ABUJA— Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, yesterday, said eight people killed in the state were not Christians.
This came as National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, yesterday, responded to a recent statement credited to the Sultan of Sokoto, who allayed fears of a plot to Islamise the nation, arguing that Nigeria was already an Islamic state and no longer a multi-religious nation as His Eminence was quoted in the said report.
Also, northern CAN has asked Christians to defend themselves whenever they came under attack, following the killing of eight Christians in Talata-Mafara in Zamfara State and a Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Luka Ubangari, by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Unguwan Anjo in Kaduna State.
They were killed over false alarm— Yari
The governor, who spoke to newsmen after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, described the act as unnecessary and ‘act of the devil.’
Yari said: “From the intelligence I gathered from security agencies, there was a fight between two students of Abdu Gusau Polytechnic. One of them started shouting that the other person abused Prophet Muhammad.
“Other students came and beat the other boy, who is a Yoruba from Kogi State. Some people say he was a Muslim, other say he was a Christian. They beat the student until he collapsed and thought he was dead.
“Then security personnel requested help from one shop owner, who then took the boy to the hospital in his car. When the students heard that the boy was still alive and in the hospital, they went to the hospital. But he was rescued by the army.
“The students went back to the polytechnic and burnt down the shop of the good Samaritan. They then went back to town, and threw tyre in the man’s house and burnt it down.
“That was how everybody in the house was killed and everybody killed in the house were Muslims and not like the rumours going around in the social media that Christians are being killed in Zamfara.
“In fact, the mob wanted to go and burn churches and attack non-Muslims, but security forces stopped them. It’s my home town and that’s where I live.”
The Sultan of Sokoto had told Nigerians to forget the fears or suspicion of a grand plan to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state, pointing out that it was impossible for a multi-religious country as Nigeria to be converted into a monolithic religious state.
But the NCEF, in a statement signed by the National Chairman, Elder Solomon Asemota (SAN), yesterday, said: “It is correctly assumed that in the interest of peace and justice, the constitution in Section 10 prohibits the state from religious participation by way of recognizing one and two religions. Multi-religious country does not fit the interpretation of Section 10, rather it is its opposite. The Sultan’s interpretation, we submit, is intended to justify Islam and Christianity as state religions until Islam dominates to become de facto and de jure religion of Nigeria.
“Apart from Prof. Ben Nwabueze, most lawyers, Christians and Muslims, shy away from the proper meaning of Section 10 of our constitution. It is our hope that this issue of whether Nigeria is a secular or multi-religious state will be subjected to proper conversation in the future.
“By taking Nigeria into the OIC in 1986, Ibrahim Babangida officially turned Nigeria into an Islamic state. Simply by the act of the application for OIC membership, Babangida tampered with the secularity of the Nigerian State. That unilateral decision should be reviewed because it violates Section 10 of the Constitution.”
Why police arrested man who named his dog Buhari
Reacting to the arrest of a man who named his dog Buhari in Ogun State, Asemota said: “Police said the arrest was made to save the suspect’s life because the complainant and his group have threatened to kill him if he comes back and this may happen.
“If Nigeria is being run as a secular state, the Constitution in Sections 10, 37, and 38 guarantees right of private and family life, right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion that should protect Joe Chinakwe and the complainant would have been arrested but because Nigeria is an Islamic state, Joe Chinakwe has to face trial.
“One wonders if the dog had been named Gowon or Jonathan, would there have been any furore about the matter?”
Defend yourselves, CAN urges Christians
Meanwhile, northern CAN has asked Christians to defend themselves whenever they came under attack, following the killing of eight Christians in Talata-Mafara in Zamfara State and pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Luka Ubangari, by suspected Fulani herdsmen in Unguwan Anjo in Kaduna State.
Secretary to Northern CAN, Rev. Danladi Yerima, confirmed yesterday that his group had scheduled an emergency meeting for tomorrow to look at the state of the nation, especially as it affects the Church in Nigeria, with a view to finding solutions to them.
Appealing to the youth wing of the association, who are unhappy with the current developments across the nation, Rev. Yerima told the Federal Government and stakeholders in the Nigerian project to expedite action to arrest the growing trend of militancy in the North to avoid more devastating consequences.
Yerima said: “Nobody has monopoly of violence. We have been holding our youths from retaliating some of these unwarranted killing of Christians in different parts of the country. We are not happy and I think this should be the last of such incidents because let them not take for granted the peaceful manner that Christians had approached some of these developments.”
“I cannot allow myself to be killed or allow some other person to be killed because some hooligans see themselves to be more Nigerians than others.
“What happened in Zamfara is most unfortunate. I do not know when our brothers in the North would realize that life is created by God and it is sacrosanct to the effect that nobody is allowed to take the life of another person unless in accordance with a judicial pronouncement on account of an offence committed.”
As S-South CAN kick against plans to re-introduce Sharia
In another development, South South CAN has kicked against plans to re-introduce Sharia law into the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, urging the National Assembly to ensure that Nigeria remained a secular state instead of funding one religion with public funds to the detriment of other religions.
Arising from a meeting of senior clergymen in the South-South geopolitical zone, regional chairman of CAN, Archbishop Goddowell Avwomakpa, who spoke on behalf of the clergymen and other stakeholders in the Nigerian project, tasked the National Assembly members to put the nation first before their personal or group interests, stressing that Nigeria needed no Sharia law in a secular society.