Be clear if it is religious or ethnic battle you are fighting against Buhari, Christian Elders Forum queried as it replies Muslim Groups over report of Nigeria to UK Parliament

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START OF THE GANG UP: From Left: Bishop of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, PDP Presidential Candidate Atiku Abubakar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, during a meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun State to broker peace between Obasanjo and Atiku.

*Nigerians warned to beware NCEF fight Obasanjo, Danjuma, opposition’s battles

*Nigerian crisis caused by dual conflicting ideology of Sharia against Democracy – NCEF

*NCEF a disappointment – Concerned Citizens

*You haven’t proof of Islamisation – Alaro blasts Christian Group

By KEMI KASUMU

The National Christian Elders’ Forum (NCEF) in Nigeria, appearing undone with the counter publication it got from Muslim groups in the country over its alleged misinformation about situation in the country, has given a reply.

It described as divisive claim by the Muslim groups, who had Thursday accused the Christian Elders’ Forum of taking divisive position on the security situation in the country as it reported to United Kingdom Parliament that the President of the country, Muhammadu Buhari, was fulanising and Islamising the country and that he did nothing about stopping the Boko Haram insurgencies.

NCEF replied the attacks by several Muslim groups against it, arguing that their  claim is divisive, rather than contribute to its efforts  to find a peaceful solution to current national crisis.

But Concerned Nigerians of the Islamic religious community are asking the Christian Elders’ Forum, already disowned by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) of being on its own being that the forum does not speak for Nigerian Christians, are asking if it was religious or ethnic battle it is fighting against the President of the country, Buhari.

Their reason being that the “avoidable controversy” being engaged by the Forum has no clear cut pursuit as it talks from all sides as if it fights religious and ethnic battle “whereas we know quite well that they only fight to protect the interest of themselves having lost out of favour, power and influence regarding the political and economic control of the country”.

They were more clear: “Don’t be deceived.  National Christian Elders’ Forum are fighting the battle of Olusegun Obasanjo, Theophilus Danjuma, Dongoyaro, Zamani Lekwot and other few former owners of Nigeria now suffering losses of influence and power so that Nigerians will revolt against the President and then the international community will come in their support and then restore their selfish influence back to the nation’s leadership.

“They are doing this and making it almost very real that their though erroneous claims are true but Nigerians, particularly you media people who are supporting them by giving them your platforms to thrive, should be careful because these people are not fighting for your good but the selfish interest of themselves.  If you doubt me, go ahead and collapse the system and let us see who suffers in the end.

“All you are expected to do is to tolerate Buhari to help Nigeria to the best of his capacity.  After the expiration of eight years, he will quit the state and another person will also come in to do his own as Rome was not built in one day.

“But if you cause confusion now and these selfish people suddenly coming in the colours and garments of religion but who, in actual sense, are using religious and ethnic differences among Nigeria to truncate the process by which holistic efforts are being made to lift Nigeria to meeting its peers in the comity of nations, you will all suffer for it including you the media practitioners who are making the noise on their behalf.  Unfortunate again, some Muslim in religion and politics are part of this and it is just a matter of time, all eyes of hypocrites will come into the open,” the respondent who spoke under strict demand for anonymity said.

The NCEF had again in a rejoinder, in response to a publication in Vanguard Newspapers of June 7, 2019, titled: ‘Insecurity, alleged Islamization: Petition by Christian elders, prank to score cheap political points – by Muslim Groups’, and signed by the Forum’s Secretary, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel, NCEF described as unfortunate  that Muslim groups would make such claims of “prank to score cheap political points” against Christian Elders as no member of NCEF is either a politician or has anything to gain from political patronage.

It said, “The claim is divisive, which rather than contribute to the efforts of the Christian Elders to find a peaceful and lasting solution to current national crisis, and ensure Nigeria can benefit from the gains of democracy, like other advanced democratic countries around the world, is trying to cause disaffection amongst the people”, the rejoinder  said.

“It should be repeated here for emphasis that the root or main cause of the crisis in Nigeria, as stated by the NCEF, has nothing to do with Christianity or Islam, neither is it about North against the South, East against West, nor is it Farmers and Herders clash as some call it, and neither is it a clash of personalities or political parties. All these are symptoms.

“The Nigerian crisis is caused by the dual conflicting ideology of Sharia against Democracy as practiced in Nigeria, and is now enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and here it is being downplayed and simply called Islam against Christianity by these Muslim groups; no, it is not.

“This is nothing short of mischief which can actually create tension in the polity that can incite the public.

