The Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN) Kaduna State, on Thursday raised the alarm on what it described as a plan by the state government to demolish one of the oldest Anglican churches in Zaria.
CAN, said a quit notice had been issued to the church concerned, ST. George’s Anglican Church in Sabon Gari, Zaria which was founded about 110 years ago.
A statement from CAN State chairman, Rev. Joseph Hayab issued on Thursday, and made available to newsmen said, “The 7-Day Quit Notice by the Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Agency (KASUPDA), is purported to be a directive from the Executive Governor.
“The notice also claimed that compensation had been duly paid to the church. The Quit Notice, which was not dated, was addressed to: House No. 27, Church House, Sabon Gari Market, Zaria which in actual sense is St George’s Church.”
The statement explained that part of the quit notice reads, “Reference to the directive given by the Executive Governor on the issue of Market development which compensation has been duelly paid. However you are hereby directed to vacate your resident within Seven (7) days from now, failure to comply will leave the Agency with no option than to evict you at your own expense. (from 19h – 24 September).”
CAN observed that the signatory of the notice did not include his name, but it was signed by the zonal head of KASUPDA on behalf of the zonal Manager.
CAN explained, “We are alarmed and apprehensive about this, if it is true that it is a directive from the governor. But we doubt much if the governor issued the directive.
“This is because in February 2016, the government made moves to relocate the church to pave way for the expansion of the market, but later realized that the Church has all valid documents and that even some parts of the market are on the Church’s land.
“Following the presentation of the necessary documents by the church, the matter was resolved amicably.
“We wish to state categorically that no compensation was paid to the church.”
CAN wandered where KASUPDA officials got what it described as false information that compensation had been paid.
CAN asked, “Are the KASUPDA officials playing a script or are they being used by some faceless trouble entrepreneurs to provoke Christians?
“It should be noted that the Church which was founded about 110 years ago, was liberal enough to allow the market in question to operate in some parts of its land. Is it now a crime to be liberal and accommodating?
“How could the governor revisit the issue which was resolved amicably in 2016, by issuing a 7-day quit notice?
We suspect that this could be the handiwork of some people who do not mean well for Kaduna state.”
CAN called on governor Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai to immediately investigate the purported quit notice from KASUPDA and take prompt action on the officers involved, adding, “This will go a long way in allaying fears and apprehension among Christians in the state and the nation at large.
“This unfortunate notice is coming just few weeks after the alarm about the purported demolition of a mosque in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, which, upon investigations, was later confirmed to be false.
“We urge the governor to take steps to avert that kind of situation in Kaduna State.”
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