The Northern West zone of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, on Saturday raised alarm over alleged plot to annihilate the Christian community in the region through continuous demolition of churches.
The alarm was raised by the zonal Chairman of CAN, Bishop David Bakare.
Worried by the continuous demolition of churches, Bakare asked, “Do we still have rights to exist as a church in northern Nigeria? Is religion still part of the fundamental human rights guaranteed by the United Nations and our own Nigerian constitution? Do we have any right to practice our religion where we live?
“We need to be told all these things for us to know what is illegal and legal.”
Bakare claimed that on January 11, 2017, “two churches were demolished in Jigawa State capital, Dutse. They included The Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, and The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Renewal Ministry. These are big churches.
“The reason for the demolition was that the buildings were located in residential areas though the said buildings have been on that same position for well over 17 years.
“Besides that, there are also mosques in these same locations. How come the churches were demolished and the mosques were not demolished? Beyond this, it is important to note that five more churches have been marked for further demolition in the same location.
“The worst part of the matter is that the churches were not notified either in writing or any other form for an intended demolition. They were simply there to see caterpillars which began to demolish their churches.”
The clergy man, while dismissing claim that the church buildings were pulled down because they were located on residential areas, wondered why the residential houses attached to the churches were also demolished.
He said, “There are even personal houses attached to these buildings, like the Chosen Church has three bedrooms flats. The Redeemed had another one.
“The churches were demolished alongside the residential houses. All these issues beg for answers, particularly issues that have to do with religion at a time like this in Nigeria. The Christian Association of Nigeria, particularly in the North West is worried because this same time last year, churches were demolished in Zamfara. Anglican churches, Catholic churches were demolished for similar excuses and nothing has happened and barely one year after, another set is being demolished in Jigawa.
“There is crisis going on in Southern Kaduna; who knows where and what is going to happen to who next and where. CAN in North West Nigeria is asking that should the churches in the region go extinct because we are Christiane? Do we still have rights to exist as a church in northern Nigeria?
“How come nobody is giving answers to these matters? How come its now a yearly ritual to demolish churches built with hard earned money for years. In any case, is religion still part of the fundamental human right guaranteed by the United Nations and our own Nigeria constitution? Do we have any right to practice our religion where we live?
“We need to be told all these things for us to know what is illegal and legal.
“It is time to stop this yearly ritual of demolishing churches in the north west Nigeria.
“We are peace loving people. We want to live in peace and we need somebody to tell us what we have done wrong. As citizens we need to know what exactly is the reason why before demolition, during demolition after demolition, nobody is told what is happening.
“Uptill now, the government of Jigawa State has refused to meet the Christian leaders to discuss the matter in any form.
“These things are begging for questions and they are becoming too worrisome for us in North West Nigeria. We appeal to the authority to note that these are dangerous times that can worsen the situation that Nigeria is already going through and everybody responsible for these need to be called to order.”