SULTAN of Sokoto Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar has faulted claims by the Christian Association of Nigeria (Can) that its members were being targeted and prosecuted across northern Nigeria because of their faith.
Earlier this month, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), met to review the current state of insecurity in the country and expressed alarm at the limited response. After its meeting, CBCN president and the Archbishop of Benin, His Grace Archbishop Augustine Akubueze, said that lack of significant action to prevent attacks and secure the release of those being held in captivity by Boko Haram is fast breeding distrust and lack of confidence in the Buhari-led administration, especially its ability to act decisively and without bias.
As a way out of the helpless security situation in the country, the bishops urged the president to seek the intervention of the global community towards ending the activities of Boko Haram terrorists. They also urged the western media to pay more attention to the atrocities being committed in Nigeria by Boko Haram and other armed groups against Christians.
However, speaking at the first quarterly meeting of the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (Nirec) meeting in Abuja, Sultan Abubakar expressed doubt about the sincerity and commitment of its members to religious peace and tolerance in Nigeria. He faulted claims by Can and other Christian leaders that their members, especially in the north, are being persecuted and denied some privileges.
Sultan Abubakar said: “It pains me when we gather at Nirec or other meetings and agree on measures that would promote religious peace, unity and tolerance but shortly after, you will begin to hear stories of persecution here and there. If we go out shouting, marching, dancing and singing that people of a particular religion are being persecuted and killed, you also forget people of other religions are also affected in the killings by the same enemies of the state.
“We must not allow terrorists to come in between us and divide us. If we mistakenly do, then we are finished. There is nothing wrong with any religious organisation marching on the street to call for God’s interventions in a particular issue but we should not make a show of such things because we want to be visible and therefore, bring more problems to the nation.
“We have been reading and hearing reports about persecution of Christians in Nigeria and I keep asking myself: how? Christians are being killed, Muslims are also being killed and they are all lives created by God.”
Also, speaking at the event, the secretary to government of the federation, Boss Mustapha, insisted that there was nothing like persecution of Christians in Nigeria, particularly in the north. He urged religious leaders to be properly guided in their utterances and stop making statements that would incite the people against themselves.