By Bashir Adefaka
“Of more important note was what happened when – over a provocation by some Christians in Kano – some miscreants set their church on fire. HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II heard about the misbehaviour of the miscreants, who cannot by any investigated fact be linked with acting based on Islamic instructions, and he took it upon himself, not only to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the Christians involved but also, he rebuilt the church and that fact is a naked one that everybody is talking about. Where is the Sarikin Kano’s goodness to Christian church of Kano in that US, CAN’s books of persecution?”
Wonder, they say, shall never end. This exactly was my conclusion when I retired to deliberately chosen loneliness Saturday night, after a very dutiful weekend.
That time of loneliness afforded me the opportunity to meditate, deeply more and once again, with a view to finding out what the United States of America (USA) really meant by its report placing Nigeria on list of nations tolerating religious persecutions, which the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has persistently further acknowledged as correct.
CAN believes the US’ report cannot only be far from truth but also a vindication of its malicious claims of Christian persecution in the country. If America is truly the headquarters of Christendom like the religious body, supposedly representing the voice of Nigerian “followers of Christ” would make the rest of us to agree, then why would “custodians of the seat of Christ faith” relish in taking sides in gathering information in situation like we have in Nigeria, listening only to Christians’ complaints while stripping itself the dignity of leading democracy in denying other side that is of Muslims their fundamental rights to be heard out?
Where is the integrity of America that Nigeria’s CAN depends its claim to Christship upon and where is the fear of the Lord that the Bible commands as the beginning of wisdom in all that they have been doing which climaxed in what we saw in the last report it put together so said?
And what is the pride of America in pursuing this kind of bias project that can lead it to nowhere but global disgrace, considering the fact that it is not the first super power the world would witness and that it is not going to be the last. The world will still witness another super power, which nobody knows but Allah. And it is for this reason of confusion about which country it will be that this self-styled “God’s own country” is using vulnerable religious, ethnic and political groups like Christian Association of Nigeria and its coalition members like Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo/Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and some remnants of Middle-Belt Forum and Northern elites to cause religious crisis, ethnic and political unrest in strong, sovereign nations, particularly in Africa like our country so that there will be no peace of the mind for leaders and the led to settle down in peaceful and united front to push for development.
If then America knows that we know this, why allow a very highly despicable religious organisation supposedly speaking for the followers of Christ in our country like the Christian Association of Nigeria to be its sole source of gathering fictitious information that the Donald Trump-led country knows well can only put on it, indelible stain and then relegate it to permanent state of irrelevance? Is there anybody or nation that Allah created and strengthened that He cannot delete? Just in the name of international politics/economy for no justification reasons? If then CAN of Nigeria is group of believers in political and economic independence for Nigeria like it has been clamouring for, why allowing itself to be used as tool in destroying the strong entity we have laboured heard by our votes, commitment and patriotism to build?
It is so sad that any group of Nigerians which is involved in this kind of unpatriotic acts has the support of CAN. More sadly is that they even go ahead to further have among them another group called National Christian Elders’ Forum (NCEF) which has people who pride themselves as ‘Retired Christian Generals’ and others who speak as Ohaneze, Afenifere and other ethnic groups, doing all of these as if we do not know that they do not represent the general interest of Nigerian Christians but just their self-centredness for personal aggrandizement, which is the reason they are behaving like attack-dog for America trying to send us back to 1967-1970 era of Civil War and take us to Libya where the people, so highly independent economically, technologically and indisputably lacking in nothing before the fall of their leader Mammaur Gaddafi by their own hands sponsored by this same America the CAN is working for against Nigeria, are now successfully condemned to refugees not only in their own country but also in some Black African countries.
Does leadership and membership of Nigeria’s CAN and their collaborators in other groups and interest like is seen in Omoyele Sowore, Nnamdi Kano, Reno Omokri, Femi Fani-Kayode not get this? The last time I checked, Fani-Kayode for example was a lawyer, pastor and former Minister of Aviation of the same country he now works hard to destroy abusing all kinds of leaders and we know that he selects who to attack. They include seriously minded Muslim figures like President Muhammadu Buhari, Sultan of Sokoto His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar for no reason but being upright in faith and their defence of national unity and fight against insecurity in the land.
