False alarms against Christian women who refuse sexual advances from men of other religions —CAN
Protest not enough —Methodist Church •Don’t push Christians to the wall —RCCG
Killings show no law, justice in Nigeria —Foursquare Gospel Church
By Olayinka Latona, Gabriel Olawale & Luminous Jannamike
The Christian bodies across the country yesterday protested the gruesome killing of Miss Deborah Samuel, a student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, over alleged blasphemy of Islam and Prophet Muhammad, saying enough is enough.
The stakeholders, who reacted to the killing, opined that Nigeria is a secular state, stressing that both Christians and Muslims must learn to live together in peace.
They include the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Methodist Church of Nigeria, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Foursquare Gospel Church among others.
We’re going to fight with our native intelligent —CAN, PFN
In its reaction, Christian Association of Nigeria said it was already taking series of steps to forestall repeat of the scenario of Deborah’s killing, even as it disclosed that the international bodies had been briefed on the happenings in the country.
CAN President, Rev. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, who prayed during the peaceful protest in his local church in Ibadan, said enough of injustice in the country adding that no religion has the power to take the life of one another.
- Deborah Samuel: Declare fatwah against jungle justice, extra-judicial killings, Muslim scholars urged
He called on law enforcement agents to go after workers of evil in the country and also fish out those who killed Deborah Yakubu.
He, however, prayed that peace, equity, justice and love reign in the country.
“We are not just doing this for jamboree, we are saying we have no other country apart from Nigeria. We are saying enough is enough to this wickedness. If a man cannot be brought to book, we are praying and crying to God to bring them to book.
“Therefore, on behalf of entire Christians in Nigeria, and Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, we declare that all the kidnappings, killings, bloodshed in Nigeria come to an end.
“All the wicked that are troubling us be troubled by the Holy Spirit. May the Lord trouble those who trouble us.
” Nigeria must be a land of justice, equity, peace and prosperity. Those who kidnapped Leah Sharibu, killed Deborah Emmanuel Yakubu or using religion to cover their wickedness as from today, Everlasting God bring them to book.
“We pray that as from today, our government will stand firm, the wicked will no longer prosper and God will bring them to book.”
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said that the cases of alleged blasphemy against Christian women in parts of the North were false alarms raised by unscrupulous men.
According to CAN, the allegations had become ploys to blackmail or settle scores with passive enemies or well-mannered young girls who have refused sexual advances by the opposite sex from another religion in the North.
The umbrella Christian body therefore called on government authorities and security agencies to act fast to address the ugly trend before it leads to a more serious conflict that cannot be handled.
The Vice President of CAN, (19 Northern States and Abuja), Rev. Joseph John Hayab, stated these in Abuja in reaction to the violence that erupted in the Katangan area of Warji Local Government Area of Bauchi State over an alleged blasphemy.
The Bauchi incident came barely two weeks after the killing of a 200 Level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto, Deborah Samuel by Muslim fundamentalists over alleged blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed.
Trouble started in Bauchi following a social media post by a 40-year-old staff of the Medical Department Warji Local Government, Rhoda Jatau, which was considered as blasphemous to Islam.
An unspecified number of people, including a pastor, sustained varying degrees of injury while many houses were burnt.
He said, “Allegations of blasphemy have now become the new excuse by fundamentalists in Northern Nigeria to kill the remnant that bandits and terrorists have not yet killed. How can you justify the period of what happened in Sokoto, the allegation in Borno, the fake allegation on Babachir Lawal by one Northern actor who we have on record how he made blasphemous remarks about Jesus Christ but quickly went and brought it down on the internet to cover himself before coming out to falsely accused Babachir Lawal, the former SGF? And we are seeing another carnage in Bauchi under the excuse of blasphemy.
“We know and have evidence of how some of these allegations of blasphemy are false and just for blackmail or settling scores with passive enemies or well-mannered young girls who have refused sexual advances by the opposite sex from another religion.
“We are also aware of how fanatics have in the past raised lies in the name of blasphemy.
Protest not enough —Methodist Church
The Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Uche, said though as a church they can’t go against the directive of CAN, protest was not enough.
“The people I blame most are our representatives at the National and State Assemblies, they are the ones that are supposed to ensure that the law is promulgated that no Nigerian should be harmed on the basis of religion or ethnicity and they should bring out sanction. When it becomes law, everybody will seat up.
“A situation where you kill somebody because you are defending Christ or Mohammed is a very cruel, uncivilized lifestyle. You shouldn’t kill your fellow Nigerians because of religion or ethnicity, we should promote love and harmony among ourselves.
”Where I live in Lagos, most people working there are Muslim and I have lived with them for nine years. I also lived in Kano for 10 years where I relate and celebrate Ramadan with Muslims and they also celebrate with us as well during Christmas, so why are we killing ourselves over region? It means we are not civilized.”
Uche, who went down memory lane, said during his time in Kano, an incident related to Deborah’s case happened which he nip in the bud.
“When they killed Gideon Akaluka, maybe what we did then could not be done today. We assembled over 3,000 Christians and invited military and police where we held service for four hours and I condemned openly the killing.
”What we said is enough is enough and that if anything of such happened again, there will be problem.
Don’t push Christians to the wall —RCCG
The Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, called on the executive, legislature and judiciary to intervene and not allow the situation to degenerate to chaos.
Speaking during the protest at the National Headquarters of the Church in Lagos, Assistant General Overseer of RCCG, Pastor Johnson Odesola, said Nigeria remained a secular country.
He said based on what he heard, what the lady said didn’t warrant taking her life.
“The life of human being must be preserved and we must live together as one, irrespective of religion or faith. As Christians, we are taught to be gentle, and as a lawyer, I know that our law makes provision for self-defense, but we shouldn’t let it get to the level where Christian will be forced to defend themselves. We need to show love.
“If people from the North can come here to build mosque, why can’t we do the same? People should not put their partner to do what they are not suppose to do, so we believe we must live together in love and harmony because Christianity is not violence,” Odesola said.
He said the protest was limited to church premises in order not to stir violence, adding that except the country was restructured, the country might not progress.
Killings show no law, justice in Nigeria —FGC
Similarly, the General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church, FGC, Dr. Samuel Aboyeji, said the major problem in the country at present was religious intolerance, stressing that Nigeria was supposed to be a secular nation where everybody was free to practice his or her religion.
“Where your right stops is where another person’s own begins, so we should tolerate ourselves. If there is a platform meant for academic, it shouldn’t be used for religious purpose. I shouldn’t carry my religion to office and use it to disturb what is going on in that office.
“The only way to avoid a repeat of what happened to Deborah is for our leaders to be bold enough to enforce our laws. Our role as Christian leaders is to pray for the country and pray for peace, but anywhere there is no law, there is no justice then you have violence, and that is what exactly is happening in Nigeria.”