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Religious Leaders in Nigeria Demand Arrest, Prosecution of Pastor's Killers

Members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC). Credit: Courtesy Photo

The Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) is calling on the security agents in the West African nation to ensure that those behind the Pastor Yohanna Shuaibu are arrested and charged. 

Pastor Yohanna Shuaibu, the chairperson of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Sumaila Local Government Area of Kano State, was reportedly attacked by a Muslim mob on September 22. 

“NIREC appeals to the Kano State Command of the Nigeria Police Force to honestly do the needful. NIREC also calls on all the relevant security agencies to properly investigate this gruesome murder and ensure that those found culpable are made to face justice,” officials of the Council say in their October 7 statement.

The religious leaders who include officials of CAN add that those who will be arrested in connection with Pastor Shuaibu’s murder should “be dealt with in accordance with the law of the land.”

Pastor Shuaibu fled his village together with his family on September 21 after tensions arose when a young man, who had left Islam but was not attending church services, killed his sister-in-law by hitting her with a piston during an argument. The Pastor was alleged to have had a hand in the man renouncing Islam. 

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On September 22, Pastor Shuaibu returned to the village to evacuate pupils from a school constructed for indigenous Hausa Christian children.  

When he arrived in the village, the Pastor noted some calm, a situation that made him consider resettling with his family.

Unfortunately, a mob that was allegedly Muslim, attacked the family that night. Mrs. Shuaibu escaped with the children but the angry mob attacked the Pastor using machetes. 

The police rescued the Pastor after being informed about the incident by CAN’s vice chairperson. Pastor Shuaibu died while receiving treatment following his injuries.

In their October 7 statement signed by NIREC Executive Secretary, Cornelius Omonokhua, the representatives of religious leaders in Nigeria condemn the Pastor Shuaibu’s killing, the attack on his church building, and the destruction of his house, and say, “No reason can justify this criminality.”

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They also condole with the slain Pastor’s family and pray for the repose of his soul. 

NIREC officials also express their appreciation to those who did not take the law into their own hands on the night of the late Pastor was attacked.  

They also acknowledge with appreciation actions by police officers who have been “ensuring peace by protecting lives and property in the community.”

In the October 7 statement, NIREC officials also appeal to the people of God in Kano to remain calm. 

"We call for calm as NIREC is already in touch with Rev. Adeolu Samuel Adeyemo, CAN Chairman, Kano State, and the Emir of Kano, His Highness, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, to find the way forward out of this unfortunate incident," they say. 

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The representatives of religious leaders in Nigeria also urge residents of Kano and Nigerians at large “to strive for peaceful coexistence in the various communities of the nation.”

Last week, the leadership of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a UK-based human rights organization, called on the police force in Nigeria to “spare no effort in locating and prosecuting” those responsible for Pastor Shuaibu’s death.

CSW’s founder, President Mervyn Thomas, also called on State and Federal governments to start educating the people of God about “interreligious harmony.”

“We call on the Federal and State authorities to develop civic education programs that promote interreligious harmony and equal citizenship, and to model these qualities consistently both in word and in deed,” Mr. Mervyn said in a September 27 report. 

He added, “More must be done to tackle the societal tensions that facilitate regular outbreaks of religiously-motivated violence.”

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