The Catholic Church has denied reports that the house of Father Hassan Kukah was set on fire following the protest on Saturday by some Muslim youths in the state.
The Muslim youths were protesting the arrest of people connected with the murder of Deborah Yakubu; the 200-level Economics student of Sheu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto State.
Deborah Yakubu was the Sisters’ coordinator of the Fellowship of Christian Students on the campus.
Her remains were buried on Saturday, May 14 in her hometown, Tunga Magajiya, in Rijau local government area of Niger State
She was alleged to have blasphemed Prophet Mohammed and was stoned and burnt to death by an irate mob on Thursday, May 12.
A viral video showed the faces of those who murdered her.
The Director of Social Communication of the church in Sokoto, Father Christopher Omotosho however said in a statement on Saturday, May 14 that the house of Father Kukah was not attacked as being reported on social media
The governor of the State, Aminu Tambuwal had imposed a 24-hour curfew on the state following the protest
Omotosho however informed that the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral on Bello Way in the state was attacked by the protesters.
“They destroyed the glass windows of the church and those of Bishop Lawton Secretariat. The community bus parked within the premises of the secretariat was also vandalised.”
“St. Kevin’s Catholic Church on Gidan Dere, Eastern By-pass was also attacked and partly burnt by the protesters. Windows of the hospital complex under construction on the same premises were also shattered.” the statement read.
Father Omotosho noted in the one-page statement that the prompt response of a combined team of mobile police helped to forestall further destruction.
CAN PFN give report
The Secretary of the Sokoto State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Godwin Adole, and his Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria Counterpart, Dr. Uche Onyemerekwe also told Church Times that many other churches were vandalised by the rampaging Muslim youths.
The churches according to them were Baptist, Christ Apostolic Church, ECWA, and a host of others
The protesting Muslim youths also vandalised shops and buildings of people while returning from the Sultan’s palace where they went to make their demands.
Dr. Adole expressed deep worry at the turn of events.
He said, “We should be the ones protesting the criminal way our daughter was killed, but they are the ones still protesting. This is a clear case of lawlessness.
“We have appealed to our people not to take the laws into their hands and they have complied. It is sad that the Muslim youths don’t see the wrong in their action.”
He expressed hope that government will not succumb to their blackmail by releasing the suspected murderers of Deborah Yakubu.
“We are following up on the matter and we are going to ensure that justice is done in this case,” he said.
Adole said the youth wing of CAN was planning a wide national protest but they were stopped from such because it may go out of control.
“We have been calming our youths and urging them to be law-abiding. Unfortunately, the Muslim youths are acting above the law.”
He said the reason the killing of innocent people has persisted in the North is that justice has not been served in times past.
“That is why we are saying that this particular case must not be swept under the carpet,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Church has suspended Sunday Mass in Sokoto Metropolis until the curfew in the state is lifted.
PFN secretary in the State, Dr. Onyemerekwe informed that church services in the metropolis will not hold on Sunday, May 15. “We need to observe the turn of events,” he said.
The crusade being planned by the Redeemed Christian Church of God for Monday, May 16 and 17 in the state may also be shifted pending when normalcy returns to the state.