THE EFFECTS OF BOKO HARAM ACTIVITIES ON THE CHURCH IN KADUNA METROPOLIS

THE EFFECTS OF BOKO HARAM ACTIVITIES ON THE CHURCH IN KADUNA METROPOLIS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1            Background to the Study

The nation Nigeria has witnessed brutal confrontation and massive assault from terrorist group which is undoubtedly the most blood-thirsty and destructive, both in term of demonic brutality, mindless savagery and flagrant disobedience to the principles of peace and stability (Yakubu, 2012:16). Nigeria has witnessed insurgency from this terrorist group called Boko Haram from 2009. They unleash terror and fear in the minds of every Nigeria. There is wanton destruction of government properties, bombing of churches, Mosques and other public places, assassination of prominent individuals, burning of schools occasioned by sporadic shooting of innocent citizens (Adamu, 2009:31-32). Religious violence has been responsible for the collapse of many nations in many parts of the world. Religion has also been found to be behind the rapid growth and might of some powerful nations today. In Nigeria, experience shows that the incidence of religious violence due to activities of some religious sects has become a yearly ritual, often leading to the destruction of lives and property, the loss of precious time, money and energy.

According to Cook (2012:1), Boko Haram’s onslaught on Christians began with a series of attacks in Yobe state late 2011, where about 100 people died. On 25 December 2011, Boko Haram carried out a suicide bomb attack on St Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla (near Abuja), in which 44 Christians were killed. The sect also claimed responsibility for bomb attacks that killed about 80 people around Jos on 24 December 2011 (Christmas Eve). On 26 February 2012, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for another attack on Christians at Christ Church (COCIN) in Jos, which killed three and injured about 38. On 11 March 2012, it attacked St Finbarr’s Catholic Church also in Jos, killing 19 people. In addition, about 20 Christian students (and a professor) were attacked and killed by Boko Haram at Ado Bayero University, Kano, on 2 May 2012. In another assault that demonstrates a direct focus on Christians, Boko Haram stormed into a church service in Maiduguri and killed five Christians including the priest. Still in Maiduguri, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was found at St. Michael Church in the Railway Quarters. It was detonated with no casualty before the worshippers congregated for their weekend services. But on 3 June 2012, a Boko Haram suicide bomber drove a car into Harvest Field Church of Christ in Bauchi, killing nine people and injuring 35 others. There were also thematic attacks on Christians on 5, 6, 10, 11, and 24 January and 17th June 2012 in Maiduguri, Adamawa, Plateau, and Kaduna states. Together, those targeted bombing acts have created not only a tense national environment in which Christians feel and believe that they have come under Islamist siege but also a growing sense of many observers that Nigeria is poised precariously at the precipice of political and social catastrophe.

Maier (2014:53) asserts that despite attacks on churches, Christians are not the only targets of Boko Haram assaults. Boko Haram adherents privilege a version of Islam that regards as transgressors those who do not abide strictly to the teachings of Allah. The net effect is that faithful Muslims are often targets of its wrath. For instance, it assassinated Sheikh Ibrahim Ahmed, a critic of the sect at Gomari Mosque in Maiduguri. According to Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in Department of Political Science at the University of the Free State in South Africa, Sheikh Ibrahim’s assassination was a clear message to other Imams that the only credible interpretation of the Qur'an is the Islamist one. Also, on 13 July 2012, a Boko Haram suicide bomber attempted to kill two prominent Muslims the Shehu of Borno and the state’s deputy governor as they completed their Friday prayer. Both men escaped but ten of Muslims lost their lives. For Boko Haram, Nigeria’s national and state governments are run by non-believers. As such, Muslim political elites stand condemned for their cooperation with their Christian counterparts. Both groups are targets because they do not subscribe to Boko Haram’s ideological commitment to implementing shari'ah law in Nigeria.

However, of great concern to this study is how the activities of this nefarious terrorist call Boko Haram have affected the churches in Kaduna state. Like many other state, the churches in Kaduna state have suffered brutal and barbaric attacks from Boko Haram. The attacks share some common features, especially the use of suicide bombers or car bombs. Bombings in Kaduna state targeted both Catholic and Protestant churches. Attacks often occur on Sundays. Attackers often coordinate strikes in multiple locations. And in what strongly suggests a deliberate goal on Boko Haram’s part of goading state into interreligious war considering how the state is tense when it comes to religious issues. Notably among these bombings in Kaduna metropolis include that of St. Rita Catholic Malali Kaduna on 8 April 2012 and Shalom Church Tirkania, Express Way Kaduna on the 17 June 2012. These senseless and bloody bomb attacks triggered violent reprisal attacks by rampaging Christian youths numbering in their hundreds who attacked people looking like Hausa-Fulani in the areas Sabo Gonin Gora and other Christian dominated areas.

Ikejiani (2007:526) asserts that apart from Kano State, Kaduna State has registered, more than any other city in Nigeria, a superlative number of ethno-religious disturbances ever in the history of Nigeria. This has suffered the Church to withdraw from the vision and aspirations nurtured for the Muslims. The fear of the Church is best described as cultural blindness, historical enmity, and fear of government oppression, few among the reasons why many otherwise vital Churches do not own the goal of ministry among Muslims dominated areas particularly in Kaduna metropolis (Livingstone, 2014:68).

