The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to an alleged threat by the Kaduna state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai to arrest and prosecute the Senior Pastor of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Paul Enenche for hate speech.
According to Daily Post, El-Rufai blamed Enenche for the violence that took place in Kaduna state.
The Kaduna state Governor was quoted in a statement saying that a pastor in Abuja incited violence through his message.
“There was a clip going round, a pastor in Abuja that said I was the one that arranged the abduction and murder of the agom of Kachia. I have filed a complaint to the IG. We intend to bring him to Kaduna to try him.
“The clip was circulated in Kaduna and he is in Abuja, we will get him. We know the agents of this kind of careless statements and what is most unfortunate is that the guiltiest are people that we assume should be responsible, pastors, imams and very important people in the society,” Daily Post reports the Governor saying.
In its reactions, CAN, in a statement issued by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the media aide to the its president, Rev. Dr Samson Ayokunle, on Wednesday, December 26, 2018, advised El-Rufai to stop chasing ‘good Nigerians’ adding value to the nation.
The statement also urged the Kaduna state Governor to channel his strength to arresting and prosecuting those causing trouble in his state.
“While we will continue to condemn hate speech by religious leaders and other Nigerians, we cannot stand and watch our respected leaders being set up for molestation, humiliation and prosecution for an unfounded “hate speech.” We have also followed the speeches of Governor El-Rufai and have felt strongly that he has been engaged in making inciting speeches, but several efforts deployed to draw his attention have been fruitless.
“His statement that his government had paid herdsmen to stop the killing in his State without any due compensation to the victims of attacks is still fresh in the minds of Nigerians. The questions in the minds of the church is; why is it very easy for government to identify those lamenting over the unabated killings of Christians in Kaduna and other states in the middle belt for persecution?
“Why is it easy by government to seek to apprehend and prosecute the crying victims and almost an impossible task to bring killers to justice? Why is it easier for the El-Rufai government to know and get “the agents of careless statement…” but most expensive and almost impossible for him to identify the Kaduna killing agents despite years of such continuous killings? Have the killers of Agom Adara, Dr. Maiwada Raphael Galadima, been apprehended? How long will it take the Governor El-Rufai to apprehend them?
“Any attempt to arrest and harass any of our pastors again will be considered as an attempt to silence the voice of the Church and reasoning in our nation. Let the Government defines clearly the difference between what is considered hate speech and advocacy for dying victims of continuous killings in Nigeria. What do you expect from a church leader whose members and fellow citizens are being killed daily without any satisfactory measures to abate the killings? Are we to keep clapping for government while people are being massacred in cold blood?
“While we appreciate the fact that no government will want her citizens to be killed, we will admonish Governor El-Rufai to channel his strength towards getting the sponsors and perpetrators of the heinous crimes going on in Kaduna State arrested and prosecuted rather than chasing good Nigerians who are contributing immensely to the peace, growth,” the statement said.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai recently hinted of plans by his government to make legislations that will help check fake news, hate speech in the state.
See the video of Pastor Paul Enenche talking about the Kaduna incident below: