Attempts by youth in Maduganari, a suburb in Maiduguri, Borno State, to stop the bulldozing of their church has led to the death of one of them.
Several others were wounded and are now receiving treatment at the state specialist hospital.
The Borno State Geographic Information Service (BOGIS), which was alleged to have caused the death, had arrived the area accompanied by several armed civilian JTF members who shot sporadically to disperse the crowd which killed the young man.
“The young boy of not more than sixteen was killed as the youths in the area protested the destruction of the EYN church, in Maduganari,” said an eye witness.
He added that the boy was a labourer in the church which was under construction.
“They came with a bulldozer this morning and started destroying the church. The church is an out station of EYN church with headquarters in Wulari Maiduguri.
“We have been using canopies in the church to worship until recently when we decided to erect a building. So we were building the church when they came this morning and destroyed the structure pulling it to the ground as an illegal building.”
Reacting to the development, Borno State CAN Chairman, Bishop Mohammed Naga, told news men: “This act is a pure persecution of Christians by the state government. We were not given prior notice before they came with their bulldozers today.
“This is the fourth church being pulled to the ground by the Babagana Zulum administration.”
As at the time of filing this report, the Borno State Government had ordered for an investigation into the incident.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the Governor on Communications and Strategy, Mallam Isa Gusau, the governor had condemned the incident and commiserated with the families of the dead and injured.
“The governor condemned, in strong terms, the firing of gunshots by a member of security task force as well as some persons who hurled stones at the task force during an encounter on Thursday.
“One person died and five persons are currently hospitalised,” Gusau said.
“The governor also called the chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Borno State, Bishop Mohammed Naga, and spoke with him to commiserate with the Christian community, the leadership and family of EYN church in Borno,” he added.
He explained that the governor, who had already invited CAN leadership for a meeting over the incident, also directed the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, to visit the hospital and empathize with the wounded who were receiving treatment.
He disclosed that the state government would settle their hospital bills.