The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) has issued a press release, on 6 September denouncing the federal government’s ‘Jihad’ against Christians and the church in Nigeria.
In the press statement, ‘Jihad in Nigeria: Burying the Head in Sand’, Solomon Asemota, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Chairman, of the forum, condemned “the jihad that has been launched in Nigeria by Islamists of
Northern Nigeria.” In July, the forum raised a similar charge but the accusation did not receive any response by the Nigerian government apart from criticism by northern Muslim groups.
The forum said it has become necessary for them to speak out against a silent but strategic “stealth Jihad” against Christians because, “some Nigerians are not able to distinguish the difference between Truth and Propaganda,” and when Nigerians speak out the truth, they are “criminalized” and their criticism described as “hate speech”.
The Christian forum alleged that there are attempts “by some Nigerian Muslim leaders to deny the reality of the ongoing jihad in the nation”. The group pointed out that in his video of 2012, the leader of Boko Haram,; Abubakar Shekau said, “This war is not political. It is religious. It is between Muslims and unbelievers (arna or ‘Christians’).”
The forum pointed out that “In 1989, Islam in Africa Organization (IAO) held a Conference in Abuja… released a Communiqué tagged Abuja Declarations 1989,” and called on member nations, “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.)” according to the Christian Elders said.
The Christian forum pointed out that, “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?”
Solomon Asemota listed discrimination against Christians including the replacement of top Christian government officers by Muslims. “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.”
The Christian elders declared that, “to transform Nigeria from a country to a nation requires a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to enable those responsible for abusing the country have the opportunity of confessing and ask for forgiveness. The rots are too bulky to be swept under the carpet.”
They called for the “Restructuring of the Nation to comply with True Fiscal Federalism. As an immediate step, the repudiation of the 1999 Constitution with its conflicting dual National ideology of Democracy and Sharia should be effected and as an immediate alternative, a return to the 1963 Republican Constitution of the founding Fathers of Nigeria.” Because, the group says, “the Republican Constitution of 1963 was unilaterally scrapped by the Military and not by a National Referendum,” they said.
Hassan John is West Africa Editor, Global Christian News. He is a Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos.
Image credits: Google images/Buhari