The Christian Association of Nigeria has sent a warning to Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State against prosecuting the Founder and Senior Pastor of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Dr Paul Enenche.
CAN said in a statement by its spokesman, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, on Wednesday that the warning had become necessary due to reports that Enenche would be arraigned for hate speech.
The statement read in part, “Any attempt to arrest and harass any of our pastors again will be considered an attempt to silence the voice of the church and reasoning in our nation.
“Let the government define clearly the difference between what is considered hate speech and advocacy for dying victims of continuous killings in Nigeria.
“What do you expect from a church leader whose members and fellow citizens are being killed daily without any satisfactory measures to abate the killings? Are we to keep clapping for government while people are being massacred in cold blood?”
It was alleged that Enenche’s speech escalated recent killings that rocked Kasuwan Magani on October 18, 2018 that was followed by the assassination of the Agom Adara, Dr Maiwada Galadima, on October 26, 2018.
However, CAN said while it abhorred hate speech, it had become necessary for the process of establishing what constitutes hate speech to be clearly spelt out.
The association said Enenche merely made reference to a news item on how a Christian monarch was killed.
The statement read in part, “The main subject of Dr Enenche’s clip which Governor El-Rufai is alleging to be hate speech to us is an outright condemnation of the fate that has befallen the Adara people and Christians in Southern Kaduna through the creation of new emirates namely; Lere, Kagarko and Kujuru. By the creation of these emirates, especially that of Kajuru, the Adara people have been subjugated.
“While we will continue to condemn hate speech by religious leaders and other Nigerians, we cannot stand and watch our respected leaders being set up for molestation, humiliation and prosecution for an unfounded hate speech.”
CAN said El-Rufai could not take the moral high ground having made hate speech himself in the past.
The association wondered why the governor had failed to bring the killers to book but was more interested in apprehending a cleric under the guise of hate speech.