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Why northern states deny churches C-of-O – CAN

Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused some northern state governors of deliberately denying churches Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) so that their facilities could be easily demolished at anytime without much litigation.

CAN frowned at the development and suggested that religious adherents in different states should have unhindered opportunity to build their places of worship within the ambit of law.

It justified its claim with the recent attempt by Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Agency to demolish St. George Anglican Church, Sabon Gari, Zaria, built over 100 years ago.

CAN claimed that the reason for the intended demolition which was to make way for expansion of a market built around the church was unjustifiable.

CAN’s Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel Vondip, in a statement released in Abuja, on Tuesday, commended the state government for stepping down the planned demolition of the church.

He, however, disagreed with the state government on the reason for the suspension of the action which was for historical value.

He said: “We are concerned that thee reason for withdrawing the threat was for “historical value” not for the purpose for which the church was built and the blessings it has brought to immediate communities and the entire nation.

“Undoubtedly, the church has developed the spiritual and moral values of many people in the ancient city for decades, yet the only reason the government advanced was the historical value of the church.

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“It suggests lack of respect for the church in Nigeria and a probability of future threats to other churches without that long ‘history of historical value,’ not only in Zaria but the entire Kaduna State.”

He, however, appreciated Kaduna State chapter of CAN, Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) for their approach that led to peaceful resolution of the matter.

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