Violence broke out in the predominantly Muslim north when it became clear
that Jonathan, a Christian from the south, would win in the presidential
election over his key opponent, retired general Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim
from the north. Jonathan was declared the winner on April 18.
“Barnabas Fund has been told that three churches have been burned in Zaria,
two in Wusasa and five in Katsina. There are also reports of several
churches being torched in Kano as riots broke out in the north following
Saturday’s (April 16) poll,” said the Coventry-based organization, which
supports Christian communities facing poverty and persecution.
“The Red Cross is reporting that many people have been killed, hundreds
injured and thousands displaced,” Barnabas Fund said. Christian Solidarity
Worldwide, a British-based organization that advocates for religious freedom,
also reported on its Web site that there were a number of attacks on churches
Christian, Muslim and political leaders have since united to condemn the
Violence, in which a police station was also torched. More than 100 people
are reported dead so far with thousands of others being displaced in a
country divided along religious lines with a strongly Muslim north and a
mainly Christian south.
“In the last 24 hours, there has been a spate of violence across certain
parts of the country. What started mainly as a political protest reportedly
included the burning of worship places. This is a sad, unfortunate and
totally unwarranted development,” Buhari said in statement quoted by the
“I must say this is a dastardly act that is not initiated by any of our
supporters and, therefore, cannot be supported by our party,” he said.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor
and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, pleaded for peace,
stressing that religious faiths abhor the killing of innocent people.
Uniting under the Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC), the two
said: “Resorting to violence is a travesty of our religious teachings and a
betrayal of our claim to faith . NIREC implores all Nigerians to explore
constitutional means of seeking redress, rather than take law into their
Conflicts between Muslims and Christians have stalked Nigeria for many
years. The hostility has been repeatedly brought to the boil in recent years
by the presence of radical Islamist groups, according to the Barnabas Fund