By Annkio Briggs
NOT everyone in Rivers State or in the Niger Delta region is a Christian but without a doubt, Rivers State is a Christian State along with the other five states of the Niger Delta. Christians must be bold and fearless to speak the truth for all to hear that Niger Delta is a Christian region.
Ustaz Imam Abdullahi a Muslim cleric in Rivers State issued a statement in response to the lies that a mosque was demolished in Rivers State.
It is summarised below:
Muslim leaders in Rivers state received lots of telephone calls from every state over the misconception about the issue of the demolished mosque.
In his words ” Muslims in Rivers state are not under threat and the state is not hostile to the Muslim community”
The cleric confirmed in his statement that there are over 130 major mosques in the Rivers States not counting the smaller ones in the streets, he stated: “l assure the Muslim leaders everywhere that there is no threat to Muslims.”
He further stated that “the actual demolition of the controversial site of the mosque took place over seven years ago, and the demolition affected churches, houses, and shops contrary to what is circulating in the media.”
The cleric said five to seven years ago the government of Rivers state government gave notice it wanted the land, (Gov Wike was not the Governor then) the matter went to court and the Rivers State Government won the case.
His statement made it clear that demolitions of mosques, churches, houses and shops took place but it was not Governor Wike’s Government.
He stated that Muslims did not leave the place but are praying there every day and every week. (Meaning Muslims refused to leave the land of Rivers State government. In effect, as they continued to use the land, they do so illegally.)
He continues “It was when the State Government went to clear there again that started this”
It is interesting to hear that the Muslim community do not feel threatened in Rivers state, this is the testament and testimony to the friendly and tolerant nature of the people and government of Rivers State.
If you have lived and worked in Port Harcourt especially between 1998 and 2010 you will recall there was a big market in Rainbow Town of the Trans-Amadi area, Nkpogo Village.
This area was taken by Rivers state government [Gov. Wike was certainly not the Governor then].
How many Christians or Rivers State indigenes living in core Muslim states or Sharia-compliant states can say they feel as safe as Muslims say they feel in Rivers state and Niger Delta.
From the statement of cleric Abdullahi it is clear that some people are executing a perfected plan to continue to victimise, terrorise and attack the People, Government and person Of Governor Wike for his outspokenness on his right to choice of religion, faith and the rights of the people of Rivers state to choose Gov. Wike as their Governor in 2019.
The story that Gov. Wike demolished a mosque is a fabricated evil lie being pushed out to Nigeria and the world to give him and Rivers state, a Christian state, a bad name in preparation for what have been referred to “AS A RELIGIOUS WAR NEVER SEEN BEFORE” giving the false impression that Rivers State people and the government is intolerant of Muslims and Islam.
The bitterness felt in politics by some people of the perceived support of Gov. Wike for anyone of his choice is not a reason to turn Rivers State into a war zone. The only war Nigeria needs to fight is a war against killing and persecution of Christians in their homeland by strangers.
It is quite clear that Rivers state is been set up for the well-beaten narrative of clashes. In the North East, Middle Belt and other regions of Nigeria the narrative is Herdsmen and Farmers clash, the stage is planned against Rivers stage and Niger Delta to answer to, ‘clashes between Christians and Muslims.’
The attention of the people of Rivers State, the Niger Delta and the world is called to this evil plan to turn the Niger Delta into a battlefield. The so-called Religious War They Are Planning to Unleash in Rivers State and Niger Delta must not be allowed, it’s effect will indeed be felt across the World and its economy.
We will not be afraid to say that we are a Christian state in a Christian region, amongst five other Christian states with neighbouring Ndigbo region of five states. Rivers State has no land for RUGA.
We are very much aware that the target is our resources, waterfronts and our rights to remain a Christian state within a Christian political region.
Governors and people of the Niger Delta should learn from the past and present.
This is not Governor Wike’s or Rivers State people’s fight alone, it is the collective survival of all the Ethnic Nationalities of the Niger Delta.
We should not be too quick to forget how our states, communities and entire Niger Delta was taken over and our people killed for 2019 presidential elections and ambitions of some people.
The narrative of the lies about the phantom mosque being pushed is that they were denied permission to build a mosque.
If they were denied permission to build a mosque which mosque was demolished?
How do you demolish what was not built?
If a mosque was built where is the building plan that was approved by the Rivers State government?
What year was the mosque built?
Where is the Certificate of Occupancy?
Where are pictures of the Mosque.?
Indeed, all rationale and conscious citizens of Rivers State, Niger Delta, Nigeria, the world, USA, EU, UN, Japan, Russia, Israel, UK – that is responsible for this 1914 selfish mess to amalgamate Southern and Northern Protectorate into an unworkable marriage of bringing together peoples that had nothing in common should join Rivers State indigenes in condemning this plan to use the lies that Gov. Wike demolished a mosque to turn Rivers State and the Niger Delta into an inferno.
