The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State has urged Nigerians to ignore any insinuation linking the embattled Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami and the Muslim community to the death of Sir. Patrick Yakowa, the former Governor of Kaduna State who died in a helicopter crash on December 15, 2012.
CAN in a statement issued by its Chairman, Rev. John Joseph Hayab said linking Pantami and the Muslim community to the death of Yakowa would endanger national peace and urged security agents to step in and tame the circulation of a documents he said had “doubtful authenticity.”
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Daily Trust reports the circulation of a purported document on social media had insinuated that a meeting of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) in Bauchi and chaired by Pantami had strategiesed the killing of the first Christian governor of Kaduna State.
However, countering the circulation of the document, the CAN Chairman in Kaduna said: “If we support unverified allegations against someone today because we loathe the person, the monster could be deployed against us or someone we cherish tomorrow.”
“We cannot afford to stock fire when we should be pouring more water. Those who feel they have information to help the security agencies investigate whatever crimes against groups or individuals should do so within the provided window, without exacerbating the tension of formulating tales in the public space,” he said.
Hayab, who served as Yakowa’s Special Adviser on Religious Affairs clarified that when Yakowa died, there was no inquiry to determine the cause of death, aside from the immediate and likely technical fault leading to the helicopter crash.
“We, the Christian community and indeed his immediate family acknowledged the tragedy, submitting to the will of God Almighty. For that purpose, there is no point, now or later, to open up what will not bring back our leader and father but rather open up old wounds in a very controversial manner,” he said.
He described as unfortunate that grievous revelations against the Minister, had turned into a dangerous turn of events, “especially the issue linked with the release of some documents with doubtful authenticity linking the minister, Pantami and the Muslim community with the death of His Excellency, Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa.”
He said while the church and Yakowa’s family consider the allegation very serious with a possible adverse impact on peace and national security, it also expresses strong reservations and concerns about statements like the ones associated in the past by Pantami as circulated in audios and videos released on social media.
According to the CAN Chairman, society’s discomforts and disagreements should however, not be enough reasons for Nigerians to approve the circulation of “phony and injurious statements” against any perceived foe adding: “We consider that the communique could be doctored. We are aware that in this age of technological advancements, we have to take any allegations with a pinch of salt until we are confident of the authenticity of the source.”
“Sensitive documents like the ones purported to be from the JNI meeting in Bauchi should be subjected to thorough security investigation and trials, not tools for social media warfare. The danger of making this a media issue, instead of a legal and security issue that it ought to be, is that we stand to lose the most important point; that of bringing to justice persons accused to have wronged the law.
“Accordingly, there is a need for circumspection and care so that we do not throw our communities into further chaos in the rush to hang one man. At a time of strained relationships between neighbours, what we need are mediatory interventions and peacebuilding, rather than adding fuel to the raging fire,” he said.
Hayab stated that those with an axe to grind with Pantami should do so within their limits but stated that as a Church leader, he has chosen to speak because of his deep belief that justice is natural and everyone shall live to account before our Lord.
“Besides, if we support unverified allegations against someone today because we loathe the person, the monster could be deployed against us or someone we cherish tomorrow,” he said.