Troops arrest Boko Haram mastermind of Benue killings

*Army personnel

…CAN mobislises churches for protests against killings

The Nigerian Army has arrested a key Boko Haram believed to be the mastermind of the recent killings in Benue State.

A statement issued by assistant director, army public relations, Major Olabisi Ayeni said one Aminu Yaminu, aka Tarshaku, was arrested by combined troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade, Nigeria Police and the Department of State Services in Makurdi.

“Nigerian troops have arrested the key Boko Haram suspect known as Aminu Yaminu, nicknamed Tashaku, who is believed to have masterminded most of the recent attacks in Benue State.

“As earlier stated, Nigerian Army will ensure that the enemies of peace in the state are brought to justice. Nigerian Army encourages all law-abiding citizens to go about their lawful business without fear.

“They should also avail the Nigerian Army and other security agencies of timely information that could lead to the arrest of criminal elements in our society.”

He also said Aminu had also concluded plans with his cohorts in Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa states to launch attacks on innocent citizens in the state.

Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has mobilised churches nation-wide for peaceful protests on Sunday, April 29, 2018 against ceaseless killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen in the country.

Pastor Bayo Olajide, special assistant on media and communications to the CAN president, Rev. Olasupo Ayokunle said all was set for the nation-wide protests against the killings of Christians as well as other Nigerians across the country.

Earlier, Ayokunle had in a statement urged Christians to hold peaceful protests within their church premises on April 29.

The call was made in reaction to the killing of two priests and 17 worshippers at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Mbalom, Gwer East local government area of Benue State on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.

“CAN urges Christians in Nigeria to hold peaceful protests on the set-aside date, in the premises of their churches, asking the Federal Government and the security agencies to stop the unending killings and bloodshed in the country.

“Christians are to carry placards with inscriptions meant to address issues about sustained killings, attacks and destruction of their property in Nigeria.

“The inscriptions on placards could read, ‘Enough of bloodshed in Nigeria,’ ‘Enough of unlawful killings in the country’, ‘FG, release Leah Sharibu from bondage,’ ‘FG, stop herdsmen killings,’ and ‘CAN rejects FG’s poor handling of insecurity,’” said Ayokunle.

Olajide told Punch that all chapters of CAN had been informed of the planned protests, noting that these chapters would send the message to all the churches in their domain.

“We have informed every chapter of CAN; we have sent messages to church leaders. We have to make our impact felt. We cannot force anybody to do it, but they all know the position of CAN,” he said.

When asked if CAN would apply for a police permit for the protest, the CAN spokesman said the church did not need a permit.

“Do I need a police permit to stand in front of my church and say this is my position? Do you need a police permit to address a press conference? A court has ruled that for every peaceful protest, you don’t need a police permit. The highest court in the land also affirmed it. You don’t need a police permit to stage a peaceful protest; we have freedom of assembly and association,” he said.

Addressing journalists at a news conference in Abuja, the general-secretary of CAN, Rev. Musa Asake, catalogued the killings and bloodshed across the country, noting that the Buhari-led administration had returned the nation to the Dark Age.

“War seems to be looming in Nigeria while the aggressors are no other than misguided individuals who had been armed to provoke different communities into needless battles.

“Yet, President Buhari, who was popularly elected in 2015, has not seen the need and urgency to issue a presidential order on the need to halt the killings and with stern instruction to heads of security operatives to bring perpetrators to book.

“The Dark Age has come with the administration of President Buhari in Nigeria, (which) is giving the Christians in this country a huge concern.

“All the same, Mr. President has his own interests, the most important of which is to seek re-election to remain in power beyond 2019 and continue with the reign of terror in Nigeria. It does not matter how many Nigerians will end up as sacrificial lambs on that single ambition.”

Meanwhile, CAN chapters in Benue, Taraba, Osun, Ogun, and Delta states as well as the national leadership of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, whose members include The Redeemed Christian Church of God; Living Faith Church Worldwide International, aka Winners Chapel; The Redeemed Evangelical Mission and Deeper Christian Life Ministry, said they would comply with the CAN directive.

The national publicity secretary of the PFN, Bishop Emmah Isong, said, “CAN is a family made up of five brothers and one of the biggest is the PFN; it is powerful because churches like RCCG, Winners Chapel, TREM, Deeper Life, Assemblies of God, name them, belong to the PFN. So when CAN gives instructions, the PFN is bound to comply with and will certainly obey those instructions, we cannot do otherwise.”



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