It is reckless and irresponsible to deny that Rivers State is a Christian state when there are sharia compliant states in the North of Nigeria. We will not apologise for our choice of the Christian faith.
The people ready to ignite a religious conflagration and threatening that it will be worst than what we have seen in recent times are the people that are blatantly lying and believing that all their plans will work. Their plans will fail in Jesus Christ name. Amen.
In June 2008, the Kano state government demolished Christ the King Catholic Church.
The Kano State Urban Planning Development Agency (KANUPDA) Kano State Urban Planning Development Agency, and the explanation of the Kano State Government is that the church refused to acquire Certificate of Occupancy.
The managing director of KANUPDA Dayyabu Zubairu Gano said the temporary structure of the church in Na’ibawa in Kumbotso LGA was removed after serving them a notice four months ago.
It is, therefore, an insult to the rights of Christians to read the abuses rained on Gov. Wike forgetting that the above took place in 2008 which is between 2003 and 2011 under a Governor in Kano state.
To force Christians and Governors of Niger Delta and Gov. Wike to deny that their state is a Christian state is an abuse of our basic human right to our choice of faith or religion.
No faith or religion should force people of any Ethnic Nationalities to choose between their religion and their people. While we will not deny the rights of Rivers State sons and daughters who have chosen Islam as their preferred faith and religion we will not expect the few that are Muslims to override the majority their rights to live and make their free choice to worship as Christians.
It is not the people or government of Rivers State that have truncated democracy in Nigeria, the insecurity Nigeria faces is not in Rivers State nor is it brought on by Christians, the security agencies should call the people pushing blatant lies to order, it is the lies they are peddling that a mosque was demolished in Rivers State by Gov. Wike which threatens the peace that exists in Rivers State between Muslims and Christians.
The people and government of Rivers state are welcoming, hospitable and tolerant in nature. This nature of Christianity and the morality to love your neighbours and strangers to your land as you love yourself should not be seen or taken as weakness. Our living GOD also tells us never to deny HIM.
It is reckless to stay in Abuja and threaten the peaceful Christians of Rivers state with religious war.
Gov. Wike has relationships with some high profile leaders and politicians of the Muslim religion that he invites over and over to Rivers State, he recently appointed one such leader into an academic position, this is not the action of a Governor who is reckless or poised to threaten the security or democracy of Nigeria.
If these high profile leaders and politicians are truly friends of Gov Wike and have enjoyed the hospitality of the people of Rivers state and Gov Wike they indeed for the sake of peace, decency and truth should call their, leaders and politicians in Abuja to cease from threatening the peace of Rivers State, Niger Delta and the rights of the people of the region.
We will not be forced to live with people who hate and oppress us. We will not be silent or fold our hands and watch the plans to come into our states and region to kill, steal and destroy our people to manifest. We have a right to live at peace with people who choose to come and in our states and region or on our own.
The people and government of Rivers state while we will continue to remain calm, welcoming, tolerant and law abiding we will not be afraid or intimidated by bullying and unruly stance in our communities, LGAs, states and region. We will not be intimidated by people grandstanding in Abuja with our economic resources and political powers.
In case the perpetrators and sponsors of this attempt to destabilise Rivers State have in the past dispersed funds for any multi-billion naira Mosque or Islamic edifice in any part of Rivers State and particularly in Port Harcourt it ought to be clear to them by now that no such phantom mosque or edifice has ever been built and therefore does not exist in Rivers State.
It should not come as a surprise to anyone that some yam, beans and pepper sellers (Muslims) sell their goods in front of my grandfather’s house on Creek Road in Port Harcourt.
According to the claim that Nigeria belongs to all of us, the claim and it’s meaning needs to be clarified and defined.
Nigeria belongs to all of us does not mean that some are senior owners.
I am a citizen of Nigeria but l am an indigene of Rivers State and a Christian.
That Nigeria belongs to all of us does not mean that your will, culture, language, religion, state, region, likes and dislikes is superior to mine, NO SIR.
We acknowledge the Cleric Ustaz Imam Abdullahi for standing up to speak the truth as it is, that Muslims are not under any threat in any area of Rivers State, from the least to the highest.
Peace and tolerance are not one-sided if it is to be real it must come in equal measures and without fear. No Nigerian is bigger than another Nigerian we are indeed equal.
God bless Rivers State and her people and keep us safe from the destructive plans of evil.
**Annkio Briggs is an indigene of Rivers State, a civil rights activist and believes in speaking the truth to power in her state, region, Nigeria International audience. She is the convener of the Niger Delta Self-Determination Movement.
– Sept. 4, 2019 @ 12:25 GMT |