Muslims And Christians Can Cohabit And Flourish – Buhari |The Republican News


President Muhammadu Buhari has warned against politicising religion, saying Christians and Muslims in Nigeria can flourish together.

Mr Buhari said this in an opinion article published by the News Agency of Nigeria.

The article earlier appeared on the UK-based Christian Times on Friday.

In the article, the president referenced a Biblical verse and argued that Christians and Muslims share the same root, although their believes differ.

Read the op-ed below:

In 1844, the Revd Samuel Ajayi Crowther returned home to Yoruba land (now part of modern-day Nigeria). Twenty years earlier, he had been kidnapped and sold to European slave traders who were bound for the Americas. He was freed by an abolitionist naval patrol, and received by the Church Missionary Society. There, he found his calling.

Crowther made his voyage home to establish the first Anglican mission in Yoruba land. He came with the first Bibles translated into Yoruba and Hausa languages. He opened dialogue and discussion with those of other faiths. And his mission was a success: Crowther later became the first African Anglican bishop in Africa.

Today, Nigeria has the largest Christian population on the continent. The messages and teachings of Christianity are part of the fabric of each person’s life.

Along with the millions of Christians in Nigeria today, I believe in peace, tolerance, and reconciliation; in the institution of the family, the sanctity of marriage, and the honour of fidelity; in hope, compassion, and divine revelation.

Like Bishop Crowther, I am a descendant of Abraham; unlike him, I am a Muslim. I believe our two great religions can not only peacefully coexist but also flourish together. But Muslims and Christians must first turn to one another in compassion. For, as it says in Amos 3.3: “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet?”

As they are People of the Book, I believe that there is far more that unites Muslims and Christians than divides them. In fact, I believe that the messages of the Bible are universal: available for anyone to exercise, and instructive to all.

We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities, because, if we do, we can only look inwards. It is only when we mix that we can reach new and greater possibilities.

Whichever religion or religious denomination they choose to follow, Nigerians are devout. Anything that Nigerians believe will place impositions on their practice, and belief is therefore sure to cause widespread alarm.

And, unfortunately, there are those who seek to divide Nigerians — and our two great religions — and to do so for their own advantage.

I stand accused — paradoxically — of trying to Islamise Nigeria while also being accused by Boko Haram terrorists of being against Islam. My Vice-President is a devout man, a Christian pastor. He, too, is accused of selling out his religion, because of his support for me.

This is not the first time that I — nor, indeed, my Christian-Muslim evenly split cabinet — have been the subject of such nonsense. Fortunately, the facts speak differently from the words of those who seek to divide us from one another.

Since my administration has been in power, Boko Haram has been significantly and fatally degraded; I have befriended church leaders and church groups both within and outside our country; my Vice-President has addressed and opened dialogue with Muslims up and down our land.

In all things, we seek that which all well-meaning Christians and well-meaning Muslims must seek: to unite, respect, and never to divide. Does it not say “There is no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2.256)? Does it not say “Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us” (Luke 9.50)? This, surely, is the path that followers of both our two great religions must walk.

UNFORTUNATELY, those who wish us all to walk apart have recently found another focus for their efforts: the tragic clashes between nomadic herdsmen and settled farmers in the central regions of Nigeria.

For generations, herders have driven their cattle from the north to the centre of our country; they tend to be predominantly Muslim, although not exclusively. The farmers, in certain areas of central Nigeria, are predominantly Christian.

The causes of this conflict are not religious or theological, but temporal. At the heart of this discord is access to rural land, exacerbated both by climate change and population growth.

Sadly, there are some who seek to play fast and loose and so make others believe that these are not the facts. When religion is claimed as the cause — and by those who know that it is not — it only makes finding a resolution more difficult.

The government has taken action to mediate, to bring the two groups together in peace and unity. But we also need all parties to follow the teachings of the scriptures, and encourage reconciliation rather than cause division. As it is said: “Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?” (Mark 8.18).

As our constitution codifies, politicising religion has no place in Nigeria; for it makes us turn away from one another; it makes us retreat into our communities and walk different paths.

