There has been intense controversy over the faith of the man caught attempting to bomb a branch of Winners Chapel Church, Kaduna, on Sunday 2nd February, 2020. Although the police gave the suspect’s name as Nathaniel Samuel (a Christian name), a former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and Rev. Joseph John Hayab, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have argued that the suspect was a Muslim by name Muhammed Sani Nasiru.
In the developing story, an Islamic human rights organization, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has pitched its camp with the Kaduna State Police Command, insisting that the suspect was indeed a Christian by name Nathaniel Samuel. In a statement circulated by the group’s director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, on Wednesday, 5th February, 2020, the human rights association reaffirmed its earlier position that the suspect is a Christian and that his name is actually Nathaniel Samuel.
MURIC said, “The police gave the suspect’s name as Nathaniel Samuel. But for reasons best known to him, Fani-Kayode said the man is not a Christian, that his name is Muhammed Nasiru. What was the basis for that denial? Is Fani-Kayode trying to protect Christianity from Christians or what? The chairman of CAN in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph John Hayab had earlier denied that the suspect is a Christian. He claimed that the suspect’s name was Muhammed Sani Nasiru.
“Fani-Kayode called the incident ‘a setup and a conspiracy to discredit Christianity’. If we may ask, who is conspiring with who? Is he insinuating that the Kaduna Police Command is conspiring with the Muslims? That will be ridiculous.
“But new developments have proved beyond reasonable doubt that Fani-Kayode’s imagination is running wild. First, the suspect himself confessed in the presence of the press that, ‘My name is Nathaniel Samuel. In fact, I am supposed to be a pastor at the Living Faith Church because I attended the Word of Faith Bible Institute.’ Secondly, his social media account revealed that he is actually Nathaniel Samuel. His facebook account which was created on 9th May, 2011 described him as an event manager and a professional master of ceremony (MC).
“But the last nail in the coffin of the doubting Thomases was the testimony of the suspect’s father, Mr. Samuel Ezekiel. He confirmed that his son had never been a Muslim for one day. ‘No! Not even for a single day has he been a Muslim’ said the father.
“Well, well, well. The wind has blown. We have seen the ruff of the hen. CAN lied. Fani-Kayode lied. These were lies from the very pit of Jahannam. In saner climes, Both Rev. Hayab and Fani-Kayode would have apologized since yesterday. But not in Nigeria where anything goes and public figures have perfected the art of misinforming and misleading their followers so much that the more we look, the less we see.
“The fact that Nathaniel Samuel was not the first Christian to attempt the bombing of a church underlines our contention that there is a Christian version of Boko Haram. John Alaku Akpavan, was arrested while attempting to bomb Radio House Abuja on 5th June, 2011. John is definitely not a Muslim name. Lydia Joseph also attempted to bomb St. John Catholic Cathedral in Bauchi State on 12th September, 2011. Muslim women do not bear the name Lydia.
“Again, Emmanuel King was arrested while trying to bomb the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on 28th December, 2011. Though Emmanuel is obviously a Christian name, he tried to shift the crime on Muslims by disguising in Muslim attire. Augustine Effiong, an indigene of Akwa Ibom, was behind the bomb explosion which occurred in Bayero University, Kano (BUK) on 29th April, 2012. What of Samson Mangai who was arrested in Plateau state attempting to bomb a church?
“Madam Ruth also attempted to bomb the ECWA church, Kalaring Kaltingo, in Gombe State on 12th March, 2012. Jonathan Gyanet, a police officer was arrested while attempting to bomb ERCC church in Akwanga, Nasarawa State on 20th April, 2014. A Christian bomber was lynched while trying to escape after blowing up the COCIN Church of Jos on Sunday, 26th February, 2012. About eight Christians were also arrested in Bauchi after a failed attempt to bomb the COCIN church on Sunday, February 26, 2012.
“There is no need for Fani-Kayode and CAN to beat about the bush. Let us call a spade a spade. A criminal is a criminal. His faith does not matter. They are in all religions. We Muslims admit it when we see criminals among us. But CAN always wants to play this holier-than-thou game. Nigeria will be rid of high profile criminals the moment religious leaders decide to expose them. The rate of crime will also reduce drastically if anti-crime sermons come from both the pulpit and the minbar on a weekly basis.
“On a last note, we advise both Rev. Hayab and Fani-Kayode to stop under-estimating the intelligence of Nigerians. People are taking note of what you say and what you do. Chroniclers are piling up the record of events. The latest incident of a Christian attempting to bomb a church involving Nathaniel Samuel will certainly constitute an update for the chroniclers. Nigerians are watching. Nobody can fool them anymore. Let us desist from speaking on or defending what we know nothing about. A more dispassionate approach is better for peaceful coexistence in this country.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)