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Gwoza Christian Community Association (GCCA) is a non-profit and non-governmental organization which is guided and governed by a constitution. The Association was formed by people of like mind who were determined...

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This letter was also published in the Daily Trust News Paper

AN OPEN LETTER TO BORNO STATE GOVERNOR, HIS EXCELLENCY ALH. KASHIM SHETTIMA ON THE DELIBERATE LACK OF CONCERN OVER THE PLIGHTS OF CHRISTIANS IN GWOZA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA IN THE WAKE OF SPONSORED ANNIHILATION OF ITS MEMBERS

Your Excellency,

We the members of the Gwoza Christian Community Association (GCCA) hereby wish to express our protest openly since all other avenues to see you have failed. This is with regards to the plight of Christians in Gwoza Local Government Area which points to the very fact of government involvement by some senior political functionaries in support for the total annihilation of Christian in Gwoza. The Gwoza Christian Community had earlier published such an open letter to the President (FRN) when this annihilation started in the Nations News Paper of Monday, May 13, 2013.

You are, we believe; is in the picture of all that happening in Gwoza LGA as the chief security officer of this great state. There is no doubt that insurgency activities are the main bane of contentions towards not only the economic and social development in Borno State, but most especially towards the political and religious harmony built on trust and respect. We believe that while you are busy amending fences elsewhere, others, including may be those that you trust, are also busy breaking the fence elsewhere. This makes your task difficult especially in a situation where there is hypocrisy and sycophancy existing in the camp.

Your Excellency, no father that discriminate in the family can have a peaceful sleep in the night. That is because those children discriminated against may turn to be his life - line saver which is always the case. If you were not told, we the Christians in Gwoza are very apathetic for the non-action of your government is taking over their scandalous shameful trauma. We really don't believe that you are being fed with what is actually going on by our representatives on your cabinet as well as in the House of Assembly. But if you were being fed on the happenings, it means vividly it was never the actual situations on the ground. That is why we really question the two official visits by your Deputy, His Excellency Alh. Zannah Mustapha to Barawa and recently to Kirawa in Gwoza Local Government Area. We were quite dismayed and disturbed for such practical dislike to Christians.

This Association is made up of eminent personalities who are heavenly focused and cannot in whatever way pervert the truth on what is actually happening in Gwoza. Your Excellency let us briefly state the picture of the situation affecting the Christian Community in Gwoza as at today.

A total of 618 families (not individuals) have been displaced from their houses to various places in Nigeria as well as in places in Cameroun. There were a total of 46 Churches that have been burnt and destroyed while a total of 541 houses were also burnt and destroyed. As at 23/10/2013, a total of 46 villages were completely displaced; while a total of 108 houses have been vandalized, some of these houses are being occupied by the insurgents atop the mountain hills. More of concern is the plight of 68 widows whose husbands were either shot or slaughtered in front of their family members. We have full documentation of these atrocities against Christians and yet your Deputy Governor during his two visits to the area have never found time to even commiserate with the Christians, but were deliberately avoided. Why? Are we not part of the Borno State citizen? Shops destroyed at Kirawa were given N3million, we also reliably informed that the sum of twenty five million naira (N25,000,000.00) was also given to the butchers from Gwoza at the Maiduguri Abbattoir. Everyone knows that the Abattoir is the breeding ground of the insurgency activities most of whom have gone back to Gwoza as sponsored insurgents. They have now made the mountain hills their headquarters. While, the whole lot of over 13 to 14 thousand Christians are homeless and are refugees without basic needs after fleeing their homes. Are we bastards that deserves not an iota of attention?

Your Excellency, we deeply respect you and what you stand for and will not like to create another burden on the various security challenges you are facing. What we are saying is this; we don't have diligent and patriotic representatives in your cabinet and the Borno State House of Assembly. We have no regret to register our complete distrust and annoyance towards some of these representatives. If we may add, the incidence of burning Churches did not start this year. Your Excellency, you may wish to re-call the incidence of the burning of six churches in 2011 where a committee was set - up and submitted its report. Over thirteen million naira (N13, 000,000.00) was lost to those miscreants in the arson and looting of these places of worship; His Royal Highness the Emir of Gwoza, Alh. Shehu Idrissa Timta practically wept over such dastardly acts before the public. Not a single kobo was given as assistance to those churches from the state and Local Government, and none of our so-called representatives cared to sympathize with us except Alhaji Abubakar Mbawaya who provided bags of relief grains.

Your Excellency, we are not denting anyones image, but then truth must be told. We are disappointed in them since ultimately they have also decided to project such an inhuman act of disparity, sowing the seeds of hatred among the good people of Gwoza due to politics. We dare them to tell us who amongst our representative in your Government that does not have a close brother, sister or relation who is a Christian or even pagan. We know our background and we speak not out of weakness, but out of love of Christ who teaches peace. To this date no Christian or group of Christians destroyed a Muslim home or any mosques. What is happening can best be regarded as being a sponsored annihilation of the Christians in Gwoza.

