Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has lashed out at Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, for his alleged threat to arrest and arraign the Founder and Senior Pastor of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Dr. Paul Enenche, in a Kaduna court.
CAN claimed in a statement on Wednesday that El-Rufai had accused the pastor of promoting “hate speech” that possibly fuelled the recent crisis that claimed the lives of hundreds of people in Kaduna including a traditional ruler, Agom Adara, Dr. Maiwada Raphael Galadima, in October.
CAN President, Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, advised el-Rufai not to dissipate energy on unfruitful venture, but channel same to a course that would herald peace, tolerance and socio-economic development in the state.
He reminded him that justice is key to sustenance of peace and unity among the people, suggesting that police and other security agencies should be apolitical and take realistic measures to arrest the sponsors of violence in the state.
He said: “We out rightly condemn hate speech by religious leaders and other Nigerians. But we cannot watch our respected religious leaders being set up for molestation, humiliation and prosecution for an unfounded “hate speech.”
“Regrettably, we have also followed (the) utterances of Governor El-Rufai and observed that he (has) continued to make inciting speeches in spite of several efforts to draw his attention to them. His statement that his government paid herdsmen to end reprisal killings in his state was still fresh in the minds of Nigerians.”
CAN, however, warned that any attempt to arrest or harass pastors would be considered as an attempt to silence the church in Nigeria. It thus challenged the government to define and differentiate between what it considers hate speech and advocacy for the dying victims of continuous killings in Nigeria.
“What do you expect from a church leader whose members and fellow citizens are being killed daily without any satisfactory measures to abate the killings? You don’t expect him to keep clapping for government while people are being massacred in cold blood?”
It thus encouraged the police not to be distracted but to focus on getting criminals who are wasting the lives and property of innocent Nigerians.