The recent killing of Eunice Olawale Elisha, a deaconess and wife of a Pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Abuja, the nation’s capital, has again brought to the fore the rising wave of Muslim fanaticism against Christians in Northern Nigeria. The development has become worrisome as it is frightening.
Mrs. Elisha was gruesomely murdered around Gbazango-West area of Kubwa in the Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) while preaching. When she set out from her home at about 5.30 pm that fateful Saturday, she had no premonition that some assailants were waiting to snuff life out of her and sent her to an early grave. But that was the case. She was killed while in active service to the Almighty God.
According to her husband, Pastor Olawale Elisha, his late wife, a mother of seven, was a trader and the breadwinner of the family. She went out while the husband was still asleep having conducted a vigil that night. He stated that his children who are footballers who had earlier gone out for practices that morning returned, narrating how they heard that a woman was killed that morning while preaching.
He continued: “So, when I heard this, we trekked down with the short I was putting on and we did not see anybody, but we saw blood on the ground. I asked a policeman around and he said it was true but that they had taken her to Phase 4 Police Station. I went to the station with my children and when we got there, I saw the lifeless body of my wife at the back of the police van and there, she was taken to the mortuary. The incident happened between 5. am and 5:30am because she usually went out by 5.am and came back by 6am.”
Pastor Elijah disclosed that when he saw the body of his wife, he fell down and started to cry. He could not go home on his own. He and his sons had to be driven back home by a sympathiser. He disclosed that he had earlier warned his wife about her ‘morning cries’ as an Imam at a mosque in the locality had commended her preaching, but informed her that he was uncomfortable with the whole thing.
He added: “When she came back and told me about it, I warned her. I did that because I was a Muslim before I converted and became a Christian. I told her to be careful. I told her that although what the man in the mosque said was commendable, she needed to be careful.
“For about a week, she did not go out to preach because of the warning. That was about three weeks ago that I warned her. The comments made by the man in the mosque were not against her. In fact, they were commending her.”
Pastor Elisha said there was no prior warning from the assailants before his wife’s murder. But he maintained that he had forgiven the assailants. According to him, as a Christian, it was not in his nature to seek personal revenge.
“There was no harassment or warning before she was murdered. My wife was a child of God. She did not have issues with anybody. We were married for 16 years and had seven children. I am not a lawyer or a law enforcement agent. All I can say is that I forgive those that killed my wife.
“There is no need to avenge her death. When we went to the place where her lifeless body was kept, the crowd said her head and breasts were removed. Till this moment, I have not seen her body. I only heard. I have not confirmed, he said.
Muslims Shouldn’t Be Killing Over Religion – Nurudeen Lemu
Nurudeen Lemu, an Islamic cleric, while reacting to the killing of Mrs. Elisha, maintained that both Christians and Muslims are equal stakeholders in the affairs of this country, hence it is very important for everyone to live in peace with one another “as God has destined that we must co-exist as one and that is why I said I see everything wrong in the killing of the Pastor’s wife simply because she was preaching early in the morning.”
Lemu stated that he gets worried whenever he hears something like a Muslim taking life out of a Christian, “and I have always said that both Christianity and Islam preach peace and tolerance for one another. Even common sense dictates that God created every man and woman, be it Christian or Muslim, for a purpose. So nobody has the right to take another’s life under whatsoever provocations. I think there is the need for value re-orientation whereby religious leaders should educate their followers on the need to value life of others as if it were their’s.
Killing Of Christians Must Stop – Rev. Echioda
Rev. Matthias Echioda, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Niger State, maintained that Christians were the targets for any slightest provocations. But, he stated that killings is not good in a multi-religious environment like Nigeria where the law provides that people should practice what they believe in without infringing on the rights of adherents of other religion.
Rev Echioda stated that information available to CAN so far indicated that Mrs Elijah did not do anything to warrant her being killed except that she was preaching. He stressed that the United Nations (UN) Charter indicates that life is sacred. Even if the killers were in any way provoked, he or she should have sought redress in the law courts. Also, no religion should be treated as being supreme to the others.
