By Ladi Jossy, Maiduguri
Hundreds of Worshippers yesterday gathered at the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa Nigeria (EYN) Church Moduganari area of Maiduguri metropolis to rebuild their church that was demolished last year August demolished by the Borno State Geographic Information Service ( BOGIS ).
Our reporter reports that BOGIS had during the demolition excercise cited that the location of the church violated the State land allocation system and moved in with its taskforce and bulldozer for the demolition when the worshippers attempted to stop the demolition, insisting the approval and other documents were valid.
Not satisfied with the Worshippers explanation, the BOGIS bulldozer started the demolition, as scores of congregants and nearby residents charged towards the government taskforce hurling stones.
It was in that process that the taskforce opened fire to disperse the crowd and one of them, reportedly a Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) member, shot towards the protesters where one of them was hit by a bullet .
The deceased was identified as Ezekiel Bitrus, a 29 year-old , while five others were severely injured as they scampered for safety.
However speaking to our correspondent, the lead pastor of the EYN Moduganari, Rev Auta Ndahi, said even though the State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum visited the family of the deceased when the incident occurred and provided some money to the father of the deceased, the Governor’s promise of rebuilding the church is yet not fulfilled ,hence the members of the Church decided to begin the rebuilding by themselves.
He recalled that immediately after the demolition of the Church, leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN ) Borno State Chapter visited the Governor in his office where he promised to invite the CAN leadership so that they could discuss how he could help to rebuild the church, but till date after one year, nothing has been heard from him.
Rev. Ndahi said,” The Governor himself promised us that he was going to rebuild the church to our hearing ,and even the CAN officials visited him in his office and he promised them that after returning from Mecca he would invite them to discuss on how he was going to help in rebuilding the church, but till date he never invited the CAN officials .
” So we have mourned and mourned and like our crying is not heard , that was the reason we decided to take this action by rebuilding the church by ourselves . Whosoever want to help us should support us. We cannot continue to wait, our people are worshipping in the open space despite the rainfall. We really sympathise with them.”
Also speaking, Mrs Tina Willians, a member of the church said they have gathered to clear and begin the process of rebuilding the church after waiting for government’s reaction over a year.
” We heard that after the demolition, government promised our leaders that it would assist in rebuilding the church but till date, we have not heard from government. We waited patiently for the past one year, but with no help coming we decided to rebuild the church by ourselves.
” Although as Christians, we don’t look up to somebody for building our church, but because the church was demolished by government, we want the government to participate in the rebuilding process,” Mrs Willian said.