Provoking Christians is “fishing in troubled waters”: Church Leaders in Nigeria

Logo of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)

Church leaders in Nigeria have cautioned their Muslim counterparts against activities that provoke Christians saying doing so amounts to “fishing in troubled waters.”

In a Tuesday, April 27 statement obtained by ACI Africa, Church leaders under the auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) say, “It is high time we advised some Muslim leaders in the country to stop fishing in troubled waters with a view to provoking Christians whom they share the same neighborhood with. This should stop.”

The Christian leaders add, “We are worried and disappointed with the activities of some Islamic extremists in the country whose past time is how to trigger religious crises and violence and throw the already nervous country as a result of serious security concerns into utter confusion.”

“All over the country, there are some actions that are being taken by some Islamic leaders who are out to provoke their Christian counterparts to anger and CAN has been working behind the scene to nip such ungodly actions in the bud,” they say in the statement signed by their General Secretary, Joseph Bade Daramola.

Among the provocative situations the CAN representatives highlight is the dress code standoff in Kwara State within the Catholic Diocese of Ilorin where they are “still trying to curb the violence occasioned by the Governor's directive to mission’s schools to allow the wearing of the hijab.”


“Will Islamic schools allow Catholics or Christian women who are their students to dress to the school premises in their cassocks?” the Christian leaders who include representatives from the Catholic Church in the country pose in the April 27 statement.

They further note that in the same State, “Some extremists have built Ummul Khair Central Mosque and Islamic Centre beside Catholic Bishop’s House and the Secretariat (Catholic Diocese of Ilorin) primarily to tempt peace-loving Christians into a religious crisis.”

“To compound the problem, one Imam Abubakar Ali-Agan and the General Manager, Kwara State Physical Planning Authority, are claiming that there was a Memorandum of Understanding between the Catholic Bishop of Ilorin and the owners of the Ummul Khair Central Mosque before they built the two buildings, whereas, it was absolute falsehood and misinformation,” the CAN leaders say.

They challenge the Muslim leaders that “if they are certain about their claim, they should publish the said Memorandum of Understanding.”

“It is an open secret that no religion has a monopoly of violence, hence, Christian leaders continue, always, to caution faithful Christians against provocative actions against other religions or citizens wherever they live as Jesus Christ taught us,” the Christian leaders say.

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They call on Nigeria’s security agencies “to caution and prevent any group of people whose actions can lead to religious and social crises and violence in the country” and on “all well-meaning Islamic leaders to talk to their members with provocative and evil-intended actions.”

“We have had enough bloodletting in the country,” CAN representatives says in their April 27 statement and recommend, “Violence lovers should be firmly reprimanded and disciplined.”

They add, “We equally appeal to the Kwara State Government to order the relocation of the controversial mosque and the Islamic Centre immediately in order to prevent the crisis being deliberately provoked by some Islamic leaders and followers in the country.”