Order military to stop using live ammunition against civilians, CAN tells Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari in Handshake with the Catholic Bishop of Abuja Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan during the visit of the Christian Association of Nigeria delegation to the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday (16/11/18) with them are other members of the delegation, 05796/15/11/18/Callistus Ewelike/ICE/NAN

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has called on the president, Muhammadu Buhari, to order military officers to stop the use of live bullets in quelling civil disturbances.

The association made the call during a visit to the presidential villa, Abuja on Friday.

In a statement containing the speech delivered by the CAN’s president, Samson Ayokunle, the association also demanded the release of former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and the Shiite leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaki.

Both men have remained in detention since their arrest by security officers in December, 2015.

While the federal government appealed an order for Mr El-Zakzaki’s release days after the courts ultimatum had expired, the attorney general, Abubakar Malami, has said that government cannot release Mr Dasuki.

During a recent protest by Shiite members in Abuja, military officials killed over 40 of the group’s members.

“Total adherence to the rule of law as is required by our constitution and full blown democracy by making sure that those whose bails have been granted by competent courts like Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Leader of the Shiites, Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky are released from detention to enjoy the bail granted them by the courts of law. This would ease tension in the land and give credit to your administration, together with respect from the international community.

“A Presidential order directing the Army to stop using live bullets in quelling civil disturbances and an order to the Police to provide protection to any group of people engaging in peaceful protest as the law and modern day democracy allow.”

CAN also demanded a presidential order from Mr Buhari for military officers to ensure the release of Dapchi Schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, who was left behind after over 100 people were kidnapped from her school, by terrorists in February.

Ms Sharibu was reportedly left back with the terrorist for refusing to denounce her faith.

Although the Buhari administrators has made several statements, expressing its commitment to the release of Miss Sharibu, the girl is still in hands of captors nearly ten months after she was taken.

“More importantly sir, issue a presidential order to the security agencies to secure the release of Miss Leah Sharibu, who has been in the captivity of Boko Haram, and the remaining 112 Chibok girls and other innocent Nigerians still held by terrorists’ organizations.”

They also urged the president to ensure that military officers protect peaceful protesters across Nigeria.

The association also wants the president to direct police officers to ensure a free and fair election in 2019, while observing their constitutional role of ensuring law and order within Nigeria’s internal territory.

“A presidential order to the Police and other security agencies to be non-partisan, neutral and apolitical in the coming general election with a view to securing international respect and honour for our country in the comity of nations. The degree of desperation we saw in the politicians during the intra-party elections that took place recently do not give many people hope concerning 2019 unless serious steps are taken to let decency prevail.

“We appeal to you to make sure that the law enforcement agents and the election umpire do their work professionally without intimidation of voters, manipulation and any trace of violence throughout the period of elections. We believe that the survival and peace of Nigeria are greater than the ambition of any politician.

“We again request that your administration conducts free and fair election that would add to the accolades the country received from the conduct of 2015 elections that brought you to power.

It also requested for the “Restoration of peace and sanity in troubled spots in the country, especially in the States of Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna and Zamfara.”

The statement further highlighted that the president ensures the “Enhancement of security and flushing out of attackers in many towns as is in Gashish District on the Plateau, in order to allow sacked communities in the various IDP camps return to their towns and villages.”

CAN, in its statement, commended Mr Buhari’s administration for its efforts at combating terrorist activities and corruption in the country. The Christian association acknowledged the considerable success in the war against terrorism but added that a lot is still necessary to prevent future reintegration of the terror groups.

“We urge your administration to invest more on intelligence gathering and ensure that our security agents work on them, before the terrorists would strike.”

CAN also demanded the setting up of a panel to investigate the various killings in Nigeria’s north central.

“Setting up of a judicial panel of enquiry to look into the incessant killings in the North-central with a view to unmasking perpetrators and bringing them to book to serve as deterrent to others.

“One of the terms of reference of the judicial panel, if accepted, should be to investigate the killing of the immediate Director of Administration of the Army, Major General Idris Alkali (rtd), and circumstances surrounding the kidnap and killing of the Paramount Chief of the Adara Chiefdom in Kaduna State, His Royal Highness, the Agom Adara, Dr. Maiwada Raphael Galadima.”

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