A shocking story of mob violence has emerged which almost culminated in the death of one of the leaders of the Changing Attitude Nigeria (CAN) group in Port Harcourt. The violent attack occurred in the context of the funeral ceremony being held for the sister of Davis Mac-Iyalla, attended by six members of the Port Harcourt group on Thursday, 20 March 2008.The Advocate is also reporting this story.
The CAN Port Harcourt leader who was the subject of the attack said: “I am in total shock and living in fear while feeling the pains I suffered in the hands of a mob group that attacked me at the Service of Songs for Davis’s late sister. While hymn singing was going on a muscular man walked up to me and asked me for a word outside the compound.
“The next thing I saw was a mob group who were there to attack me. They started slapping and punching me, kicked me on the ground and spat on me. I have never known fear like I knew when they were brutalizing me. I thought they were going to kill me there and then. While beating me they were shouting: ‘You notorious homosexual, you think can run away from us for your notorious group to cause more abomination in our land?’ Those who attacked me were well informed about us so I suspect an insider or one of the leaders of our Anglican church have hands in this attack.”
Colin Coward, Director of Changing Attitude England, said: “The attack on one of the CAN leaders in Port Harcourt is a terrifying indictment of the attitude of the Church of Nigeria to LGBT people. Violence against LGBT people has been encouraged by Archbishop Peter Akinola and the leaders of the Church of Nigeria. They have attacked the presence of LGBTs in church and society, and supported a bill which would reinforce prejudice against LGBT people.
“Changing Attitude calls on the Church of Nigeria to denounce violence against LGBT people. We challenge the leaders of the global south coalition to repent of their un-Biblical views which fuel prejudice against LGBT people in our Communion”...
Regarding the call for the Church of Nigeria to denounce such violence, I wouldn't hold your breath. Abp. Akinola's way of engaging in the Communion-wide Listening Process is to support and advocate for legislation to incarcerate all gays. Beyond that, Akinola seems to have few problems with violence, as long as the victims are either Muslim or, apparently, gay.
Regarding Abp. Akinola's involvement in violent acts, it has been almost a month since he was implicated in the 2004 massacre in Yelwa, yet to date there has been no response to our questions regarding those implications, other than a weak attempt to sidestep the issue by his communication staff. His silence is cause for me to wonder why he is so hesitant to issue a clear denial, unless he was somehow involved, and is simply hoping the questions will just go away. Well, they're not going away this week, Archbishop.
First, let me remind our readers of the story, which originated in an article written by Eliza Griswold:
......Two months after the church was razed, Christian men and boys surrounded Yelwa. Many were bare-chested; others wore shirts on which they’d reportedly pinned white name tags identifying them as members of the Christian Association of Nigeria...According to Human Rights Watch, 660 Muslims were massacred over the course of the next two days...Now let me refresh Abp. Akinola's memory as to the specific questions that some of us would like him to answer:
...At the time of the massacre, Archbishop Peter Akinola was the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria...When asked if those wearing name tags that read “Christian Association of Nigeria” had been sent to the Muslim part of Yelwa, the archbishop grinned. “No comment,” he said...
What was your role in the 2004 massacre in Yelwa?
Did you send men from CAN to attack Yelwa?
And now new questions need to be asked:
What do you know of this recent attack in Port Harcourt?
What will be your response to this attack?