Buhari To CAN: Christians And Muslims Are Jointly Opposed To Boko Haram

President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration will never tolerate religious intolerance, but will instead support citizens to practice whichever faith that suits them. 

Buhari said this following recent allegations of religious persecution by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

CAN had claimed that Christians were the targets of killings in Kaduna, Benue, Plateau Adamawa and Taraba states by criminals. It also claimed that the government had failed to secure Leah Sharibu’s release “because of her religion”.

The Christian body’s allegations followed Boko Haram insurgents’ release of a video that purported the killing of 11 Christians on December 26, 2019, a day after Christmas. 

But reacting through his  Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari assured that the security forces will continue to work to ensure that those in captivity of the insurgents are rescued. 

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The president said Nigerians must cautiously guard against subscribing to the terrorists’ message of division, warning that such will help the terrorists achieve their aim of making  them “see their beliefs as a reason to turn against one another.”

The statement said, “On its own part, the government has condemned some of the appalling acts of terror, especially following the festive period.  Yet, to continue to see these happenings solely in religious terms – removed from social, economic and environmental factors – simplifies complexities that must be heeded.  Not seeing them as they should be is exactly what the terrorists and groups wish: they want Nigerians to see their beliefs as a reason to turn against one another.

“On the contrary, Christians and Muslims alike are united in their opposition to Boko Haram and the hatred for decency that the infamous group stands for.

“Nigerians must continue to be united in ensuring that they do not subscribe to the terrorists’ message of division.

“Unfortunately, some leaders and politicians seek to make political capital from our religious differences.  As we fight Boko Haram on the ground, so too must we tackle their beliefs: stability and unity in face of their hatred is itself a rejection of their worldview,” the statement added. 

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Meanwhile speaking earlier, CAN suggested until something is done to Nigerians from the insurgents, it would not stop criticising the government. 

“The government should wake up to its primary responsibilities which are to protect the lives and property of the people,” CAN spokesman, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, said in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.

“Calling on the Federal Government to free our members from their captors who claim to be attacking us on religious grounds is the right thing to do in this situation we have found ourselves.”

CAN challenged the government to secure the citizens “and see if we will not stop talking about its failure to protect our members.”

It added, “If the government has not been treating those criminals with kid gloves, let them publish the names of their kingpins,  the terrorists, herdsmen killers and bandits in their custody and those who are being prosecuted in the court of law for the world to see.”

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