Thursday, January 28, 2010

The story from Jos

I have recently received messages fron different Christian sources complaining about the biased media coverage of the Jos killings and the governmental bias against Christians. This is one such message.

Mon 18 Jan 2010
FRESH VIOLENCE IN JOS CLAIM SCORES OF LIVES

(Please pray for the following bretheren from ECWA Jos Jarawa where members were worshipping on that Sunday and the muslim guys went attacking: Azi Matthew Dandi, Francis Dung,Luka Musa, Yohanna Francis, Odun Ileseumi, Bobi Tangale, Ibrahim Azi, Gideon A. Nyako, Emma Kaze Peter, Azi Atsi, Felix. We are not presently sure of their whereabouts.
These others were in ECWA Nasarawa Gwom on Monday, 20 Jan. trying to stop destructtion of the church by muslims. These brethren had only sticks and stones when Gen. Sale Maina, GOC, 3 Armoured Div Jos - ordered their arrest. 7 of them were dumped in muslim concentrated areas of Nasarawa and they became a feast in the hands of the muslims. The following three are still being detained: Samson Bala, Emmanuel Danyaya and Azi Matthew Dandi. Pray for their release, please.)
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Jos the Plateau state capital is witnessing another round of violence which has already claimed many lives estimated so far at 125 persons with hundreds of people injured and displaced from their homes. Hundreds of houses have also been burnt and destroyed. A dusk to down curfew running between 6pm to 6am earlier imposed by the state government was reviewed to 24 hours following an escalation of the violence on Tuesday. The State Governor who has been holding a joined security meeting with top security agents and members of the state inter-religious council announced the measures in a statewide television and radio broadcast.

The Governor also announced that a committee has been set up to help bring immediate relief to the internally displaced persons who are taking refuge in various camps.

The resumed violence began Sunday 17th January 2010 about 10 am when some Muslim youths attacked a church at Nasarawa Gwong area in Jos while in a worship session causing worshippers to scamper for safety. The Islamic youths destroyed the church and thereafter launched further attacks on non-Muslim/non-Hausa homes who are minority residence in the community. The attacks continued against the helpless minority Christians who were mostly away in church service or returning with security agents unable to intervene claiming they had not received orders to do so.

The muslim youth claimed they were reacting to the refusal of some people to allow a muslim man rebuilt his house in Christian populated area which was destroyed during the November 2009 violence in Jos. Unfortunately, this version of the story has been maliciously changed in the international media controlled by the Muslims to mean refusal to build a mosque possibly to gain sympathy from their Muslim folks around the world and escalate the crisis. The city of Jos has become polarised along religious lines of settlements following three violent clashes in the past.

The heavy military presence in the city at the moment has not pacified the situation either. The state government efforts to secure presidential orders for the joint military intervention in the violence have not yielded any positive result as at the time of reporting.

Unfortunately, the Muslims who control the military in Nigeria have taken advantage to infiltrate the system by aiding armed Muslim youths in military uniforms to attack Christians in their numbers. The uniform Soldiers have also been invading the Christian churches and ransacking them hoping perhaps to find arms and ammunitions.

A similar invasion on Christian worship places by military personnel took place at ECWA Church Nasarawa where the Pastor’s office and bedroom were forcefully entered after destroying the door locks. The operatives ransacked the file cabinets and drank up the drinks purchased for guests who were attending a leadership seminar in the Church and thereafter arrested and took away six Christian youths in the Church.

Unconfirmed sources indicated that over 125 persons have been killed, over a thousand injured, while more than 3000 people have been displaced from their homes leading to a pathetic humanitarian problem. The casualties are more in the Christian camp who were caught unprepared in a Sunday worship day.

The Red Cross supported by the Nigerian Civil Defence Corp has been working to take the injured to hospitals, clear away dead bodies, which litters the streets and also helping to attend to the displaced persons.


Four ECWA Churches namely, ECWA Rikkos ( destroyed in the last crisis but rebuilt), ECWA Bishara 1 Bukuru ( one of the oldest church buildings in Jos), ECWA Jos-Jarawa where completely destroyed while that of ECWA Mai –Adiko Ray Field was partly burnt as it was rescued by the Church youths who promptly responded and put off the fire.

Several Church worship places belonging to other denominations have also been destroyed.

The authorities of the Jos ECWA Theological Seminary, JETS in consultation with the ECWA Leadership have also announced a closure of the school following the death of one of her Students who was killed in the crisis by a stray bullet. JETS Provost, Rev. Ass. Prof. Bulus Galadima, noted that a date of resumption would be communicated in due course when the security situation improves.

The State police Commissioner, Mr. Greg Ayanting who has been very overwhelmed by the violence confirmed to newsmen how hundreds of Muslim youths attacked a Church during a worship hour which led to the current crisis and appealed to citizens not to take the law into their hand as the police is doing everything possible to contain the situation. He disclosed the he had requested for reinforcement for more armed police men from other states to help quail the violence.

Meanwhile, powerful Muslims in high political authority who have commenced a grand plan to sack him from his job are criticizing the frank and bold revelation of the cause of the violence by the Police Commissioner.

Sound of gunshots thrill the city as Muslim youths heavily armed with guns and sophisticated weapons engage a battle with Christian youths who had only stones and the likes, causing people near the fighting areas to flee their homes.

This brings us to the issue as we are forced to wonder why it is always the Muslims working so hard to ferment troubles wherever they find Christians in Nigeria. We are yet to know of any of the cases past and present where any Christians started aggression of any sort against Muslims in this nation, whether the former are either overwhelming majority or insignificant minority in those areas? Why do Muslims begin every trouble always, even on the Plateau? Why must the Church as a people, her property, and Christian homes and businesses be the target of each unprovoked attack by Muslims in this nation? Why does it seem, to say the least, like a grand design from most angles in this nation to smother Christians and Christianity?

Now, why should Nigeria not be listed among the nations of interest in terms of terrorism by the US government? The facts are clear we need help. Nigeria should admit that we have challenges of terrorism from the Niger Delta uprising, the Boko Haram upsurge, the various kidnaps that have become a thriving industry in Nigeria and the continuous religious hatred and violence which have resulted in the death of thousands of innocent Nigerians.

Our opinion might be termed unpatriotic but it is a fact that we have to deal with putting sentiments aside and asking for God’s wisdom to help us out of the problem.

Please pray for the peace of Jos and Plateau. Pray for people displaced in Jos.

Signed: ECWA General Secretary

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