By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
The Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop williams Naga has condemned in strong terms the killing of Mr Ezekiel Bitrus Tumba, a son of Ecwa Church pastor and demolition of Local Church of Brethern in Nigeria a.k.a as Ekkliziyan Yan’uwa a Nigeria in Hausa palance at Maduganari ward of Maiduguri metropolis.
Naga disclosed this at a press briefing which took place on Saturday at the conference Hall, COCIN Church, Kirikasama, Maiduguri.
He said, “the incident which occured on Thursday August 5, 2021 which was the demolition of the EYN LCB Maduganari and killing of a brother, 29 years old Ezekiel Bitrus Tumba, and injuring of five others working at the Church premises by Civilian JTF was tragic, condemnable.
“Officials of Borno Geographic Information System (BOGIS) led by its Executive Secretary, Engr Adams Bababa, brought CJTF to the Church not only for demolition but also ended up killing our brother and son.
“The reaction by youths which followed was report caused by the seizure of peoples’ mobile phones and refusal to return same phones to the people by BOGIS.
“The entire Christian Community has been thrown into mourning mood as brother who was a bread winner of his family was sent to his early grave by zealous BOGIS head and CJTF for simple reason of stoppìng Church expansion in the state.
“Unfortunately, we the Christians in the state have been denied Certificate of Occupancy to build Church by the state government since 1979, but we acquire lands/plots by ‘Deed of Assignment to build our places of worship’.
“It appears BOGIS with these latest activities is out to ensure no church is allowed to exist in the state, fuel tension and caused disatisfaction among peace loving Chritians and Muslims in a fragile state as Borno.
“We therefore demand the following; 1. constitution of Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate the unwarranted killing and shooting at Maduganari Church so as to truly bring perpetrators to Justice. We demand that CAN should be represented in the panel.
“2. Rebuilding of all churches demolished and reopening of those sealed by BOGIS, for example; EYN LCB Maduganari, Jubilee Santuary Church, Pompomari By-Pass, Total Gospel Mission International (TOGOMI), Mairi Bakin Kogi, The Santuary Church, Behind A. A Filling Station, Tudun Wada and Christ Favour Land, Pompomari By-Pass.
“3. Immediate return of seized phones by BOGIS to the owners as such action is an infringement to their rights to communication and freedom of expression.
“4. His Excellency Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State should use his good office to address all existing pressing issues affecting the Christian Community in the state.” Naga stated.
He however called on all youths and entire Christian Community in the state to remain calm, law abiding and allow themselves to be guided by the teachings of their Lord Jesus Christ.
Bishop Naga also thank the entire citizens of Borno state for their solidarity, concerns and show of care on the unfortunate and avoidable incident, even as he commiserated with the EYN Church, the injured and COCIN church pastor and his family who lost their son.
He further assured CAN will continue to encourage all people to be peaceful, and prayed God Almighty to restore peace in the land.
On CAN meeting with Governor Zulum some hours after the incident, Bishop Naga said, he actually led the delegation to Government House on the invitation of the governor to chat a way forward on how to address the issues at hand.
The Bishop also used the opportunity and informed that the remains of late Ezekiel would be buried on Monday at Christian cemetery, behind Maximum Prison, Maiduguri.
Our Correspondent observed that many pastors incharge of various churches across the state attended the press conference.