Twelve Killed in Student Riot

14 October 2002 

At least twelve Christian students were killed and over 50 injured in a riot at 
the Federal College of Education in Zaria, Kaduna State in late September.

The rioting broke out after a Christian candidate won the annual student union 
elections.  Disgruntled Muslim students whipped up resentment among local 
Muslims who stormed the campus.  Christian students were attacked and forced to 
flee.  According to official sources twelve were killed and many others were 
injured and required treatment at the local hospital. Some Christian women 
students were raped.  Unofficial reports indicate that as many as 50 people 
were killed.  After three hours, order was restored by a police detachment.  
Following the outbreak of violence, the Kaduna State Chapter of the Christian 
Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for the removal of the institution’s 
provost, Alhaji Aliyu Shika, citing as their reason the fact that, in previous 
college posts, his actions have resulted in religious tensions and violence.  
They also claim that he failed to help injured and raped Christian students 
after the riot in Zaria.  A CAN spokesman said, “… all we know is that Alhaji 
Shika must be removed because of his antecedents.”  There have been reports of 
similar incidents on other college student union elections.  Such religiously 
motivated clashes provide a worrying reminder of the possibility of widespread 
religiously motivated violence during national elections scheduled for next 

In another indication of the pressure on Christians in Nigerian states that 
have implemented Shari’ah (Islamic law), reports indicate that the government 
of Kano State is pursuing a plan to reduce the number of churches in the state 
by seventy-five percent.  This is even higher than in August when state 
government officials told a church delegation that there were too many churches 
in the state and asked the Christian leaders to approve the demolition of half 
of them.  Twenty church buildings have already been demolished since the 
implementation of Shari’ah in Kano three years ago.  However, the church 
leaders refused to agree to further demolitions.  One church leader is reported 
as saying, “We told them that we would rather have all churches in the state 
demolished than to support the demolition of some.”

Pray for the families of those killed in the riot in Zaria.  Pray that God will 
comfort them at this time of loss.  Pray too that those who were injured will 
soon recover and be able to resume their education.

Pray that the run-up to presidential and parliamentary elections (due to take 
place next year) will not lead to further violence between Christians and 

Pray that the government in Kano state will not demolish any more churches.

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