ORITSEJAFOR THE President of Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; ECWA President, Rev. Jeremiah Gado and President of Tarayyar Masihiyawan Nigeria (Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri Christians), General Ishaku Ahmed Dikko (retd), have criticised the planned demolition of over 99 years old ECWA Church Headquarters Mission in Mataazu Local Government Area of Katsina State by the Katsina State Urban and Regional Planning Board (KSURPB).
They vowed to resist the action, which they described as “pure persecution of Christians.”
The Board had issued a three-day demolition notice to the church just as the state government was said to be preparing to construct a road that will pass through the church compound which also has a school and staff quarters.
A member of ECWA church told journalists recently in Abuja that the planned demolition was generating tension that could cause a religious crisis in the state.
But a memo conveying the ultimatum entitled: “Stop Notice” from the Katsina State Urban and Regional Planning Board, signed by one Hussain A. Lawal (Development Control Manager) for General Manager dated January 6, 2015, sent to ECWA Trustees accused the church of building without the necessary legal requirements of planning permission from KSURPB or in violation of such permission.
The memo obtained by journalists reads in part: “You are hereby advised to stop all the development work at Matazu ECWA Church. It is believed that you are proceeding with development of the site without the necessary legal requirements of planning permission from Katsina State Urban and Regional Planning Board or in violation of such permission.
“If you are developing the site without planning permission, or in contravention of conditions of such permission granted, you are committing an offence. In receipt of this notice, you should stop such development work with immediate effect and present a formal application for planning permission to the Development Control immediately.
“Failure to act within three days of this notice may result in further action by the Board. This notice will cease to have effect only after the issuance of planning permission by the Katsina State Urban and Regional Planning Board.”
Reacting to the development, Oritsejafor, said: “I am very upset about this; it is very unacceptable because this is pure religious persecution.”
Meanwhile, the indigenous Hausa/Fulani Christians in Matazu local council have written to Governor Ibrahim Shema appealing for a re-visitation of the proposal for a road to be constructed through ECWA Mission Compound by the council.
Spokesperson of the group, Dr. Yunusa M. Matazu said: “The proposed road will only succeed in dividing the compound into two as the compound is not a thoroughfare as such leading to nowhere.” -NgrGuardiannews