Cardinal Onaiyekan condemns violent reactions to religious extremism

Cardinal  John Onaiyekan
Cardinal John Onaiyekan

The Catholic Bishop of Abuja Arch Diocese, John Onaiyekan, has condemned violent reactions to religious extremism.

Mr. Onaiyekan said it was wrong for anyone to expect Christians in Nigeria to respond violently to religious killings, before their position on such killings could be understood.

He also advised the federal government that it does not need to use violence to justify its defence of Nigerian Christians from extremists.

“I think in our country it is important that we condemn violent reaction to religious extremism,” Mr. Onaiyekan said on Friday in Abuja, after participating in a discussion on Devolution of Power as a Tool for National Integration.

“If anybody is suggesting that because I have not shouted around too much about this, then its means that I condone it or that I am not a good Christian, I will simply say sorry.”

The cleric was reacting to the allegations by the youth wing of the Christian association of Nigeria (CAN) that security operatives in the country may have looked the other way while extremists terrorized innocent Nigerians.

Daniel Kadzai, the Chairman of the youth wing of CAN, specifically spoke about the August 21 incident in the Talata Marafa town of Zamfara State, where some persons suspected to be students of Abdu Gusau Polytechnic reportedly burnt down a house, killing eight persons inside.

The students had beaten up a young man accused of blaspheming the name of the Prophet Mohammed. They then followed him to the state’s General Hospital where another resident of the area had taken him to, for treatment.

When they could not find the man at the hospital, they went to his residence and burnt down the house with people inside.

“We demand that no Nigerian should henceforth be persecuted, attacked or killed for blasphemy,” Mr. Kadzai said. “Government must be bold, otherwise the widening divide or the religious lines may have dire consequences in the future.

“Our faith in the security organisations to protect Nigerians is fast waning. It is obvious that the Federal Government or security operatives chose to look the other side when it comes to matters of religion.”

The Catholic Bishop, Mr. Onaiyekan, disagreed with Mr. Kadzai. He said he didn’t believe it was true that the federal government was condoning attacks against Christians.

“I am not aware that the Muslim community supports killing in the name of blasphemy,” Mr. Onaiyekan said.

He, however, said the government should know that people were bound to think differently on the issue, and therefore it was left for the government to take clear actions that would leave nobody in doubt of its position and that of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Our constitution allows us to practice our religion; it allows us to change our religion. If a person was a Muslim and he decides to become a Christian he is free to do that and nobody should molest him. And if anybody does so, that person has committed a crime and should be dealt with.”

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.

  • Nta Ekeng

    This man has just come to Nigeria. Don’t worry, it ll soon get to you, may be there and then you will know that your Christianity is close to extinction in Nigeria.

  • efada acha

    these are the clerics whose hands are soiled under jona they are afraid of probe under buhari therefore afraid to tell buhari the truth

  • lo

    Roman Catholics and Islam are one and same. The roman Catholics of today are the pharesees and saduccees of the old. You heard what pope said recently, that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam?. Terrible!!!. Nigerian christains must form militias around churches and communities to defend themselves, if not Christianity in Nigeria will vanish in less than 30 years.

  • River-of-Life

    The earlier Nigerians realized that she is under bondage the better……What brought about this bondage…..Sin; What is this Sin? casting aside the Laws (with the statutes and judgments) of our Creator, and REPLACING them with MAN-MADE laws that are Corrupt. Individuals are been alerted and are recognizing the eternal sovereignty of the eternal creator and returning to his laws (they are eternal). Just as the nation of Israel has been in bondage (and still in bondage and holding the Palestinians in bondage), the British colonial masters held Nigeria in bondage and only handed over to those Nigerians they have TRAININED to continue holding the entire Nation in Bondage……The Nigerian Political, Religious, Traditional and Occult leaders are Like Slave-Masters….Doing the biding of their foreign TASK-MASTERS (U.S, EU, UK, UN, etc.). Time is running out; ……….True freedom can only be found by returning to the Eternal laws of our eternal creator. The prevailing freedom is MICKEY-MOUSE freedom and MICKEY-MOUSE independence.