“The position of NCEF on this dual ideological conflict is not new and it is not different from the EU Report (Sharia, the Cairo Declaration and the European Convention on Human Rights http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-DocDetails EN.asp?FileID=25353&lang=EN) that states categorically that Sharia and the Human Rights which is enshrined in Democracy are not compatible.

“Yet, some people think it can work in Nigeria and we can see the attendant consequences over the last 59 years of becoming an independent sovereign nation”, the Christian Elders’ Forum said.

NCEF is disappointment

Responding to the NCEF statement, Executive Secretary to the umbrella Muslim body in South West of Nigeria, Professor Noibi, said: “My response is that the Muslim Ummah of South West Nigeria (MUSWEN) regard allegation of this nation as being unfortunate because it is baseless and unpatriotic.  And this is so because we have not seen anything President Muhammadu Buhari has done that is tilting towards Muslims alone or the Fulani but we have seen a visionary leader that has set development for the various groups in the country.

“Unfortunately, this allegation came from a group that regards itself as group of religious leaders but my appeal to Nigerians Muslims and Christians is to discountenance the allegation and I believe that British Government will discountenance it.  Knowing full well that British Government is balanced about matters across the world, they will not attach importance to the claim of the Nigerian Christians Elders’ Forum.”

Taking a swipe at the Christian elders’ Forum, Professor of Law of University of Ilorin and Islamic scholar, Professor Abdul-Razzaq Abdul Majeed Alaro, said: Reacting directly to those elders reporting Nigeria to the foreign communities, I think we should remind ourselves that Nigeria is a sovereign state and that is clearly stated in our constitution.  In section 2 sub one of the constitution it is categorically stated that Nigeria a sovereign state.  I don’t know what wisdom they will claim to be behind reporting a sovereign nation to another sovereign nation.  Nigeria is no more a colonised entity of Britain and so I think I will fault the action on that ground as well.

“It is very unfortunate that elders are supposed to douse tension not to heat up the polity.  And I believe the act is very wrong.  You cannot report a sovereign state to another sovereign entity.   But I think the summary of it all is for us to be realistic as Nigerians.  We shouldn’t expect any nation in the world to preoccupy itself with our problems, unless we are deceiving ourselves.  Even if we have problems, we should look for ways of solving our problems within ourselves.  So, taking Nigeria outside on that ground we are ridiculing ourselves.

Today whether you like it or not, Mr. President is the first citizen of the country and he represents us.  Whatever respect we accord him, whatever disrespect or contempt we give to him is equally given to us as Nigerians.  So, I don’t think it is wise enough for us to think of solving Nigerian problem by taking it to foreign country because, like I said, Nigeria is a sovereign entity.

I think whatever is happening, if you look at those characters that you mentioned; former President, former Chief of Army Staff, you would know these are people that had wielded a lot of influence in the past.  I would therefore appeal to them as elders that they must know more than whatever we know younger generations.  It is a common phenomenon if you have power today, you may lose it tomorrow.

“So, because you have lost something, Nigeria and Nigerians must be victims of your loss of power, of your loss of influence.  I am appealing to them, they should try and bequeath a peaceful nation to us, especially the youth, and I think I represent that age bracket.  For better or for worse, we are the most affected.  So I want to appeal to them to bequeath to us a peaceful nation and I am appealing to Nigerians of my age bracket that, look, let’s face it squarely, we don’t have other country and we shouldn’t deceive ourselves by thinking that another country will preoccupy itself with our problems and so we have to look inward for solutions to our problems.

“This issue of Islamisation has been here on and on and nobody has been able to prove it.  And it is even an abstract idea to me to say that a President or government can Islamise or Christianise the whole nation.  I isn’t possible but it is unfortunate, like I said, and I appeal to us not to be gullible as to being misled into confronting each other because, like I said, all of these are coming up because of some people who have had some advantages in the past and have now lost those advantages.  We shouldn’t be victims of that,” Alaro said dismissed NCEF.

MURIC leader, Akintola, in his response dismissed the Christian Elders’ Forum as pack of liars for saying President Buhari has done nothing to stop Boko Haram insurgency noting that under Muhammadu Buhari, since 2015, Boko Haram “has moved from daily bombing, then to weekly, then to monthly and even now we hear nothing of bombing again.  Because Buhari came Boko Haram occupied 27 Local Governments in the North East and today, no single Local Government is occupied by Boko Haram.”

Akintola therefore wondered what the moral justification for NCEF’ claim if not, according to him, that they are simply the liars that they are.

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