More bad news from Nigeria

UPDATE: Daily Trust reports,

As reactions continue to trail a fresh crisis in parts of Jos, religious leaders have been advised to avoid preaching messages that could aggravate violence in their communities.

Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Maiduguri Emmanuel Kani Mani made the call yesterday in Maiduguri while reacting to the crisis. The cleric said religious leaders should educate their followers on the need to be tolerant and accommodating, saying it was not the duty of anyone to take the lives of fellow citizens but to rather help to save lives. He added that it was only God that could take live. He said the government cannot concentrate on providing essential services to citizens in times of crisis, urging Nigerians to be their brothers’ keepers irrespective of religion or tribal affiliation.

The bishop is head of the Christian Council of Nigeria, a block of the Christian Association of Nigeria previously headed by Archbishop Akinola. “Youth” wearing CAN insignia were implicated in violence in Jos in 2006. That became the subject of controversy in an Atlantic Monthly article by Eliza Griswold’ to which Akinola felt compelled to respond.


Rioting has flared up in Jos between Christians and Muslims. Youth have been attacking each other, gunshots have been fired and buildings burned and nearly 300 have died according to reports. Also, Abp. Peter Akinola has been calling for the ouster of the current president, who happens to be Muslim, in favor of his Christian VP:

Voice of America News reports:

Rioting first broke out on Sunday after Christian youths protested the building of a mosque in a Christian-controlled area of the city which has a population of 500,000. Houses and cars were set ablaze after Muslim youths attacked a Catholic church. Calm returned to the city on Monday.

Jos has a history of community and religious violence. The director-general of Jos-based National Institute for Strategic Studies, Dan Fulani Ahmed, blamed what he called competition for power for the recurring violence Jos, the capital of Plateau state.

“Jos is a state where different interests, different nationalities came together to form a vibrant state. You cannot rule out the issues of competition for power. To me, it is a competition for power among different groups. It’s purely issues of poverty, power and religion,” he said.

Rioting in September 2001 killed more than 1000 people. Another Muslim and Christian conflict killed up to 700 people in 2004. More than 300 residents died during a similar uprising in 2008


Other stories follow:

The Times

It is unclear what started the unrest in Jos, with conflicting reports blaming both Muslim and Christian youth. Some say that Muslim youths set fire to a church, while others say young Christians violently protested over the building of a mosque in a Christian district. Still others have traced the dispute to a row over the rebuilding of houses destroyed when similar violence broke out in 2008.

Nigeria’s interim leader ordered the Army to restore order today in the central town of Jos where nearly 200 people have been killed in three days of clashes between Christians and Muslims.

As gunshots echoed through the deserted streets of Jos, security forces imposed a 24-hour curfew.

Armed police and soldiers manned roadblocks separating rival gangs of mostly young men armed with homemade guns, bows and arrows, rocks, knives, machetes and clubs.

Christian Science Monitor

Jos – an acronym for “Jesus Our Savior” which reflects the influence of Christian missionaries – is right on the dividing line between the northern half of the country that is predominantly Muslim and the southern half of the country that is mainly Christian. Tensions between these two communities have flared intermittently since independence in 1960, and even political parties mirror the divide by splitting primarily along religious lines.

Counting the dead in Jos is difficult, although if past outbreaks are a gauge, Muslims are likely to bear the brunt of the violence, especially the violence that is perpetrated by mainly Christian security and police forces.

In the violence that broke out in November 2008 – in which 340 people were killed – there were 133 cases of people killed by security forces. According to Human Rights Watch, 131 of those people were Muslims.


“We received 156 dead bodies this morning and another 36 this afternoon, in total we have 192 dead bodies” said Balarabe Dawud, the head of the central mosque in Jos.

