Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

Nigeria State Employees And Police Destroy Church In Wider Crackdown

ICC Note

“It is disappointing that the Catholic Church in Naibawa was demolished even though an appeal was pending. Moreover, the burning and looting of church property during an operation supervised by the police and state employees is wholly unacceptable,”

06/20/2008 Nigeria (BosNewsLife)-Catholics near Nigeria ‘s northern Kano City were without a church Friday, June 20, after state employees and security forces demolished the building as part of a crackdown on Christian institutions in the country’s predominantly Muslim states, local Christians and rights investigators said.

Britain-based advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) told BosNewsLife that employees of the State Environmental Protection Agency backed the state’s mobile police force attacked the Christ the King Church in Naibawa region early Thursday, June 19.

“Musical instruments, furniture and other objects were removed from the church and either looted or set on fire once the building had been bulldozed,” CSW said. The group said the demolition happened although church leaders “were still awaiting a response” to a letter of appeal against an evacuation order given this month.

“It is disappointing that the Catholic Church in Naibawa was demolished even though an appeal was pending. Moreover, the burning and looting of church property during an operation supervised by the police and state employees is wholly unacceptable,” said CSW Advocacy Director Alexa Papadouris.

More Destruction

CSW investigators said the latest incident comes when churches “in Nigeria ’s Shari’ah states are regularly destroyed during religious violence or demolished by state authorities” on trumped up charges. CSW said most churches don’t receive adequate compensation and are not offered alternative locations “if they have been deemed to be in the way of town planning projects.”

In Kano State , church demolitions reportedly increased since Governor Ibrahim Shekarau took office 2003. In February, a mob armed with machetes set fire to church buildings belonging to the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) in Giginyu area of Kano State , before looting and dismantling the property, Christians said.

“Although Governor Shekarau agreed to compensate and provide an alternative site for the church, to date neither has been forthcoming,” CSW said. In addition since February, churches in the Badawa area of Kano State were apparently served with notices to vacate their premises.

Elsewhere the Combined Churches of Christ Church , in the state’s Rogo Local Government Area, has yet to receive a promised alternative site and “adequate compensation” after its church was destroyed in 2006 to make way for the construction of an Islamic school, CSW added. It has urged authorities to end the alleged crackdown and help churches rebuild.