The Christian Association of Nigeria on Tuesday decried indecent dressing in the church.

CAN also warned against child marriage, saying the practice of forcing a Christian girl into marriage or another religion “has to be brought under great limelight and criminalised”.

The chairman of CAN (North Central Zone), Rev Israel Akanji, stated these in Abuja during a summit with the theme, ‘Elimination of violence against women and children’ organised by the Women’s Wing of the Christian Council of Nigeria.

Akanji said, “When people wear mini-dresses, sometimes they even wear them to church. Some of us try not to talk about it because we feel if we talk to them, they may not return to our churches.

“The church has to come up with tough measures against indecent dressing. Indecent dressing must not be accepted in the church of Christ.

“The Bible says thou shall not steal, kill and commit adultery. These are considered to be grievous sins in the Bible; people who ho rape, should be considered as very serious criminals.

“The problem we have in Nigeria is anonymity. People don’t want to talk when raped. Parents don’t want their children to say it because they feel it will bring a bad name to their family and that is why it has continued. If rape cases are reported in good time and adequate measures are taken, a lot of things will change.

“I want to appeal to parents that while we are waiting for a law that will deal with rapists, parents must warn their children. Some children dress in such a way that they appear as if they are inviting rapists to their lives. Let us return to the culture of decent dressing, it may not stop but it will minimise it.”

On forced marriages, the cleric said, “When it comes to forced marriage, CAN is very concerned.

“I believe that there are many Christian and Islamic leaders who have helped to build the morality of this nation peacefully.

Many have done so but we have a few that do not care. Forced marriages have to be criminalised, not only forced marriages but that of minors should be criminalised as well and should be totally eradicated.”

The chairperson of WOWICCN, Ngozi Izuogu, suggested rapists should face capital punishment.

She said, “Rapist should go to jail, the government should know better. But I believe it is not good for a man to molest a child and go free. To me, it should be made a capital offence, if it means killing the rapist, let the rapist be hanged.”

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