1.2            Statement of the Research Problem

Religion, ideally, is not an arena of violence. Rather it is man’s attempt to find and maintain peaceful relations with the supernatural powers and his fellow human beings. Unfortunately, the activities of the Islamic sec known as Boko Haram and how they perpetrated its evil on the Church particularly in Kaduna metropolis left much to be desired. In particular, adherents of Islam and Christianity, together with their sec, have clashed over situational supremacy, access to prestige, power and privilege, information management, political sphere, most especially, in relation to the way Christians perceived the Muslims and coordinated attacks that have targeted the Christians over period of time by the various Islamic sec. Kaduna state particularly the metropolitan part of the state has been affected by this Boko Haram activity which has led to violent reprisal attacks and continues mutual suspicion of each other. The gap created between the Muslims and Christians in the said area is too wide. The effect these Boko Haram activities on the church are so enormous that if care is not taken, the effect would continue to manifest on the church thereby affecting the church in general as well the state. The resultant effects of this Boko Haram attacks on churches in Kaduna metropolis are enormous. Generally, conflicts breed insecurity, discrimination, mutual distrust and slow economic and educational development. This is the case with Christians in Kaduna metropolis where in addition to the gratuitous killings and maiming of thousands of persons, properties worth billions of naira have been destroyed. Certainly these huge losses have deprived the church of needed manpower and services for the growth of its members. The communities that hitherto co-existed peacefully and preach their faith without force now treat each other with mistrust and latent or open aggression. Consequently, settlement patterns begin to follow the boundaries of religion in these areas so that adherents can be swiftly mobilized in the event of future occurrence. While the Christian continue to relocate to their so called Jerusalem i.e. places like Television, Sabo, Gonin Gora etc, the Muslims in the other hand continue to be formidable in their so called Mecca i.e. places like Rigasa, Tudun Wada, Kawo, Badarawa etc. not only that the settlement partern has been distorted, but churches within Kaduna metropolis have mounted security check at the entrance of the churches such that even the members of the church who well known have to undergo this security check up. This among other problems makes this research highly imperative.

1.3       Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to find out the effects of Boko Haram activities on the church in Kaduna metropolis. The objectives of the study are:

i.       To examine the effects of Boko Haram activities on the church in Kaduna metropolis

ii.     To examine effect of Boko Haram activities on Muslims and Christians relationship in Kaduna metropolis

iii.   To find out the effects Boko Haram activities on the development of Kaduna state at large.

iv.   To examine the measures Christians have taken to protect themselves.

1.4       Research Questions

The following research questions have been formulated in other to serve as a guide in looking at the effects of Boko Haram activities on the church in Kaduna metropolis. These are:

i.                 What are the effects of Boko Haram activities on the church in Kaduna metropolis?

ii.               Is there any effect of Boko Haram activities on Muslims and Christians relationship in Kaduna metropolis?

iii.              How the activities of Boko Haram attacks on the church do affected Kaduna state in general?

iv.              What are the measures Christians have taken to protect themselves?

1.5            Research Hypothesis

In view of the objectives of this study, the following null (Ho) hypotheses have formulated which at the end the researcher believe it will be accepted or rejected

Ho: There is no significant difference between the activities of Boko Haram and the church in Kaduna metropolis

Ho: There is no significant difference between the Boko Haram activities and Muslims-Christians relationship in Kaduna metropolis

Ho: There is no significant relationship between Boko Haram attacks on the church and development in Kaduna state

Ho: There are no significant between the attacks of Boko Haram and the measures Christians have taken to protect themselves

1.6            Significance of the Study

This study is highly significant in many ways as follows:

i.                 The study will expose the effects of Boko Haram activities on the church in Kaduna metropolis with aim of documenting memory and encouraging dialogue in a near future.

ii.               The study is of great significance considering its pragmatic contribution towards ensuring peace in Kaduna State by strengthening relationship between Christians and Muslims in order to decrease potential violence.

iii.             The study would serve as an eye opener to the generality of the Nigerians most especially the adherents of Christians and Muslims on the negative effects of Boko Haram so that hands could be on desk to defeat the evil terrorist and device measure in order to prevent future occurrence of similar groups like Boko Haram.

iv.             The study would reveal positive steps that can be taken by the religious leaders, the government and by individuals to minimize the effects and rate of conflicts as a result of Boko Haram activities

v.               This study is of great significant because it will contributes to the knowledge not just in the Undergraduate studies in Christian Religious Studies, but in the Postgraduate studies, department of Religion and Philosophy, Sociology, Psychology, Political Science, other related disciplines and for Public Policy Analysis. These among many other factors make this research highly noteworthy

1.7            Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This study is basically concern with the effects of Boko Haram activities on churches within Kaduna metropolis. It has been noted that Boko Haram activities has become one of the most potent threats to the stability and development of the state and if nothing urgent is done to alter effects, the making of the state will remain elusive. As such, the study will focus only on the activities of Boko Haram and how they affected the church. The scope of the study in times secondary source will be on the generality of the subject matter i.e. Boko Haram as it relate to the study area, while the primary source will be explore directly in the study area i.e. Kaduna State metropolis. Furthermore, the selected respondents will be basically Christians. And because the issue of Boko Haram is what affects church as a whole, the findings will therefore serve as the representative of the whole churches in Kaduna state. More so, the researcher would make use of questionnaires in order assess the effect of this Boko Haram activities on the church. Two churches (i.e Shalom Church Kakuri Abuja Express Way and St. Rita Catholic Church Malali) that were affected by Boko Haram attack and one church (ECWA English Service Sabon Tasha) that was not affected by Boko Haram will serve as the case study in this research work.


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