Christian leader dies after mob attack on home

Rev Yohanna Shuaibu will be sorely missed, said CSW's Mervyn Thomas.(Photo: CSW)

A Christian leader has died as a result of injuries he suffered during a mob attack on his home in Nigeria. 

Rev Yohanna Shuaibu was chair of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the Sumaila Local Government Area (LGA) of Kano state. 

He died on Thursday, a day after the attack on his home in Massu village by extremists who mistakenly believed he had been involved in the conversion of a young man who had recently left Islam. 

Rev Shuaibu had been forewarned about the risk to his life and spent the night before with his family in a neighbouring village. 

He returned to Massu the next day to evacuate pupils from a school for indigenous Hausa Christian children he had helped to raise funds for. 

Believing the tensions had died down, he and his family returned to their home just hours before it was set upon by a mob. 

The pastor's wife and their children were able to escape but he suffered multiple machete blows and died the following day. 

The attackers also burnt down the family home, as well as his church, New Life, and the school. 

Paying tribute, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said Rev Shuaibu was a "popular and inspirational" figure who was involved in a number of initiatives in addition to the local school.

These included raising funds for boreholes to supply water to Christian communities denied access to government-provided sources, and the refurbishment of a faulty water source at the local mosque to foster good relations with Muslims. 

CSW's Founder President Mervyn Thomas expressed his sadness over the pastor's death, and called on the Nigerian government and state leaders to promote interfaith harmony.

"Our hearts and prayers are with Rev Shuaibu's wife, children, church and community as they mourn the loss of their husband, father and leader," he said. 

"Rev Shuaibu will be sorely missed in his community and beyond. We urge the police to spare no effort in locating and prosecuting those responsible for his death.

"More must be done to tackle the societal tensions that facilitate regular outbreaks of religiously-motivated violence.

"We call on the federal and state authorities to develop civic education programmes that promote interreligious harmony and equal citizenship, and to model these qualities consistently both in word and in deed."