utterances’ about their activities.
“You can’t have Almajiri system for life and government in the last 40 years in our nation kept bringing up people without any trace to families, hometowns or nationalities.
“They are scattered all over the street, without you knowing that someday, they will leave the streets and go to the bush where they will begin to do the trade of kidnapping.
“Also, you can’t, in any sane nation, have the likes of Gumi, a religious scholar, going about promoting banditry and you don’t think that this will continue. Yet, that is what we are seeing today. We are not seeing anything more than what we have planted.
“We allowed this thing (insecurity) to continue and it is now going to consume the nation if drastic measures are not put in place to take them (Almajiri) out of the streets, give them a sense of belonging, put them in school, and help them realise their potentials.
“These bandits we find today were the Almajiri who used to be in front of our houses, begging for food.
“We are praying and that is why God is still sustaining our nation. I trust God will continue to sustain us in Jesus name,” he said.
Speaking on CAN’s 45th anniversary of its Founder’s Day, Eches said the programme was necessary to remember the labour of past heroes, including over 250 retired church leaders and indigent youth and women who were weak.
“They, retired church leaders, laboured to bring to bear what we are enjoying and working on today. We thought it very necessary to remember the weak among us, as most of them are passing through terrible times, especially in such a time as this in our nation.
“So, we thought it very important that we will use this 45th anniversary of our Founders’ Day to celebrate such a people and remember their labours, and say to them ‘you deserve to be celebrated’ both by cash and gift,” he said.