Worship site demolished: Kaduna Christian University Community calls for rapid government intervention
NNN: The Christian Campus Community (CCC), Kaduna State University (KASU), has called for the intervention of the concerned authorities, regarding the demolition of its worship chapel under construction, in the interest of peace and tranquility.
The Christian community made the call in a statement, jointly signed by its coordinator, Dr Ishaya Auta, and its secretary, Dr Emmanuel on Monday, and made available to journalists in Kaduna on Monday.
The CCC has expressed dissatisfaction that in the university’s 17-year existence, the large Christian community has no place of worship, while the Muslim community has five mosques.
Describing the development as “disheartening,” the CCC called on KASU leadership and the state government to clarify whether or not they want a Christian house of worship on the main campus.
“It will put an end to their seemingly retarded attitude on the matter.
“As the umbrella body of all Christians on campus, CCC will always follow the path of peace and dialogue to resolve the issue amicably.
“But we view the issue as a sensitive one which, if not properly addressed, could lead to the breakdown of law and order,” they said.
They explained that the University Board of Trustees had, at its 49th meeting on April 14, 2014, allocated and approved land space for the Christian community to build a worship chapel.
They said that after getting permission from the university’s Physical Planning and Development Department to start construction in 2016, they rallied to the site only to be told to stop construction.
The community added that in 2020 the university allocated another land for the construction of the worship center which they accepted and mobilized for the site in 2021, but again they were asked to stop the works.
“On November 22, 2021, we wrote a petition to the Kaduna State University Visiting Committee, on the continuing issue and the committee acknowledged the newly awarded site.
“Again, after mobilizing to the site, we received a work stoppage notice on January 7, 2022 from the University Registrar and we complied.
“On March 29, 2022, we wrote to the school management asking for permission to resume construction, but no response and the construction committee finally resumed work on site, on May 16, 2022.
“While the works were in progress, Mr. Ismail Dikko, Director General of Kaduna State Urban Planning and Development Authority (KASUPDA), visited the site and stopped the ongoing construction on the grounds that ‘he didn’t have the required permit,’ they said.
The CCC added that on June 6, KASUPDA officials accompanied by security personnel came to the campus and demolished the foundation of the chapel under construction.
They claimed that KASUPDA did not formally write to them about it, but proceeded to demolish a structure that had not yet been marked for demolition based on its procedure.
According to them, KASUPDA has no activity as a regulatory body for physical structures in public institutions, adding that KASU has a physical planning directorate that oversees the construction of all structures.
“The university has more than a hundred structures without building permits from KASUPDA, why is the case of the KASU chapel different?”
When contacted, the university’s public relations officer, Mr. Adamu Bargo, confirmed that the structure had been demolished because due process had not been followed.
Dikko confirmed Bargo’s claim in a statement to Kaduna on Friday that the demolished structure violated applicable laws.
He explained that the State Executive Council had previously given a clear directive that all public buildings and institutions must submit relevant documents before erecting new structures on their premises.
“KASU partially complied with the directive by submitting its master plan, but without requesting permission for further development.
“I don’t know if the proposed structure would have been a church or just a building. The developers broke the law and KASUPDA just fulfilled its legal duty by removing it,” he said.
Bargo, in a statement to Kaduna on Monday, said the university management had previously issued a directive to halt all construction work on the temporary Christian worship center in 2021.
He explained that the directive followed the controversy surrounding the site, pending the intervention of the government.
He added that the university’s board of trustees and the state government were called upon to intervene.
“All submissions have been made through the Department of Education and other relevant authorities on the main campus master plan indicating places of worship.
“Members of the Christian community and the general public are called upon to maintain calm pending the decision of the government, board and management of KASU,” he said. (