Yesterday12 November 2016 at an Unveiling of Public Apology Billboards Ceremony in Samaru Roundabout Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna state, Governor El-Rufai declared his intention to donate a hundred million naira for the reconstruction of churches and mosques destroyed during the religious crises in Southern Kaduna as government gesture towards consolidating on the peace building process in the area.
Mrs Alice Nderitu, Senior Advisor and Lead Mediator of HD, made a very valid observation that structures destroyed during the crises should not be allowed to remain in a state of disrepair as they had the capacity to stir up bad memories and breed enmity amongst future generations. I agree with her submission completely, because I can recall how I feel when I passed by a church a friend of mine used to attend in the 90s somewhere around Kawo and how it has been converted into an Islamic Madrassah.
When El-Rufai declared his intention to govern Kaduna State and came with the slogan ‘Let’s Make Kaduna Great Again’, wonderful memories of how Kaduna used to be in the 90s where Christians and Muslims lived as good neighbours, interacted together in a mutually congenial atmosphere kept playing in my mind’s eyes. As Governor El-Rufai sincerely wants to return Kaduna to the way it used to be where there were no religious discrimination and ethnic tension, we will recommend that he employ a holistic approach to the issues. As he sought to resettle the displaced Fulanis and Hausas in Southern Kaduna by building their bartered places of worship and encouraging the southern Kaduna people to be tolerant of all and avoid the term settlers, we look forward to seeing him replicating such gestures in Zaria and Kaduna too – especially in areas where Christians were displaced and their burnt churches turned into mosques and Islamic schools. We look forward to seeing the government encouraging Muslims to be tolerant too and to return church lands back to the churches for the government to rebuild too. We look forward to seeing a Muslim Hausa/Fulani version of Mrs Alice Nderitu too, making the very valid observation that structures destroyed during the crises should not be turned into mosques and Islamic Madrassahs and must not be allowed to remain in a state of disrepair as they had the capacity to stir up bad memories and breed enmity amongst future generations. By the time the governor successfully rebuild churches and return Christians to places like Tudun Wada, Kawo, Rigasa, Rafin Guza, Ungwan Dosa, Rigachikun, the Kabalas, Hayin Banki, etc like they used to be or even better, then Kaduna Will Indeed Be Great Again as pledged. And all will know that Governor El-Rufai is tending to stick to his oath of office of 29 May 2015, where he swore to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. And to do right to all manner of people without fear or favour, affection or ill-will. And to devote himself to the service and well-being of the people.
Though they say ‘charity begins at home’, we won’t hold on tenaciously to that cliché if the governor will simultaneously begin to rebuild churches and return Christians to all the aforementioned areas and more as he is presently doing to the Hausa Fulani Muslims in Southern Kaduna.
By George Makeri