Canada has condemned Sunday’s attack on Saint Rita’s Catholic Church, Malali, Kaduna, Kaduna State.
The position of the Canadian Government was made known by its Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, in a statement on Monday.
Baird said in the statement: “Canada unequivocally condemns today’s cowardly attack at a Catholic church holding Mass in northern Nigeria.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I offer my deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those killed and wish a speedy recovery to those injured by this senseless violence.
“These people were targeted because of their religious beliefs. No one should ever have to practise his or her faith in fear. Canada calls on all Nigerians to respect religious freedom and refrain from acts of violence. Canada further calls on the Nigerian government to bring to justice those responsible for this heinous crime.”
In his first official visit to Nigeria earlier this month, Baird met with Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru.
Baird and Ashiru agreed that prosperity and security are inextricably linked and both are committed to religious pluralism.
The Government of Canada has made religious freedom a foreign policy priority.
Canada is committed to working with Nigerian institutions and civil society representatives to promote freedom of religion and human rights for all.
Canada is currently working with the Nigerian Government on a security and non-proliferation project in the middle-belt city of Jos, Plateau State.
The project aims to reduce the security risks posed by terrorist groups known to be active in the region and who often target religious groups and institutions.
. African Press Organisation.