- Deplore arrest of dog owner for naming it Buhari
- Differ with Sultan over country’s secular status
Paul Obi in Abuja
The Nigerian Christians Elders Forum (NCEF), an affiliate of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said on Wednesday that Nigeria is fatally sliding into an Islamic State under President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
Its position came in response to serial killing of Christians in the northern part of the country in recent times. Last week Christian students were brutally killed and burnt in Talata Marafa, Zamfara State, North West Nigeria over alleged blasphemy.
The NCEF also cited the arrest of Mr Joe Chinakwe for the naming of his dog ‘Buhari’ in Ogun State as a clear case of discrimination by government against Christians in the country.
According to the NCEF Chairman, Chief Solomon Asemota, SAN, “There is a bill now pending before the National Assembly, titled “NGO Regulatory Bill” intended to silence NGO’s including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
“It is not in dispute that Nigeria is an Islamic State contrary to Section 10 of the Constitution. What is in dispute is whether Nigeria is ruled by mainstream Muslims or by Islamist Jihadists. We plead with the Sultan to appreciate that Nigeria is safer and more peaceful when the Government of the Federation or of a State does not adopt any religion as State Religion.”
The NCEF explained that the overt dominance of the National Security Council by members of the Muslim faith, the expressed reservations whether Vice President Yemi Osinbajo plays any role in the council.
“It is as a result of the understanding (or lack of it) of civilized Jihad that we are apprehensive of those in the “Security and Intelligence Committee” of the Federal Government by some unexplained reasons are mainly Muslims. President Buhari, (Muslim), Chief of Defense (Christian), Chief of Army Staff, Chief of air Staff, Minister of Defense, Minister of Internal Affairs, Inspector General of Police, National Security Adviser, Director General of DSS are all Muslims from the North.
“We are not too sure whether the Vice President is a member of this Committee following information that he was once excluded from the meeting the President called. When the Vice President summoned the same meeting in the absence of President Buhari who was away in the UK, there was resistance and the meeting had to end abruptly,” they stressed.
Asemota maintained that going by the activities of the Fulani herdsmen, it is clear that a Jihad is been staged through the back door, “the atrocities committed by Fulani Herdsmen such as number of persons killed, farmland and buildings destroyed with other properties during the same period were not included.
“The conclusion which we, Christians, draw is that jihad is being committed against our country, Nigeria, especially when the cohesive instrument of state is in the hands of three ethnic nationalities and one religion. This enlists fear in the minds of the populace, especially Christians.”
The group also differed with the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, on the interpretation of the secular status of Nigeria.
“NCEF begs to disagree with his Eminence that Nigeria is a multi-religious state, based on the fact that the Constitution which forms the basis, upon which our founding fathers agreed to live together as a country, provides under Section 10 that ‘the Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion’,” it said.