Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna
Evangelist Paul Enenche-led Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Kaduna, and Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Kaduna state, have raised alarm over alleged plans by El-Rufai-led administration to demolish all Dunamis Churches in Kaduna state.
Trouble began when Dunamis Church raised the alarm in its 24th January 2019, letter addressed to CAN, Kaduna state chapter, titled: “Planned Persecution of Dunamis International Gospel Centre churches in Kaduna state by Kaduna state Government.”
Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Agency, KASUPDA, an agency of Kaduna state government, on 17th January, 2019, had written Dunamis Church, Farin-Gida, Kaduna, demanding for details update of religious institutions within the Kaduna state through an attached form.
In the letter addressed to Dunamis Church Kaduna, with reference No. PS/14/PP/ZIII/20,624/VOL.1/0, and signed by Fatimah H. Bambale for General Manager of KASUDA, requested Dunamis to supply update of its worship centers in Kaduna, thus:
“I am directed to request you to furnish the Agency with your details through the attached form, update of religious institutions within the state,” KASUPDA stated.
KASUDA, in its attached form, is requesting for serial number, zones, names, address, titles/C-of-O and planning permits of Dunamis churches in Kaduna state, respectively.
Dunamis’ protest letter to Kaduna CAN, signed by Pastor Bartholomew Oche, and copied National Headquarters Abuja, stated that there’s a calculated plan to persecute their church by using KASUPDA to demolish all their churches in Kaduna.
Pastor Oche further revealed that a week before the letter, KASUPDA staffs were coming to church locations in Kaduna state with all manners of demands and literally harassing their church workers to supply them all sorts of information concerning the church and her landed properties orally.
According to Pastor Oche, it was when the church workers insisted for official correspondence to enable them get the church authorities and leadership to pass on the information, that KASUDA sent the letter to the church.
Government actions, according to Pastor Oche, also prompted landlords of properties of their church locations to begin to ask church pastors to remove their signboards and move out of the properties, saying KASUPDA gave them verbal orders to do so or risks demolition of their properties by government.
Reacting, Kaduna state CAN secretary, Dr. Sunday Ibrahim, in a letter to KASUPDA, stated that it was offensive, suspicious and ill-conceived and inappropriate for the Agency to write individual church directly, disregarding CAN, saying “It’s an attempt to use the public Agency as a tool to prosecute Dunamis Church in Kaduna. “
CAN added that the legitimate way to update religious institutions is to do it in consultation with Interfaith through CAN and her sister-association like Islamic religion that would mandate the blocs to provide the needed information so required.
According to Ibrahim, Kaduna CAN is unaware of any ongoing update of religious institutions in the state, and would not condone any attempt to victimize the church of Christ in Kaduna state.
“We shall resist in strong terms any action or inaction that is inappropriate and perceived as an ill intention against the church, person or group,” he said, calling on KASUPDA to resist the temptation to allow itself to be used as an instrument of persecution of churches or any individuals, persons and groups in Kaduna state.
It would be recalled that the overseer of Dunamis Church, Pastor Enenche, had a rift with Governor El-Rufai over former’s sermonization on crises that led to the killings of people in Southern Kaduna, including the traditional ruler of Adara Chiefdom in 2018. The state government’s apparent “anger” seems to be simply oozing out from this scenario.