Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Nigeria: Christian Programs Shut Out In Borno Media Under Governor Zullum’s Watch – Group

Map of Nigeria Showing Borno State

By Sunday Elijah

Christians in Borno State, northeastern Nigeria, are alleging deliberate blockage against the airing of Christian-related programs in broadcast media in the state. 

Rev. Kallamu Musa Ali Dikwa, Director General of the Center for Justice on Religious and Ethnicity in Nigeria, made the revelation on Wednesday in an elaborate statement.

According to him, this is happening under the Governor Umaru Zullum-led administration.

Rev Dikwa said six government and private broadcast media outfits that are visible in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, have not been given Christians the opportunity to air any programme, particularly preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even if the Christians are willing to buy and pay for airtime.

The statement, made available to journalists in Kaduna, listed the media houses to include Borno Radio Television (BRTV), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Military Media House, Al-Ansar Radio, Dandal Kurah Radio, and Ndarason Radio, respectively.

The protest statement is entitled: ‘The fundamental rights to freedom of expression and press to all Nigerians is a shadow of itself to Christians under Prof Zullum, the Executive Governor of Borno State, the Kanuri Elders, and Islamic scholars, 14th February 2024.’

It stated that “In Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, six (6) government, and private licensed media outlets are visible; these are: Borno Radio Television (BRTV), National Television Authority (NTA), Military Media House, Al-Ansar Radio, Dandal Kurah Radio, and Ndarason Radio.

“These media houses have not been giving the Christians opportunity to air any programmes, particularly preaching of the Gospel of Christ Jesus. 

“We have tried to buy airtime with our own hard-earned money but to no avail; though, our Muslim counterparts benefited free air time at their desired time.

“Dandal Kurah Radio has tried to give opportunity to both Muslims and Christians to carry out their religious programmes However, our Kanuri Muslim brothers, who are working there, kicked against it and even reported the GM to Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Shehu Garba, and, with his power they stopped the program,” it stated.

The statement noted that, “The Borno State Motto: ‘Home of peace,’ has been turned to home of hatred and terrorism by the Borno Muslim leaders for the Christian indigenes. 

“Some years back, EYN Church Women Fellowship used Kanuri women dressing in their programme, and Kanuri Muslims turned the matter to religious crisis and threatened the Church. 

“I’m Kanuri by tribe and, by the special grace of God Almighty a Pastor now, and I will continue to stand firm, constitutionally, legally and Biblically to defend the other Kanuri tribes, who became Christians with the other indigenous Christians in the state in all their rights, even with the last drop of my blood.

“Hausa and Fulani ethnic groups agreed and accepted that they have Christians amongst them, but for the terrible, fanatical and terroristic lifestyle of my own Kanuri tribe, even if they knew your great-grand parents and the village you belong to, if you are a Christian (kirdi), Kanuri people will deny you because of the fanatism and terrorism hearts.

“I challenge any Kanuri man or woman to come out and prove me not a Kanuri tribe, then I will show him/her who is real Kanuri between me and them. In fact, no traditional ruler in Kanuriland that can challenge me on that, talk more of so-called political leader.

“I’m giving a directive to every Kanuri man or woman to go and verify this name, ‘Kalla Musa Ali Kawu,’ from Murye, Malam Ma’aja Gumsu District. They will update you I’m the owner of the name.

“Therefore, we will not allow this terrible fanatical and terrorism hearts of Kanurism to be continued in destroying lives and property in our land.

“We have over 26 Kanuri clans, who are Christians, and we have the constitutional rights with the Kanuri Muslims to exercise our rights and freedom in the state and everywhere in this country, Nigeria. The only thing that we the Kanuri Christians will not agree and accept is the heart of fanatism and terrorism anywhere and anytime,” it added.

The statement also reads, in parts: “Our kind suggestions and advises to our Kanuri people and political leaders in Borno State and anywhere in this country, are:

 (1) They should stop using Islam religion to continue destroying the state for their own personal interest.

(2) It’s better for them to amend their ways and go back to real Kanuri culture that consists, among others: love, living in peace with all other ethnic groups in the country.

(3) They should remember the former respect that the minority tribes from the North-East and North Central have for Kanuri people, as their leaders were from the peaceful inclusion spirit.

(4) The early respect people have for Kanum Empire by all Kwararafa kingdom of the Jukun dynasty from the North-East and North-Central is no more.

(5) From 1960-1962, late Elder Joseph Tarka from Benue, when he saw some funny behaviors of Sir, Ahmed Bello to manipulate political proceeds to favour the North West, late Baba Joseph Tarka single handedly brought Ibrahim Imam, from Borno State, to the Northern House because of the love Christian brothers from Benue have for the Kanuri than the Fulani.

(6) Another issue was, when Sardauna wanted to give Northern Region Governor to Muhammadu Sanusi, father of the former Emire of Kano Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, with the help of the northern minority tribes, Sir Kashim Ibrahim was brought as Northern Region Governor, instead of Muhammadu Sanusi.

(7) When North East Region created the so-called ‘Hausa Fulani Movement,’ they tried to put the headquarters in Bauchi, but still with help of the minority tribes, the headquarters is in Borno State capital. 

“Kanuri tribe traditional rulers, political leaders and Islamic scholars must sit and have a rethink to renew the past good relationship with these minority ethnic nationalities; and this can be obtained through accepting their blood brothers – the Kanuri Christians. Doing so will send signals to all the ethnic minorities to again throw-in their support,” it noted.

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