As we approach the March 28 presidential elections, the political horizon in Nigeria is getting chaotic. According to unconfirmed reports, a branch of the Living Faith Church a.k.a. Winners Chapel, has been set ablaze by political loyalists to the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
This comes as a surprise to residents of the community as there was no religious crisis between the Muslims and Christians in the area, as it’s always in such situations that churches are targeted by arsonists.
The obvious suspicion of the APC is founded on the argument that the owner of the church, Bishop David Oyedepo has endorsed the presidential candidate of the PDP, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for the forthcoming elections, following the visitation of the latter to the Faith Tabernacle, Canaanland in Ota recently.
During the incident that happened on March 20, 2015 at about 2:30pm, nothing was saved from the church.
The President of Tarayyar Masihiyawan Nijeria (Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri Christians), General Ishaku Ahmed Dikko (rtd), and the Director of National Issues of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Sunny Oibe, yesterday, issued a statement entitled: “Presidential Elections 2015: Signs of what to expect.”
In the statement, they said, “Giwa is the Headquarters of Giwa Local Government Area of Kaduna State. On Friday, 20 March, 2015 at about 2:30 pm, two unknown hoodlums on a motorcycle drove into the premises of Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel) and set it ablaze.
“The Church was razed to the ground and nothing was saved from the Church including the building. This action surprised the Christian Community, especially the Church members, as there was no tension or any sign of it between Christians and Muslims in the town.
“It is, however, a known fact that the people of the Local Government have not been friendly with the Christian Community even though over 90 percent of them are of the same Hausa-Fulani indigenes.
“The incident actually became more worrisome when no effort was made by a passersby to assist in putting out the fire. In fact, it was a Fulani herdsman that saw the fire and reported to the Police Station. Only one Policeman and a Christian volunteer that ran to the scene and attempted to put out the fire but of course could not achieve anything.
“This situation and the circumstances surrounding the incidence are a cause of serious concern. If this can happen more than a week to the Presidential Elections, what shall we expect during or after the elections? Is this a sign of what to expect or a dress rehearsal of a repeat of 2011 Post – Election Violence? This is a wakeup call to the Federal, State and Local Government Authorities,especially the Security Agencies.
“The Christians in the North, particularly the Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri speaking Christians, who are indigenous in these States and live within and among their kith and kin are in serious jeopardy,” the statement concluded.