FACT-CHECK: Is Borno Government Attempting to ‘Wipe Out Churches’ in the State?
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused the Borno State Government of trying to wipe out churches from the state as widely reported in the media.
Residential areas including faith-based organizations – Mosques and Churches alike – found to have flouted the State land laws were all affected by the state government’s policy and no particular individual or religion was targeted. In fact, the state government had against all odds, rebuilt about nine churches demolished by Boko Haram in 2010.
Therefore, Claims that he is attempting to wipe out Christians in the state are FALSE.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused the Borno State Government of trying to wipe out churches from the state.
The association also condemned the demolition of a church building in Maiduguri and the killing of a church member on Thursday.
In its press conference on Saturday, August 7, 2021, CAN said the demolition of EYN Church building was part of a plot by the state government to “ensure the non-existence of churches in the state.”
Led by its state chairperson, Mohammed Naga, the CAN officials said BOGIS has singled out churches for demolition.
CAN described the deployment of earth-moving equipment to the EYN Church and the shootings on Thursday as the height of intolerance of churches by BOGIS and its officials.
Investigations by PRNigeria via onsite checks and impartial sources reveals that the Borno State Government actually demolished 11 Mosques and 4 Churches for flouting land laws in an exercise that began on 29th May 2021, contrary to claims that only Churches are being targeted for extermination.
Some of the mosques demolished were around Fato Sandi, Jos Road, Kano Road, Baga Road and Galadima areas of the State metropolis.
Meanwhile in a letter dated 4th February 2010, from the Borno State Implementation Committee of Government White Paper on the Boko Haram Insurgency in the State, addressed to the General Manager Borno State Urban Planning and Development and signed by Mohammed Hassan, the then Secretary of the Committee, stressed that one of the resolutions of the Committee is that “no residential accommodation should be converted into a place of worship for the public by adherents of whichever faith without due compliance with the provision of any extant law.” This points to the state’s government’s deliberate policy on urban renewal with NO particular reference to Churches.
Additionally, contrary to widespread insinuations checks by PRNigeria reveals that the Borno State Government has rebuilt about nine Churches destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents since 2010.
These Churches include; EYN LCC Ghung, EYN LCC Sangyere, EYN LCC Kirbutu, EYN LCC Tashan Alade, EYN LCC Shidifu, EYN LCC Azare, EYN LCC Kwajaffa, EYN DCC Yawa Wamdeo and EYN LCC Piyami in Hawul, Chibok and Askira-Uba local government areas of Southern Borno.
“A government that wants to wipe out Christians as alleged will not take such steps, but Zulum did it in the interest of Peaceful coexistence and against all the odds,” Madu Mohammed Bakura a resident of Maiduguri told PRNigeria.
A situational analysis of the incidence that informed CAN’s allegations reveals that issues had gotten out of hand when protesters started throwing stones at officials of the Borno state Geographic Information System (BOGIS) while carrying out the demolition exercise in line with the Committee’s mandate which prompted the security team provided by the Civilian-JTF to open fire in return.
In a statement following the clash, the state government stressed that BOGIS officials were only enforcing compliance with reforms in the state’s land administration system, which necessitates the demolition of properties deemed illegal.
The EYN Church in the Moduganari suburb of Maiduguri was one of the churches marked for demolition for allegedly carrying out expansion without the permission of the government, the statement said.
The reaction of Governor of Borno
Governor Babagana Zulum had in a statement by his spokesperson, Isa Gusau, condemned the incident but blamed both sides for “throwing stones” and “shooting of guns.” (Zulum Condemns Violent Clash over Demolition of Church in Maiduguri
Mr Zulum commiserated with the families of the deceased and injured. He also ordered an investigation into the incident.
The governor has also met with CAN leaders in Borno on the issue.
All facts associated with claims that the Borno State Government under the administration of Professor Babagana Umara Zulum wants to wipe out Christians from the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt to be FALSE, Unfounded and Misleading allegations.
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Report By: PRNigeria.com