…CAN advises the governor to go after killers not mourners
The attention of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has been drawn to a threat issued by Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai of Kaduna State in some online news media over his determination to get the Founder and Senior Pastor of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Dr Paul Enenche arraigned in Kaduna over “hate speech” that he allegedly claimed escalated recent killings that rocked Kasuwan Magani on October 18, 2018 that was followed by the assassination of the Agom Adara, Dr Maiwada Raphael Galadima, on October 26, 2018.
While CAN abhors hate speech in whatever form, it is becoming very difficult to determine what constitutes “hate speech” and who should be responsible for assessing what constitutes the hate speech. It has become much difficult to know whose speech is to be regarded as hate speech and which speech should not.
We have carefully read the threat by Governor El-Rufai and his claim to know who is responsible for the “hate speech” that promoted the crises in Kaduna State and his vow to get Pastor Enenche arrested and prosecuted in Kaduna State. We have also examined the video clip of the Pastor and are abreast of all the facts concerning the Kasuwan Magani killings, among others. The main subject of Dr Enenche’s clip which Governor el-Rufai is alleging to be a “hate speech” to us is an outright condemnation of the fate that has befallen the Adara people and Christians in Southern Kaduna through the creation of new emirates namely; Lere, Kagarko and Kujuru. By the creation of these emirates, especially that of Kajuru, the Adara people have been subjugated.
From a careful study of the speech, Pastor Enenche is not the originator of what he spoke about. He said; “ about the middle of this year we heard a Christian first class Chief, that they were told from the news report we heard…” hence the video, he was speaking about was what he read or heard from the news.
While we will continue to condemn hate speech by religious leaders and other Nigerians, we cannot stand and watch our respected leaders being set up for molestation, humiliation and prosecution for an unfounded “hate speech.” We have also followed the speeches of Governor El-Rufai and have felt strongly that he has been engaged in making inciting speeches, but several efforts deployed to draw his attention have been fruitless. His statement that his government had paid herdsmen to stop the killing in his State without any due compensation to the victims of attacks is still fresh in the minds of Nigerians. The questions in the minds of the church is; why is it very easy for government to identify those lamenting over the unabated killings of Christians in Kaduna and other states in the middle belt for persecution? Why is it easy by government to seek to apprehend and prosecute the crying victims and almost an impossible task to bring killers to justice? Why is it easier for the El-Rufai government to know and get “the agents of careless statement…” but most expensive and almost impossible for him to identify the Kaduna killing agents despite years of such continuous killings? Have the killers of Agom Adara, Dr. Maiwada Raphael Galadima, been apprehended? How long will it take the Governor El-Rufai to apprehend them?
Any attempt to arrest and harass any of our pastors again will be considered as an attempt to silence the voice of the Church and reasoning in our nation. Let the Government defines clearly the difference between what is considered hate speech and advocacy for 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? Are we to keep clapping for government while people are being massacred in cold blood?
While we appreciate the fact that no government will want her citizens to be killed, we will admonish Governor El-Rufai to channel his strength towards getting the sponsors and perpetrators of the heinous crimes going on in Kaduna State arrested and prosecuted rather than chasing good Nigerians who are contributing immensely to the peace, growth and development of the nation.
We will encourage the police not to be distracted by those who are after hunting innocent Nigerians but to be focused on getting criminals who are wasting the lives and property of innocent Nigerians with the view of arresting and punishing them and averting further polarization of the nation. The polity is already heated up and polarised along ethnic and religious divides. All of us in leadership have had an inappropriate news item carried or published about us before; it is part of the burden of leadership. The best that could be done in such a circumstance is for the governor to debunk inaccurate news items like he has done. On the basis of the above, we again caution that care must be taken in handling what Pastor Paul Enenche read which he wanted people to pray over. The idea of making Christians endangered species must stop for the sake of peace and unity of this country. We have had enough of troubles in this nation in the past years. We deserve to have our peace.
Kindly help us to disseminate this information to the public through your credible and popular medium.
Thank you for your kind usual cooperation.
Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant (Media & Communications) to CAN President, His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle.
26 December, 2018.