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(Compass) – Church leaders in the central Nigerian state of Plateau say the imposition of a state of emergency there will not bring an end to fierce religious conflict between Muslims and Christians. Rev. Alexander Lar of the Church of Christ in Nigeria said the emergency measures came too late. “Why the state of emergency now and not before, when everything has been destroyed?” Responding to official claims that the violence resulted from land disputes between ethnic groups, Anglican Bishop Dr. Benjamin Kwashi asked, “If the crises were not religious, how come the churches were the ones at the receiving end?” The Nigerian Congress approved the state of emergency following attacks in May in which Christian and Muslim militias killed hundreds of people in retaliatory attacks. Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo appointed retired General Chris Alli as sole administrator in Plateau state for six months. Speaking in a church service last month in Jos, Alli said the violence “has taken Plateau … backward for more than 10 years.” He estimates that it will cost the government over 12 billion naira ($91.6 million dollars) to rebuild the state’s infrastructure.