The Archbishop of Kaduna Anglican Province, Buba Lamido, has apologised to Governor Nasir el-Rufai for the social media campaigns that tried to turn the issue of the redevelopment of Sabon Gari, Zaria market into a religious matter.
A statement issued on Tuesday by Special Adviser on Media and Communication, Mr Muyiwa Adekeye, said Bishop Lamido expressed regret over the manner which the purported plan to demolish St George’s Cathedral of Sabon Gari, Zaria was handled.
Archbishop Lamido, who led other Anglican Bishops from the North West on a visit to Governor el-Rufai, further said that the church has no rift with Kaduna state government.
Archbishop Lamido, 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 been whipping up 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. “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,” the statement further quoted Archbishop Lamido.
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 said, ‘’following this renewed push to rebuild the market, notices were sent to the affected properties, on which compensation had been paid. 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.