He attacks even the dead like Father of Good Conscience and ancestral father of the sitting Sultan, Late Sheikh Usman Dan Fodio (may Allah bless, forgive and repose his gentle soul in Al-Jannah Firdaus) and late leader of Northern Nigerian politics and one of tripod stand on which Nigeria’s birth stood, Sir Ahmadu Bello. These are people who Femi’s father, Remi Fani-Kayode could not stand behind as their bag carrier during their times and these are the people the committed anti-Islamic agent has continued to attack as if he has no grace of knowing that their silence, as living and dead, has its loaded message about him.
First and foremost, the last time I checked, again, what were so glaring particularly in the country were persecution of Muslims. We had got cases where a 12-year-old JSS 2 Muslim girl in a Lagos secondary school headed by a Pentecostal Christian principal was given 43 seriously coordinated strokes of cane. Her offense was simply because the woman principal, who personally applied the beating, claimed she saw the little girl outside school premises after closing hours wearing hijab on her school uniform.
All efforts by Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN) and some other Muslim professional bodies to secure justice for the unjustly treated, persecuted little Muslim girl failed to gain support not only of Nigerian media and Non-Governmental Organisations or Civili Societies claiming to exist for the defence of the defenceless, the persecuted or people whose fundamental rights are breached and trampled upon, but also even the government of Lagos State in South West Nigeria that was the scene of occurrence did nothing. We have cases in South East,i in Rivers State where building of one Muslim mosque and another has continued to linger for over three decades because the people just insist there must be no such thing in their areas and these are largely Christian areas.
More painfully in the case of Lagos schoolgirl maltreatment is that, the only statement that came from then serving Commissioner of Education was that those who want their wards to wear hijab in schools should take them from public schools to Muslim schools. Yes, the lawyer-commissioner of education said. Anyway, names are not to be mentioned here, not for fear of anything but for the fact that mentioning names means nothing to it, being that what I have decided to do with this write up is exposing deliberately hidden truths not to demand for punitive measures. That commissioner of the “centre of excellence”, we later found out, was member of a particular Pentecostal church. More injurious to learn is that, the Christian commissioner did what she did against Muslims of Lagos in government schools under a governor that was known to be a Muslim.
It is therefore a problem to think that when CAN and all its political collaborators send their usual S.O.S. (Save our Soul) letters to America and other international bodies over non-existent persecution of Christians, they failed to tell how best to define what happened to that innocent little Lagos schoolgirl they gave 43 strokes of cane if not persecution. They deprived her, by so doing, her rights to study with concentrated state of mind, yet, the Christian Association of Nigeria was so maliciously lost in retentive memory that they did not reflect the Muslim schoolgirl’s travails in their series of S.O.S. letters upon which their “Lord” America acted, among other mischievous reasons, to write their so called report and the report has been hugely hyped by the media of the country and those opposition wailing public of Nigeria and CAN leaders were so conspicuously happy to celebrate it!
Those NGOs that have been working on rights being infringed upon including even the rights of Evans the billionaire kidnapper and rights of people who are on trials in courts for their role in plotting with local and foreign collaborators to destabilise their country and overthrow the government, up till today, they have continued to keep mum on the Lagos innocent schoolgirl as if to say she was not human being, whereas not even the rights of animal should be breached. And when I raised many of these issues on Facebook sometimes ago, an Abeokuta based reverend, who has always sent me inbox to say it was better for me to support Yoruba course than be open in defence of Islam, which he called the religion of the Hausa/Fulani, said there is no newspaper report to authenticate my claims. Well, I told him it was part of CAN’s plans to ensure that there is media blackout to all of the plights of Muslims in the country so that there will be no record but that that has failed because, as a Journalist myself, I am record and that is what I have done, putting out the hidden truths. What injustice can be more attractive to the wrath of Allah than that?
