Hundreds of Christians, mostly youth, alongside dozens of church leaders of various denominations Friday staged a peaceful protest over the demolition of the Ekkliziyan Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) Church, otherwise called Church of Brethren in Maduganari, Maiduguri Borno State.
A protest had erupted on Thursday after the demolition of the church by the state authorities over irregularities, which led to the death of one person who was reportedly hit by a stray bullet on the chest fired by security personnel.
Five others sustained injuries and are receiving treatment at a hospital.
Governor Babagana Zulum had, in a statement, condemned the shooting and asked the police to investigate the incident.
The leaders of protest have called on the state authorities to rebuild the church.
Earlier at a media conference at the demolished site of the church on Friday, the Reverend Pastor in charge of EYN Maduganari, Reverend Shawulu Auta Ndahi, condemned the killing and called on the State Government to immediately assist the families of the deceased and those hospitalized.
He said, “We have gathered here today to express our displeasure over what has happened to our church and its members.
“Yesterday (Thursday) morning at about 11 am, we received a distress call that some officials of Borno Geographic Information System (BOGIS) in the company of some CJTF and graders came and demolished our church with all facilities destroyed.
“In the process, some of our aggrieved members started hurling stones at the officials of BOGIS, before Some CJTF members opened fire after seizing their communication gadgets, which led to the killing of Mr Ezekiel Bitrus, May His Gentle Soul Rest In Peace.
“In view of these unwholesome conduct, we are hereby displaying our Certificate of Occupancy and other relevant documents used in acquiring this land which are legal documents.
“Therefore, as a church that believe in peace and unity, we have some demands for Governor Zulum to immediately reconstruct our demolished church and other facilities including our pure water factory.
“Although, there is nothing worth on earth that can compensate life, we requested the State Government to immediately assist the families of the deceased and those who sustained gunshot wounds currently receiving treatment at a State Specialist Hospital, Maiduguri.
“The church which has 99% of its membership and citizens of Borno, also want the State Government to lift the ban for the teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) in all our primary and secondary schools as it has been the practice in the past, as the constitution allows for freedom of worship in the country.”
Also, in his address, the CAN Youth Chairman, Metro, Mr Sunday Ishaku, accused CAN leadership in the state of failure to issue a statement on the incident.