The Kaduna state security council on Wednesday ordered the closure of Theological Seminary of Northern Nigeria, Shalom Comprehensive College, Assemblies of God Church, Nmbare, Assemblies of God Church (Jerusalem) and AGC Evangelist Hospital, all in Saminaka, the headquarters of Lere local government, Kaduna state.
The religious institutions had engaged in leadership tussle which created tension and spilled into the wider Saminaka community.
The council said the crisis trickled down to students of the church-owned school and seminary, who are now divided along factional lines.
In a statement signed by Samuel Aruwan, the spokesperson for Gov Nasir El Rufai, the state Security Council said in order to preserve peace among the followers and the surrounding communities, it has unanimously directed the closure of the church until the matter is resolved.
The Kaduna State Security Council at its 15th meeting, held on the 15th September, 2015, deliberated on the leadership crisis in the Assemblies of God Church in AGC Saminaka District, Lere local government area of the state.
The council discussed this matter in the context of preventing threats to the peace and stability of the State.
The Council noted that the leadership crisis has led to disintegration of order in the church, and raised tensions between the followers of the rival camps. The crisis has also widened to the students of the church-owned school and seminary, who are now split and divided on factional lines.
The Council reviewed previous efforts made to resolve the crisis. It noted that these were aborted by those involved in the leadership tussle, principally to preserve their personal interests with little concern for the common good, and the peace and security of Kaduna State.
The Council unanimously agreed that if left unchecked, the growing tension may degenerate into total breakdown of law and order in the said area, with the potential to spread to other parts of the state.
Therefore, the Council has taken steps to preserve the peace. It has unanimously directed the immediate closure of the following:
Theological Seminary of Northern Nigeria, (TSNN) Saminaka.
Shalom Comprehensive College, Saminaka
Assemblies of God Church, Nmbare, Saminaka and
Assemblies of God Church (Jerusalem) Saminaka
AGC Evangelist Hospital, Saminaka
As a result of these measures, those who may be affected will be admitted into government schools or hospitals, if they exercise the option.
The Council also directed that the status quo with regard to farmlands, houses and other assets of the church be upheld pending resolution of the leadership crisis, which is a matter before the Supreme Court.
Kaduna State Government wishes to reiterate that it will not tolerate the use of religion and ethnicity to cause crisis in the state. The government has also announced that it will prosecute anyone, no matter his or her standing, that is implicated in fomenting crisis in whatever form in the State.