I believe that there is a better way. To those who seek to divide, I still hold my hand out in brotherhood and forgiveness. I ask only that they stop, and instead encourage us to turn towards one another in love and compassion. Nigeria belongs to all of us. This is what I believe.     (Premium Times)

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Must Read: Why The Sartorial Choices Of Salafi Clerics Sparked A Debate On Morality In Nigeria – Prof Ochonu

Muslims pray at the Kofar Mata Central Mosque in Kano, Northern Nigeria. Liberal and fundamentalist Islam are in a contest of legitimacy in the region. Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

The innocuous photos of two Nigerian Islamic clerics shopping and relaxing in London sparked a fierce debate on social media platforms in northern Nigeria in early December 2017. The photos were quite unremarkable. One showed the two men sitting on a park bench; another showed them in a clothing store wearing cowboy hats. In both, they were dressed in suits. And they were wearing gloves and scarves to protect themselves from London’s cold, wet weather.

The pictures caused a fierce online debate about piety, hypocrisy, morality, the sartorial prescriptions of Islam, and the tyranny of religious authorities in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria. The violent Islamist group, Boko Haram, is active in the region, which has become a hotbed of extremism.

So, why were these ordinary images so controversial? Why did they spark heated debates among educated northern Nigerian Muslim men and women?

The answer is simple. The two men are Salafi clerics, members of a clerical order that has come to wield outsized influence over Muslims in northern Nigeria. The clerics act as enforcers of an increasingly puritan Islamic order. They are uncompromising in defining what is moral and permissible and what is haram or sacrilegious. They often equate Muslims’ engagements with modernity and Western ways of life with immorality and sinful innovation or bid’ah.

This leaves them open to charges of hypocrisy when they appear to make choices seen as contradicting their teachings. And this is what happened in London. The two clerics were wearing what in northern Nigeria is considered western dress. This touched off debates between two camps of young Muslims: those who resent the growing intrusion of the clerics into their lives and are eager to criticise their adventures in a Western city, and those who continue to look on the religious figures as revered exemplars of piety.

Wahhabism and the roots of Salafi Puritanism

The Islamic sect to which the two clerics belong heightened the controversy. Sheikh Kabiru Gombe and his mentor, Sheikh Bala Lau, are prominent clerics of the Izala sect, the most visible face of a growing community of Nigerian Salafism, a branch of Sunni Islam which holds to a strict, uncompromising doctrine.

Leaders of the sect are gaining popularity and displacing mainstream Sufi clerics in the region. They accuse traditional Sufi Muslims of hobnobbing with modernity and failing to practice Islam in its pure form. Sufis are vulnerable to these accusations because their creed focuses on individual mystical paths to God rather than on outward, political and authoritarian expressions of piety.

This difference has led to an increasingly intense contest between the two sides. The photographs of the two clerics catapulted the contest onto social media, blogs and web forums.

The personalities and profiles of the two clerics contributed to the intensity of the debates.

Sheikh Gombe is known in the region for his ultra-radical Salafi theological positions and pronouncements. He has made his voice heard in local and foreign settings, capturing the imagination of some young Muslims in northern Nigeria. He presents an argument that being a pure Muslim means eschewing association with Western modernity. He is against modern and Western institutions such as secular filmmaking, mixed gender socialisation and goods such as Western clothes. All, he argues, can pollute the piety of Muslims.

In my ongoing research on the historical roots of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, I call the rise of this branch of Islam the Salafi Islamic wave. Tracing its roots, I have found that it began with the slow but well-funded arrival of Wahhabism in northern Nigeria in the 1980s and 1990s. Wahhabism is the puritan strain of Sunni Islam birthed in Saudi Arabia by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

The Wahhabi-Salafis’ most dominant organisational umbrella was – and still is – the Izala sect, which was founded in 1978 in Jos, Nigeria, by followers of the late Sheikh Abubakar Gumi.

At the time Gumi was travelling throughout the Muslim world and spending time in Saudi Arabia as a member of both the Supreme Council of the Islamic University in Medina and the Legal Committee of the Muslim World League. He returned to Nigeria in 1986 and was recognised as the spiritual leader of the Izala anti-Sufi reform movement. The movement’s following expanded dramatically under him.

The Izala group set up schools and the best graduates were sent – on generous Saudi Arabian scholarships – to the University of Medina to study Islam under a Wahhabi curriculum with a tinge of ultra-radical Salafism. They returned in the 1990s and inaugurated a new Salafi era in northern Nigerian Islam.

In the 2000s, Medina-trained Salafi clerics, backed by Saudi money and patronage, succeeded in upstaging the old Izala clerical order through a mix of youthful charisma, theological novelty and populism. They began entrenching their strict moral code conforming, according to them, to the Islamic Sharia law.

