*As CAN blames Police for stoking controversy over suspect’s identity
An Islamic group, Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, yesterday mocked the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, over the attempted bombing of church in Kaduna State by a man identified as a Christian on a day church leaders led prayer walk against killings and bloodshed in the country.
Kaduna State Police Command had announced the arrest of one Nathaniel Samuel as the suspect, adding that he was apprehended inside church located at Sabon Tasha in Chukun Local Government Area of the state with a bag containing items suspected to be Improvised Explosive Devices, IED.
In a statement by its Executive Director, Ishaq Akintola, MURIC described the coincidence of Samuel’s arrest on the day of CAN’s prayer walk as divine; saying it gave the impression that the rally itself was a ruse.
The statement read: “Samuel’s arrest is the outcome of our prayers for Allah to expose all those who are behind the bombing of churches.
“We are not surprised that the suspect happens to be a Christian. We have said it on several occasions that there is a Christian version of Boko Haram.
“Christians bomb churches and the whole world blame Nigerian Muslims for the atrocity. The arrest of Nathaniel Samuel for attempting to bomb a church is not a new development. Victor Moses was arrested on March 1, 2016, for spying for Boko Haram bombers. He confessed that he carried out surveillance before the bombing of Madalla church in Abuja on December 25, 2011.
“We give kudos to the Kaduna Police Command for this feat. People blame the security agencies for no just cause sometimes. This arrest must have been the outcome of careful planning and prolonged surveillance. Those who handled the operation deserve promotion.
“But the arrest of a Christian attempting to bomb a church makes mockery of the rally organized by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, yesterday (Sunday).
“The rally was called ostensibly to protest against alleged rising insecurity in the country. But God works in wonderful ways. He exposed another plot by a fellow Christian to bomb a church on the same day that CAN called for the rally. The coincidence is equally divine and it gives the impression that the rally itself was nothing but a hocus pocus.
“CAN would have exploded immediately in its usual self-righteousness if Nathaniel Samuel had succeeded in bombing the church. CAN nurses a false dogma of permanent insecurity, incompetence and persecution. But in reality, Nigeria today is much better than Nigeria in 2015 when the Buhari administration took over.
“Boko Haram that was controlling 17 local governments at that time has been reduced to a pack of hoodlums hitting and running. Nigerian soldiers who were running and hiding from the insurgents before are now putting the latter on the run. The fact that Boko Haram tactics have diminished to guerrilla warfare cements our hypothesis of a debilitated insurgency. Ditto for kidnappings and armed robbery. There is a gross reduction in the spate of crime but groups like CAN feed fat on misinformation.
“In a nutshell, MURIC calls on patriotic Nigerians to continue to pray for peace, political stability and economic prosperity. But above all, we call on the security agencies to step up their safety measures.
“Life is sacred and this country can only make progress in an atmosphere of security. Therefore, the security agencies must be alert to their responsibilities. We charge Nigerians to be extra-vigilant. Our enemies are in our midst.”
CAN responds, accuses police of stoking controversy
In a chat with Rev. John Hayab, the Kaduna State CAN chairman, accused the police of stoking the controversy behind the identity of the suspect.
He claimed that the police failed to execute thorough background checks on him before announcing his identity as Nathaniel Samuel.
According to him, church members who arrested the suspect reported before he was handed over the police, said the suspect had identified himself as Mohammed Sani rather than the name announced by Kaduna State police command.
Hayab said: “The attempted bombing of a Living Faith Church in Kaduna is a continuation of the sad experiences that Nigerians are no longer safe, even in places of worship.
“This is a clarion call to the security agencies to do more to protect the people. However, we must commend the church for taking precautionary measures.
“We must make it clear that it was not the police that arrested the suspected suicide bomber. It was the church members that noticed his actions, became suspicious and arrested him.
“But the controversy we have before us, is that the police clearly did not do thorough background checks on who the suspect was before announcing his arrest to the public.
“Church members who arrested the suicide bomber reported that he gave his name as Mohammed Sani, and that he was on a mission to kill.
“However, as a religious body, we don’t care whether he is Muslim or Christian. We only know he nursed a criminal intention to shed innocent blood. That should be the concern of Nigerians rather than debate over his identity.”