Your Excellency, we have the capacity to retaliate even more devastatingly, but two wrongs do not make a right. When peace was visible especially at Bayan Dutse and Barawa District in particular, confirmed information reached us that the civilian JTF was sponsored to the area in order to retaliate the actions of the army JTF on innocent civilian Christians of Barawa. A list of eighteen (18) persons was given to them out of which they succeeded in apprehending four (4) including a former vice Chairman of Gwoza Local Govt Area: To date no one has been able to see them. This was politically motivated under the cover of insurgent activities- branding them as Boko - Haram. That Civillian JTF that underwent that infamous mission were themselves Boko-Haram from the Maiduguri Abbattoir who actually ran away to Maiduguri when the JTF came to Barawa in April this year. In order to see them as legitimate Civillian JTF, some of them were told to adopt Christian names such as Bitrus, Yohanna, etc instead of their Muslim names. We have no regrets to state categorically before you that one key elected politician from the area and also the district Head comes from the current headquarters of Boko- Haram on the Gwoza hills at Gwavaka in Ghwa`a. May be you may like to hear that on 29th September, 2013, two days to independence day, Boko- Haram village-Head was turbaned in the area where four cows were slaughtered in celebrations. It was the cows of the displaced Christians.

Your Excellency, it is never our intention to publically paint these awfully disturbing stories of what is actually going on in Gwoza even though we have more of such evidence stories. In recent times, we are very much aware of the attacks on liberal Muslim who are also mourning a lot of their loved ones. We sincerely feel for them not denying the fact that when all the youthful Christians fled, the trained mad dog turned against its owner. We really sympathize with the bereaved families; but how many Muslim houses and mosques were burnt or vandalized by the Christians since when all these atrocities were being meted on us?

Your Excellency, we really have reasons to complain bitterly as if we are aliens in Borno State and every sane minded human being can attest to our plight. We registered this Association to actually forestall the administrative bottle necks of CAN in tackling our internal issues which may be peculiar to us. But we keep in close contact with CAN because our Association is not an alternative to CAN. We are in the full picture and knowledge of our Christian brothers and sisters that are scattered as refugees which are currently as follows:-
* Mokolo - Cameroun - Over 3,000
* Galma - Cameroun - Over 2,000
* Limankara - 202
* Madagali in Adamawa State - 2050
* Gulak in Adamawa State - 800
* Michika in Adamawa State - 1865
* Askira in Borno State - 410
* Uba in Borno State - 743
* Mubi in Adamawa State - 273
* Ngoshe Sama - 223
* Yola in Adamawa State - 270
* Jalingo in Taraba State - 190
* Lagos in Lagos State - 428
* Abuja in the FCT - 1021

These Christian refugees were chased out of the following villages:-
Ghraza, Hduwe, Tacha, Gudule, Gathaghure, Hembe, Kunde, Jiga, Ghwa 'a-klala, Gwavaka, Sabon Gari Kunde, Chebe-Chebe, Pege Barawa, Angwan Lawan, Vireke, Koghum, Kamba, Kwatara, Wala, Ashigashiya, Gava-west, Gileri, Sasawa, Bita, Dangalang, Ungwan Dambe, Yamtake, Valengede, Bla waziri, Bla abba, Gatha Musa, Gatha chairman, Gobara, Barawa, Uvaha, Gidan Block, Sabon gari zalidva, Patawe, Amdaga, Shiya-dawe, Dure, Hudimca, and Ghufure.
For goodness-sake how can a leader allow such large number of villages be left vacant?

Your Excellency, we are aggrieved and really have every reasons to complain. We are humble citizens of this country who will never take laws into their hands. However, if pushed to the wall, we will have to actually defend ourselves and that is not a threat because every human being has an instinct to survive. It is not because we don't have that capacity of retaliation or taking our plights for solutions elsewhere. We do have them such as the ICC, US Congress, International Development Agencies, International Reconciliatory Agencies, Human Rights, International Religious Freedom Reports, Inter-faith Mediation Centre and above all the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. What we will continue to say and believe is that you were not properly briefed on the plight of the Christians due to selfish reasons. That is why we sought to see you, but we were never granted such an audience.

Your Excellency, is it the fault of our youth that are beginning to be bankrupt of patience, to back this claim, just last Monday, the Christian youth were forced to defend themselves in Ngoshe after being attacked for several hours. The result was that both sides recorded casualties. A total of seven Christians were arrested by The Army some of whom had their houses burnt to ashes. When these atrocities were being committed against the Christian villages and communities, no army was deployed until the worst was committed, but we were surprised when the army was deployed to Ngoshe within hours when it became apparent the Christian youth were defending themselves. Is this the country we believe to stay in unity? We are tired and enough is really enough as we are taking more steps to see that justice for the Christians in Gwoza is done. We are not ready to leave Gwoza as they plan to indirectly deport Christians to Cameroun and other states in Nigeria - because is our homeland which cannot be substituted.

Finally, we want to again assure your Excellency of our loyalty and support for your dynamic government. You have proved yourself a positive achiever and true dynamic leader we aspired for. We pray Almighty God to give you more wisdom, perseverance and good health to give more to Borno State not in hypocrisy but truly and without reservations.

Thank you.
By Elder, Ayuba J. Bassa
GCCA National Coordinator
(For Chairman BOT)

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About Us

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Gwoza Christian Community Association is duely registered in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission. We are a non-profit and non-governmental organization which is guided and governed by a constitution.
The Association was formed by people of like mind who were determined to make their community and humanity at large better than how they met it. Membership is open to all who share our aims and objectives.

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Main Address: No. 2 Hospital Gate, Kurana Basa Road, Gadamayo, Gwoza, Borno State, Nigeria
Branch Address: Block B Dansarari Plaza, Zone 4, Wuse, Abuja, Nigeria
Website: www.gwozacca.org
Email: gwozacca@gmail.com -or- info@gwozacca.org
Phone: 07081962004
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