President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement in an op-ed published in Speaking Out, a guest opinion column for Christianity Today, said that it is not true that the Boko Haram insurgency has killed more Christians than Muslims in the country.
According to Buhari in the op-ed published in the United State Christian magazine, it is not true that Boko Haram’s primary targets were Christian, saying that 90% of the deaths from the Boko Haram insurgents are Muslims.
The op-ed titled “Buhari: Pastor Andimi’s faith should inspire all Nigerian” was published in honour of Rev. Lawan Andimi, the Michika Branch Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Adamawa State, who was killed by the terrorist few weeks ago.
“Boko Haram are no longer one, unified threat, but fractured into several rivals. These splinters are themselves degraded: reduced to criminal acts which—nonetheless no less cruel—target smaller and smaller numbers of the innocent. We owe thanks to the Nigerian defence forces, bolstered by our partnership with the British, American military and other countries that we are winning this struggle in the field,” Buhari said.
However, the President of CAN, Rev. Supo Ayokunle, thinks otherwise. In a recent statement, the CAN president noted that the public execution of Rev. Andimi and a student of the University of Maiduguri, Ropvil Dalyep, by Boko Haram shows that the insurgents were targeting Christians.
Buhari who paid tribute to Rev. Andimi, saying that his lifestyle and faith in God should inspire all Nigerians urged CAN to stop blaming other religion for Boko Haram attacks. According to the president, terrorist group had resolved to pitting Christians against Muslims.
“Sadly, there is a tiny, if vocal, minority of religious leaders—both Muslim and Christian—who appear more than prepared to take their bait and blame the opposite religious side. The terrorists today attempt to build invisible walls between us. They have failed in their territorial ambitions, so now instead they seek to divide our state of mind, by prying us from one from another – to set one religion seemingly implacably against the other.”
Buhari noted that although the war against Boko Haram terrorists had not yet been completely won, it is absolutely not true that Christianity was under attack in the country as being insinuated in some quarters.
“Christianity in Nigeria is not – as some seem intent on believing – contracting under pressure, but expanding and growing in numbers approaching half of our population today. Nor is it the case that Boko Haram is primarily targeting Christians: not all of the Chibok schoolgirls were Christians; some were Muslims, and were so at the point at which they were taken by the terrorists.
“Indeed, it is the reality that some 90 per cent of all Boko Haram’s victims have been Muslims: they include a copycat abduction of over 100 Muslim schoolgirls, along with their single Christian classmate; shootings inside mosques; and the murder of two prominent imams. Perhaps it makes for a better story should these truths, and more, be ignored in the telling.
“It is a simple fact that these now-failing terrorists have targeted the vulnerable, the religious, the non-religious, the young, and the old without discrimination. And at this point, when they are fractured, we cannot allow them to divide good Christians and good Muslims from those things that bind us all in the sight of God: faith, family, forgiveness, fidelity, and friendship to each other.”
However, reacting to the president’s statement that 90% of Boko Haram victims were Muslims, the Director of Legal and Public Affairs of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Kwamkur Samuel, says that the President Buhari’s government was playing international politics with human lives.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria notes with pains President Buhari’s unfounded, false, provocative and misleading assertion that 90% of Boko Haram victims are Muslims. On reading this misleading and provocative statement coming from the number one citizen of the country, one will hardly doubt that the President understands the difference between the real victims and perpetrators of the heinous crime against the Church and humanity.
“No wonder the Boko Haram is getting more attention from the FG in the name of rehabilitation and de-radicalization than the victims who lost their lives, loved ones and living in the internally displaced persons’ camps.”
“Are we into any competition with the number of the victims? Is there any life that should not be precious to Mr. President? Samuel asked, urging Buhari to show his records to prove his assertion.
“What is the source of the President’s records? He should bring out his records with figures and the Christians will present theirs! Is he calculating the figures brandished by security chiefs as victims killed by Boko Haram; killed during operations? We are so sure that even if the President combines the number of Muslim victims plus the number of the terrorists killed by the army, it cannot be up to half the number of the Christian victims of the insurgents.”
He noted that from the onset, the insurgent group declared their purpose, which is to killing Christians and Islamize Nigeria.
“The sole purpose of Boko Haram is the killing of Christians and Islamisation of Nigeria,” he added.
He alleged that Boko Haram had already wipeout Christian communities in the North-East region (Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States).
“Boko Haram has wiped away all Christian communities in most local governments of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe to mention but a few. Almost all the Christian communities in Northern states have fallen victims to the insurgents.
“What about the repeated attacks on Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and most of the states of the Middle Belt? On attacks on mosques and Muslims, it’s true that some Muslims have fallen victims to Boko Haram, but those victims are few Muslims who speak against the activities of Boko Haram.”
“Is it not surprising to the President that the Chibok girls who were abducted many years ago have yet to be found and returned as he promised Nigerians?
“Yet, the Dapchi girls who were abducted within his regime have since been returned with the exception of Leah Sharibu, who was retained because of her faith?
“Nigerians need to know if they have not known the reason why the Presidency could not pay ransom to rescue Chibok girls. It is because 80% to 90% of the girls are Christians. The reason why Dapchi girls’ ransom was quickly paid and they were returned is the discovery that most of the girls were Muslims except Leah Sharibu who is still in captivity.”
“It’s very sad that instead of the government to apologise to Christians and Nigerians on their inability to defend their lives and property, they are busy playing international politics with the lives of the citizens.”
Jama’atu Nasril Islam says Buhari claim indisputable
Dr. Abubakar Khalid-Aliyu, the Secretary General of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam, in a reaction to the President’s claim in the US Christian Magazine noted that Buhari’s statement is indisputable.
“That 90% of victims of Boko Haram are Muslims and that Boko Haram is not targeting Christians are statements of truth that can’t be disputed because Muslims who engage in the pursuit of Western education are mostly their target. It is not a hidden secret that Muslims are the greater victims of Boko Haram insurgency. If they are targeting Christians, then, they will be pursuing Christians all over the place,” he said.
Reacting to the response of CAN, he said; “I think when people make statement, they should think of what to say first. The thing is that religious leaders should live above board rather than to be parochial. Go to the IDP camps and count the numbers of those who are there and see who suffered most.”
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.