The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says it will petition international organizations to call the government to order and to be more serious in dealing with religious violence in Nigeria.
In a chat with Arise TV on Monday, Samson Ayokunle, president of the CAN, said the government “has not been able to take decisive action” on cases of religious violence and “the entire world needs to hear”.
The police command in Sokoto arrested two suspects in connection with the killing.
But, on Saturday, some Muslim youths in the state took to the streets to protest against the arrest of the suspects. At the same time, some rioters attacked two Catholic churches in Sokoto state, destroying some facilities in the parishes.
Speaking on the situation, Ayokunle said, “this is not the first time this type of thing will happen,” and “we need to appeal to the international communities and organisations to help Nigeria and Nigerian Christians”.
“In this country, we are a democracy, and we are the constitution guiding our lives. If anybody has transgressed in whatever way, nobody has the right to take unilateral action and just terminate the life of another human being. This is not the first time this type of thing will happen.
“If we have been talking to our government and they have not been able to take decisive action in bringing the culprits to book, then the entire world needs to hear. We need to appeal to the international communities and organisations to help Nigeria and Nigerian Christians.
“Everybody has the right to speak, and if their speech is dangerous or perceived as ‘hate speech,’ we have the law to handle that. Everybody cannot become a law enforcement agent. This is barbaric and annoying, and this kind of thing should stop. If we talk to the government decisively and they are not, we drag it to the rest of the world to call our government to order and be more serious, ” the CAN president added.
Ayokunle also appealed to Christians in the country to respect the beliefs of other religious groups.
Ayokunle, while condemning the killing of Deborah Emmanuel for alleged blasphemy, said there is a need for religious education in order to ensure mutual respect among people of different beliefs.
“I appeal to every Christian to respect the other religious groups around you. There is a need for religious education so you know what those around you don’t want and respect them. If there is mutual respect in this nation, there will be peace.
“In a situation where there is no mutual respect, it also does not also call for anybody to take unilateral action against anybody that has offended them. Report it appropriately. This is a civilised society; this is not the Stone Age,” he said.