BREAKING :Outrage trails Kaduna youths attack on carpenter during Ramadan

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Some eminent Nigerians and groups on
Thursday condemned the attack on a
carpenter, Francis Emmanuel, by some
Muslim youths in the Kakuri area of Kaduna
on Wednesday for eating during Ramadan.
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese,
Rev. Matthew Kukah; the Christian
Association of Nigeria and a human rights
lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, said the attack on
Emmanuel was the height of growing
intolerance in the land.

They demanded that the perpetrators of the
dastardly act be apprehended and severely
punished to serve as a deterrent to others.
Kukah, who is the Founder of the Kukah
Centre for Faith, Leadership and Public
Policy, said the perpetrators should be tried
and punished in line with the laws of the
country.

The cleric spoke with journalists on
Thursday evening ahead of his forthcoming
event entitled ‘Fixing Nigeria Initiative’.
He also decried the high level of extremism
in the country occasioned by the brutal
killing of 74-year-old Mrs Bridget Agbahime
in Kano, calling on the government to
expedite action in bringing the criminals to
book.

Kukah added, “The ugly things we have
seen in the last one week are ungodly and
totally unacceptable. Somebody goes out to
buy food and you attack him and say, ‘why
are you not fasting?’ It is totally
unacceptable. The culprits must be
arrested, tried and punished. There is no
other way you can end this impunity.”
In his reaction, the Director of National
Issues in the Christian Association of
Nigeria, Mr. Sunny Oibe, described those
who attacked the Kaduna carpenter and the
perpetrators of the Kano killing as enemies
of the people, who should be brought to
book.

Oibe added, “The people who kill and go
into violence and their sponsors are
enemies of Nigerians and they are not
supposed to live. They are animals, beasts
and should be confined to where they
belong.
“The attack on the carpenter for allegedly
eating when Muslims were fasting goes to
show the level of intolerance of some
people, particularly some of our Muslims.
“Even if somebody refuses to fast, nobody
has the right to embark on such animalistic
behaviour of attempting murder.

“We, in CAN, will ask the security agencies
to ensure that this matter is not swept
under the carpet. The perpetrators should
be brought to book to serve as a deterrent
to others because the laws of this country
forbid taking the lives of another.
“The government should therefore live up to
its bidding and bring the perpetrators and
their sponsors to book.”
Also, human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana
(SAN), said government acted too late to
arrest and arraign those who stabbed
Emannuel, the carpenter, for eating during
the Ramadan in Kaduna.
He said had government acted promptly,
the perpetrators should have been arrested
and arraigned to serve as a deterrent to
others.

“It is already too late now. The
perpetrators should have been immediately
arrested and arraigned to serve as a
deterrent to others,” Falana said.
He said the incident was part of the
growing wave of religious intolerance in the
country which he blamed on both the
federal and state governments as well as
political leaders for their failure to separate
the affairs of government from religion.

According to him, if Nigeria must address
the issue of religious intolerance,
government at all levels must strictly
adhere to the provisions of Section 10 of
the constitution which declare the nation as
a secular state.
He said, “The Federal Government and all
the state governments or rather the ruling
elite should be blamed for the religious
intolerance in the country.
“Some members of the ruling class have,
for political reasons, adopted two religions
contrary to the provisions of the
constitution that the state shall not
promote any religion.

“During Christmas and Sallah, government
officials buy rice, rams and vegetable oil for
the rich people. Government sponsors
Muslims to Mecca and Christians to
Jerusalem. All these are illegal.
“Some of the religious leaders who are now
condemning this kind of violence have also
discouraged the state from separating the
affairs of the state from religion.
“This is why the people supporting them
are becoming extremists. Any political
leader, any religious leader that wants us to
address this problem must encourage the
separation of religion from the affairs of the
state.”

Curiously, the Secretary-General of the
Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic
Affairs, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, in a telephone
interview with one of our correspondents
said he was not aware of the carpenter
who was attacked in Kaduna by some
Muslim youths because he ate in the
afternoon while they were fasting.
Oloyede, a former vice-chancellor, added
that he was not aware of the killing of
Agbahime by irate Muslims for alleged
blasphemy.
He said, “I am in the mosque. I have not
heard about the matter of the carpenter. I
have not also heard of the woman that was
killed.”

Kukah argued that the report of the 2014
National Conference could not be thrown
away as indicated by President
Muhammadu Buhari.
He stated, “President Muhammadu Buhari
cannot throw it (report) away; archives are
archives. Thank God the President did not
say he will throw it to the dustbin. We are
not in a military regime. The President
cannot wake up and say the National
Assembly should be closed. A lot of the
powers have been taken (away) from the
President,”

He added, “I do not think the problems of
the Niger Delta or the South-East or of
Nigeria can be resolved by the kind of
people who present themselves as Boko
Haram or those who claimed to be
Avengers; it is a measure of irresponsibility,
the extent to which the intellectual class
have relinquished their responsibilities.
“I don’t think Avengers are speaking for
anybody, other than themselves, I don’t
think IPOB is speaking for anybody other
than themselves. But we have created
them. Somebody left the window opened.
Their agitations are legitimate, but not
through violence. We are in a democracy,
people should be free to express
themselves.”
The cleric believed that instead of
politicising Buhari’s medical trip to London,
Nigerians should rather pray for the
President.

He said, “All I can say as a priest is that I
have done what I have to do: to pray. Any
health of Nigerian should not be a subject
of politics or speculations. It’s something I
found troubling. The responsibility we have
is to pray for the President.”
Kukah also bemoaned the poor performance
of the National Assembly, saying that in the
last one year, “it is unfortunate that the
only thing we have been concerned with the
National Assembly is the fate of the Senate
President, Bukola Saraki.”

On the ‘Fixing Nigeria Initiative’, Kukah
stated, “A major challenge of Nigeria’s
democracy is the abject lack of citizens’
engagement in debating, and more
importantly, in shaping public policies that
often have dramatic impact on their lives.
“The importance of robust debates can
never be overemphasised in a democracy. If
free and fair elections mark the basic
validation of democratic mandates, citizens’
involvement in public policy-making is the
oxygen for democratic governance.

“It is in part to address this problem that
the Kukah Centre was established to serve
as a platform for mediation between the
government and the people. The importance
of such a mediating platform is underscored
by the great deal of public cynicism
towards government and the mutual
distrust between public officials and
citizens.”

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