Over 200 churches have been closed and 23 pastors have been slain as a result of bandit attacks in some sections of Kaduna State in the last four years, according to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Reverend Joseph Hayab, the Chairman of the CAN in Kaduna State, revealed the data during a confidence-building meeting with Christian leaders from the state’s 23 LGAs and the state Commissioner of Police, Musa Garba.
“Let me say this to you Commissioner that over 200 churches in Kaduna have been shut down. The Baptist have over 115 churches shut down from Birni Gwari to Chukun and Kajuru, the churches are no longer there.
“When you go to many churches now you will see many pastors who come from churches that have been shut down because they cannot continue, that is the kind of situation we are facing.
“ECWA can tell you hundreds of their churches, Assemblies of God, the Catholic Church and many other churches. So, we are forced to shut down because of insecurity in Kaduna State”, the Kaduna CAN Chairman said.
Other speakers at the gathering urged the police commissioner to follow through on his comments by going after the bandits, and to consider penalizing religious leaders who deliver hate sermons and speeches.
Banditry and terrorism have had varying effects on Kaduna State communities, claiming hundreds of innocent lives and destroying property worth millions of naira, including places of worship.
This is on top of the massive humanitarian catastrophe caused by thousands of internally displaced people, whose livelihoods have also been interrupted by criminal activity.