Beyond photos and suits

Western culture and lifestyle dominate popular culture in Nigeria. For many young Muslims in northern Nigeria, Salafism’s prescriptions and prohibitions are suffocating, particularly for those who want a more pragmatic engagement with a Western lifestyle. Many believe they can pursue these lifestyle choices and still practice their religion.

But Salafi clerics and their followers see no acceptable compromise. They are increasingly making themselves custodians of public morality. They routinely condemn conduct that they associate with decadent, permissive western modernity. For example, they dictate what northern Nigerian Muslims can and can’t wear.

The debate around the two clerics was therefore not a trivial conversation about the dress and the recreational choices of two Salafi clerics. The photos were loaded with symbolism and contradictions. Participants in the online debate used the opportunity to criticise – or excuse – the perceived tyranny and hypocrisy of a powerful Salafi establishment. And to express personal anxieties and fears.

The debate about modernity, Islam, and morality has migrated to online platforms because the internet is relatively anonymous. This has given both sides greater freedom to express their views. The debate encapsulates the ongoing ideological struggle in northern Nigerian Islam between those who live and defend a modern lifestyle, and those suspicious of Western modernity and the unmediated influence of Western education and culture.   (The Conversation)

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The Madness Of Sheik Abubakar Gero Argungu And The Devil In Yemi Osinbajo – Femi Fani-Kayode

“My brethren the Infidels in this country are pointing their fingers at our faces we also should do the same. After the message, I gave in Rijau Niger state and presently am in Kontagora the message was delivered to the President through a reliable source. I stand by the existing code that all Muslims must rise and defend ourselves from all Infidels and all Muslim uniformed men must stand and defend Muslims at all cost for everyone should know the road to his or her fathers home. We have sent our message to the President and I was assured he got it. He is with us and believes in our cause. Every Muslim in Nigeria must be ready. We will never allow any infidel to come to power again. We want our Muslim soldiers in the barracks to be on their guard and never allow these infidels to intimidate us again. Whether we are prepared or not every soldier must answer his father’s name”- Sheik Abubakar Gero Argungu, Sawtul Hikmah, March 9th, 2018.

This man is playing with fire. Such threatening words in a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic nation and plural society like ours where over 100 million Christians live and reside? Such madness is rarely seen.

I am constrained to ask, who is this uncircumcised Philistine that has chosen to defy the armies of the Living God?

Who is this reprobate unbeliever that seeks to challenge Christendom and to dare and denigrate the Christian faithful?

Who is this son of perdition that mocks our God and that seeks to demean the sons and daughters of light?

Who is this blood-lusting barbarian who seeks to unleash the dogs of war on our nation?

Who is this ranking pagan who loves the shedding of innocent blood and who brings nothing but threats, division, bloodshed, conflict, strife, violence and destruction?

The truth is that this Abubakar Shekau in the making, this demon in human flesh and this servant of Satan should have been arrested long ago for his dangerous and provocative words and his reckless disposition, both of which are capable of setting Nigeria on fire.

And neither is he a real Muslim or truly representative of the majority of Muslims in our country.

His utterances are unacceptable and the fact that, rather than caution him, the Buhari administration has instead encouraged, pampered, protected and supported him speaks volumes and gives cause for concern.

Those that welcome such sentiments, that encourage such words, that are stoking this dangerous fire and that are fanning the embers of sectarian strife, religious bigotry and hateful intolerance would do well to recognise the fact that no-one and no group of people will come out as the winner in a religious war in this country.

Worst still if such a conflagration were ever to be ignited we would all, both Christians and Muslims, suffer the heinous, horrific and unimaginable consequences, we would all witness the wholesale slaughter of millions of our compatriots and we would all watch our nation burn to ashes around us.

When one reads the contributions of such madmen and couples it with the credible assertion and legitimate concerns of no less a person than Vice President Mike Pence of the United States of America who recently said that “the most dangerous place in the world for Christians to live in Nigeria”, one cannot but conclude that the massive Christian population in Nigeria is not only under a serious existential threat but is also gradually becoming an endangered species.

It is therefore with the greatest incredulity that one considers Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo’s latest contribution to the public space when he said, “Christians and southerners are the greatest beneficiaries of Buhari’s government”.

