By Musa Kajuru, Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai has urged the leadership of the Methodist Church not to relocate its church from the state.
This is coming just as the prelate of the Church Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche commended the governor and urged him not to relent in his quest to restore peace and security in the southern parts of the state.
Uche, who spoke when he visited El-Rufai in Kaduna on Thursday, told the governor that he should take the blames flying around as the price of leadership.
According to him, “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.”
Uche, 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 Medtodist Church in Kafanchan was vandalized during the 19th December 2016 riot just as he requested for a new plot of land so that they can relocate the church.
“My church is affected by the violence in Kafanchan. We want your assistance with land to relocate the church and to rebuild it. We thank you for the plots of land you allocated to the Methodist Church in Abuja. I have seen your signature on the certificates of occupancy, and I know that you have nothing against the Church”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Governor in his response thanked the Methodists for showing solidarity with the people and government of Kaduna State during the trying moment, assuring the delegation that the government will give another plot of land to the Methodist Church in Kafanchan and pleaded that they should not relocate from their present site.
“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 neighbors 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.”
Malam El-Rufai said that the government is committed to securing the area and promoting a return to normalcy. He disclosed that 10 mobile police squadrons are now deployed to the affected local governments, along with two battalions of the army. He further requested that the religious leaders should discourage the tendency to allow criminals to hide behind religion.
“When individuals have problems or disputes, they should not be allowed to mobilize emotions by escalating their differences into an ethnic or religious conflict”, he said.