- Osinbajo: Religious crisis not peculiar to Buhari’s govt
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja and Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has berated the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for accusing Christian leaders of incitement.
CAN President, Rev. Samuel Ayokunle, in a statement signed tuesday by his Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Mr. Adebayo Oladeji, expressed disappointment at the statement by Mohammed where he was reported to have disparaged Christian leaders.
“We are disappointed but not surprised with the disparaging, lies and abusive statements credited to Mohammed in Ilorin during the town hall meeting where he was accusing religious leaders of making alleged provocative statements that can lead to religious war,” Ayokunle said.
He stated that the minister had “In his characteristic manner left out the issues but went after the so-called religious leaders, who we all know, are the Christian leaders because we know that the minister dare not speak against the Muslim leaders who had said worse things. That would be an open invitation of Fatwah.”
He quoted Mohammed to have said: “…Such fallacies like the Islamisation of Nigeria, the killing of Christians by Muslims, the labelling of Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world can only serve one purpose: trigger a religious war. Needless to say that no nation ever survives a religious war.
“Those who are making these allegations know that they are not true, but they have found in religion another tool to demonise the government of the day, divert attention from the government’s anti-corruption stance and create undue tension in the polity…”
“He went on further to dismiss the Islamisation agenda against the country when he said: “The alleged Islamisation of Nigeria under the current administration is totally false and should be perceived in its entirety as a campaign of calumny. The secular nature of the Nigerian Constitution makes the issue of religious dominance and impunity improbable.”
The CAN declared that Nigerian Christians love their country and they not only promote peace and unity but also always pray for her and the leadership.
He stressed that in the last one year, the CAN had declared fasting and prayers for Nigeria and her leadership twice. If we are thirsty for a war, we wouldn’t have gone that far.
He listed some posers that seem to debunk some of the assertions by the ministers, stating: “That our members are being killed, maimed and burnt by the Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east?
“That our members are being killed by the Fulani herdsmen in Plateau, Benue and now Southern Kaduna states? That those responsible for these killings profess Islam as their religion?
“That those who killed Madam Bridget Agbahime in Kano were Muslims who were arrested but later discharged and acquitted by the court as requested by the state Attorney- General and Commissioner of Justice?
“That those who killed Madam Eunice Elisha Olawale while doing the morning preaching in Kubwa, Abuja were Muslim fundamentalists who were arrested but also freed by the police?”
Ayokunle wondered if Mohammed is saying that no Christian was killed by the Fulani herdsmen who invaded the Southern Kaduna, killed and maimed our members and razed down their communities recently?
He further queried if Mohammed is saying “the Fulani herdsmen who have been killing our members are not armed with sophisticated weapons and is it wrong for us to ask where they get the AK-47 and other weapons they are using.
“When all those killings were going on in Plateau, Benue and Southern Kaduna, was there any time Lai Mohammed or anyone in the federal government raised up a voice against the atrocities”, he said.
The CAN President said if those murderous Fulani herdsmen are faceless, how come the Sultan of Sokoto is claiming that they are not Nigerians and in another instance, the Kaduna State governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai said they had been paid for the “wrong done to them?”
Meanwhile, the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday said the religious violence witnessed in some parts of the country is not peculiar to the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Osinbajo, who stated this at the bi-annual conference of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) in Benin City, said: “Our greatest enemy is hate. In the past few years, we have seen the most brutal killing of men and women. The history of blood and religious conflict extends every Nigeria government.
According the acting president, the history of religious crisis dates back to 1979 with the Meitacine clash left many dead, adding that for Christians to live eternally, they must die for the gospel.
He urged Christians to embrace love as “hate is the device of the devil” and will not ensure the prosperity of the Christendom.
Osinbajo, however, urged Christians not to be discouraged when they are being dispised by others, saying it is the burden of the gospel.
On the Southern Kaduna killings, he said: “Since investigation are still going on, I can’t make any categorical statement. The federal government has taken steps by first aligning with the state government and working with the police to be the first respondents.”
The crusade however, experienced a rowdy moment when the acting president urged Christians to love and forgive their enemies irrespective of the harm done to them.