One wonders just how far this man is prepared to go to please his Fulani masters. Surely even misplaced loyalty and what can only be described as the madness of blind fanaticism and the bedlam of quisling servility has its limits.

If there was ever a need to provide any evidence to prove that Dr Reuben Abati’s “Villa curse” is real, this is it.

Claiming that southerners and Christians are the greatest beneficiaries of Buhari’s government is rather like saying that human beings are the greatest beneficiaries of hell.

The truth is that Nigeria is as much of a paradise for southerners and Christians as hell is for damned and lost souls.

I am constrained to ask the question: is my old friend Yemi Osinbajo alright upstairs? Given what he has said, I really do have cause to question his sanity. I am convinced that he needs help.

First, he said Nigeria cannot be restructured and that those leaders that have called for restructuring were just looking for government appointments.

Then he said that we must forgive the Fulani terrorists that have been slaughtering and maiming thousands of innocent and defenceless Christians in the Middle Belt and the south over the last three years.

Finally, he said that we must not attempt to defend our loved ones, our families, our homes, our farms and our land when the Fulani attack and that instead, we must allow them to do as they please and pray for them.

Strange counsel indeed. Yet when it comes to the activities of his fellow Christians and southerners his tune changes, he becomes aggressive, unforgiving, war-like and bellicose and he proudly proclaims that the Federal Government and the Nigerian people must crush and kill members of Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB even though there is no record of them attacking or be murdering anyone or of carrying arms.

How does the Vice President explain this glaring double-standard? How does he rationalise this schizophrenic ‘Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde’ disposition?

How does he manage to show his face in public and still hold his head up high when it is increasingly obvious that he has been struck with an affliction that is commonly referred to as the ‘Stockholm Syndrome?’

In his world, there appears to be one law for northern Muslims and another for southern Christians.

When a northern Muslim Fulani terrorist slaughters innocent and defenceless men, women and children he is supported by the state, given free reign, forgiven and prayed for.

Yet when a southern Christian Igbo dissenter voices his support for the right of self-determination and does so in a passive, peaceful, lawful and legitimate manner without physically attacking or killing anyone or carrying arms he is labelled as a terrorist and slaughtered in his home and in the streets by our security forces.

How can Osinbajo, who claims to be a Christian and indeed a Pastor, justify this and how does he sleep at night?

This unacceptable application and display of double-standards, skewered values, institutional racism, preferential treatment and nonsensical implementation of an absurd and self-serving policy can best be described as ‘the gospel according to Osinbajo!’

Yet his latest contribution, namely that Christians and southerners are the major beneficiaries of Buhari’s government, makes his previous utterances pale into insignificance.

His latest ‘faux pas’ can best be described as the mother of all lies and the most shameful and dishonest contribution that ANY Vice President has EVER made to public discourse in our entire history.

Osinbajo’s nauseating mendacities and his sickening attempt to further ingratiate himself to his master Buhari and the Fulani ruling class at the expense of the welfare and safety of the Christian community and southern Nigerians is as repugnant as it is repulsive. Simply put, he turns my stomach.

The truth is that he betrayed the south and Christendom long ago by standing shoulder to shoulder with a man and a people whose hatred and sheer contempt for southerners and Christians can hardly be disputed and can barely be hidden.

Worst still, Osinbajo makes no apology for his servile and cowardly disposition, he is totally unashamed and unrepentant of it and he can never be redeemed.

They say destiny speaks at the end. The fact of the matter is that history will judge him harshly and at the end of the day he will not only sink with his principal Buhari but he will also be dumped and forgotten in the dustbin of history.

For him, I have the following questions.

Firstly, what profiteth a man to gain the world and lose his soul? Is the Vice Presidency of Nigeria worth your eternal and precious soul?

Secondly, other than death, destruction, opprobrium and eternal damnation what did Judas Iscariot’s treachery and betrayal of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ buy for him with his 30 pieces of silver?

Thirdly, what price does a man pay for betraying his calling, his faith and God’s people in their time of need and, as it was with Ichabod, has the glory of God not departed from you already?

Finally when a great and courageous Queen and Daughter of Zion by the name of Esther proclaimed “if I perish, I perish”, went before the King, spoke up for the people of God and thereby saved the children of Israel, were there no lessons to be learnt?

Is Buhari more intimidating, more terrifying, more awesome, more deadly, more captivating and more powerful than the great King Xerxes of Ancient Persia and the glory and splendour of the mighty Persian empire?

