Governor Zulum demolishes 6 decades old church in Borno State
It is no longer news that Governor Babagana Umara Zulum continues to show his disdain and total hatred for the Christian Community in Borno State. Under his directives, a church was demolished and an innocent person (Ezekiel) killed in cold blood on the 5th of August, 2021.
Worthy of note is that, Governor Zulum refused, failed and even shielded the murderers and perpetrators of that distardly act inspite of the overwhelming outcry by the christian community in Maiduguri and beyond. This is evidenced by the fact that none of the perpetrators was arrested nor arraigned in court for the murder of our brother, Ezekiel. Moreso, one of the principal culprit who issued the direct instruction to the perpetrators, Engr. Bababe is still occupying his exalted position, paid and protected by the administration of Prof. Zulum despite committing such heinous crime of murdering an innocent indigine in cold blood. One cannot but wonder if this is not solely because the victim of that crime doesn’t share the same faith with the governor.
And prior to that, in 2020, a six decade old church situated within the premises of General Hospital Gwoza was demolished under the pretext of constructing a solar energy farm despite the large expanse of land that is available and more than enough to accommodate the structure.
For the record, General Hospital Gwoza was built by COCIN missionaries in 1956 as part of its social corporate responsibilities. The demolished church was built in 1957, remodeled in 1989 and was vandalized in 2014 when Boko Haram insurgents took over Gwoza Local Government. According to information gathered from the publication of Gwoza Christian Community Association (GCCA) Published on the 25th of March 2022, Page 28 in Leadership Newspaper, ‘the Borno State Government has in early 2020 rehabilitated all structures within the hospital, including the mosque that was built in 1994, but deliberately refused to rehabilitate the church (sic). Now this is a clear case of double standards. The questions begging for answers are, why did the Borno State government refuse to rehabilitate the church? Is the government designed to serve only muslims? Is the Government aware that Gwoza Local Government has a sizable number of indigenous Christians? Why has the State Government refused to take action even when it was notified that such injustice was meted on the peace loving christian community of Gwoza? Is the Borno State Government aware that such actions are capable of hampering the gains made in the relative peace achieved in Borno State?
The unfortunate part of the the whole situation, was that prior to the demolition, the Christian Community were trying to rebuild the church when on the 12th of September, 2020 a contractor of the State Government came and stopped the building and when confronted on why he took such actions, he said ‘ he was acting based on powers from above’. Later on he came with a bulldozer and demolished what was left of the church. This height of impunity and injustice is totally unacceptable. This injustice is happening under the leadership of governor Babagana Umara Zulum. A man considered to be a man of the people, or is he only the man of people who share the same faith and ethnicity with him? The Borno State Government must come clean to clear itself and also, to identify and sanction the said contractor. It is a known fact that Mosques in Borno State are built and maintained with taxpayers money, but when it comes to church, the government is looking for opportunities not only to stifle religious freedom, but to erase whatever is left of the Christian faith in the state.
To show complicity on the part of Borno State Government, the Gwoza Christian Community Association wrote to Borno State Government on the 5th of October, 2020 and another on the 6th of August 2021 and yet no response was given, nor was any action taken on the said matter. The GCCA met with the Senator representing Borno South Senatorial District Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume and His counterpart in the House of Representative, Hon. Ahmed Usman Jaha, member representing Gwoza, Damboa and Chibok Federal constituency both indigenes of Gwoza LGA and yet nothing happened. Just recently on the 22nd of March, 2022, the Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum was in Kirawa a town in Gwoza LGA and appraised some reconstruction works, but yet fane ignorance of the matter at hand. With all the deadends met, is it out of place to insinuate that Governor Babagana Umara Zulum is a religious bigot? In fact to further buttress this assertion, the governor was in Mafa where he shared 76 million naira to the people, yet he refused to rehabilitate the churches under whose orders were demolished.
We are also calling on men of goodwill and conscience to as a matter of urgency prevail on the State government to right the wrongs done to the Christian community in Gwoza and Borno at large. We are calling on his highness the emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Mohammed Shehu Timta to intervene in this matter. We are also calling on all appointed and elected indigenes of Gwoza to stand shoulder to shoulder with their brothers and demand for justice, equity and fairness.
To Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume who at every given opportunity is quick to inform his audience that his mother is Christian, this is the right time to stand for mama. To Hon. Babawo, you are always quick to point out the plight of your constituents and other sundry issues at the floor of the national assembly, this is the time to redeem yourself and show your people that you share in their pain and grief. To all well meaning indigenes of Borno State, this is the time to sue for peace and lend your voice in the quest for Justice. To Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Borno State Chapter, your silence over this matter is being complicit in the matter. The time to rise to the occasion and do what is right is now.
Long live Borno State
Long live Nigeria
Long live Church of Christ in Nations
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