- The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused Muslims in Kwara of attacking the Christian community
- CAN said some female Christians returning home after the New Year's services were attacked and abused by some Muslims
- The association also called on the state government to prevent a repeat of such incidence
The Kwara state chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Timothy Opoola, has accused Muslims of launching attacks on Christians in the state.
Opoola said some female Christians returning home after the New Year's services were attacked and abused by some Muslims.
Speaking at a media briefing in Ilorin, Opoola said the Muslims had earlier prevented these individuals from organising a carnival for the New Year.
He said CAN believed that it was some Muslim fundamentalists that attacked the churches and abused the women.
Opoola said:“During the attack, they chanted Islamic slogans saying, ‘Allah Akbar, this land belongs to Muslims.’ They threw stones and destroyed the windows of the Christ Apostolic Church in the area when they could not gain access.
“In fact, some Christian worshippers returning home were abused. Some of the ladies ran into the Methodist Cathedral naked for safety.
“These Muslim fanatics broke the gate of the cathedral and destroyed the church building and some vehicles.
“The Muslims later moved to St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral and also destroyed the church building. The fundamentalists damaged two statues; those of St. Joseph and the resurrection scene.
“When the fundamentalists entered the cathedral, they robbed the worshippers of their phones, bags and other valuables.
“If the police and other security operatives had acted on time to curtail the unfortunate incident, the magnitude of the destruction would have been minimised."
CAN further called on the state government to put measures that would prevent such attacks in the future.
Opoola also warned that the Christian community in Kwara state may be forced to defend itself, saying nobody had the monopoly of violence.
However, reacting to the allegations, the chairman of the Alfathiu Quarib, Malam Abdulrasak, said the Muslim association had a harmonious relationship with the Christian community.
Abdulrasak denied claims that the attacks were perpetrated by the organisation on any church.
He said if the attack was from the organisation, against Christians, some members of his group would not have fallen victims.
Meanwhile, the governor of Kwara state, Abdulfatah Ahmed, condemning the attack assured residents of the state's readiness to deploy the law and public funds to achieve peace, unity and progress in the state.
Ahmed, in a statement by his chief press secretary said: “Anyone who participated directly or indirectly in the public disorder shall be brought to book.
“This state is a state of harmony. We must all work to sustain our cherished peaceful environment. Don’t play into the hands of mischief-makers by labelling the activities of miscreants as a religious issue. The benefits of unity are too many to allow them to slip out of our hands."
NAIJ.com earlier reported that a traditional ruler, Gambo Makama, was killed alongside his pregnant wife in Sango local government area of Kaduna state on Monday, January 1.
The traditional ruler was attacked by gunmen who invaded his palace.
Also, 14 other people were reportedly killed by gunmen in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area of Rivers state on January 1, between 12.10am and 1.am.
In the same vain, scores of people were reportedly injured during attack on Christian and Muslim worship centres in Kwara state.
Southern Kaduna killings: part 1 - on NAIJ.com TV