How Alleged Blasphemy Sparked Riot In Bichi

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About
a hundred non-Muslims were taking refuge at the premises of the police division
in Bichi Local Government Area of Kano State yesterday following a deadly
religious violence that broke out Thursday in the town located about 30
kilometres from Kano city.
Among the people seeking shelter at
the police division were women and children. Some of them said they have lost
all they had to the riot that started on Thursday morning after an Igbo tailor
has inadvertently made a pronouncement that ‘miscreants’ misinterpreted to mean
a deliberate blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

The tailor, whose name was simply
given as Chibuke – now rumoured to have been killed – was said to have wrongly
pronounced the name for a popular outfit (Na Annabi ya zo kasuwa), while
chatting with a business associate.

Weekly Trust gathered that some youths
who were present at the place, went into town alerting people that the tailor
has blasphemed the Prophet of Islam, which instantly resulted in a violent
protest.
Demonstrators, who were armed with
cutlasses, knives and other dangerous weapons, went round the town in groups,
attacking non-Hausas and destroying their property.
Witnesses claimed that about four
persons were killed, including the Chibuke, who was said to be the first to
have been macheted to death.
Hospital sources disclosed that two
burnt bodies were deposited at the General Hospital, Bichi, while residents
said another person was also killed on the road leading to the Federal College
Education (FCE) Bichi.
Also affected by the riots were
several shops, churches and valuables belonging to non-Muslims.
The crisis was brought under control
with the deployment of dozens of police and military personnel, Weekly Trust
learnt.
One of the victims taking refuge at
the police station, said he has spent 35 years in Bichi, adding that he has
neither heard nor experienced attack on non-Hausas, until the one of Thursday
morning.
Samuel, who was addressing the
district head of Bichi and other members of the local government security
committee who paid them a visit, said even when religious riots broke out in
other parts of the state or the country, the people of Bichi had never targeted
non-Muslims in their midst.
Describing the situation as an act of
God, Samuel assured that the violence would not send them packing from the town,
as they have understood that it was the undoing of few elements in the society.
He, therefore, called on government at
all levels to provide adequate security for the non-indigenes.
Another victim disclosed that all his
belongings were set ablaze by the rioters. “I have only this clothe I’m wearing
left,” he stated. “I only managed to bring myself to the station unhurt, but I
later found out that all my property, at home and in my shop have been razed,”
he complained.
Other victims also explained that the
protestors went about bringing their property out of their houses before
setting them on fire. Others, it was gathered, hid themselves in roofs to avoid
being killed.
Addressing the victims, district head
of Bichi Alhaji Idris Bayero, urged them to regard the attack as an act by some
hoodlums for their own selfish interest and not representing the position of
the people of the town or the ones in Kano.
While condemning the act, the
traditional ruler pointed that the perpetrators did not act in the name of
Islam or Muslims, stressing that what they did was unIslamic, barbaric and
reprehensible.
According to him, the generality of
the people in the town were happy with their presence and that nobody was happy
with the crisis which targeted them.
Also, the district head described as
erroneous some news reports which he said were carried by international media
purporting that the tailor was wearing an outfit with blasphemous inscription
on it. “That was not what happened,” he said, explaining that the problem
started with misrepresentation of his name of the outfit.
Similarly, both the Interim Management
Officer of the council, Alhaji Abdulhadi Aliyu Kachako and the state assembly
member representing Bichi constituency, Alhaji Hamza Sule Maifata, promised to
ensure that no such attack happens again in the town.
They also advised them to return to
their homes, as adequate security has been put in place to safeguard their
lives and property.
Our correspondent, who went round
parts of the town, reported that riot policemen were stationed at various
places in the area.
However, burnt items dotted facades of
many shops in the area, while the main road traversing the town also had tyre
burns at various points.
Meanwhile, the Kano State Police
Command yesterday in a statement said two persons were killed, while 22
suspects were arrested.
The statement, which was issued by its
spokesperson, ASP Musa Magaji Majiya, said the crisis was ignited by
“disgruntled elements who do not wish the state well.”
Majiya said seven Churches, eight
shops and one house were set on fire in the crisis, noting, however ,that two
people were injured.
“Normalcy has already been restored at
Bichi, people are going about their normal business without any hindrance as
Patrol has been intensified,” he said.
“Furthermore, the Command will not
relent in its effort to investigate the root of the inferno and whoever is
involved would be arrested to face the wrath of the law accordingly. People
should continue to live in peace and pay due respect to each other’s way of
life without any form of provocation, please.”
Source:
Daily Trust

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