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Buhari’s Government Writes British Parliamentary Group, Denies Persecution Of Christians |RN

President Muhammadu Buhari

John Ameh, Abuja

The Federal Government has denied an allegation that it is persecuting Christians in Nigeria.

The government also denied that Boko Haram was propped up to carry out attacks targeted principally at Christians.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, said on Thursday that Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Justice George Oguntade, gave the government’s position in a letter he wrote to the British Parliamentary Group.

It said a group in Nigeria, the Northern Christian Elders Forum, had made the allegation against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, whom the group said was practising “bigotry and alienating Christians.”

The Presidency said letters were written to Rt. Revd. Philip Mounstephen, a former Secretary of the Church Missionary Society and now Head, Independent Review of Foreign and Commonwealth Office Support of Persecuted Christians, and “Baroness Berridge, the Chair of All Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief,” in which the Nigerian Government dismissed the allegations.

“It would be useful for me to engage with this process to ensure that you are thoroughly briefed on the situation in Nigeria,” the Presidency quoted the envoy as writing.

He wrote further, “The safety and security of all Nigerians, whatever their faith, is a fundamental priority of the Buhari government. The government knows that Nigeria can only achieve its potential if there is religious tolerance and cooperation.”

He also mentioned the fact that Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo being a Christian, regularly briefed Christian leaders both within and outside Nigeria.

The high commissioner also wrote that Buhari’s cabinet was “balanced,” having Muslims and Christians as members.

The Presidency stated further what Adetola Oguntade wrote, “According to Justice Oguntade, Vice-President Osinbajo has maintained regular contacts with the Christian and Muslim leaders as part of efforts to build and sustain inter-faith dialogue.

“Stressing that the country’s security challenges had no ethnic and religious coloration, the High Commissioner said the farmers/herders’ clashes pre-dated the Buhari administration, noting that such clashes bordered on the desire for pasture by the herders and the desire to protect crops from encroachment and destruction by the farmers.

“Oguntade explained that these clashes had a long history and the Buhari administration is taking a major step to address the root cause of these crises and violent clashes pitting Muslim and Christian farmers alike against the herders.

“According to the High Commissioner, ‘the issue of grazing routes is historically central to these conflicts and the Buhari administration is taking a holistic approach to the matter with a view to ending it once and for all, so that Nigerians can live in peace with one another.

“He, therefore, assured the international community that the Buhari administration would ensure that ‘the competition over scarce land is resolved peacefully for the benefits of all parties.’”

Specifically on Boko Haram, the envoy denied that it was a government-backed group against Christians, saying that the terrorist group was in existence before Buhari assumed office in 2015.

“Boko Haram is a murderous death cult whose savagery has destroyed thousands of lives. The government is totally dedicated to eradicating their stain from our land.

“Since the Buhari administration has been in power, Boko Haram has been significantly degraded – with the support and assistance of the UK Government. We shall not rest until this mission is completed and the people of North-East Nigeria – both Christians and Muslims – can live in peace again,” he added.

The Presidency added that Oguntade enclosed in the letters, Buhari’s opinion article published on November 30, 2018, by London-based Church Times, with the title, “Don’t Politicise Religion in Nigeria.”

It quoted some paragraphs from the article where Buhari wrote that Christians and Muslims could live peacefully in Nigeria.

Buhari had written, “These two great religions (Islam and Christianity) cannot only peacefully coexist but flourish together. But we must first turn to one another in compassion. For as Amos teaches us: ‘Do two walk together unless they have agreed to meet?’

“We must resist the temptation to retreat into our communities because if we do, our palette of possibilities will remain primary. It is only when we mix them together that we can imagine new and greater possibilities.

“As our constitution spells out, politicising religion should have no place in Nigeria. However, it is all the more reprehensible when in doing so; it feeds fears and plays to man’s baser instincts.

“For it makes us turn away from one another; it makes us retreat into our communities and walk different paths; and it blinds us to each other’s God-given dignity.”     (Punch)

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Fulani Herdsmen Killings: Middle Belt Youths Support Danjuma |The Republican News

TYDanjuma2

Gen. Theophilus Y. Danjuma

Gyang Bere, Jos

President of Middle Belt Youth Council, Emma Zopmal, has thrown his weight behind former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), who was credited to have called on Nigerians to defend themselves in the face of unabated killings by Fulani herdsmen in parts of the country.

Zopmal, in a press statement issued, in Jos, on Monday, said the statement of Gen. Danjuma over the weekend brought relief on trouble communities whom the Fulani herdsmen have robbed them of peace.

According to Zopmal, “It is very unfortunate that in Nigeria today maiming, killing, raping of helpless women, and destruction of property in the Middle Belt and other parts of Nigeria has become the chosen sport of Fulani herdsmen without any repercussive action by the Nigerian government.

“We are very much happy that Gen Theophilus Y. Danjuma has made a landmark statement unfolding the key actors behind the genocide against innocent Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen terrorists. The revelation came at the right time when President Muhammadu Buhari is playing lips service to this dastardly situation under his watch.

“He is presiding over a nation of people who live beside their graveyards as a result of the activities of this Fourth Dreaded World Terrorist Group but it does not so much matter to him because there’s no report of any Fulani herdsman being killed anywhere in Nigeria.

“The statement of Gen TY Danjuma is a welcome development that will save this country called Nigeria from total collapse. As a reputable national and international personality, Gen TY Danjuma has given a sterling warning to Nigerians and the military to rise up to their responsibilities. We strongly stand behind our father, leader and the leading light in the Middle Belt.”

Zopmal also urged President Buhari to dissolve with the immediate effect his pro-Arewa security chiefs to reflect Federal Character where competent service Chiefs from across the country will be involved in the management of security in the country.

He commended Gen. Danjuma for telling the brutal truth and called on Nigerians to disregard any statement in the name of any Middle Belt group who are faceless cowards that are paid to disparage Middle Belt leaders through their reckless Press Comments.

He continued, “Middle Belt is united under the current leadership of our amiable President of Middle Belt Forum, Dr Bala Takaya. We have realized that some groups of people have been issuing uncouth statements in the name of Middle Belt whereas we do not know where they come from, who they are and whose interest they are representing.

“We salute the courage of General, Theophilus Y. Danjuma, who has been a precious gift to the nation and the world at large. Self-defence is a right of every citizen of the world not only Nigerians. There is no law that stops anybody from self-defence in any part of the world.”

He called on Nigerians to stand up and defend themselves when faced with attack occasion by Fulani herdsmen, saying there is no government security that will give life after death.

Zopmal explained that Gen. Danjuma did not ask Nigerians to take up arms and kill innocent people like the Fulani herdsmen, rather they should defend themselves in times of attacks.

“If President Buhari is really serious about security issues, he should not waste time to probe his Service Chiefs and make the report open to Nigerians so as to save our dear country from this daunting predicaments and whoever is found wanting, should be dismissed and prosecuted immediately. Nigerians did not vote you to preside over their deaths but to provide for their welfare, protect them, and be a father to all.”  (The Sun)

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