The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has risen in defence of Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State over the demolition of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa of Nigeria Church.
A week ago, the EYN building at the Maduganari area of Maiduguri, the capital, was pulled down, putting the already restive state on edge.
The Borno Geographic Information System (BOGIS) based its action on violation of land administration and urban development laws.
Tragically, a church member, Ezekiel Bulus, was killed in the demolition exercise after security operatives attached to the agency fired live bullets.
Amid the biter backlash that greeted the move, Governor Zulum has ordered the Police to investigate the shooting.
But reacting to the attacks on Zulum, MURIC said nine churches earlier destroyed by Boko Haram have been rebuilt by the governor.
The Islamic organisation provided the names and locations of affected structures.
Prof. Ishaq Akintola, MURIC Director, in a statement said the branches damaged are in Hawul, Chibok and Askira-Uba Local Government Areas.
“Their names are EYN LCC Ghung, EYN LCC Sangyere, EYN LCC Kirbutu, EYN LCC Tashan Alade, EYN LCC Shidifu, EYN LCC Azare, EYN LCC Kwajaffa, EYN LCC Yawa Wamdeo and EYN LCC Piyami”, he noted.
MURIC recalled Zulum visited the communities after the attacks, enhanced security, and released humanitarian aid to the victims.
Akintola said the governor’s directives for the reconstruction contradicts “the coordinated propaganda claiming that Borno State Government is wiping out churches”.
MURIC noted that the step taken was to implement a 2010 White Paper with ref no. WPIC/BK/Vol. II/54 of 4th February, 2010, which says no residential accommodation should be converted into a place of worship.
The religious body said the provision was adopted as a response to the emergence of Boko Haram in 2009 in order to prevent unregulated proliferation of religious centres.
MURIC told Muslims and Christians to read the principle of ‘fatabayyanuu’ (investigate before taking action, Qur’an 49:6), and 1st James 1:19 which says ‘Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger’.
Akintola cautioned the public to be wary of persons “trying to sow the seed of discord while hiding under a religious umbrella”.