Whatever his answers are let me set the record straight: Buhari’s government is a government that was put in place and in power by the northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani ruling class and it is a government whose primary purpose and the objective is to further and protect the interests of that class at the expense of all others.

It was never designed or conceived to benefit southerners and Christians and neither has it ever done so.

His administration is not only hostile to southerners and Christians but it has persecuted and marginalised them more than any other government in our history, treated them with the utmost derision and contempt and demeaned, insulted, maligned and denigrated them on a daily basis and in an unprecedented fashion.

Anyone that doubts that should ask the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) or should consult the leaders of Afenifere, Ohanaeze, the Niger Delta Elders and the Middle Belt Forum.

More Christians and southerners have been targetted, slaughtered, persecuted, humiliated and denigrated under the watch of the Buhari government than ANY other government in the history of our country outside of the civil war.

It is not about how many Christian or southern junior or senior Ministers there are in Buhari’s Federal Executive Council or cabinet: it is about respect, dignity, security and equity for the Christian community and the people of the south. It is about giving us our dues and treating us as equal citizens.

The fact that every single security agency and branch of our Armed Forces in our nation, except for the Navy, is headed by a northern Muslim speaks volumes.

The fact that every single major department of NNPC is headed by a northern Muslim, that the northern Muslim Group Managing Director calls all the shots in the oil sector and that the southern Christian Minister of State for Petroleum Resources has been hopelessly sidelined and marginalised says even more.

The fact that 808 Christians were butchered in their homes in southern Kaduna on Christmas day alone in 2016 by Fulani terrorists and that not one of the perpetrators has been apprehended or brought to justice makes the point eloquently.

Yet it does not stop there. Consider this:

Mr Charles Ogbu, one of Nigeria’s keenest minds and most brilliant writers, in an essay titled “Buhari’s Boko Haram War Is An Organised Crime” wrote the following:

“Make no mistake, most of these soldiers laying down their lives in the wild goose chase known as the Boko Haram war are drawn from the southern part of the country and non-Caliphate part of the north. The Fulani soldiers are mostly here in the peaceful south and the southeast to be more precise. Come to 82 division here or go through southeast roads and see for yourself. The soldiers on all our peaceful roads are 90% Fulani soldiers. This whole thing would be comically entertaining if it wasn’t such a national tragedy. Shame, isn’t it?”

Mr Paul Achalla makes a similar point in his essay titled “The Undeclared War On The South”. He wrote as follows:

“I lost a cousin to Boko Haram last year in Sambisa forest. He has been in the military since 1983 and was due to retire last month (February 2018). Just a few months to his retirement, he was sent to fight the dreaded Boko Haram and was declared dead on specifically the 18th day of April 2017. He was one of the over 200 soldiers that were killed in that operation. And not less than 100 soldiers in that operation got missing and their bodies are unaccounted for till now, putting the number of deaths to about 300. This news was kept away from the public. Of striking importance is the fact that none of the soldiers killed in that operation was a northerner. The allegation is that over 90% of the soldiers fighting Boko Haram directly are of southern extraction. While the brutal harmful northern soldiers are sent to fight harmless “pythons” in the south, armless southern soldiers are sent to fight the harmful terrorists in the north. Those who are unfortunate to find their names enlisted for such suicide missions almost never come back alive. Unfortunately, the pawn in this chess business is the south. We want to be more Nigerians than the real Nigerians”.

Can anyone legitimately dispute what Mr Ogbu and Mr Achalla have said? Is this absurd arrangement and state of affairs one of the major benefits that Christians and southerners are enjoying under Buhari? Is this what Osinbajo was referring to?

Or is it the fact that Taraba, Plateau, Benue, Adamawa, Nassarawa, Kaduna and other Middle Belt states that have a Christian majority and virtually all the southern states have been specially and specifically targetted by the Fulani terrorists and subjected to genocide, ethnic and religious cleansing and mass murder whilst the Fulani and Muslim-led Federal Government conveniently turns a blind eye and does nothing to protect them or bring their killers to justice?

Is that another of the great benefits that the Christian community and southerners are enjoying under the Buhari administration?

Is it not clear that Baba Ayo Adebanjo, one of the most revered elder statesmen, nationalists and patriots in our country, was absolutely right when he said that “villa juju” had turned Vice President Osinbajo into “the worst devil”?

