Barely a week after Deborah Samuel was killed in Sokoto over alleged blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (SAW), some youths in Katangan Wargi, headquarters of Warji Local Government Area of Bauchi State, have launched a search for another Christian lady with a view to lynching her for the same act.
Our correspondent gathered that the unidentified lady drew the ire of her chasers after she allegedly posted a video of someone who renounced Islam on a WhatsApp group; a situation which did not go down well with her co-workers who are predominantly Muslims.
However, the girl was ferried into safety by her fellow Christians upon getting wind of the impending danger.
But the irate Muslim youths allegedly started destroying properties belonging to Christians after the planned attempt to lynch the girl after the Jumat prayers on Friday failed.
A member of the ECWA church, who pleaded anonymity, said: “We were at home on Friday evening when we heard shouts from Muslim youths in their hundreds wanting to attack the ECWA church, but Christian youths and others resisted and repelled them.
“But that was after they had already set the shops attached to the church on fire. In the process, one of the pastors of the church was seriously wounded.
“As I am speaking to you, efforts are on to save his life as he lost much blood due to the injuries inflicted on him.”
The church member, however, pleaded with the Christian community in the state not to allow the situation to degenerate into a full-blown crisis.
Confirming the incident yesterday, the Bauchi State Command of the Nigeria Police Force said that scores of people were injured while six houses and seven shops were set ablaze by the mob.
The Commissioner of Police, Umar Mamman Sanda, said a blasphemous message posted on social media by one Rhoda Jatau, a 40 years old staff of the Medical Department of Warji LGA, incited the crisis.
He, however, said the police deployed all Tactical Teams, Mobile Police Force and Rapid Response Squads (RRS) whose joint efforts brought the situation under control.
Spokesman of the Command, Mohammed Wakil, a Superintendent of Police, said in a statement made available to newsmen in Bauchi, the state capital, that the CP had ordered a thorough investigation into the crisis.
He added that Sanda had urged religious and community leaders to always speak to youths to desist from anything that could breach the peace and security of their areas.
The statement reads: “On 20th May 2022, at about 1745hrs, some irate youths set six (6) houses and seven (7) shops ablaze, while some scores of persons were injured as a result of a blasphemous message posted on a social media by one Rhoda Jatau (female) 40 yrs old staff of the Medical Department Warji Local Government.”
“The Police have since deployed all Tactical Teams, Mobile Police Force and Rapid Response Squad (RRS) whose joint efforts brought the situation under control.
“The area is calm for now, while visibility patrols are going to keep the peace.”
The state governor, Bala Mohammed, while sympathising with the victims of the crisis during his visit to the community, warned against religious intolerance.
Speaking at the palace of the district head of Warji, Mohammed urged the people to embrace peace adding that the country is yet to come to terms with the spate of insecurity everywhere.
Mohammed regretted that the recent violence is coming at a time when Bauchi State is widely acclaimed to be a peaceful state.
“Religion is very close to peoples’ hearts. It is very uncivilised to joke about each other’s religions.
“We know that there are Christians and Muslims in Warji. Those of us who are 60 years old have never heard of a crisis in Warji before this time.
“I must commend religious leaders, traditional leaders, and security personnel for putting up a combined effort that lead to quenching of the violence,” he said.
He, however, warned that he will not spare anyone found making attempts to cause trouble. “My administration has a special regard for peace and religious tolerance and I will not fold up my arms to allow unpatriotic people to cause trouble in any part of the state.”
Speaking earlier, Warji LG Chairman, Adamu Muhammad Danjumai, commended the quick intervention of security operatives which helped in restoring normalcy to the community.
CAN orders peaceful protest within churches
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Saturday gave a new instruction to Christians and churches over the planned peaceful protest with regards to the gruesome murder of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto State.
The umbrella body of Christians had previously ordered a peaceful street protest to drive home their point for justice to prevail in the case of Deborah Samuel who was killed by her Muslim colleagues in Shehu Shagari College of Education over alleged blasphemy.
However, CAN in a statement signed by its National President, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle said it had gathered intelligent information that some Muslims were planning to organize a counter-protest and turn it into a violent protest.
To this end, Christians were ordered to protest within the safety of their various churches or CAN secretariat to avoid infiltration and possible violence. Ayokunle said apart from the protest, prayers should be offered for the nation and media coverage provided.
The statement read, “You are all aware that some Muslims had sent out information that they were going to counter our peaceful protest on Sunday, May 22. Their intention is to cause chaos and attribute it to us.
“In view of the foregoing, I urge you all to protest by placard-carrying within the premises of your local churches or your CAN Secretariat.
“However, where it is unsafe to do the protest in the premises of your church or CAN Secretariat, you may carry the placards inside your church and pray for justice for Deborah Samuel who was wickedly and extra judicially slain. Pray as well for a change of heart for the wicked who find it convenient for them to kill their fellow human beings under religious guise.
“In all, let the television cover your in-house protest and equally use social media for the entire world to see. May the Lord be with us all, His Church in Nigeria and our nation who is in birth pains.”