CAN warns against linking late ex-Gov Yakowa’s death to Pantami, Muslims


The Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has warned Nigerians against linking the death of late ex-governor of the state, Patrick Yakowa, to the embattled Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami and the Muslim community.

Yakowa died in a helicopter crash on December 15, 2012.

CAN was reacting to a document making the rounds on social media space that Yakowa was killed by Pantami and Muslims and urged Nigerians to be wary of such unsubstantiated rumours as the authenticity of the document was doubtful.

In a statement issued on Thursday by the Chairman of CAN in the state, Rev. John Joseph Hayab, the body said linking Pantami and the Muslim community to the death of Yakowa would endanger national peace.

It also urged security agents to step in and tame the circulation of the document.

The purported document had insinuated that a meeting of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) in Bauchi and chaired by Pantami had strategiesed on the killing of Yakowa who was the first Christian governor of Kaduna State.

The statement by CAN which effectively disowned the document, reads in part:

“If we support unverified allegations against someone today because we loathe the person, the monster could be deployed against us or someone we cherish tomorrow.

“We cannot afford to stoke the fire when we should be pouring more water. Those who feel they have information to help the security agencies investigate whatever crimes against groups or individuals should do so within the provided window, without exacerbating the tension of formulating tales in the public space.

“We, the Christian community and indeed his immediate family acknowledged the tragedy, submitting to the will of God Almighty.

“For that purpose, there is no point, now or later, to open up what will not bring back our leader and father but rather open up old wounds in a very controversial manner.

“Sensitive documents like the ones purported to be from the JNI meeting in Bauchi should be subjected to thorough security investigation and trials, not tools for social media warfare.

“The danger of making this a media issue, instead of a legal and security issue that it ought to be, is that we stand to lose the most important point; that of bringing to justice persons accused to have wronged the law.

“Accordingly, there is a need for circumspection and care so that we do not throw our communities into further chaos in the rush to hang one man.

“At a time of strained relationships between neighbours, what we need are mediatory interventions and peace building, rather than adding fuel to the raging fire.”

Hayab, who was Yakowa’s Special Adviser on Religious Affairs, went further to clarify that when Yakowa died, there was no inquiry to determine the cause of death, as the immediate cause was attributed to a technical fault leading to the helicopter crash.

Hayab added that those with an axe to grind with Pantami should do so within their limits but stated that as a Church leader, he has chosen to speak because of his deep belief that justice is natural and everyone shall live to account before God.

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