In my view, any southerner or Christian that is part of the Buhari administration or that refuses to call them out or still supports them is nothing but a shameless underling, a self-deprecating slave, a gutless quisling, a modern-day “Uncle Tom”, a self-hating field-hand and a miserable and feeble-minded appendage.

And that includes our diminutive Vice President who believes that the constant repetition of the most despicable and filthy lies somehow turns those lies into truth.

May God deliver him from his self-serving delusions.

Permit me to conclude this contribution with the famous words of Rev. (Dr.) Martin Luther King Jnr. He said,

”Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it political? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular – but one must take it simply because it is right”.

This is deep wisdom and these words are not ordinary. They are the oracles of God, spoken by the Spirit of God, through a great and anointed man of God.

Those that believe that we must remain silent and not speak truth to power when men like Sheik Abubakar Gero Argungu and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo foul up space with their deceit and tyranny and their hurtful, irresponsible and dangerous assertions have much to learn from Rev. (Dr.) Martin Luther King.

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Death Toll In Clash Between Christian, Muslim Youths In Kaduna Rises To 12 |RN


•Hundreds of hotels, shops, cars razed

Sola OjoKaduna

AS residents and traders continue to count their losses over the bloody violence that erupted between the Christian and Muslim youths of Kasuwan Magani, Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, the death toll has risen to 12.

The state Commissioner of Police, Austin Iwar, who paid an unscheduled visit to the scene of the violence yesterday, confirmed that 11 persons were buried on Monday evening while another injured person lost his life early yesterday.

The police boss, who was supported by other security chiefs, expressed concerns over needless bloody violence in the area, vowed to unravel both the remote and immediate causes of the violence.

He said: “I can confirm to you that 11 persons were buried last night (Monday) while one of those who sustained injuries died this morning (Tuesday).

“We have arrested some suspects and dangerous weapons, including petrol bombs, recovered.

“About two weeks ago, there were skirmishes of unrest in the area and we equally made some arrests. We did not know or envisaged that there was a ground design and plans to carry out the attack. Those suspects arrested before now have been charged to court.

“But, I want to assure the people here and the public that, we will not leave any stone unturned to unravel the remote course of the violence, which has left some persons dead and properties destroyed.

“Our call to all the parties is to sheath their swords and embrace peace because as it stands, all parties in the crisis are losers.”

Carcases of hundreds of houses, shops and hotels razed and about 30 cars and motorcycles litter the scene when Daily Sun visited.  (The Sun)

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Nigeria Is The Most Dangerous Country On Earth To Be A Christian, U.S. Government Declares

By Theodore Shoebat

The United States is now declaring that Nigeria is the most dangerous country on earth to be a Christian, as we read in one report:

United States House of Representatives has said that Nigeria has been cited as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world. In this connection Christopher Smith Chairman of US House of Representatives’ Sub-committee on Africa, Global Health, Human Rights and International Organization made the statement after the former President Goodluck Jonathan made a presentation to the Sub-Committee on the challenges faced by Christians in Nigeria.

Christopher Smith stated: “My subcommittee has broadly investigated the crises facing Christians in Nigeria today. My staff director, Greg Simpkins and I have made several visits to Nigeria, speaking with Christians and Muslim religious leaders across the country and visiting fire-bombed churches, such as in Jos.”

While making the declaration, he said: “Unfortunately, Nigeria has been cited as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world and impunity for those responsible for the killing of Christians seem to be widespread.”

At the same time, sub-committee appreciated the efforts of former Nigerian President as he had established the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, stating: “Your timely concession after your electoral loss in 2015, demonstrates a commitment to democracy and the stability of your nation, which was acknowledged by current President Muhammadu Buhari.”

United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCRIF) in its annual report on Nigeria stated: “Religious freedom conditions in Nigeria continued to be troubling during the reporting period. While the Nigerian military successfully recaptured territory from and arrested members of Boko Haram, the terrorist group returned to an asymmetrical warfare campaign, including suicide bombings of mosques and other civilian targets.

It also reportedly forced Christians to convert and forced Muslims to adhere to its extreme interpretation of Islam. Boko Haram violence and recurring clashes between Muslim herders and Christian farmers continue to impact negatively religious freedom and interfaith relations in the country. The Nigerian federal government fails to implement effective strategies to prevent or stop terrorism and sectarian violence and it does not bring to justice those responsible for such violence, thus fostering a climate of impunity.”

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