Religious crisis looms in Taraba
*Christians give FG seven days ultimatum to arrest Islamic clerics
Jethro Yerga, Jalingo
There are obvious signs of an impending religious crisis in Taraba State as counter attacks between Christian and Muslims in the state have continue to intensified.
The rising tention can be attributed to the recent viral video clips in which some Islamic Clerics criticized the PDP led administration in Taraba State as well as the recent APC governorship primaries in the state in which, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, a Christian, was announced the flag bearer in a most controversial manner.
The Clerics in the videos, accused the Taraba State Government of melting different forms of injustice on the Muslim faithfuls in the state, including marginalization and insensitivity to the numerical strength of the muslims in Taraba State.
The Islamic Clerics who challenged the emergence of Senator Emmanuel Bwacha as the candidate of the APC for the 2023 gubernatorial election in Taraba State maintained that his emergence was a manipulation by their Christian brothers to frustrate the majority Muslims in the state.
They threatened to resist henceforth, any sign of maltreatment of Muslims in the state by the Taraba State Government under any guise and called on the Security Agencies to take charge and address the injustice melted against them in the state else, they would form a Muslim government and institute another constitution in the state which will protect them and guarantee their foundamental rights as citizens of the state.
But in a swift reaction, the Taraba State Chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN Monday, issued a press statement in which it observed with dismay that a purely political party affairs and activities could be given a religious coloration to draw such hateful utterances capable of destabilizing the entire nation.
The release stated that Taraba State has a long-standing history of religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence amongst Christians and Muslims even in politics as such Christians Association of Nigeria cannot accept anyone by whatever disguise who is out to threaten and instigate crisis that will destroy the state as it is done successfully in other parts of the country.
It maintained that since 1999, Taraba State has been governed by a Christian while the Muslims have always enjoyed the slot of Deputy Governor and called on the government and security agencies to immediately arrest and persecute Islamic Clerics behind the video clips which they said, are threatening religious war and establishment of a Sharia Islamic Government in Taraba State.
Similarly, the Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Nigeria fondly called TEKAN/ECWA bloc (Tarayya Ekilisiyoyin Kristi A Nigeria and the Evangelical Church Winning All), Taraba State, Tuesday, gave the Federal Government and security agencies seven days ultimatum to get the authors of the viral video clips arrested so as to face the full wrath of the law for promoting, inciting and instigating religious violence in Taraba State.
Addressing a press conference organized by TEKAN/ECWA bloc in Jalingo, the Chairman, TEKAN/ECWA bloc, Taraba State, Rev. Philip Micah Dopah said, Christians cannot afford to sit and watch wicked and mischievous persons who claimed to be religious leaders, dish out threats to the survival of Christians as well as called for a religious war in Taraba State for no other reason but politics.
“TEKAN/ECWA observed with dismay that such devilish, unguided, inhuman, Mischievous, Callous and barbaric utterances are coming from religious leaders who are supposed to be preaching peaceful and harmonious coexistence among the followers of every religion in the state as against fanning the embers of disunity for the promotion of religious war.
” We are reacting on this issue because, our organization is a Christian based organization which has the mandate to promote Biblical ideals anchored on love, peace and unity among Christian faithfuls and their neighbours for the progress and development of the society”. He stated.
Rev. Dopah insisted that, should any breakdown of law and order issued in the state, nobody should be held responsible or accountable but the so-called Islamic Clerics and their cohorts for their unguided and inflammatory utterances as contained in the video clips and called on the government, Security Operatives, spirited individuals as well as well meaning Nigerians irrespective of political and religious inclinations to condemn what he called evil utterances by the lslamic clerics to avert religious crisis in the state.