Kaduna crisis: Group warns cleric on ‘reckless statements’

A group, New Initiative for Credible Leadership (NICreL), has warned the founder of Liberation City, Pastor Chris Okafor, against making reckless statement that could tear Nigeria to pieces.

The group stated that Okafor’s “recent outburst on the in Kaduna state and Governor Nasir El-Rufai is unexpected of a preacher of the gospel.”

Okafor had during a Sunday programme warned the Kaduna state governor to avoid persecuting Christians and preachers in the state “or risks the wrath of God.”

The preacher had given the governor seven days to reverse a bill at the House of Assembly to license religious bodies or he would “be visited by God.”

Consequently, NICreL in a statement through its executive director, Samson Onwu, stated that Okafor’s comment could undermine peace and security across the country.

The statement read in part: “The Kaduna state government recently sought to incite sectarian strife by interpreting “A Bill for a Law to Substitute the Kaduna State Religious Preaching Law, 1984,” in ways that suggest it was targeted at Christians in the state. 

“Pastor Okafor went further to warn the state governor, Nasir el-Rufai to abandon the bill within seven days or face the wrath of God and possibly die within the first two years of his next term in office. He went further to link Governor el-Rufai’s choice of a running mate in the just concluded election with the bill while citing this as basis to assert that Christians are being persecuted in Kaduna state.”

“After reviewing a video clip in which Pastor Okafor made these and other inciting comments over the bill NICreL found it necessary to condemn the preacher’s action and utterances in the strongest terms possible.

“We urge the Kaduna state House of Assembly and the Kaduna state government to note that the incitement by Pastor Okafor is a wake-up call that they cannot continue to delay passing the bill  and signing it into law if fanatical and extremist clergymen must be checked. In the interim, the state government should explore exiting legislation, including the anti-terrorism laws, to discourage merchants of hate whose main intention is to cause crises that are of the magnitude as terrorism.”

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