PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Femi Adesina has lashed out at the Christian Association of Nigeria (Can) saying it has constituted itself into a political party with its constant criticism of the government.
Earlier this week, Can president Reverend Samson Ayokunle called on the federal government to arrest the leaders of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (Macban) for sponsoring crime across the country. He said this in response to Boko Haram’s recent murder of Pastor Lawan Andimi, the chairman of Can in Michika Local government area of Adamawa State, kidnapped in northeast Nigeria on January 2.
According to Reverend Ayokunle, Can is concerned that Boko Haram may be progressively combining forces with other terrorist militia including Islamic State in West Africa (Iswap), Fulani herdsmen and Al Shabaab. At least four murderous attacks have taken place across northeast Nigeria in less than a month, including the beheading of 10 Christian men and the shooting of an eleventh by the Iswap.
Responding to the attacks on the government, Mr Adesina accused Can leaders of painting President Muhammadu Buhari as an anti-Christian, stating that security is number one on the priorities of the administration. He expressed his condolences to Can over the death of Pastor Andimi, adding that the government will go after those who perpetuated the murder.
Mr Adesina said: “It was very sad and doleful to hear of the eventual beheading of Reverend Lawan Andimi. I felt the killing of Andimi very keenly, not for the fact that he was a clergyman, but any man’s death diminishes me because I’m involved in mankind.
“No man should die the way Reverend Andimi was killed, beheaded by insurgents, who then proceeded to gleefully announce his decapitation. It is classic example of man’s inhumanity to man and those who did it have long lost their humanity, if they ever had any.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has sympathised with the family and relations of the dead and I have also been in a state of melancholy over it. My distress was increased by the statement issued on the tragic event by the central body of Can as too many things were mixed together, which the apex Christian body in the country should have been mindful of, lest it departs from the mind and essence of Jesus Christ, our perfect example.
“For years, since he emerged on the national scene as a military leader and later as an aspirant for the highest political office in the country, and eventually as president, spirited attempts have been made to position Muhammadu Buhari as anti-Christian faith. It worked against the man for a long time, till majority of Nigerians saw through the smokescreen and made up their minds against the demonization.
“That was why as much as some church leaders tried to dress Buhari in borrowed robes in 2015 and 2019, millions of Christians went ahead to vote for him. The inexorable truth is that in Nigeria, Muslims can’t wish Christians away and vice-versa. We shall all stay here, and salvage it together.
“However, the statement by Can on the death of Andimi gives hint that the leadership of the Christian body still harbours some of the old narratives that have been discredited and from which majority of people have purged themselves, except the wilfully irredeemable. He condemned the recent statement made by Evangelist Kwamkur Vondip, Can’s director of legal affairs.
Evangelist Vondip said: “Maintenance of security is the least responsibility of any government that knows its worth. We are once again calling on President Buhari to purge himself of the allegations of nepotism and religious favouritism by reconstituting the leadership of the security forces.”
According to Mr Adesina, Reverend Andimi was not killed solely because he was a Christian. He added that those evil people who killed him will kill anyone they lay their filthy hands on.