I am only sad that Daily Trust, which should be seen as being straightforward and upright not supporting Islam and destroying Christianity but reporting the truths that some elements are using to bring down Muslims like it should do to others, is not doing it. There will be no need for me to talk about how this same Northerners owned newspaper exposed military strategies to deal with Boko Haram in recent times leading to why the Army ordered invasion of its head office in Abuja. At that time, the same voices that want Muslims out of Nigeria at all cost were heard loud talking to America, UK and other international bodies about the unseen gagging of the press by the government of the day. Are we really interested in the change that we demand?
Also, during the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola administration in the State of Osun, CAN chairman of Ola Oluwa Local Government Area of the state sponsored three male members of his church to dress like Muslim clerics to carry out attack on his own church on Sunday. They carried out the attacks at the peak of church service leaving many members with broken limbs only to hang it on Muslims in the name of Boko Haram imported into Osun State by then Governor Aregbesola they already tagged “Boko Haram supporter” simply because of his education policies that sought freedom for all religions.
It was after arrest that those three men confessed that it was there pastor that scripted the violent drama and organised it to claim Boko Haram attacks. There will be no need to tell how many Muslims were subjected to untold hardship as a result of that.
In a particular press of note in Ibadan, some Muslim members of staff were roundly sacked because they were discovered to be using their break time to go to Mosque to pray. While one of them was re-employed by a prominent Abeokuta man, who reached his peak of career and has been employer of more Christian professors and staff today. What are these called outside persecution?
The killing, deliberately,of over 1,000 Muslims at Sallah praying ground in Jos still comes fresh by people who professed “Jesus Christ” while doing it. Video evidences, I personally gathered in Kaduna, were presented to Amnesty International, which was said to have screamed “why are you Muslims not talking over this kind of injustice?” Although, up till today, many Christians, believed to receive inspiration from CAN, are still labouring hard to make the rest of us take their denial that such ever happened. What should it be called if not persecution?
Not as if Muslims have ever shown any anger over those persecutions. For CAN to now turn round and jump over a US report saying Christians are endangered species in Nigeria and America, listening to one side information, rubberstamping that, it is the most despicable thing to happen to any society lately.
But does it mean Christians of Nigeria never had it good with their Muslim brothers and sisters? If no, then where did America conduct its information gathering? Who were the people it talked to and if you talk to Christians only, the fact that you didn’t give the Muslims the rights or chance to say their own part is in itself religious persecution. Sad! You didn’t even include your own name in the list.
You have Israel genocides against defenceless people mainly women and children of Palestine, yet Israel is not found on your list. What world policing are you therefore doing and for who, to achieve what?
Today, much unhidden as it was, we have heard how a Muslim cleric saved the lives of 300 Christians from being killed by bandits in Jos. Let us even say, after many months of trying to bury that goodness and kindness of an Islamic cleric (and there are many like him) towards fellow humans who are in this case Christians, the Imam, Abubakar’s godly behaviour as taught by the Qur’an was finally noticed by Governor Lalong and reason other Nigerians heard about it, what about others?
The Sariki Sanusi angle
We all enjoyed a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). We loved him because he was the first man in the pre-Muhammadu Buhari civilian administration to let us know how Nigeria’s wealth had been parasitically damaged to the bonemarrow with his exposition of a certain NNPC’s $20 billion unaccounted for. That was how his travails with government of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, began. The BBC particularly reported that the CBN governor, who caused shockwaves in Nigeria when he alleged that $20 billion equivalent to £12 billion in oil revenue had gone missing, had been ousted. The name of that upright man that we all agreed with and believed in was Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (SLS).
Sanusi, who became CBN governor from his position as Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria, was and remains widely respected for undertaking reforms to the banking sector since his appointment in 2009. He was named Central Bank Governor of the Year for 2010 by Banker magazine.
