28th June, 2019
All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom
Of Religion or Belief (APPG)
RE: NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT WRITES BRITISH PARLIAMENTARY GROUP – DENIES PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS
In response to the request of the All Party Parliamentary Groups of the UK Parliament for “written submissions” for an inquiry “into the ongoing violence between farmers and herders in Nigeria”, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) made a submission on 3rd June, 2019. In response to the submission of the NCEF, it was reported in the media on 27th June, 2019 that the Government of President Buhari, through the Nigerian High Commissioner to Britain, wrote the Parliament denying persecution of Christians in Nigeria.
While we concede that the Government of Nigeria is at liberty to contact the Parliament, we are concerned that any information relayed to the UK Parliament should be based on facts and not deliberate dissimulation. It is on the basis of this concern that we issue a follow-up to our submission of 3rd June, 2019.
NCEF OR NOSCEF?
Even while trying to deny culpability in the wanton murder of Christians in Nigeria, the Buhari Administration could not hide its hostility and sectional discrimination against other ethnic nationalities that are not from his area of the country. It is a fact that the Buhari Government flagrantly violated the Federal Character principle in the Constitution to concentrate the Security Units in the hands of Muslims from the North of Nigeria. In October 2017, the President of the World Bank, Mr. Jim Yong Kim also revealed that President Buhari informed the World Bank to concentrate projects in the North of Nigeria. ( https://punchng.com/buhari-asked-us-to-focus-on-northern-nigeria-wbank/ )
Therefore, we consider it true to the discriminatory character of the Buhari Administration to claim that Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF) wrote to the UK Parliament rather than National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF). It is clear, President Buhari considers himself President of the North rather than President of Nigeria.
We do not believe that this Government was unaware that the NCEF wrote to the UK Parliament and not NOSCEF. Our conclusion is that the sectionalism associated with the Buhari Administration, which is also responsible for the tepid response of his Government to genocide in Christian dominated areas is what is at play.
Below are some links in support of the letter to the UK Parliament.
GENOCIDE AGAINST CHRISTIANS: TRUE OR FALSE?
It is rather sad that due to political patronage, even the Christians in the Buhari Administration are practicing dissimulation. The Vice President of Nigeria, a Pastor, regularly dissimulates on the issue of persecution of Christians as well as the genocide going on in the country. Recently, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was in the United State where he made statements that many people considered dishonest and gross denial of reality.
According to news report, “A former Acting Asst. U.S Secretary of Defence, Mr. Frank Gaffney has accused Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo of “shamelessly” lying about the killings of Christians in Nigeria. … Mr. Pence’s visitor is a man who should be on their side, his Nigerian counterpart Yemi Osinbajo. After all, he’s one of the very few Christians in a Nigerian government otherwise dominated by Islamist Fulani tribesmen. Unfortunately, Mr. Osinbajo is instead part of the problem.
He lies shamelessly — including this weekend in New York — about the anti-Christian persecution his government is at least tolerating and, at worst, enabling. Osinbajo’s own tribe has sharply repudiated him for doing so.”
If the American citizen is not going to be believed, even the socio-cultural group of the tribe of Prof. Osinbajo called “Afenifere”, also stated concerning the statements made by the Pastor Vice President of Nigeria:
The group said, “All the reports provided clear indications of failure of the state as the security forces are largely incapable or unwilling to safeguard the lives of our people against these criminals as we are not aware of any of them that has been arrested or is under trial at the moment just as all the Federal Government has done so far is to make excuses for the Boko Haram and Miyetti Allah groups that have been accused of so many crimes against the people of Nigeria.
“It is against this backdrop that the meeting was scandalised by the opportunistic and provocative utterances of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in NewYork on Sunday dismissing the danger we are faced in Yorubaland as well as by other zones in Nigeria as being “politically motivated .”
“As if he is unaware that we are in a digital world, which explains why America and Britain have issued travel directives to their citizens not to travel to more than 2/3 of Nigeria, the VP without much thought for his integrity stated that: ‘With respect to general kidnapping which we have seen in parts of the country, again, this is not entirely new. In fact, some of the kidnapping stories you read or listen to are simply not true anywhere, some are fueled by politics.”
Describing the alleged Osinbajo’s comments as unfortunate, Afenifere alleged that the vice president had shamed the Yoruba people with “his very cheap politicking with the lives of Nigerians.”
In view of the above, we submit that the rebuttal submitted at the UK Parliament by the Buhari Administration is not based on fact. It should be dismissed.
