By Maduabuchi Nmeribeh, Kano
The immediate-past chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kano state chapter, Rev. Adeyemo A. Samuel, has condemned recent comments credited to the Secretary to Kano State Government, Dr. Abdullahi Baffa Bichi, that the Kano Golden Jubilee Tower, at Government House roundabout, was demolished because it bears a sign of christian cross, urging him to desist from, “dragging the Church into politics of vendetta.”
In a Statement he personally signed and made available to our Correspondent on Wednesday, Rev. Adeyemo, insisted that there was no link between christianity and the ongoing demolition of structures in Kano.
According to him, “we received with rude shock the denigrating statement of Kano state Secretary to the State Government Malam Baffa Bichi while he was speaking on Freedom Radio the motive behind the demolition of the beautiful commemorative round about in front of the State Government House, housing the Kano state Golden Jubilee monument designed by a talented young female architect, a Kano state indigene.
“He (SSG) said ‘…they pulled down the golden jubilee round about because it carried the Christian symbol of a Cross…’ he further said ‘plans are underway to remove the Christian symbol on the Muhammadu Buhari Inter-change flyover at Hotoro…’
“This statement of the SSG, to us as Christians in Kano State puts a lot of questions to our hearts about this government and it is already painting Kano in the bad light and returning us to the dark days of religious intolerance which could blaze religious and violent extremism.
“It is imperative to make it clear that, in Kano State under the immediate past government, we have enjoyed a robust inter faith relationship that had engendered a peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Christians, the Council of Ulama under respected Sheik Khalil and the previous CAN leaderships fostered a strong collaboration that has developed into inviting each other to programs, and we have stood together to promote religious harmony and religious peaceful coexistence in several inter faith programs.
“We celebrate our festivals together; during fasting we organize programs of breaking of fast for Christians put together by our Muslim brothers and the Christians had put together breaking of the Muslim fast together. We have a strong brotherhood relationship. We also rejoiced together in our various joyous ceremonies of marriages and child births and we also mourn together when the inevitable- death occurs to any of our followers.
“We built our strong Christian-Muslim relationship as we send each other goodwill text messages.
Truly Kano state had become the state where everyone domicile irrespective of tribe or religion go about their businesses, trade, professions and worship without any inhibition because of ethnicity or religion.
“The atmosphere provided by the last administration was that of inclusivity and prosperity in all that we do. One thing that depicts inclusivity was we being included in some important committees in the state by the state government and we being put into consideration when some major decisions are to be taken that could affect our religion. We were never considered as an offense for destruction rather we were considered as partners in progress.
“It is on record that Kano State was the first state in Nigeria to have hosted a National Inter Religious Conference on December 1, 2022, with the Theme: “Harnessing Nigeria’s Religious Diversity for Sustainable Peace and National Development”.
“The committee that planned this program was chosen from all the geo political zones of the nation. The guest were from all over the nation with notable leaders of the two faith in attendance.
“Most respected Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, the Convener of National Peace Committee and head of Kukah Center Abuja delivered the key note address, while Professor Shehu Galadanci, the Murshid of National Mosque Abuja delivered another notable paper and together with Cardinal John Onaiyekan were both Co Chairs.
“Various heads of religious bodies were present in Kano for this program. To mention but a few; Sheik Lau of JIBWIS, Rev Dr Israel Akanji, the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, also the CAN Chairman of Lagos state who was also a member of the planning committee.”
The former CAN chairman added that: “It is indeed sordid to hear such statement from a respected academician and public office holder, the SSG of Kano State, the party where the Vice Presidential candidate is a Christian and a very senior clergy- a respected and revered Bishop from the south west. As a Bishop he wears his Cross Symbols at all times.
“I know him, he will never compromise his faith and His Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for any reason or position. I began to wonder if it means that each time they see the respected Bishop in their midst he is denigrated and an offence to them in their hearts?
“There are other respected Kano Christians in the party, is it that they are just allowed to make their membership increase but they are not welcome??? Also during the electioneering campaign they came to the Christian leaders to canvass for their support and vote but now they are in power and the most sacred symbol of our Faith, the Cross is now an offence warranting destroying an important state monument.”
He further stated that: “As one who had at several times seen this monument from when it was beautifully constructed, there has been no time when we the Christian faithful residing in Kano ever thought that the design or drawing was a Cross, rather we have been seeing it as a symbol of a small sword or dagger, which to us depicts an Arewa sign, indicating the founding fathers are warriors.
“To us that symbol had never at any time been the symbol of a Cross. The SSG and the government called it a cross because of the personal hatred they have for the previous administration and wanting to use a religious platform to justify their actions. If care is not taken, we the Christians can be made to begin to think this government hates us and anything about Christianity.
“Kano state has almost one million indigenous Christians and there are several Churches in hundreds in Kano where we freely and joyously worship our Lord and savior Jesus Christ as Christian faithfuls.
“The Cross is our symbol of Victory over the works of satan and sin, Colossians 2:14-15; the cross to us is our symbol of the place of completion of the finished work of our redemption and salvation by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Galatians 6:14; I Corinthians 1:18. The Cross is not a symbol of offence rather, a symbol of peace and joy.”