The Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai, has pleaded with the Prelate of the Methodist Church, Dr. Samuel Uche, not to move the branch of the church destroyed in Kafanchan during the December 19, 2016 riot.
This was contained in a statement issued by the state government after the governor received the Methodist prelate in his office on Thursday.
The statement stated that the governor said this while responding to Uche’s request for a plot of land to relocate the destroyed church to another place.
El-Rufai said, “I visited your church in Kafanchan after the violence. We are willing to give you another plot of land in Kafanchan, but please consider using it to build an additional church. We request that you do not abandon or relocate the church from your present site. Let us not succumb to the agents of blackmail and division.
“Your neighbours in Kafanchan must accept the right of that church to remain there. The current church should be rebuilt and maintained as a symbol of the right to worship freely,” the governor said.
El-Rufai said his government was committed to securing the area and promoting a return to normalcy.
He disclosed that 10 mobile police squadrons were now deployed in the affected local governments, along with two battalions of soldiers.
The governor also requested that the religious leaders should discourage the tendency to allow criminals to hide behind religion.
“When individuals have problems or dispute, they should not be allowed to mobilise emotions by escalating their differences into an ethnic or religious conflict,” he said.
The Prelate had earlier urged el-Rufai not to relent in his quest to restore peace and security in Southern Kaduna.
Uche said the governor should take the blames flying around as the price of leadership.
“We note that you are being blamed over the violence in Southern Kaduna; please take that as the price of leadership. We know that the issue has been happening before your government. I remember the 1987 events vividly.
“We call on the people of Kaduna State to accept each other, to be tolerant, and to say no to violence. I have served in Kano. I do not see why we should fight each other. Nobody can Christianise or Islamise Nigeria, let us learn to live together in peace. Religion should preserve lives. Anybody who kills is a criminal. Those who sponsor killings should be arrested.”
The cleric, who was accompanied by the Methodist Bishops of Kaduna and Kano, said he came in solidarity with the people of Kaduna State.
He informed el-Rufai that the Methodist Church in Kafanchan was vandalised during the December 19, 2016 riot in Kafanchan.