Former Nigerian Governor’s Remarks in Viral Video Nonfactual: Christian Entity

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Remarks that the immediate former governor of Nigeria’s Kaduna State made in a viral video are not based on facts, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a UK-based human rights foundation that advocates for the upholding and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief, has said.

In the just under 6-minute video that has been translated and transcribed, former governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai who was addressing his successor, Uba Sani, and a group of Muslim clerics in Kaduna State following the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party for the governorship election seeks to justify the securing of Muslim dominance in key political sectors in the Nigerian State over the years, including the adoption of Muslim-Muslim tickets for governor and president.

Since 2019, Mr. El-Rufai who was speaking in Hausa says, the development realized in Kaduna State regardless of people’s political and religious affiliations proves the effectiveness of “a government that has a Muslim as governor, a Muslim as deputy governor, a Muslim as SSG (secretary of state government), a Muslim as chief of staff, (and) a Muslim as finance commissioner.”

Mr. El-Rufai admits, in the video, that “of course, we consider the religious aspect but I can’t say that,” and in an attempt to justify the Muslim dominance poses, “But what I am saying is who is being oppressed?”

In a Tuesday, June 6 report, CSW faults the immediate former governor of Kaduna State, saying, “In reality, predominantly Christian southern Kaduna experienced a significant rise in armed attacks during El-Rufai’s eight years in office, with thousands killed, thousands more displaced, and hundreds of villages destroyed, occupied by militia or too dangerous to approach.”


The CSW report further indicates that “while perpetrators of this violence were rarely apprehended or brought to trial, survivors, journalists and human rights defenders who spoke out about the violence, and members of targeted communities who attempted to defend their homes, were regularly detained arbitrarily and indefinitely, disarmed, or harassed judicially.”

“For example, the Fulani assailants who were eventually arrested for the 2018 abduction and murder of the paramount ruler of the Adara people, HRH Dr Maiwada Raphael Galadima, are yet to face prosecution, and the predominantly Christian chiefdom was subsequently balkanised and placed under two emirates, despite the fact that under 15% of the population in the area are Hausa or Fulani,” CSW has explained.

The immediate former governor has also been criticized “for allegedly favouring Muslims in the allocation of state resources for capital projects and employment opportunities,” CSW further indicates in the June 6 report.

The Christian entity whose “vision is a world free from religious persecution, where everyone can practise a religion or belief of their choice” faults Mr. El-Rufai for ordering the demolition of 900 buildings towards the end of his tenure as governor of Kaduna State.

The May 21 “largescale demolition” involved destruction “of properties in the Rigasa area belonging to the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), a minority Shi’a community that has experienced severe mistreatment under his administration, including the extrajudicial killings of at least 700 members in December 2015.”  

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“The Gbagyi Villa residential complex in the predominantly Christian southern part of Kaduna City was the next to be targeted, beginning with the demolition of the Alheri Baptist Church on 22 May,” CSW has reported.

The report further indicates that during the May 22 incident, “at least eight people were killed and several others were wounded … as the Kaduna State Vigilante Service (KADSVIS), a group created by El-Rufai, opened fire on protesting residents, when the demolitions continued in defiance of a court order.”

In the June 6 report, CSW Founder President Mervyn Thomas welcomes the June 4 release of 16 members of Bege Baptist Church in the Chikun Local Government Area (LGA) who had been abducted alongside 24 others on May 7.

Making reference to the support from Muslims in Chikun LGA in raising funds for ransom, CSW President applauds “the contributions made by the local Muslim community towards their release and hope it indeed marks the beginning of a new era of reconciliation and cooperation”.

He faults Mr. El-Rufai for the remarks he made, saying that his comments “illustrate that the situation remains highly charged as violations in southern Kaduna continue to manifest along religious fault lines while those with the power to end them have prioritised other agendas.”


“We urge the Nigerian authorities to challenge anyone who fosters religious division, to do far more to combat religion-related violence, and to prioritise the protection of vulnerable communities,” Mr. Thomas says.

He continues, “Members of the international community must also be prepared to raise this human rights crisis which has been allowed to claim the lives of thousands for far too long, and the urgent need for redress and compensation for the extrajudicial killings and demolitions in Kaduna State, with the Nigerian government in bilateral talks and multilateral fora at every opportunity.”

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