11th August, 2021
FACTCHECK: BORNO GOVT REBUILT 9 CHURCHES – MURIC
More facts have been revealed by the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) on the allegation that the Borno State Government demolished churches in the state. The Islamic human rights group has uncovered the truth behind the story as its investigation team was shown nine (9) different churches earlier destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents but which have been rebuilt by the state governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum.
The churches which were destroyed are in Hawul, Chibok and Askira-Uba local government areas in southern Borno. Their names are EYN LCC Ghung, EYN LCC Sangyere, EYN LCC Kirbutu, EYN LCC Tashan Alade, EYN LCC Shidifu, EYN LCC Azare, EYN LCC Kwajaffa, EYN DCC Yawa Wamdeo and EYN LCC Piyami. These churches have all been rebuilt by the state governor.
MURIC’s first press release earlier in the day had revealed that Borno government did not demolish churches alone. The demolition exercise affected both churches and mosques. It further revealed that more mosques were demolished than churches as the number of affected mosques stood at eleven (11) while affected churches were just four (4). MURIC gave details of all the mosques demolished including dates and locations either for contravening laws which bothered on conversion of residential houses to worship centres or for public interest.
The statement which was captioned ‘Bursted : Borno Govt Demolished 11 Mosques, 4 Churches’ removed the rug from under the feet of merchants of fake news.
A follow-up statement signed by the group’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 11th August, 2021 became necessary as more facts were unveiled later in the day that the governor had actually rebuilt nine churches earlier destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents.
Part of MURIC’s statement reads:
“Some of our detractors had been throwing banters at MURIC on social media simply because we had remained silent on the allegation of demolition of mosques in Borno State. They did not know that we were making our own investigations.
“One particular critic with telephone number 080269422… sent a stinker to the director of MURIC on 8th August, 2021 at exactly 6.48 pm. His text message read, ‘Our dear Moron Professor is yet to make comments abt (sic) zulum (sic) demolishing church if it were Christians he would v (sic) written an epistle. Ode (Yoruba word for idiot)’. We are used to such messages but it is not in our character to reply because we believe that as leaders we are prone to abuses at any time.
“The aim of senders of such messages is to scare us away from this noble cause and to isolate those whom they are harassing so that they can continue their evil deeds ad infinitum and unhindered. But they misjudged us. Such intimidating messages merely energise us the more to continue on our path of nobility. This particular message acted as an elixir and ignited our interest to find out the truth about the so called church demolition in Borno State.
“Apart from the first discovery that more mosques were demolished than churches, our investigators made another shocking finding, viz, that Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, has rebuilt nine churches, all of them owned by EYN, which were attacked and destroyed by Boko Haram in December 2020.
“The churches which were destroyed are in Hawul, Chibok and Askira-Uba local government areas in southern Borno. Their names are EYN LCC Ghung, EYN LCC Sangyere, EYN LCC Kirbutu, EYN LCC Tashan Alade, EYN LCC Shidifu, EYN LCC Azare, EYN LCC Kwajaffa, EYN DCC Yawa Wamdeo and EYN LCC Piyami.
“Zulum, MURIC confirmed, had visited the communities soon after the attacks, enhanced the resilience of security structures with more men and vehicles, released humanitarian aide to victims and gave directives for the reconstruction of all the nine churches.
“These findings by a team of investigators deployed by MURIC to Borno State, sharply contradict the coordinated false propaganda claiming that Borno State Government was wiping out churches in the state.
“The step taken by the Zulum administration was to implement a 2010 Government White paper ref No. WPIC/BK/Vol. II/54 of 4th February, 2010 which says in its first paragragraph (indented) ‘No residential accommodation should be converted into a place of worship for the public by adherents of whichever faith without due compliance with the provisions of any extant law’. The White Paper was adopted as a systemic response to the emergence of Boko Haram in 2009 in order to prevent unregulated proliferation of places of worship across the state, which affected far more mosques than churches.
“We invite believers in the scriptures not only to remember divine counsels but to allow such to guide their day-to-day actions. The Glorious Qur’an teaches the principle of ‘fatabayyanuu’ (i.e. investigate before taking action, Qur’an 49:6). The same lesson is to be found in 1st Thesalonians 5:21. In the same vein, James 1:19 says, ‘Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger’.
“We therefore urge Nigerians to ignore rumour mongers and merchants of fake news. In particular, the public must be wary of attempts by unscrupulous elements to sow the seed of discord while hiding under a religious umbrella. Above all, we enjoin well-meaning Nigerians to always investigate matters before believing them and before taking action on them.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)