It St Peter’s church Barnawa in Kaduan, it was a mild drama, as Muslim community from Barnawa Kasuwa area, came out in large number and surrounded the church in their bid to protect it from any unforeseen circumstance.
Their arrival initially caused panic, as the people attending church service expressed surprise seeing Muslim community around their church.
However, the leadership of the church came out to have a chat with the leader of the Muslim community, who told him that their mission was to protect them from any harassment. It was only then that it was announced that the Muslim community were there to protect them as neighbours.
The Christmas celebration in Kaduna was held amidst tight security, as stern looking security operatives were deployed to various churches to check any unforeseen development.
People going into the churches were seen being scanned and searched before being allowed into the premises.
At the ECWA Gospel church, Cameroun Avenue, Malali, in Kaduna-North local government area, soldiers and policemen were seen on guard and the road leading to the church was closed while vehicles were diverted to alternative routes.
At the St Rita Catholic church, Angwa Yero, in Kaduna North local government area, security operatives assisted by church security, were on guard screening people before allowing them into the premises.
Vehicles were parked long distance from the church premises, thereby compelling the people to trek down to the church. The head of the church, Rev Father Eric Nok said the church became security conscious, because, two years ago, the church was attacked where members were killed and several others injured.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna Deputy Governor, Ambassador Nuhu Bajoga, has stressed the need for peaceful coexistence among the various religious and ethnic groups in the state, saying there is no development amidst chaos.
He stated this shortly after the Christmas service at the Evangelical Church of West Africa, Gwari Road. He assured the people that the government of Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero is working round the clock
to ensure that peace remains in Kaduna.
On the international scene, Pope Francis yesterday condemned the “brutal persecution” of minorities by Islamic State insurgents in his Christmas message on Thursday and urged people not to be indifferent to the suffering of so many around the world.
Tens of thousands of people turned out on St. Peter’s Square to hear the Argentine pope deliver his “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world) blessing and message, marking the second Christmas since his election last year.
Pope Francis also appealed for an end to conflicts in African countries, and urged dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. He condemned the attack by Taliban militants that killed more than 130 students in Pakistan last week, and thanked those helping the victims of the Ebola epidemic.
But he reserved his toughest words to defend the victims of Islamic State fighters who have killed or displaced Shi’ite Muslims, Christians and others in Syria and Iraq who do not share the group’s ideologies.
“I ask him, the Saviour of the world, to look upon our brothers and sisters in Iraq and Syria, who for too long now have suffered the effects of ongoing conflict, and who, together with those belonging to other ethnic and religious groups, are suffering a brutal persecution,” he said.
“May Christmas bring them hope, as indeed also to the many displaced persons, exiles and refugees, children, adults and elderly, from this region and from the whole world,” he said.
According to Reuters, the 78-year-old Pope spoke from the same balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica where he first appeared as pontiff on the night of his election on March 13, 2013.
Back home, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday cautioned politicians in the country to stop provocative utterances capable of overheating the polity ahead of 2015 general election.
The President in his message to the people at a service held at St. Matthews Anglican Church, Maitama, observed that some politicians are reckless in their utterances just as he charged them to be carrying out issue-based campaigns as they set out to market themselves.
While insisting on the conduct of free and fair election, the President maintained that the people must be allowed to freely vote those who would lead them at all levels.
Jonathan said “I believe we the politicians from our utterances, I am very sure that those of you who meant well for this country will never be happy with us.
“As a politician, you want people to elect you, to perform a responsibility. If you mean well for the country, the country is nobody’s personal estate but you want to serve. If people want you to serve, you serve; if they say no, you leave. Nigeria is nobody’s personal estate, Nigeria is nobody’s business enterprise; Nigeria is nobody’s father’s property. It belongs to all Nigerians” he noted
The President also came hard on some opposition politicians who threatened to form a parallel government should they lose the 2015 election saying such are not patriots but self serving people.