Eunice Olawale: Who Will Stop Killing Of Christians In The North By Muslim Fanatics? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Eunice Olawale: Who Will Stop Killing Of Christians In The North By Muslim Fanatics?

Posted: Jul 17, 2016 at 4:28 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
The Late Mrs Elisha

The Late Mrs Elisha


When will the rising wave of religious intolerance in northern Nigeria be put under control? Who will stop the rage against Christians in the north who are daily being attacked, molested and killed by Islamic extremists? Less than a week after the gruesome murder Mrs. Eunice Olawale Elisha, a neighbour-to-neighbour preacher and member of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Abuja early Saturday, July 9, a group of irate Muslim youths again invaded a Catholic church after the Juma’at prayers yesterday and sacked the worshipers. Their only reason: The youths reportedly attacked the church claiming that Friday is Muslims’ special day of prayer and that the Church only has right to worship on Sundays.

According to an eye witness, “Sometime around 2pm, some Muslim youths in their hundreds left their Mosque after their Friday Jumat prayer and rushed to the Church premises, climbed the wall and destroyed everything in the Church: the windows, the altar, musical instruments, the chapel. The security man in the church premises was beaten to a pulp. Some women who were holding a prayer meeting were chased away. The seminarian who is resident in the premises was also beaten up and chased away.”

The St. Philip’s Catholic Parish, Baki Iku, where the attack occurred, is a little distance away from St Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla, which on Christmas day four years ago, was attacked by suspected Boko Haram Islamists coordinated by Alhaji Kabiru Sokoto who detonated bomb that killed several Catholic worshippers and passersby.

Rev Fr. Luka Sylvester Gopep, the Vicar-General of the Diocese confirmed the incident.

The word ‘Condemnation’ was freely used last week as reaction to the gruesome murder of Mrs. Elisha. The woman evangelist met her untimely death when she went for morning preaching in Kubwa area of Abuja.

Expectedly, her death attracted a lot of reactions from Christian organisations like Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), National Assembly members and other Nigerians who have appealed to security agents to arrest those behind the barbaric act. In his reaction, Godswill Akpabio senate minority leader and former governor of Akwa Ibom State condemned the killing.

“I want to strongly condemn the killing of Mrs Eunice Olawale by unknown assailants and demand along with all well meaning Nigerians that this killing has to stop. Let us learn to tolerate each other’s religion and shun violence.

“I also hope that her killers are apprehended and charged for her murder as quickly as possible. Nobody deserves to die like that. May her soul rest in peace. Amen.”

Members of the House of Representatives have also condemned the murder. The law makers at the plenary called for increased security in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), and urged the acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to ensure that her murderers are brought to justice. They also appealed to the FCT administration to demolish shanties across the nation’s capital, which they said usually harbours miscreants.

Hon. Gabriel Kolawole (Ondo APC) noted in a motion of urgent public importance that the incident was already causing tension in the FCT due to reports that some religious extremists may have been involved in her murder. He therefore harped on the need for the police to be proactive to prevent a breakdown of law and order and further loss of lives.

In its reaction, the northern zone of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) asked the security agents to wake up to perpetual killings of Christians in the north which has become a common practice. According to a statement by Rev. Musa Asake, about a month ago in Kano, Mrs. Bridget Agbaheme, a 74 year old Christian was murdered at Wambai market due to an altercation with a Muslim man who came to the front of her shop to perform ablution. Her offence was that she objected to the Islamic washing rites in front of her shop.

“Just last week a clergyman of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) Reverend Zakariya was killed by attackers suspected to be Fulani Herdsmen in Obi LGA of Nasarawa state. They attacked him on his farm, cut off his arms and legs, then they chopped his head with a machete.

“Another fresh but sad news reaching us is that of the Fulani herdsmen militia that is back on rampage killing 81 people in multiple attacks in Logo and Ukum local government areas of Benue state in central Nigeria.”

The statement further decried the multiple cases of attacks by Fulani herdsmen on various Christian communities, all over the nation. “The recurring decimal of violence and murder of innocent Nigerian citizens on the basis of religious intolerance demands specific and relevant response from all concerned citizens in the country more so when the government in power seems to have adopted an attitude of lukewarm response to the evils being perpetrated in Nigeria in the name of religion”.

The group expressed worry over discrimination against non-Muslims under the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in the country and appealed for a change of attitude on the part of the government.

“You will agree with me that with these happenings and the lukewarm attitude by the authorities concerned toward putting an end to it, Nigeria is dancing a macabre dance of death, both for the nation and for its citizens. It is time to stop the beat and let common sense guide the nation out of the present quagmire. A stitch in time saves nine.

“Before the situation escalates into an unmanageable national crisis, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is calling on the authorities both at the states and federal to do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to justice if the confidence of Christians on this government must be maintained.

“The unprovoked attacks on Christians and the authority’s inaction is becoming unbearable and may not be tolerated anymore, inasmuch as we will continue to call on Christians to remain tolerant and law abiding, it is becoming inevitable to also call on them to buckle up and be ready to defend themselves against these incessant unprovoked and mindless attacks.

“The Christian Association of Nigeria commiserates with the families affected by these mindless orgies of death and destruction as well as with the entire Christian community in Nigeria. We pray that God in His mercy shall comfort and strengthen the families of all the Nigerians affected in these unwarranted murders unleashed upon the nation by religious extremists”.

Apart from CAN, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) who expressed shock over the murder urged security agents to redouble efforts in ensuring that justice is done on the murder of Mrs. Elisha and other victims religious killings.

Observers believe that unless perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice, Nigeria would continue to witness a situation like this. Killing Christians on the flimsy excuse of desecrating the Islamic religion is a common thing in the north. In 1995, one Gideon Akaluka was beheaded in the city of Kano by Muslim fanatics on the reason that the wife mishandled Koran. People believed that those behind the dastardly act would continue to have a field day as long as government in power did not show interest in punishing the perpetrators. Nigerians are waiting to see if the gruesome murder of Mrs. Elisha would go the way of others Christians who were murdered by miscreants under the guise of defending their religion.