The Chairman of the Borno state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop William Naga has condemned in strong terms the killing of Ezekiel Tumba and demolition of the Church of Brethern in Nigeria, also known as Ekkliziyan Yan’uwa a Nigeria.
The church located at Maduganari area in Maiduguri, the state capital was demolished on Thursday by officials of the Borno Geographic Information System (BOGIS). Tumba who was said to have protested against the demolition of the church was allegedly killed by an operative of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) attached to the BOGIS during the demolition of excercise.
Addressing a press conference on Saturday in Maiduguri, Naga demanded for justice for the killing of Tumba and the rebuilding of demolished church.
The CAN chairman also demanded for the reopening of the five churches sealed by the BOGIS.
According to him, the churches sealed off by BOGIS, include EYN LCB Maduganari,
Jubilee Santuary Church, Pompomari By-Pass, Total Gospel Mission International (TOGOMI), Mairi Bakin Kogi, The Santuary Church, Behind A. A Filling Station, Tudun Wada and Christ Favour Land, Pompomari By-Pass, all within Maiduguri metropolis.
“The incident which occured on Thursday August 5, 2021 which was the demolition of the EYN LCB Maduganari and killing of a brother, 29 years old Ezekiel Bitrus Tumba, and injuring of five others working at the Church premises by Civilian JTF was tragic, condemnable”, Naga said.
According to him, “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 youths which followed was report 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 brother who was a bread winner of his family was sent to his early grave by zealous BOGIS head and CJTF for simple reason of stoppìng Church expansion in the state.
“Unfortunately, we the Christians in the state have been denied Certificate of Occupancy to build Church by the state government since 1979, but we acquire lands/plots by ‘Deed of Assignment to build our places of worship”.
The CAN chairman stated further that, BOGIS with its latest activities, is out to ensure that no church is allowed to exist in the state, “fuel tension and causing disatisfaction among peace loving Chritians and Muslims in a fragile state as Borno.”
Naga asked the Borno state government to constitute a Judicial Panel of Inquiry to investigate the unwarranted killing and shooting at the church so as to truly bring perpetrators to justice.
He added that CAN should be represented in the panel to ensure fairness.
CAN further demanded for the “rebuilding of all churches demolished and reopening of those sealed by BOGIS, for example; EYN LCB Maduganari, Jubilee Santuary Church, Pompomari By-Pass, Total Gospel Mission International (TOGOMI), Mairi Bakin Kogi, The Santuary Church, Behind A. A Filling Station, Tudun Wada and Christ Favour Land, Pompomari By-Pass”.
It called for, “Immediate return of seized phones by BOGIS to the owners as such action is an infringement to their rights to communication and freedom of expression.”
CAN appealed to the Borno state governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum to address all existing issues affecting the Christian Community in Borno state.
The CAN chairman however called on the youths and the entire Christian Community in the state to remain calm, law abiding and allow themselves to be guided by the teachings of their Lord Jesus Christ.