The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Niger State has condemned in strong terms the alleged attack on Bishop of the Bida Anglican Diocese, Bishop Jonah Kolo and his son, Yetu Kolo by hoodlums in Kopako in Lavun local government area of the state.
The Bishop and his son, it was gathered, were working on his rice farm when they were attacked by over 15 youths.
The duo were said to have been beaten mercilessly with sticks, machetes and cutlasses and left by their attackers
While the Bishop sustained injuries on his head and other parts of his body, the son received several cuts on his body as well.
Reports say the attack on the Bishop is only one out of many by some groups in support of the emergence of Zhitsu Muhammadu Gana as the traditional ruler of the Kopako community in Lavun local government area.
DAILY POST gathered that before the attack on the Bishop, one Abraham Kolo was attacked with a machete on his head in an attempt to kill him.
It was also gathered that tension grew in the community when a majority of the traditional ruling houses in Kopako endorsed Ndashaba Philip Yaya Kolo as the Zhitsu (Village Head) of Kopako.
However, Ndazhitsu Muhammadu Gana was sworn into office as the village head at Bida.
Our correspondent also learnt that the St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Kopako was set ablaze over the crisis but for timely intervention by people who put it off, the church would have been razed.
However, the church bus and other church properties were vandalized with a threat to kill the Christians in the community if they continue to interfere in the affairs of the administration of the community.
The state CAN Chairman, Rev. Mathias Echioda in a statement said the attack was taking a community crisis too far while appealing to everyone to hold their peace and let the relevant law enforcement agencies carry out their responsibilities.
Echioda also called on the worshippers to avoid any form of reprisal attacks and or being allowed to be used by those who do not want peace and love to prevail.
Also, the Niger Christian Youth Forum (NCYF) in a press statement signed by its Spokesperson, Joshua Ndace decried the increasing rate of religious intolerance in the Kopako community, while urging the state government to act fast before the ongoing activities degenerate into a religious crisis.
The statement explained that the emergence of Zhitsu Muhammadu Gana as the traditional ruler has been accompanied by a series of attacks on individuals and groups pointing that it has led to a religiously tensed environment in Kopako.
“We have observed with great concern, the recent worrisome activities and events in Kopako, Lavun local government area of Niger State have degenerated even further.
“The height of which was seen in the manner that one of the highest-ranking office holders of the Christian faith, His Lordship, Bishop Jonah Kolo was harassed, assaulted, and attacked in Kopako.
The NCYF also commended the courage of Kopako Christians not to take laws into their hands by way of violence stating that antagonism and demonstration of hate towards another religion as a means to gain cheap political popularity is not the way to go.
“We commend the Christians of Kopako for not resorting to violence over this matter. There is hardly any religion whose highly respected leader will be subjected to such indignity and harm without the matter degenerating into reprisals and carnage.
The statement then implored Governor Sani Bello, the Department of State Security (DSS), the Niger State Commissioner of Police to take proactive note of the unprecedented religious threat brewing in Kopako and act accordingly and decisively.