KADUNA, Nigeria – The Zaria Diocese of Anglican communion has condemned Archbishop of Kaduna Province, Anglican Diocese, Buba Lamido, for apologising to Governor Nasir El Rufai over the social media campaigns that tried to turn the issue of the re-development of Sabon-Garin Zaria market into a religious matter.
Bishop Abiodun Ogunyemi and the people of Zaria Diocese said they are not surprised about the views and apologies expressed by Archbishop Lamido at the Governor’s office on the 12th of November, 2019 because according to the statement, Bishop Lamido is known to always compromise Christian standards and the truth.
Recall that Archbishop Lamido, who led other Anglican Bishops from the North-West on a visit to Governor El-Rufai, had said that the Church has no rift with the Kaduna state government.
The Archbishop who is also the Dean of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, and Bishop of Wusasa, Zaria, distanced the Anglican Church ‘’from this campaign that has generated baseless allegations of religious bigotry,” explaining that the church sees itself and the government as partners.’
Lamido who spoke at a closed-door meeting with El Rufai, expressed his gratitude to the governor for his decision to preserve St. George’s Cathedral.
According to Lamido at the meeting, ‘’the meeting has afforded us a welcome chance to clarify matters and recalibrate our relationship in a mutual commitment to the peace and progress of Kaduna State, and harmony in its diverse communities.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to remove the cobwebs of misunderstanding in an atmosphere of mutual respect,” he was quoted as saying.
Responding, Governor El Rufai recalled that in 2016, Kaduna state government decided to preserve Saint George’s Cathedral when it chose a private company to fund the redevelopment of the Sabon-Gari market.
“Over 40 structures that were to be affected by the exercise were identified and assessed for compensation. Three years later, after it became clear that the private developer could not raise the funds, KDSG decided to ask its market development company to fund the project,” he said.
The governor explained, “Following this renewed push to rebuild the market, notices were sent to the affected properties, on which compensation had been paid.”
El Rufai clarified, “The records show that St. George’s Cathedral itself was not subject to the eviction notice, as only the shops attached to it were affected.”
The governor said he was shocked when he learnt that a social media campaign was being waged against him on the matter.
He advised that leaders have a responsibility to ensure that people should not mobilise along ethnic and religious sentiments or turn faith into a weapon of division.
The governor urged the Anglican leaders to thoroughly investigate the rumour of St. George’s Church planned demolition and the manner in which a simple matter was turned into another occasion for religious sentiment.
He promised that officials of the Kaduna State government will support the investigation with necessary documents.
Fielding questions from the media after the meeting, Archbishop Lamido reiterated that there is no rift between the Anglican Church and the state government.
He argued that “in any place, you have misundersandings, even between families. And when you have such rifts you dialogue, you talk and that is what has brought us to see the governor.”
The clergyman explained that “the rift wasn’t caused by the Anglican Church. It could be individuals, it could be anybody, but certainly not by the Anglican church.”
But the Diocese of Zaria Anglican communion in the statement rejected the position of the bishop, saying, “Like we wrote few days ago, this is the Bishop that sold three very precious landed properties of Wusasa Diocese to some Muslims. These properties were acquired by missionaries in the late 1800s. These great legacies have been lost forever by the Wusasa community.
”Besides at one of the meetings of Northern Bishops, Bishop Lamido brought a Muslim governorship candidate with money to bribe the house of Bishops to vote for this man against Governor El Rufai. His antecedents when it comes to standing for the church speak volume.
The Diocese of Zaria is not at war with the Governor and we are not religious bigots as stated by Bishop Lamido in the government house. We are only fighting for our right. Nobody can stop us from fighting for our right. Besides, prophets do not apologize to kings but kings apologies to prophets.
“Nobody can propose to demonize our cathedral and we will keep quiet or apologise. A letter was written by KASUPDA on the orders of the Governor to us to quit the cathedral premises within 7 days and we responded in the best possible ways together with CAN and other Christian organisations all over the world. Bishop Lamido deliberately avoided CAN in his humiliating visit to the government house.
“Rather than apologising to the Governor, the Governor should apologise to the Church and the general public for embarrassing himself with the quit notice.”
The Diocese of Zaria said it disassociates itself completely from the humiliating visit and the apologies therein.
“The governor should stop embarrassing himself with demolition of Churches in any part of Kaduna State.
“Any attempt to demolish our shops or our properties in Sabongari market is evil, callous and wicked and will be associated with the wrath of God.
“The whole of the Sabongari market is our land acquired in the early 1900s with genuine C of O which we have submitted to the state government for recertification.
Any attempt by governor El- Rufai to demolish any of our properties in that market will be a direct assault on the Church in the whole of Nigeria.
“All these visits and apologies is planned by Bishop Lamido and Idowu-Fearon to score a political point for the Governor because he is being prepared for 2023 elections.
“I speak prophetically as a servant of the living God. Let fake Christians and religious spies placed in our Church by a particular religion be aware of the consequences of their actions because heaven is watching.
“May the Lord expose these spies in our midst in Jesus name. In fact, their actions now show very clearly that they are working for an interest against the Church.
“The Lord in His infinite mercies will raise help to deliver His church from fake Christians, fake converts and novices.”