The Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, confirmed the execution of Lawan Andimi, Chairman of CAN in Michika, Adamawa state by Boko Haram.
Bishop Dami Mamza, Adamawa state Chairman of CAN revealed that the Islamist extremists who kidnapped Andimi “were offered N50 million but they rejected it.” Mamza explained that “negotiations were still ongoing when they stopped calling.”
CAN President, Samson Ayokunle, in a statement, said that “the church did everything within her reach to secure the safe release of this pastor but it was not possible because we didn’t have the military power to do so.” Ayokunle added that he is “almost losing hope in the government’s ability to protect Nigerians, especially Christians.”
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari while reacting to the execution of Andimi condemned the killing and described it as cruel, inhuman and deliberately provocative. Buhari condoled the Christian community all over Nigeria, the government and people of Adamawa State, likewise the bishop’s family over the sad loss of the cleric.
In a tweet, the president claims that “this incident has further strengthened our resolve as a government, to comprehensively defeat all terrorist groups.” He further affirms Nigerians that his government “will ensure that these terrorists pay a heavy price for their evil actions.”
Similarly, Osai Ojigho Director of Amnesty International Nigeria, in a statement castigated the killing of Andimi. He stated that “with this horrific murder and an increase in the number of attacks in recent weeks, Boko Haram has again shown its brazen disregard for the sanctity of life.”
Amnesty has warned the terrorists that targeting civilians is a crime under international law and that its “deplorable crimes must not go unpunished.”
Before the cleric’s execution, Andimi was declared missing on January 2, 2020, and had a video published on January 5 confirming he was in the custody of Boko Haram. The video which was exclusively obtained by Ahmed Salkida, a conflict, and terrorist reporter, revealed Andimi pleading with top CAN officials and the government of Adamawa state to facilitate his release.
However, CAN, Nigeria’s largest ecumenical body did not address the video officially although an official from Adamawa state Bishop Dami Mamza said that they were negotiating with the terrorist group for Andimi’s release.
Redirecting the responsibility of the murder to the federal government, Samuel Vondip, CAN’s Director of Legal and Public Affairs said that “can the government tell us what they did since Rev. Andimi cried out to them for help? If the security agencies claim the terrorists are operating outside the country, why is it possible for these hoodlums to invade the country?”
Vondiq went on to say that the church viewed the unabated kidnappings, extortions and killings of Christians and other innocent Nigerians as shameful to the government. But as opposed to apportioning blame, CAN and the Nigerian government need to carry out individual and collaborative efforts to ensure that such terrorist activities do not reoccur in the future.