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No evidence governor of Nigeria’s Kano state being forced to turn churches into schools

A video shared on a Nigerian Facebook page claims the governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, is being pressured to take over the state’s churches and convert them into schools.

In the video, an unidentified man says Hausa people in the northern parts of Nigeria are forcing Ganduje to take this action.

He says: “According to intelligence report, the Hausas are forcing the Kano state governor, Governor Ganduje, to forcibly take over some churches in Kano state and convert them into public schools. The churches in question are the Catholic church, the ECWA church, the Anglican church and the Baptist church, in retaliation to an alleged demolition of a mosque in Port Harcourt by the Rivers state governor, Governor Wike.” 

Nigeria’s north is predominantly Muslim and the region has a history of religious violence.

Claim of mosque demolition in Port Harcourt misleading

In August 2019, there were rumours on social media that the Rivers state government had demolished a popular mosque in Port Harcourt, in the south of Nigeria.

The governor, Nyesom Wike, denied that a mosque had been erected, or demolished, on the disputed land. He said an illegal structure had been erected where a Muslim group met to pray. It was this structure that was demolished. 

The governor added that the state had not approved construction on the site and the matter had been in court. 

The secretary of the Muslim organisation that used the site, Aliu Sidiq, confirmed that the foundations of a building had been demolished, not a finished mosque. 

A Muslim youth organisation based in northern Nigeria investigated the matter and came to the same conclusion.

No records of requests to convert churches to schools

Africa Check asked Alhaji Haruna, chair of the board of trustees for the Islamic Foundation in Kano state, about the video.

“There was no request from the citizens of Kano state to the governor to turn churches into public schools,” he said.

“We cannot make such a demand, knowing that it will lead to war within the land. Kano state is a very peaceful place and we are not venturing into such acts and such [rumours] should not be spread.” 

Abba Anwar, spokesperson for Kano governor Ganduje, told Africa Check that the state government had not been asked to convert churches into schools. 

“Nobody came with such a demand to the governor,” he said. “We all know that our governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, is a peace loving leader who accommodates and respects Nigerians irrespective of religious and ethnic background.”

There is no evidence to back up the claims made in the Facebook video. Jennifer Ojugbeli


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