The vicious jihadist terrorist organisation, Islamic State's West Africa Province, ISWAP, also known as Boko Haram sect has beheaded abducted Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev. Lawan Andimi.
Ahmad Salkida, a Nigerian journalist, who is in self-exile in the United Arab Emirates after alleged death threats broke the news via Twitter yesterday, revealing that Andimi was executed by his abductors on Monday.
Salkida, who has been reporting the activities of the insurgents since mid-2006, tweeted: "To break some news items can traumatise. I'm battling with one of such. Reverend Andimi, abducted by BokoHaram was executed yesterday, (Monday).
"Rev. Andimi was a church leader, a father to his children and the community he served. My condolences go to his family."
The terrorists had demanded a ransom of 2 million Euros and were offered N50 million, which they rejected before beheading the cleric, Adamawa State Chairman of CAN, Reverend Father Dami Mamza told newsmen in Yola, yesterday while confirming the killing of Andimi.
According to Reverend Mamza, negotiations were still going on with the insurgents last week when they stopped calling after the offer was made to them.
He noted that the insurgents also called the wife of the slain Pastor that they would kill the husband on Saturday, but they delayed until Monday.
The Adamawa CAN Chairman maintained that the video and picture of the killing were released through one Ahmad Salkida, a Boko Haram negotiator based in Dubai.
Reverend Father Danmi Mamza stated that the gory picture of the killing was released to the President of the EYN Church, Reverend Daniel Mbaya.
Recall that Andimi had cried for help from captivity, asking Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State, among others to rescue him.
In a video obtained by Salkida, Andimi said the insurgents had not maltreated him since he was abducted.
He said "I have never been discouraged because all conditions that one finds himself are in the hand of God. I am appealing to my colleagues, reverends, particularly my President, Reverend Joel Billy, who is a strong man, a man of compassion and man of love. He can do all his best to speak to our governor, Umaru Jibrilla (Fintiri) and other necessary agents for my release here.
"These people have been doing well to me. They are feeding me with all that I want to eat. They provide a nice place for me to sleep, blanket and every need. So, I believe that they didn't do anything wrong to me. I believe that He who made them to act in such a way is still alive and will make all arrangements, by the grace of God I will be together with my wife, children and colleagues.
"If the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God. I want all people close and far, colleagues to be patient. Don't cry, don't worry but thank God for everything," Andimi said in the video before he was executed.
Reacting to the killing, national leadership of CAN said his death and other captives in the hands of insurgents was a shame on the Federal Government.
In a release by its Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Evang. Kwamkur Vondip, CAN said among others, "CAN deeply sympathises with the immediate family of Late Rev. Andimi, the President and members of Eklessiya Yan'uwa a Naijeriya (EYN) Church, the government of Adamawa State and the entire Church in the country. We recall sadly that Late Rev. Lawan Andimi while in captivity made a passionate appeal to the leadership of his church and the Federal Government to come to his rescue.
"The Church did everything within her reach to secure the safe release of this pastor gentleman but it was not possible because they didn't have the military power to do so. Just last Sunday, a clergyman, Rev Denis Bagauri was murdered by unknown gunmen in his residence at Mayo Belwa of Adamawa.
"The Church views the unabated kidnappings, extortions and killings of Christians and innocent Nigerians as shameful to the government that each time boasts that it has conquered insurgency. It is saddening that each time the government comes out to claim the defeat of the insurgency; more killings of our people are committed.
"In the light of the current developments and the circumstantial facts surrounding the prevailing upsurge of attacks against the church, it will be difficult for us to believe that the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari is not colluding with the insurgents to exterminate Christians in Nigeria bearing in mind the very questionable leadership of the security sector that has been skewed towards a religion and region! Is that lopsidedness not a cover-up for the operation of the insurgency? If not, why couldn't the well-equipped security agents of Nigeria get this man killed rescued?
"While we call on Christians to be calm, we challenge the Federal Government led by President Buhari to be more proactive about the effort to get rid of the continuous siege on Nigeria and end the wanton killings and destruction of lives and properties of Nigerians if the government is to be taken seriously.
"We are once again calling on President Buhari to purge himself of the allegations of nepotism and religious favouritism by reconstituting the leadership of security outfits. The Federal Government is urged to ensure the release of the prisoner of faith, Leah Sharibu and hundreds of victims who are in the Boko Haram and ISWAP captivity before it is too late. A government that cannot protect the governed is a failed government.
"We once again call on the International community and developed world like the US, the UK, Germany, Israel and others to please come to the aid of Nigeria, especially, the Nigerian Church so that we might not be eliminated one by one."
"Is the government sincere in fighting these terrorists or merely paying lip service to the war against the insurgency? Is there any hope that our security is guaranteed under this government?
"Can the government tell us what they did since Rev. Andimì 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, kill, maim, burn and kidnap without any convincing checks on the part of the security agencies?
"Since the government and its apologists are claiming the killings have no religious undertones, why are the terrorists and herdsmen targeting the predominantly Christian communities and Christian leaders?
"We cannot lose hope on divine protection and the power of our Lord Jesus Christ to expose those behind the sponsorship of terrorism in Nigeria and to get Nigeria safe from the arms of the criminals.
"We shall remain constant and not bow to the antics of terrorists and their sponsors. We know that very soon, God will unmask these ungodly and wicked elements amidst us and their collaborators. We urge all Christians to set three days apart this week to fast and pray for Nigeria."
A sad day for Nigeria
Also, reacting, Kaduna State, CAN Chairman, Rev John Hayab, said the killing was a "sad day for the church in Nigeria."
Hayab told Vanguard that "The news of the killing of Rev Andimi by Boko Haram has added to sorrows, pains and suffering that the Church is facing in Northern Nigeria. This sad news is coming just a day after our dear President Buhari met with the British Prime Minister.
"What other evidence do those in authorities in Nigeria want from us to convince them that our members, Pastors and fellow citizens are no longer safe? We have said the condemnation of atrocities without any concrete action is not good enough"
"The people living in the northern part of the country are living in fear of their lives because of the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists and other security challenges. How do you expect a person living in fear to do something meaningful for himself and his country? The killing of the cleric is another sad day for the Church in Nigeria and for the country at large especially for those who care and value human lives. Our condolences go to Rev Andimi's wife, children and the church in Northern Nigeria. Let us not give up our salvation is near."
Adamawa govt reacts
Adamawa State government while reacting to the execution of Revend Andimi, described the killing as barbaric.
Mr Solomon Kumanga, the Director-General Media and Communications to Governor Ahmadu Fintiri, described the development as unfortunate after several arrangements were perfected for the release of the abducted cleric.
Killing of CAN Chairman Cruel, Provocative--Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the terrorist killing of Lawan Andimi, chairman of CAN, in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, describing it as cruel, inhuman and deliberately provocative.
President Buhari expressed sorrow that the terrorists went on to kill the religious leader while giving signals at the same of a willingness to set him free by releasing him to third parties.
Buhari consoled the Christian community all over Nigeria, the government and people of Adamawa State and the Bishop's family over the sad loss of the man of God and assured that terrorists will continue to pay a heavy price for their actions and would comprehensively be defeated by our determined armed forces.
The President in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu urged nations of the world to end all support provided to Boko Haram and Islam in West Africa, ISWA terrorist groups whose only goal is to sow death, violence and destruction in the sub-region.