According to him, “Nobody has monopoly of violence. Christians have been preaching peace and they have lived within this teachings on the need to respect and be at peace with all, we were also made to understand that Islam means peace so I think it is time they live and treat Christians in accordance to what they preach; peace, and let us practice it and stop these aggressive and pre-meditated killings.
“The way the killings are going, it looks like more of people from other parts of the country as being the targets and I also want security agencies to be up and doing in providing adequate security to lives and properties of Nigerians and if they don’t have enough personnel they should recruit. If a government that swore to protect lives and properties of Nigerians claims ignorance or look the other way while life of citizens are being cut short then there is a problems, but I must say, the killing of Christians must stop.”
Islam Recognises Freedom Of Religion – Jibrin Imam
Mohammed Bala Jibrin Imam, Chief Imam, Government House Mosque, Minna, said: “It is not forbidden to preach against other religions in Islam and Quran recognises people from other religions and provided how you relate with them. Islam allows people to practice religion of their choice and I am aware the constitution permits everybody to believe in any religion that one deems fit. If one is preaching; if you like you hear and if you don’t like to hear you walk away or close your ears, nobody will force you to listen to any message. In Nigeria, there is freedom of worship; as a Muslim if I hear a Christian preaching and I don’t like what you are preaching, I will walk away but that will not make me to want to kill anybody because the person is preaching Christianity and I am a Muslim, so also if I am a Christian and a Muslim is preaching and I don’t like what they are preaching, I will simply walk away or close my ears, they can’t force me to follow them.”
Those Killing For Religious Purpose Lack Education – Olarinoye
Otunba Gbenga Olarinoye, a public affairs analyst, while commenting on the rising wave of Muslim fanaticism against Christians in the Northern part of the country, attributed the trend to the lack of or low level of education on the part of the perpetrators.
Olarinoye noted that the situation in the northern part of the country is pathetic. He said: “I am happy it has received all-round condemnation from every segment of the country. Both Christians and Muslims condemned the killing of Christians in its entirety. Aside from condemnation, the question we should ask is why is the killing? It has always been masterminded by some people who have adored themselves with toga of Islam to perpetrate dastardly act.
“As far as my memories can carry me, I am yet to hear a situation when a Christian has attacked any Muslim violently, talkless of taking his or her life. It has never happened and the killing of Christians has always been happening in other part of the country. Even in a predominantly Muslim community in the south, this kind of issue has never happened. We see ourselves as brothers and sisters.
“I want to believe that the situation is rampant because of low or no education in that part of the country because if you are not educated to know what your religion preaches, you will misinterpreted what your religion preaches and if your education is low, definitely, you will misinterpret the injunctions of your religion because you cannot see any knowledgeable person who is well verse in Islam knowledge that he will want to take arms against his fellow men.”
Religious Killing Is An Abuse Of Right To Worship – Barrister Mendie
Barrister Aniekan Mendie, a Bauchi-based lawyer, expressed concern over the abuse of freedom of worship in Nigeria. Aniekan, who condemned the killing of Eunice by some suspected fanatics, said freedom of worship as guaranteed by the Nigeria Constitution should be respected by all citizens of the country.
According to him, “Freedom of religion is one of the rights that are guaranteed under the constitution. But I want say that this right is the one that is most abused in Nigeria. Freedom of worship is not guaranteed as far as I am concerned. That freedom is not being well practised in Nigeria.
“In Nigeria, Muslims and Christians have a wide gap between them. The gap gets wider by the day. They don’t see eye to eye and they cannot operate as sister religions. So, what is happening? I believe if you kill in the name of Christianity or Islam, you should be punished. If you read the tenets of the two religions, killing in the name of Christian or Muslim is not allowed.
“People killing in the name of religion should be brought to book. The law enforcement agency should work hard to make sure that those who kill should are penalized. Even though I don’t subscribe to capital punishment, my suggestion is that if you kill, you should be made to face a life sentence, remain in the prison because you don’t have sane mind to remain in the society.”Promote Your Music On This Platform Contact : Mobile : +2348132090729 BBM:33428A0F Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter : @ijebuloadedNG