Church Leaders in Nigerian State Condemn Muslim Clerics’ Threats to Christians

Taraba State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria. Credit: CAN

Members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Taraba State, have condemned the utterances by a section of Muslim clerics who they say are attempting “to instigate religious unrest”.

In a Sunday, May 29 statement signed by CAN Taraba Chapter Chairperson, Rev. Isaiah Magaji Jirapye, members of the Christian entity that includes representatives of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) make reference to video recordings showing Muslim clerics issuing threats that target Christians in the Nigerian State.

In a video recording published May 28 on Facebook by Tabara News, a Muslim cleric is featured threatening “to impose Sharia law in Taraba State if Muslims are not given the chance to rule the state.” The Cleric who was delivering a Friday sermon was reportedly reacting to the election of Emmanuel Bwacha, a Christian, as the flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party during the State gubernatorial primaries.

In another video recording published May 29, a Muslim cleric is seen saying that since those who profess the Islamic religion represent 65% of the Taraba population, a Muslim needs to be at the helm of the Nigerian State.

“Nigerians are in great shock that a purely political party affairs and activities could be given a religious coloration and draws such segregation capable of destabilizing the entire nation,” CAN members in Tabara State say.


They add that while CAN members are not part of partisan politics, they have “observed with dismayed the threats on Christians in Taraba State and an attempt to instigate religious unrest from some Islamic Clerics from across Nigeria.”

Utterances by the Muslim clerics, they say, “stand condemnable by all reasonable individuals.” 

The Christian leaders say they would have overlooked the utterances if they came from ordinary citizens but they had to address the issue because the incitements come from people who are expected to preach peace.

“Our tolerance has been the reason we are still exempted from the religious carnage ongoing in some states,” Christian leaders in Tabara State say, and question the source of the statistics that Muslims outnumber all other religions combined in the Nigerian State.

They pose, “There are both Christians and Muslims in all the political parties. How did these people come to a conclusion that Taraba is 65% Muslim and 35% Christians? What is the source of their statistics?”

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“Why the misinformation and even blaspheming Christians by using insulting words?” CAN members in Tabara State further pose, and add, “Taraba State since inception has been governed by Christian while the Muslims have the Deputy Governor slot.”

They continue, “It is uncharitable and unacceptable to threaten the peace of a State with violence if your religion is not given the opportunity to rule the State.”

“Politics is not religion. It's a game of numbers. People should desist from using religion to win presumed public sympathy. Leadership is from God. Politics is a game of majority,” CAN members in Tabara State say.

They call on the APC members to settle their party issues without bringing in religion, and add that the State in the North Eastern part of Nigeria has a long-standing history of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence amongst Christians and Muslims even in politics. 

For this reason, CAN members in Taraba say they “cannot accept anyone from whatever disguise to threaten and instigate a crisis just to see the state destroyed and in ruin as they did in other places.”


Security agencies in Nigeria need “to expedite actions and apprehend and prosecute the individuals on the videos before they throw Taraba state and indeed Nigeria into avoidable bloodshed,” CAN members say.

They emphasize that the Muslim clerics should be arrested and “questioned why they are interested in setting up Taraba in flames.” 

“Clergy men ought to be preaching peace and tolerance not hateful sermons and promoting politics of religion,” the Christian leaders say. 

They also urge the security agents to hold the clerics accountable for any harm that may occur on Senator Emmanuel Bwacha or Christians in Taraba State. 

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.