Deborah: CAN Insists On Protests, States React

Post created on 11:37 am



The Christian Association of Nigeria says it will go ahead with its nationwide protests against the lynching of Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a 200-level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto, who was stoned to death and burnt for allegedly blaspheming Prophet Muhammad.

This is despite a ban on religious protests by Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai; an appeal by Nasarawa State Governor, Abdullahi Sule, and moves by some northern governors for CAN to shelve its planned protests.

Also CAN chapters in Plateau and Benue states, which are the umbrella bodies for churches in the two states, said they would organise protests against Deborah’s killing.

The spokesman for the CAN President, Rev. Bayo Oladeji, said the protests would hold on Sunday nationwide. Oladeji, however, said the protests would take place in front of CAN secretariats in various states or major churches, adding that there would be no procession.

The cleric said, “Of course, the nationwide protests will continue. We are not going to take to the streets so nobody should stop us from gathering in front of our premises. We will be by CAN secretariats and lift up our placards.

“In cities where there are no CAN secretariats, we will use big churches to stage protests. We know too well that if we take to the streets, they will use thugs to hijack it. So, we will gather in front of our churches. We are not going to take to the streets.”

However, the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Muyiwa Adejobi, said CAN had not informed the police of any demonstration. He, however, said the Christian body had the constitutional right to protest.

But the Plateau State Government feels otherwise. The Commissioner for Information and Communications, Dan Manjang, while condemning the manner the student lost her life as unjustifiable, he warned CAN in the state against joining such protests as doing so would contravene an existing law in the state. He made the government’s position known in Jos on Tuesday.

The commissioner said, “We won’t allow the protest. There is a law banning public protests in the state and as a government, we won’t welcome any form of protest.

“We are working with security agents to ensure it does not happen. This is important so that miscreants won’t take the opportunity and hijack the protest to cause confusion in Plateau. So, if they (CAN) trespass against the provision of the law, the law will take its course.

The Borno State the Commissioner of Police, Abdu Umar, said, “We have banned all forms of gathering in Borno State. We shall not allow protests of any kind to hold in Borno because criminal elements may hijack it and turn it into something else.

“The police will not grant permission to anybody or group to hold any rally and if we catch anybody or group flaunting our order, the law will take its course.

The Niger State Government on its part, had earlier called on security agencies to deal with anyone who tried to incite trouble in the state while appealing to Christians in the state to remain calm. This is according to a statement signed by the Press Secretary to the Niger State Governor, Mary Berje. The Niger state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abiodun Wasiu, on Tuesday toed the diplomatic line by saying, “As much as it is every citizen’s right to hold a peaceful protest, it’s not in my place to say if CAN will be granted permission to hold one in the state”.

He added that it was necessary for anyone who wanted to have a peaceful protest to liaise with security agencies for logistics and protection to avoid the protest being taken over by miscreants in society.

Meanwhile, in Kaduna state, the Kaduna Stae Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, on Tuesday, warned troublemakers to steer clear of the state, adding that anyone who attempted to undermine the security of the state would be dealt with regardless of status. The state government through its Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, announced a ban on any form of religious protests in the state with immediate effect. El-Rufai also directed security operatives to ensure strict enforcement of the ban.



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