The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has defended Borno State government over the recent demolition of a church in Maiduguri, the state capital.
There has been outcry over last Thursday’s demolition of Local Church of Brethern (LCB), under Ekkliziyan Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN), also known as Church of Brethern Maduganari by officials of the Borno Geographic Information System (BOGIS), accompanied by Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF),
Ezekiel Bitrus, a 29-year-old man, was killed and four others injured while attempting to resist the demolition of the church.
Femi Fani-Kayode, former minister of aviation, had also joined the fray, accusing the Borno State government of targeting churches in its demolition exercise.
However, MURIC, in a statement by its director, Ishaq Akintola, said the state government has demolished 11 mosques and four churches since 2019.
“Contrary to a coordinated propaganda over the demolition of an EYN church in Maiduguri, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) can authoritatively report that the Borno State Geographic Information Systems (BOGIS) created by Governor Babagana Umara Zulum, actually demolished 11 mosques and four churches, in the metropolis. The exercise began from 29th May, 2019 up till last week,” he said.
“A team of investigators working with MURIC visited each of the sites where the mosques were demolished, interviewed residents and gathered photographs and data that showed locations of each of the 11 mosques and dates of their demolition by officials of Borno State Government for violation of purpose approved in residential titles, which was in compliance with a 2010 Government White paper in response to the 2009 Boko Haram insurgency, which strictly prohibited the conversion of any residential house to a place of worship, in all parts of Borno State.
“Findings showed that two mosques were demolished by BOGIS on 11th March, 2020, around Fato Sandi, behind works department in Maiduguri, not far from the Shehu of Borno’s palace, who is next to the Sultan in the hierarchy of Nigeria’s leadership of the Muslim community. The Shehu is the Vice President of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA)
“Two mosques were again demolished by BOGIS on the same day (March 11, 2020), at old Musami complex along Jos road in Maiduguri. Again, a mosque was demolished on the same day opposite former NITEL. Another mosque was demolished on April 15, 2020 along Kano Road, adjoining Bulumkutu, Yola Electricity Distribution Company, YEDC. Two mosques were again demolished, one near a hotel in Galadima and another near behind Timber shade, in Baga Road.
“Our investigators further discovered that five other mosques conspicuously located at the Customs round-about in the western part of Maiduguri-Bama road were also demolished by BOGIS on 23rd January, 2020, for what the government called ‘overriding public interest’.
“All the 11 mosques were demolished either for violating residential purposes in their allocation titles or for overriding public interest. Of the 11 mosques demolished, five were for overriding public interest and six for violations of residential titles whereas all the four churches demolished (including the EYN) were strictly demolished for converting residential houses to churches, the same way six mosques were demolished. The measures were in compliance with a 2010 white paper which is against illegal places of worship as measures of regulation.
“We are nonplussed by the immense false propaganda flying around on this issue and we invite anyone who is genuinely in search of the truth to also do his or her findings. We advise armchair critics to be more enterprising. A single phone call to a friend or acquaintance in Maiduguri will debunk all the noise.”