Thursday, June 9, 2016 7:45 am
Governor Nasir el Rufai of Kaduna has vowed to ensure prosecution of a gang of Muslims youths who stabbed one Francis Emmanuel, a Christian for not observing the Ramadan fast in the Kakuri area of the state on Tuesday.
Emmanuel, a carpenter told journalists on his sick bed at St. Gerald Catholic Hospital that he was eating his lunch preparatory to embarking on a job when the Muslim youths who were about six in number descended on him on because he was not fasting.
“I went to buy wood to do some work. When I came back, I bought food to eat. As I was eating, about six Hausa boys came and asked me whether I was a Muslim or a Christian. I did not answer them. They asked me why I was not fasting. I told them that I am not a Muslim.
“Before I know it, one of them slapped me. As I stood up, the rest came and surrounded me and started attacking me with knives. I didn’t know them. Nobody could come to my aid because of the type of dangerous knives they were carrying.
“They used cutlasses, scissors and knives. I became unconscious; I don’t even know who brought me to the hospital,” Emmanuel told journalists.
Samuel Aruwan, media aide to Governor El-Rufai said in a statement that government has directed the police to arrest the gang responsible for the attack on the carpenter, even as the governor warned that there is no room for religious violence and criminality in the state.
The Governor led a team of senior government officials, including the Deputy Governor, Barnabas Yusuf Bala, to visit Emmanuel at the hospital where he is recuperating on Wednesday.
El-Rufai promised during the visit that government will not allow any criminal to hide under any religious guise or use religion as justification for violating the right of any citizen.
“The government will not allow anyone to get away with any crime using his or her faith as an excuse. There is no compulsion in religion. It is a free country, and that means no imposition of faith or religious practices on anyone,” El-Rufai said.
“We sympathise with our fellow citizen, Francis Emmanuel. We have assured him that we will not allow anybody to violate his right, or that of any other citizen. The Kaduna State Government is resolute in its stand that all criminals, including those who try to hide under Christianity or Islam, will be tackled and prosecuted.
“We have been given faith to live our lives in obedience to the Almighty, and to let that obedience manifest in our kindness to others, the honesty of our conduct and the consistency of our hard work. Care and compassion for others is one of the noblest ways of demonstrating love for God.
“We implore everyone to do their duty to uphold peace and security in Kaduna State. We should not allow differences in faith to be a barrier to harmony or a cause for conflict. Nobody can impose the tenet of his faith on another person. The decision to observe any religious activity is the prerogative of the individual.
“Let us all remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the security agencies.”