The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria [CAN] in Kaduna State, Rev. John Hayab, has said the man arrested for allegedly trying to bomb a parish of the Living Faith Church identified himself as Mohammed Sani when he was nabbed by the church.
WuzupNigeria recalls that reports had claimed the suspect gave his name as Nathaniel Samuel.
Earlier today, a Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] stalwart had raised the alarm that the suspect’s actual name was Mohammed Nasiru Sani.
Now, CAN has corroborated Fani-Kayode’s stance, with Hayab saying the suspect’s name suddenly changed after the church handed him over to the police.
He, therefore, said there was a need for the matter to be thoroughly investigated.
Narrating what happened on Sunday, the cleric said,
“The church was in session when the young man came in, dropped his bag and exited as if he was going to the toilet but didn’t come back on time. Some church members became suspicious. The church had put security measures in place such that they monitor everything going on in the church and they even have CCTV,” The Punch reported him as saying.
“They discovered that what was in the bag looked like explosives and so they called the police. Let me state clearly that it was not the police that arrested him. It was the church that arrested him and then handed him over to the police which is a law enforcement agency.
“The police then came to pick him up at the church for further investigation. At the time he was interrogated at the church, he told the church that was Mohammed Sani but when he was handed over to the police, the police told everyone that his name was Samuel Nathaniel.”
Hayab said the mix up in the name of the suspect had further given credence to claims by the United States that Nigeria remained a terrorist-prone country because of a lack of identity database.
He said the religion which the suspect practises should not be the focus of public discussion but the act of terrorism.
The cleric said the police had failed to effectively investigate and profile suspects, adding that a few weeks ago, the police similarly arrested a hoodlum and erroneously paraded him as a pastor.
The CAN chairman added,
“This whole incident justifies the US’s decision to place a visa ban on Nigeria. The US Government had told us that one of the reasons for the visa ban was that Nigeria does not do proper background checks on people.
“So, a criminal can go to one part of Kaduna and bear John, travel to another part of the state and bear Abdullahi or Oluwole or Emeka and nobody will know. So, let us stop focusing on his name but his crime. A criminal is a criminal. There are now two versions, one from the church and one from the police.
“I don’t care what his name is. All I know is that a criminal wanted to blow up a church and kill people. Police should find out who his sponsors are and not play politics with names. Last week, a man was paraded by the police for faking his kidnap and identified as a pastor only for us to find out he was never a pastor.”
Hayab said there are Christians who bear Muslim names and vice versa.
He, therefore, stated that the name of a suspect should not be the focus of an investigation.
“I know Muslims that bear Paul, I know Christians that bear Mohammed. Our current CAN chairman in Borno State is Mohammed Laga. I have a cousin that bears the name Mohammed Paul. So, let us not focus on the name but on the act of terrorism,” he said
Hayab said it was curious that the attempted bombing took place at the same time CAN’s rally against terrorism was taking place.
He said the church would not be intimidated by anyone.