The Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA), Kaduna State has written an open letter to the governor of Kaduna State, Uba Sani over the controversial viral video by his predecessor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.
The letter, titled: “The Public Declaration of Islamic Political Supremacism by Ex- Governor El-Rufai, Implications on Dialogue and Peace for Your Public Stance” was jointly signed by Rev. Fr Joseph Gandu NCDPA, chairman Kaduna Archdiocese, Very Rev. Fr Douglas Rock, NCDPA chairman Kafanchan Diocese and Very Rev. Fr Samuel Ameh, NCDPA chairman of Zaria Diocese.
They said, “With consternation and utter disillusionment, we watched the now viral videoclip in which the former governor, Nasiru El-Rufai, while addressing a group of Islamic clerics with you sitting by his side, made comments that objectively amount to a divisive, bigoted, hateful and completely unstatesmanlike declaration of Islamic political supremacism in Kaduna State and Nigeria.
“Having soberly considered the contents and implications of such communication by a former State Governor who is known to be your close ally, we feel compelled to write to you, to know where you stand with regards to the commotions Mallam El-Rufai intends to propagate and perpetuate in our State.
“We write to you today because we are responsible stakeholders in the affairs of our beloved State with our own congregations and followers. We cannot fold our hands and watch unpatriotic persons who neither live in the State nor care about it, come and set it ablaze at will. Moreso, we and our congregations have prominently been at the receiving end of the terrors of ineffective governance, especially in the last eight years.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the now-viral video in reference, is that in which ex-Governor El-Rufai among other things, speaking in Hausa language, categorically that most Christians in Kaduna do not vote his party (the APC), hence the reason why he orchestrated their exclusion from being even Deputy Governor.
“Mr. Governor, this, to every discerning mind, is not only the evidence of discrimination and the provocation that most Christian communities and individuals have endured in our State, especially during the reign of former Governor Nasiru El-rufai. It is also an explanation for the many unjust policies of his administration, uneven distribution of State resources, the wanton killings and kidnappings that afflicted the Christian dominated areas, and the nonchalance and sometimes scornful response of the government to the distress calls of victims.
“It is important to call your attention to the fact which we believe you already have details of, that during the pendency of the last administration, our association almost lost count of our members who were steadily being targeted, kidnapped and killed. In most cases, Priests were executed after paying huge sums as ransom.
“This is apart from the several other pastors of other Christian denominations and countless whole Christian communities that are being steadily raided, ransacked, burnt down and their inhabitants either taken for ransom or slaughtered without any of the perpetrators brought to book, nor any support for the survivors from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), or the National Emergency management Agency (NEMA), nor from any other government agency.
“The only response that would usually come their way from the government has been bizarre and inhumane accusations that they provoked their killers, tagging the atrocities as justified revenge killings, with punitive curfews and proscription of socio-cultural and developmental associations of some socio-cultural communities.
“We are fully aware that as guaranteed both by Natural Law and the Nigerian Constitution, Kaduna State and its resources is our common patrimony irrespective of ethnic, cultural or religious diversity and disparity. As such, elements who are notoriously seen to be despotic, divisive, inciting and eminent failures in building peace should be hiding their faces in shame, rather than be publicly seen standing by you and using your religion or party to promote extremist exclusion and anarchy without consequences.
“Our disappointment and shock did not stem only from the utterances of the former governor, but more from the endorsement he received from the audience, made-up of Muslim clerics who excitedly cheered him on. It was more shocking because these are the same clerics with whom we have been in constant dialogue and discussion on how to help entrench harmony, peace and mutual respect for our different faith-persuasions.
“They are the same clerics we have called friends and partners in inter-religious dialogue, and now they seem to stab their friends in the back.
“We expect that you will use your good office to correct the fallacies that the former Governor’s actions and comments have created and propagated, these fallacies are, that: Christians and Muslims in Kaduna State are at war with each other; that your party, the APC, is a party for Muslims, that being a Christian in Kaduna State is a misfortune if not an offense, as religion automatically excludes one from certain State privileges which should be accessible to all citizens”.