By Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
President of United Church of Christ in Nigeria (UCCN)-HEKAN, Rev. Amos G. Kiri, has revealed that three members of his church were killed and about six churches destroyed by Fulani herdsmen in Kaduna State.
Rev. Kiri, in company of five others, lamented the attacks, which occurred between April and November 2017 that affected their churches in different communities, including HEKAN Kanata Yashi, Gwaska, Ungwan Alkali, Dakwala, Dakomi and Ungwan Zomo, respectively.
The HEKAN President, who is on tour of UCCN-HEKAN churches across the country, disclosed these on weekend, at a press conference at HEKAN headquarters located at Katsina Road, in Kaduna City.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Army in an efforts to rid the nation of the current security challenges, especially in North Eastern states and, indeed, the release of some Chibok girls, who have been in captivity of Boko Haram, Rev. Kiri, however, noted that the herdsmen/farmers clashes around the country called for serious concern by well-meaning Nigerians.
“As a church, we wish to commend the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, in his quest to rid the Nation from its present security challenges, especially in the North Eastern part of the country. We commend the efforts so far in recapturing some of the local governments from the hands of Boko Haram.
“Similarly, efforts in releasing some of the captured Chibok girls are commendable. We pray that the remaining girls in captivity will also be released to reunite with their family members soon.
“However, the herdsmen/farmers clashes around the country are things of concern to well-meaning Nigerians. UCCN condemns in totality the killings of innocent Nigerians through attacks by herdsmen, and appeals to the government not to relent in its efforts in bringing the clashes to an end. Those found to be involved should be made to face the wrath of the law,” he said.
He also disclosed that the United Church of Christ in Nigeria (UCCN) popularly known in Hausa as ‘Hadaddiyar EkKlisiyar Kristi A Nigeria’ (HEKAN), has agreed to change its name from the United Church of Christ in Nigeria to the United Church of Christ in Nations (UCCN).
The change, according to him, which also applied to the Hausa version ‘Haddiyar EkKlisiyar Kristi A Nahiya’ (HEKAN), would take effect from 1st January, 2018, adding that it was done after due consultations with the Board of Trustees and the General Church Council.
“The Board of Trustees and the General Church Council wishes to inform the general public that the Church has agreed to change its name from the United Church of Christ in Nigeria to the United Church of Christ in Nations (UCCN); that change also applies to the Hausa version ‘Haddiyar EkKlisiyar Kristi A Nahiya’ (HEKAN).
“This change, however, still maintains both the acrimony “UCCN” and “HEKAN.” This change in name became necessary because the church in the last few years has grown and established branches in some African countries, especially in West African countries. This change, which has undergone constitutional amendment, will become effective as from the 1st of January, 2018,” Kiri said.
Rev. Kiri stated that it’s undoubted that Nigerians are passing through hard times as a result of the ongoing economic, political and security challenges in the country, and, therefore, called on government to increase its palliative measures that will cushion the hardship Nigerians are facing.
“The government has the responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of its citizens. A situation where Nigerians sleep with one eye open due to fear of being attacked, kidnapped or being killed, has reached its peak. It is expected of all Nigerians to embrace peace and live together as one big family, irrespective of Religion, Political, Ethnic or Social differences at this trying time of our Nation.
“Government can do more in this direction by reassuring Nigerians that they can move about freely without being attacked, kidnapped or being killed through equipping the security agencies with appropriate equipment and facilities required to fight social ills. Job opportunities should be created for our teeming youths to keep them away from idleness, which usually leads to chaotic social ills associated with youthfulness,” he added.
While commenting on the effectiveness of the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC), Rev. Kiri noted, “It’s the power of the common man when it comes to deciding, who will run the affairs of our country, states, and local governments, and therefore called on all HEKAN members and all loving Nigerians, who are eligible to vote, to ensure they’re registered and obtain the PVC at their constituencies.
“It will be a great disservice to yourselves and the Nation when you fail to obtain this all-important tool of relevance to your right. The slogan of ‘change’ should be begin with you and I as individuals.
“Accordingly, every year, the leadership of the church comes out with a theme for the church to guide its members’ spiritual lives. For the year 2018, the theme is “GOD, REVIVE US AGAIN” [EZEKIEL 37:1-7]. The church is expected to witness great revival in the year 2018 among its members.
“The global church is weak as evidenced in some of the activities that have found themselves into the church of God. Lukewarm attitude towards same-sex marriage, immoral dressing, churches full with comedians/entertainers instead of true preaching of salvation of Christ are some of the things that we need to be revived and to fight it headlong.
On Fuel Scarcity, the clergy man said “We are concerned as a church at the prevailing fuel scarcity going on now in all parts of the country. We call on the government to do all that is possible by bringing the situation to normalcy. As an oil producing country, it is a shame that Nigerians have to queue and, sometimes sleep, at fuel stations, in order to get fuel.
“As a result of this hardship, it has been blame game between the government and NNPC, petroleum marketers and distributors and so on. Situation where scarcity will suddenly surface during Christmas and New Year should be addressed by the relevant authorities concerned.
“Nigerians are already feeling the pinch from the recession; adding fuel scarcity, which usually translates to hike in transport fare and increase in prices of food stuffs is something that should be condemned by all.
“We call on the government to bring the fuel ‘scarcity’ to an end. The effort to rehabilitate the nation’s refineries should be pursued to commissioning, while new ones should be built aside the modular ones being considered for the Niger Delta region as publicized.”