The Christian Association of Nigeria has urged heads of religious institutions and other faith adherents to deliberately pray for the peace of the country.
CAN stated this in its New Year message issued by the President, Rev Samson Ayokunle, on Friday.
According to the statement, the call for prayers is necessitated by the ravaging banditry, kidnapping and other forms of insecurity in the country and the negligence of the country’s leaders to address such situations appropriately.
CAN also condemned the slow pace at which the Nigeria Police Force prosecuted criminals.
The CAN President said, “It gladdens my heart to say a resounding HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022 to all Nigerians irrespective of their religious, tribal and political persuasions. Glory be to our God who helps us to escape all dangers and threats of the Year 2021 occasioned by the criminal activities of the bandits, terrorists, kidnappers and other unscrupulous elements amidst us.
“2021 was one year too many as a result of the ways and manners these criminals have been operating with impunity as if this is not the country we have been all these years. It is as if they have taken over the country. They invade communities, markets, churches and schools. They kill, maim, destroy and kidnap without much resistance or hindrance.
“They have turned our roads into death traps where they now kidnap for money, apparently due to the poor conditions of our roads and all of a sudden, kidnapping has become a big business as the innocent people are being kidnapped and ransom in millions are being demanded and paid.
“Families of kidnapped people are at the mercy of the criminals! Some were not even fortunate as they were killed after the ransom has been paid! Our security agencies have been overstretched and the best done by our government is far from being enough if we must say the truth without deceiving ourselves.
“The police have been parading the arrested kidnappers on the television but surprisingly, it appears as if they are too busy with their investigations to prosecute them.
“At this juncture, I call on all Nigerians, irrespective of their religious affiliations, to rise up and cry for the mercy of God that can preserve us and bring an end to all these pains. It appears as if our governments have got to their wit end over the menace of insecurity.
“Their major focus now is on the 2023 general election. Can 2023 election happen if the nation is over-run by criminals? Our nation must survive first and be at peace before election can take place.
“Except for the mercy of God to intervene divinely and miraculously, we would be like Sodom and Gomorrah. It is only God who can make the 2023 general election a reality. It is only God in his own way who can teach our leaders the right step to take. It is only God who can send us help from above.
“Because of the desperate situation we are, some governors are already calling for self-defence and declaration of state of emergency! This is unprecedented.
“I call on all our denominational and church leaders to use the opportunity of the New Year Fasting and Prayers programme of our churches to rescue Nigeria from those who are hell bent on destroying it by deliberately praying for the mercy of God over our unfortunate situation.”