This same SLS, we all stood for and supported regardless of his religion and tribe when, due to his patriotic role in opening the eyes of Nigeria and the world to the rots in our then oil based national economy, was sacked. We then loved that those that knew about the workings of the traditions and Culture of Kano Emirate considered him the most qualified to step on the throne of his ancestral fathers as Emir of Kano. I love to use Sarikin Kano in addressing the Emir.
Even at that, the same Federal Government under Jonathan, which sacked him as CBN governor still went ahead to ensure that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi did not get to the throne. All of us, Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba, Igbo rallied round him and the then government of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, with his deputy, Abdullahi Ganduje, of the same party with the persecuting administration before they defected to the party that is today governing party in the country, stood his ground and allowed the right thing to be done so Kano’s respected ancient tradition was not distorted. Kwankwaso did it even to the risk of his life and of his family, to the extent that his security protection was reduced and put at its lowest, but he and Ganduje did not care until the new Sarikin Kano emerged to the glory of God and joy of all Nigerians, beyond Kano. Today we have Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in the Emir of Kano as His Royal Highness Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II.
Alas! We all believed in His Royal Highness as a man of truth, uprightness and enigmatic personality filled with fear of Allah but the moment he told the story of how his people, without sense of bias, were butchered on the Mambilla Plateau of Taraba with their women, kids, defenceless men killed in their scores of hundreds and cows killed in thousands, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) leaders were the first to counter him. CAN said it was just about 14 people killed from both sides of a communal misunderstanding. Not even with the pictorial and other evidences that Emir provided could convince the media which relished in taking stories from the side of CAN. They called him a liar. What a religious community can CAN be!
America knew that Emir Sanusi was saying the truth. Why did it not reflect his accounts persecution of his ethnic and religious fellows by those Christian fighters (if in effort to expose CAN’s misinformation we need to use it this way) in its latest report trying to nail Nigeria for no just cause?
Now, after Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, had debunked the claims of US and CAN as false, the Christian body in a Thursday newspaper report made fresh reaction in which it even said more disgusting things including impressing that Nigerian Muslim leaders live in denials. From what voice of reason can that kind of disbelief come? It is appalling and sickening. President Muhammadu Buhari, as Commander-in-Chief, must begin to know that this CAN has never meant well for Nigeria and that there is no amount of efforts his government commits to fighting insecurity in Nigeria that will make the country better until he begins to think beyond looking the side of Christian Association of Nigeria as speaker for Christians of Nigeria. There are very many more Christians in this country who are genuine, sincere and patriotic and they include Pastor Kumuyi and there are more. When you continue to solve religious problem using religious people who earn their living working as NGOs sponsored by foreign collaborators and enemies within, we will always remains at the same point.
Just before I end this write up, the same Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II that we and they all loved and respected, is indisputably confirmed to have done many good, great things for Christians in his Emirate which these CAN leaders deliberately omitted in giving report of state of affairs to their Lord America. Of more important note was what happened when – over a provocation by some Christians in Kano – some miscreants set their church on fire. HRH Muhammadu Sanusi II heard about the misbehaviour of the miscreants, who cannot by any investigated fact be linked with acting based on Islamic instructions, and he took it upon himself, not only to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of the Christians involved but also, he rebuilt the church and that fact is a naked one that everybody is talking about. Where is the Sarikin Kano’s goodness to Christian church of Kano in that US, CAN’s books of persecution?
This is a question all saner Nigerians and global people of conscience should and must begin to ask. Else, America should be made to explain, despite all the roles that we have seen it played in ensuring collapse of Nigeria by the now past 2019 presidential election, why we should believe that Nigeria according to its report tolerate religious persecution whereas, the same America failed to include Israel and other countries it shields and who are known for their genocides against Muslims and even, in some other cases, against Christians.
*WAKE UP is opinion column of Alhaji Bashir Adefaka, an Isolo Akure, Ondo State Prince and Lagos based media practitioner. Reach him via his email: firstname.lastname@example.org.