The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the comment by the Sultan of Sokoto and President of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, over the alleged persecution of Nigerian Christians as contained in a report endorsed by the US government.
In a statement on Sunday in Abuja, Evangelist Kwamkur Samuel, the National Director, Legal and Public Affairs, CAN, faulted the Sultan’s comment that Christians are not being persecuted in Nigeria simply “because not all Fulanis are Muslims.”
“We respect the Sultan very much but what he said requires response in order to put things right. It was painful reading from the media that the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar saying that there was no case of Christian persecution in the country where Christians are being killed on daily basis and their landed property confiscated.
“It would have been better if the Sultan had remained quiet the way he did when those killings were taking place. Recalling the several hundreds of the innocent people whose lives were cut short by the Fulani herdsmen in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa and Taraba states, (states with Christian majority).
“It is an insult and insensitivity for anyone to be claiming that the unprecedented persecution which victims are well known did not occur. It is also an act of disrespect to the dead.
“If those who were responsible for the genocide in the Middle Belt of the country were Fulani atheists “whose main interest is to protect their cattle,” what stopped him from condemning the unprecedented genocide? By the way, if Fulani atheists took it upon themselves to be killing Christians the way they did in Benue, Southern Kaduna, Plateau, will it still not be called Christian persecution?
“Do the Fulani atheists have the right to be killing people the way they did and are still doing in some part of the states?” Samuel said.
On the observation by the Sultan that if there have been cases of Christian persecution in the country, CAN would have raised it at the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), where the leadership of the both religions meet, Samuel wondered why the Sultan too could not come to NIREC to fault their position instead of using the public forum.
He said, “The Sultan should not pretend as if he was unaware of several times we had gone to President Muhammadu Buhari to complain about the systematic and deliberate killings of our brothers and sisters and the need for the killers to be brought to book and the killings stopped to no avail .
“The fact that we are meeting at NIREC does not mean that all is well. We believe that having dialogues with our Muslim counterparts can reduce the tension in the land if there is sincerity.”
He therefore urged President Muhammadu Buhari to be fair to all Nigerians adding that they would stop complaining when they see a just society where the rule of law, fairness, and social justice are allowed.
He said, “When the President released Col Sambo Dasuki and Omoyele Sowore, we hailed him despite the fact that Dasuki is a devout Muslim. We want those still languishing in detention after court granted them bail to be released forthwith.”
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