Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Borno State chapter has demanded among others, the reconstruction of five churches demolished by Borno State government at various locations in Maiduguri, the state capital.
The demands followed last Thursday’s demolition of an EYN Church Maduganari in Maiduguri where a 20-year-old labourer, Ezekiel Bitrus Tumba was shot dead and five others injured by a member of the Civilian Joint Taskforce (CJTF) attached to the Borno Geographic Information System (BOGIS), an agency of the state government which carried out the demolition.
Youths of the EYN Church were reported to have attempted to stop the officials of BOGIS from demolishing the church by hurling stones when the CJTF member shot the deceased and wounded others.
At a press conference at COCIN Church, Maiduguri, the chairman of CAN, Bishop Williams Naga condemned the killing of Ezekiel Bitrus Tumba, a son of COCIN Church pastor, and demolition of the Local Church of Brethren in Nigeria, as well as infliction of injury on five other persons.
Bishop Naga, who described the incident as tragic and condemnable said: “Officials of Borno Geographic Information System (BOGIS), led by its executive secretary, Engr Adams Bababa brought CJTF to the church not only for demolition but also ended up killing our brother and son.
“The reaction by the church youths, which followed was caused by the seizure of peoples’ mobile phones and refusal to return same phones to the people by BOGIS.
“The entire Christian community has been thrown into mourning mood as a brother, who was a breadwinner of his family was sent to his early grave by overzealous BOGIS head and CJTF for the simple reason of stopping Church expansion in the state.
“Unfortunately, we, the Christians in the state have been denied Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) to build church by the state government since 1979, but we acquire lands/plots by ‘Deed of Assignment, Grants to build our places of worship.
“We, therefore, demand the following: constitution of Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate the unwarranted killing and shooting at Maduganari Church so as to truly bring perpetrators to Justice. We demand that CAN should be represented in the panel.
“His Excellency Governor Babagana Umara Zulum of Borno State should use his good office to address all existing pressing issues affecting the Christian Community in the state,” Naga stated.