The Kano State Government under the leadership of His Excellency Abdullahi Umar Ganduje has extended the usual monthly sanitation in the state to Sundays. While I acknowledge the right of governments world over (Kano State inclusive) to enforce policies deemed beneficial to its citizenry, and while also acknowledging that the State has a majority of Muslim population, I must say that this action is highly condemnable as it amounts to religious persecution of Christians. Government must act with full sense of responsibility and not hide under to cloak of service delivery to witch-hunt a particular set of people as after God Almighty, the government is the hope of the common man.
Knowing fully well that Sunday is the Christian day of worship and that sanitation exercises are usually characterised by restriction of movement, is the Kano State Government telling us that Christians should not attend their places of worship on Sunday? Or are they assuming that there is no single christian in the state? Did Christians not vote for them during the last general elections?
It is appalling to note that in the 21st century, some Nigerian political leaders still find it difficult to realise that the moment they assume office, they become leader of all; Muslims, Christians, Pagans, Traditional religion worshippers, and so on. Leaderships behoves responsibility and true leaders know that the weakest member of the group is as important as the strongest member and must also be protected.
A comparative analysis of other Muslim dominated territories clearly shows that the action of Kano State Govt. is wrong. Let’s take a look at the UAE, Malaysia, Indonesia, and so on. These are strong Muslim territories but are they indulging in religious extremism like we are over here? Religious extremism and ethnicity has been the bane of our national development since independence. This must seriously be checked.
Having said this, I hereby rise to the challenge by condemning this action as it amounts to nothing but religious persecution of the Christian minority in a Muslim dominated state and call on the Kano State Government to immediately put a stop to it. Let them also not forget that Muslims are minorities elsewhere and could suffer same or worse fate. Sanitation can be held on other days. Their explanation that sanitation on Sundays is necessary in view of the rainy season in order to fully clean the metropolis clearly does not hold water. I challenge them to understudy the sanitation efforts of other state Governments and take a cue. In Akwa Ibom for instance, there is the “Green Brigade” coordinated by the State Ministry of Environment and saddled with the task of cleaning the Uyo metropolis daily. Please, let Kano come and learn.
In view of this very ugly development, I call on Civil Society groups, the organised labour, student/youth activists, human rights activists, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), to prevail on the Kano State Government to abolish this irresponsible act of theirs and ensure that religious extremism is curtailed.
God bless us, Amen.