The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in the 19 Northern States and Abuja, has condemned the call by Muslim youth groups for the predominantly Christian Igbo ethnic group, from eastern Nigeria, to leave the northern region by 1 October or face eviction.
The Rev Joseph John Hayab, the association’s publicity secretary said that Christians in the north are shocked that a “short-sighted and ignorant group” was calling for the so-called ‘eviction’.
“Such acall is evil and a threat to national security and unity,” he said. The Christian Association also called for the arrest and prosecution of leaders of the youth organisations which had made the Kaduna statement.
“Which North do they claim to be speaking for and making these evil threat?” said the Rev Joseph John. “We are Northerners and cannot recall any meeting where such decision was taken and we will never support or encourage anyone to champion such evil idea.
“What our country needs today is unity for progress not threat from people who don’t know and understand the positive contributions and sacrifice our parents and many people have made to keep this country united to this level.”
Tarayar Ekklisiyoyin Kristi a Nigeria (TEKAN) a coalition of 15 church groups in the 19 Northern states of Nigeria
and the Federal capital Territory Abuja also rejected the ‘Kaduna Declaration’: “The ultimatum issued by some Northern Youths to Igbos to quit the Northern states is provocative, and a threat to national security capable of instigating crisis in the country especially now that Nigeria is experiencing relative Peace.
“We condemn the action in its entirety. God created Nigeria and also created the Igbo’s, the country belongs to everybody. As such, every Nigerian has the right to leave in any part of Nigeria without any fear of intimidation or harassment to his life or property,” said the TEKAN General Secretary, the Rev Moses J Moses Ebuga.
He said that the churches equally “condemn in strong terms some statements by some political elites and elder statesmen who have consequences of further heating the polity of the nation and we called on the Acting President of Nigeria Professor Yemi Osibanjo to immediately direct Security agencies to arrest all those trying to breach the Peace of Nigeria.”
The coalition of northern churches asked all Igbos to disregard the notice and ultimatum.
The Most Rev Benjamin Kwashi, the Archbishop of the province of Jos, covering the entire northeastern Nigeria, said to Global Christian News, “I fear for the church. Because the church consists of everybody. There are Fulani Christians, there are Hausa Christians, there are Igbo Christians there are European Christians in Nigeria. In Jos I have everybody including Americans in my dioceses who are members of my Church. I have MASSOB (the groups fighting for the establishment of Biafra) members, OPC members (Odudua People’s Congress who also want self-identity for the western region of Nigeria), Afenifere, (the Yoruba ethnic political pressure group). All members of the Anglican diocese. So how does this eviction begin to take shape? Do I just stand and watch and see an unjust system deny people their rights?” declared the Archbishop.