Christians in Sokoto, Rivers, Ondo, Delta, Nasarawa, Ogun, Kwara, Bayelsa and Zamfara states on Sunday failed to respond to the directive by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to stage protests against the killing of Deborah Samuel by fellow Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, students recently after being accused of blasphemy against Islam.
Sokoto The protest could not be held in Sokoto due to an indefinite ban on all forms of processions by the state government. Governor Aminu Tambuwal had imposed a curfew on the state following the violent protest by youths demanding the release of two people arrested in connection with the beating and burning to death of Deborah.
The Assistant Inspector- General of Police Zone 10 comprising Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara states, Bello Sani Dalijan, said in Sokoto on Sunday the police were not aware of any planned peaceful protest by Christians, as they did not grant any group the permission to protest. Rivers
There was no sign of any protest at the CAN secretariat in Port Harcourt. Acting Rivers State police spokeswoman, DSP Grace Iringe-Koko, also confirmed there was no such protest in the state. But all efforts to get the reaction of CAN Chairman, Senior Apostle Stanley Dimkpa, were unsuccessful. According to findings, the protest was called off by CAN because of the political developments in the state and the possibility of hoodlums turning a peaceful protest into a violent one. Ondo
There were no protests in any of the churches in Ondo over the killing of Deborah.
All the churches visited by New Telegraph observed their services without any protests. Neither was there a plan to protest as ordered by CAN. Among the churches visited were Saint Thomas Anglican Church, Sacred Heart Cathedral, CAC, Oke-Ibukun, Okeogba and World Soul Winning Evangelist Ministry.
Others were First Baptist Church, Oba-Adesida, Saint David Anglican Church, Ijomu, Success Gate Mission, Ondo road and Christ Apostolic Church, Oke-Alaafia Irowo Street. Delta In Delta, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) House of Assembly and Representatives primary elections took the centre stage as there were no CAN protests over Deborah. TheCAN chairmancould not be reached for comment.
However, a cleric in Asaba, who simply identified himself as a Reverend John, lamented that politics had separated the church from the love of God. Ogun In Ogun, there was no trace of any protest as worshippers went about their normal Sunday services.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of CAN, Pastor Tolulope Taiwo, confirmed the development. However, Taiwo didn’t give any reason for the decision not to hold any rally. Nasarawa In Nasarawa, the association did not state any protest but rather the Chairman, Very Rev. Sunday Emmah, issued a statement condemning Deborah’s killing, urging the government to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act and prosecute them to avoid a recurrence.
Kwara In Kwara, CAN Secretary, Rev. Reuben Ibitoye, in a statement directed its members to observe the protest in fervent prayers during their services not to overheat the already tense atmosphere in the state following the hijab crisis yet to be resolved. Bayelsa Speaking on Sunday in Yenagoa, CAN Chairman Joseph Opelema protested Deborah’s killing.
He said during the protest: “We are sick and tired of the religious killings of young men and women in our communities and the nation at large particularly the most recent case of the ruthless murder of Deborah Samuel
“It is up to us to take a stand and demand that they stop killing us. We do not need sympathy right now but we need everyone to respect us as Christians. Christians should be allowed to practice their religion without melioration or intimidation in any part of the country.”
Kaduna Kaduna CAN staged a peaceful protest with prayers against the killing of Deborah l and the attacks on the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto where Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah resides. Answering questions from newsmen after the prayer session, Vice Chairman, Kaduna State chapter of CAN, Rev. Father Chris Annger, blamed politicians and religious extremists for the attacks.
Zamfara In Zamfara, the protest could not be held as the police appealed to religious leaders to avoid acts capable of threatening law and order in the state. The Commissioner of Police Ayuba Elkanah, who held a meeting with religious leaders, urged them to constantly preach religious tolerance and respect.