Saturday, November 27, 2021

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Church member shot dead by Borno Government Task Force during building demolition

A church member, identified as Ezekiel, was reportedly fatally shot in the chest by a task force personnel, who accompanied the Borno State Geographical Information System (BOGIS) to demolish the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) church building in Maiduguri.

Sources who spoke to ThePunch say there was no altercation as it was the security personnel who first started shooting sporadically into the air, to the anger of the church members.

According to eyewitnesses, Ezekiel was shot in the chest by men of the civilian joint task force to the agency, which is directly under the state governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.

“When BOGIS came this morning (Thursday), they came with a bulldozer and started pulling down the roof. The labourers on site started to protest. Meanwhile, the civilian JTF that accompanied the bulldozer and the BOGIS staff had started to shoot into the air. So, when the labourers started to protest, the CJTF aimed at Ezekiel and shot him in the chest,” Sunday Musa, who claimed to be an eyewitness at the church premises, told Punch.

Another eyewitness, Helen Moyo, said that the CJTF were in Hilux vans, fully armed and that, immediately they alighted from the vans, they headed to where the labourers were and seized their phones.

“Immediately they came down from their vehicles, they headed to the labourers and began seizing their phones. They seized five phones from the labourers so that they will not call anyone,” Moyo said.

Hadiza, also an eyewitness, stated that, “When they seized the phones, they intensified the shootings as people were gathering. In an attempt to disperse the people, they shot at others. One boy that was running to safety was hit by a stray bullet in his arm. I don’t know the present condition of that boy now.”

“When the youths of the community gathered after they (CJTF) had shot and killed Ezekiel, they seized two guns from the CJTF guys. The guns were handed over to one of the church officials at the scene,” Hadiza added.

The chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Borno State chapter, Bishop Mohammed Naga, said the demolition of the EYN church was a surprise to him and the Christian community in the state because before the demolition today, there was no prior information notifying the church of the impending action of the state government.

“There was no demolition notice sent to the church before they came and demolished the structure. They didn’t mark the building either.”

Continuing, Bishop Naga said, “This action takes the number of churches demolished by this administration to four. There were three other churches that were demolished earlier within the state capital.”

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