QUESTIONS STILL WAITING FOR ANSWERS
On 6th September, 2017, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) asked the leaders of Islam in Nigeria for answers to the following questions. To date, no leader of Islam has ventured an answer. The Buhari Administration, being overtly Islamic in deeds, may do well to consider the questions rather than dissimulate at the UK Parliament. The questions are as follows:
- Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, in one of his video releases, said in 2012,
- “… This war is not political. It is religious. It is between Muslims and unbelievers (arna). It will stop when Islamic religion is the determinant in governance in Nigeria or, in the alternative, when all fighters are annihilated and no one is left to continue the fight.
- I warn all Muslims at this juncture that any Muslim who assists an unbeliever in this war should consider himself an unbeliever and should consider himself dead.” If this statement is not a declaration of Jihad, could Muslim leaders explain what this means?
- In 1989, Islam in Africa Organization (IAO) held a Conference in Abuja and amongst many other decisions, released a Communiqué tagged Abuja Declarations 1989 in which it affirmed that its purpose was "To eradicate in all its forms and ramifications all non-Muslim religions in member nations. Such religions shall include Christianity, Ahmadiyya and other tribal religions.” (In the original Declaration, the word Christianity was underlined.) Since Nigeria is considered a member nation, could what is going on be an implementation of this decision? Or, could we be corrected that the Conference never held in Abuja in November 1989 or such Communiqué was never released? We are also unaware of any rebuttal of the same statement by Muslims leaders.
- In a 154 page Research Report conducted by Arne Mulder in 2015, the researcher affirmed that over 13,000 Christian places of worship (Churches) have been destroyed in Northern Nigeria as at December 2014. Under what condition do Muslim insurgents destroy Churches if not Jihad?
- On the 4th of February, 2017, the United States Congress affirmed that the most dangerous nation on earth for anyone to be a Christian is Nigeria. The implication is that Nigerian Christians have become endangered species in a country in which they constitute over 50% of the population.
- According to the Global Index on Terror, the 1st and the 4th most terrible Islamic Terrorist organizations in the world operate in Nigeria. Boko Haram is 1st while the Fulani Herdsmen is 4th. If these terror organizations are not fighting Jihad, what then are they doing in Nigeria?
- Under the present administration, every key and sensitive position in National Security is held by Muslims from the North, in outright violation of Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution. Also early in the life of this administration, we recall that more than 95% of senior army officers retired from the Military were Christians. In NNPC, only recently, more than 95% of the new appointments into senior management positions are Northern Muslims. Taking these developments in conjunction with the lopsided appointments in National Security, is one not confronted with the inevitable conclusion that there is a deliberate attempt to emasculate Christians, Southerners and other non-Muslim population of Nigeria verifiably by intimidation and force which are stealth Jihad?
- Despite unconstitutionally appropriating all security positions to the Muslim North, the Fulani Herdsmen operate with impunity in mostly Christian areas, killing, maiming, raping, and destroying without any arrest, without any prosecution. If this is not complicity of the Muslim dominated Security services, are we then to conclude that the Nigerian security units are so incompetent that they cannot successfully engage insurgents after the Nigerian Army successfully prosecuted a Civil War?
- We recall that in 2011 in Harvard, USA, his eminence the Sultan of Sokoto who is also the President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, was reported to have said during a public function, “I do not recognize any Nigerian Constitution and the only Constitution I recognize is the Koran”. By virtue of Section 38 (1), the Constitution guarantees freedom of Religious conviction while Sharia through its law of “Ridda” forbids it with capital punishment. It is clear there is a huge conflict between the Democratic values of the Constitution of Nigeria and Sharia in the 1999 Constitution. The late Justice Mohammed Bello said, at a lecture in Kaduna, “Section 38 (1) of the Constitution ensures for every person the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, whereas under Sharia, “ridda” (change of religion) is a capital offence. Consequently, the offence of “ridda” is inconsistent with Section 38 (1) and by virtue of Section 1 is unconstitutional.” Therefore, when the President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs said in a foreign land (which is in itself a treasonable statement) that he does not believe in the Nigerian Constitution (which guarantees freedom of religious conviction), but he believes only in the Koran (which forbids freedom of worship through Sharia’s “ridda”), could not the statement of the Sultan be interpreted as an endorsement of Jihad?
- Added to the above are the big questions begging for answers. Who is funding and equipping the Islamic insurgents? And more importantly, who is shielding them from prosecution?
- We would not wish to belabor these issues but rather appeal to the distinguished leaders of Islam, who have stepped forward to be identified, to join us in putting Nigeria first. Nigeria is a Secular State according to Section 10 of the Constitution, but a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious society. The diversity in the country should be harnessed for progress and prosperity and not resisted thus leading to disintegration of the country. It is wishful thinking for anyone to imagine the possibility of imposing one religion or one culture on 389 Ethnic Nationalities.