The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has described the decision by a Kano Magistrates’ Court to set free those accused of killing a 74-year-old christian woman, Bridget Agbahime for alleged blasphemy as “highly provocative”.
The Christian body expressed sadness that no one has ever been prosecuted for such crimes in the country.
A statement in Abuja by CAN’s Director Legal and Public Affairs Kwamkur Samuel said, “This is a highly provocative and insulting act on our collective sensitivities as a democratic nation, if newspaper reports are correct.
“The association condemns the continuous act of killing of innocent Nigerians under the pretence of blasphemy and considers the willful absence of justice for victims of these mindless killings in Nigeria by relevant authorities as a serious constitutional breach and security threat to our unity and collective survival as a nation.
“The now-familiar tradition of avoidance to arrest or properly investigate and prosecute cases involving the deliberate killing of innocent Nigerians is evidence of a scripted plan to operate another nation within the Nigerian state and to deny justice to those who truly deserve justice.
“The cardinal responsibility of government to protect life and property of citizens is sacrosanct and must not be sacrificed on the altar of religious convenience. As it stands today, there is no single prosecution record of any criminal who killed under the pretence of blasphemy in Nigeria despite the number of victims and incontrovertible facts showing that those killings were done in daylight and mostly by persons who live within the communities, where these heinous crimes were committed.
“The act of condoning crass criminality in the name of blasphemy deserves greater attention and broader treatment in this era of transforming the mindset of the citizens to work toward progressive change.
“CAN deeply sympathises with the family of the Kano victim over the rather very sad outcome of the case and assures that the pursuit of justice is a noble task of all well-meaning citizens working together toward a more decent and better society.
“As the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria, we will not relent in our effort to ensure that justice is served on the religiously intolerant and to ensure that all Nigerians are treated equally irrespective of their faith, social status and where they come from.”