Twenty worshipers were killed by gunmen who invaded the church with automatic rifles, firing at worshippers who were having an evening Bible Study Class.
In a statement by the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird released by the country’s High Commission in Abuja yesterday, Canada sought for cooperation among Nigerians to bring the perpetrators of crime to justice.
The statement reads: “I am deeply saddened by the cowardly murder by gunmen of parishioners who were gathered in worship at a church in the town of Otite in Kogi state, Nigeria.
“Canada urges all people in Nigeria to work with the Nigerian government to counter terrorism and bring to justice those responsible for this reprehensible crime.
“No one should have to practise his or her faith in fear. Canada will continue to stand up for religious freedom
“On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those killed in these attacks, and I wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”
CAN urged the Federal Government to change its tactics in the onslaught against the “murderous gangs”.
The organisation urged government to provide additional military and police cover for churches in the North.
It added that the terrorists in the North want to exterminate western education with a view to imposing Sharia law and Islamise Nigeria .
The President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, in a statement by his Special Assistant (Media and Public Affairs), Mr. Kenny Ashaka, also commiserated with the families of victims of the attack and the church.
He said: “Oritsejafor believes that from this attack in Okene, the enemies of Christians and Christianity in Nigeria have changed tactics from their Sunday attacks on Churches to an everyday onslaught. He, therefore, urges the leadership of the various churches in Nigeria to step up security around their churches as they hold their daily devotions, crusades and night vigils while also being security conscious at all times.
“The Federal Government should also change its strategies by making the various Joint Task Forces stronger through the provision of additional military and Police cover for Churches in the northern part of the country and internally stiffening its intelligence network.”
Ashaka quoted the President of CAN as saying that Christians would not be deceived to think that they are not the targets of the “murderous gangs” just because they have started attacking fellow Muslims adding that the Muslims being attacked are those opposed to the callous activities of the gang.
While sympathising with the Muslims, Oritsejafor urged them not to be discouraged by the threats from “bloodthirsty gangs.”
According to him, CAN believes that the attacks on them are diversionary and calculated to shield their real motives from the world saying “they are to deceive Nigerians and indeed the international community that their attacks are not only aimed at Christians.”
He said: “CAN repeats without fear that the series of gun and bomb attacks are primarily targeted at Christians in the North in order to exterminate all forms of western education and enthrone Islamic law of Sharia as the universal law in Nigeria , a country with multi-religious population.