The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Niger State Chapter, Rev. Mathias Echioda, has condemned the recent attack allegedly carried out by some Muslim youths at the St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Barkin-Iku, Suleja.The youths reportedly vandalised the church property on July 15.
Echioda, in an interview on Saturday, asked the Muslim youths not to take CAN’s refusal to launch a reprisal as a sign of weakness.
He described the attack against the church as unacceptable.
He said those who carried out the attack should be made to pay for the destruction of the church property so that the church could resume its services.
The cleric said, “The fact that Christianity has always been known as a peace-loving and peace-promoting faith should, however, not be taken for a weakness. Christians are not fools.
“We commend the CAN leaders in Suleja for restraining Christian youths from carrying out a reprisal against the Muslims. We commend the Niger State Government for outrightly condemning the barbaric act and for directing that the attack be investigated and that the culprits be brought to book.”
He also urged the Commission of Enquiry set up by the governor to investigate the violence to ensure that the youths who perpetrated the crime do not go scot-free.
He added, “We also commend security agencies, the Chairman of the Suleja Local Government Council, and the traditional rulers for mediating in the crisis. Let this be a warning that Christians will not fold their hands; we shall protect and defend our fundamental and constitutional rights. Niger State and Nigeria belong to all of us.”
“We must, therefore, learn to tolerate and appreciate our differences. The government should put structures in place through the Bureau of Religious Affairs to discourage messages of hatred at worship centres.”