The Abubakar Shekau faction of the terrorist group Boko Haram executed the chair of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Adamawa state, Reverend Lawan Andimi, on 20 January.
Rev Andimi was abducted on 2 January 2020, when terrorists wearing military fatigues ransacked Michika town and forced him into a vehicle.
News of Rev Andimi's death was broken in a tweet posted on 21 January by Nigerian investigative journalist and Boko Haram expert Ahmed Salkida, who received a video of the beheadings of Rev Andimi and an unnamed soldier at 2.42 pm. Mr Salkida wrote: “To break some news items can traumatize. I'm battling with one of such. Reverend Andimi, abducted by #BokoHaram was executed yesterday. Rev. Andimi was a church leader, a father to his children and the community he served. My condolences go to his family.”
In a proof of life video sent to Mr Salkida earlier, Rev Andimi had asked his colleagues and particularly the president of his own denomination, the Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN – Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), to speak with the Adamawa state governor and other relevant officials to secure his release. While expressing confidence that he might return to family and colleagues “by the grace of God”, he added: “If the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God.” Rev Andimi concluded his statement with the following words: “Don’t cry, don’t worry, but thank God for everything.”
Boko Haram fighters also attacked Kumtayi in the Chibok Local Government Area (LGA) of Borno state at around 10pm on 20 January, but were repelled by soldiers. Villages along the Damaturu-Maiduguri road have also been under sustained siege after soldiers vacated a checkpoint on the road out of anger at being rebuked by Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum, for allegedly extorting travellers. Villagers from Auno, Jakana and Benisheik are reportedly fleeing to Maiduguri in large numbers to escape the attacks.
A spokesperson for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has confirmed that on 17 January, Boko Haram disconnected the Borno state capital Maiduguri and surrounding areas from the national electricity grid for the second time since June 2019. Seventeen soldiers were reportedly killed and an unknown number kidnapped in attacks along Bama-Gwoza road on 17 and 18 January. On the evening of 18 January, an entire section of the United Nations’ (UN’s) major humanitarian facility in Ngala was burned, along with several vehicles in a violent and sustained attack.
CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “CSW condemns the brutal murder of Reverend Andimi in the strongest terms, and we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and denomination. As Christians, knowing there is life after death, we nevertheless value the gift of this life, and we join in mourning an uncommonly courageous man, who despite knowing death was a very real prospect, maintained a calm and deep faith that will continue to inspire for generations.”
“The resurgence of both factions of Boko Haram is emblematic of the increasing insecurity in the country, and Nigerian civilians are bearing the brunt of it. In view of the multiplicity of armed non state actors currently operating in Nigeria, CSW reiterates that rising levels of insecurity throughout the country constitute a threat to sustainable investment and development. Once again, we urge the Government of the United Kingdom to raise the alarming deterioration in security with President Buhari, impressing upon him the urgent need for a comprehensive and effective solution, and offering assistance if necessary.”
Reverend Lawan Andimi