Almost one month after his administration was dragged to the United Kingdom
Parliament over what the accusers referred to as manifest bias against Christians and championing of a Nigerian Islamisation agenda, President Muhammadu Buhari has broken silence on the matter, dispelling all claims and assuring of his dedication to the citizens regardless of their religious persuasions.
“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,” George Oguntade, Nigeria’s high commissioner to the UK wrote on Thursday.
Oguntade, speaking after a brief consultation with the President, denounced all allegations made against Buhari by the Northern Christian Elders Forum” as "inconceivable and outrightly false”.
Aynaijang.com reported how the NCEF led by former Defence Minister, Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma, former Military Governor of Rivers State, General Zamani Lekwot, among others, Monday, June 3, reported that Buhari has shown lack of committment in tackling insecurity arising from Boko Haram insurgency and herdsmen-farmers crises in the country.
They wrote about how the clash of the North's Sharia ideology with the principles of Democracy and how that has affected security in the country.
The NCEF also pointed accusing finger to the Nigerian colonial administrator, Lord Lugard for contributing to the North's grip on Nigeria as well as for sowing the seed of ethno-religious crises and dichotomy between Northern and Southern Nigeria, while urging a deepening of democracy and rejection of sharia.
They stated their position in a paper dated June 3 to the All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief, APPG, UK Parliament.
But, Buhari has vehemently denied 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,’’ Oguntade said in the letter.
He maintained that Buhari’s cabinet is balanced between Muslims and Christians, saying Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo is a pastor, adding that the president “has befriended church leaders and groups both within and outside Nigeria.”
Oguntade said Osinbajo had maintained regular contacts with Christian and Muslim leaders as part of efforts to build and sustain interfaith dialogue.
He also said the country’s security challenges had no ethnic and religious colouration, noting that the farmer/herder clashes predated the Buhari-led administration.
He went further to say Buhari’s administration had taken major steps to address the root cause of the crises pitting Muslim and Christian farmers against the herders so that Nigerians can live in peace with one another.
He assured the international community that the Buhari administration would ensure “the competition over scarce land is resolved peacefully for the benefits of all parties”.
The high commissioner also said the Boko Haram insurgents “who kill both Muslims and Christians do not represent Islam”.
He said: “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.”