The fighting had started on Sunday when some youth protested the renovation of a building damaged in a Christian-majority area during an earlier crisis in 2008 in which close to 200 lives were lost. Houses and vehicles were set ablaze during Sunday’s violence and the state governor, Jonah Jang imposed a 12-hour curfew on the state capital that day. Police were deployed on the streets Monday to enforce the curfew invoked on Sunday and it appeared that peace had been restored to the city.

The Red Cross said more than a hundred people were seriously injured in the fighting and 3,000 people were displaced in Sunday’s clashes.

Unconfirmed reports from Kuru Jenta, a village on the outskirts of Jos claimed that the village had been set on fire Tuesday, and the Muslims in the village had been surrounded. It is unclear what their fate has been.

NEXT also gathered that about thirty National Youth Service Corps members were holed up without food at a Christian corps member’s fellowship building in Jos.

Only days ago, Archbishop Peter Akinola has called for overthrowing the current president of Nigeria:

Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Peter Akinola, at the weekend in Akure said a non-violent revolution is the only solution to the constitutional crisis created by the ill-health of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

More stories on this development:

Nigerian Champion News reports:

Ilorin — Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion),Most Reverend Peter Jasper Akinola, recently condemned the refusal of President Umaru Yar’Adua to hand-over to Vice President Jonathan Goodluck due to his ill-health.

Fielding questions from journalists on the state of the nation shortly after the inaugurating the newly created Diocese of Igbomina West and installation of the Rt. Revd. James Akinola as the Bishop in Iludun Oro, Irepodun Local Government of Kwara State, the Primate said “there is a vacuum in the leadership of the country and that is not right.”

According to him, some ‘evil’ people were encouraging lawlessness because they were feeding fat in the confusion occasioned by the absence of President Umar Yar’Adua.

“All that is happening now is a contradiction of the position of Mr. President himself. He has always been an apostle of the Rule of Law. The constitution is very clear as to what is to be done if the president is not around. The constitution has made a provision. What we should do is to ensure we follow it. And Mr. President is very clear on this all the times. He believes in the rule of law, but he has refused to hand over to his vice. Where is the rule of law in this case now,?” the Anglican Primate said.

The Nigerian Compass has this story:

Elsewhere in Akure, two other clerics called for a peaceful revolution over the continued absence of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua since November, last year and the plot not to hand over to his deputy, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.

The duo, Most Rev. Peter Jasper Akinola, the Archbishop of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, and Rt. Rev. Jacob Bada, the Bishop of the Etsako Diocese of the Church in Edo State, said the revolution was the panacea to the constitutional crisis triggered by the President’s ill-health. They made the call during the inauguration of the Diocese of Ido-Ani, in Ose council area of Ondo State and the enthronement of Rt. Rev. Ezekiel Dahunsi as the new Bishop of the new Diocese.

Despite his ill-health, the 2011 re-election posters of Yar’Adua flooded the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) at the weekend.

234NEXT writes:

Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Peter Akinola, at the weekend in Akure said a non-violent revolution is the only solution to the constitutional crisis created by the ill-health of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Mr. Akinola, who spoke with reporters shortly after the inauguration of the Diocese of Ido-Ani in Ondo State and the enthronement of Ezekiel Dahunsi as the new Bishop on Sunday, said the “powers that be” in the country have made nonsense of the nation’s constitution because of their selfish interest.

“I am in support of the call. Nigerians are a very docile people and have been so manipulated over the years by the leaders; hence things are getting worse every passing day,” he said.

He urged Nigerians to wake up from their slumber, saying, “I think that one day, these people who are so docile and have been so manipulated, will wake up and say, we have suffered enough and resist the injustice in a non violent way.” Mr. Akinola said violence will only make things worse, adding that “whatever the people can do constitutionally as a nation with the fear of God, the Anglican mission will welcome it as a church. Such a peaceful revolution is not planned or programmed. It will be a spontaneous reaction.”

We’ve noted that in the past years soon-to-be retired Archbishop Akinola has been more than enigmatic about his role in stoking past violence in Jos. Read here and here.

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