President Muhammadu Buhari has said seeing the wreck caused by the Boko Haram insurgency as a national threat and not a religious battle is a step towards winning the war.
Mr Buhari said this in a tweet on Tuesday, on the heels of the vicious beheading of Lawan Andimi, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), in Michika local government area of Adamawa State.
The president maintained that the terrorists have hatched plans to turn Nigerians’ back against each other along religious lines, and a slight walk down that line is a win for the terrorists.
The president has, on other occasions, urged Nigerians to unite in the fight against terror which has lingered for over a decade. The government, at first, had described the group as being “technically defeated” but, now describes the group as “now-failing” in their activities.
He said contrary to the narrative being spread that insurgents target Christians, about 90 per cent of their victims are Muslims. He added that 2014 kidnap of 276 Chibok girls, shooting inside mosques and murder of two prominent imams are proofs to his assertion.
“Contrary to those falsehoods, Christianity is not contracting under pressure in Nigeria, but instead expanding,” Mr Buhari wrote. “Neither is it the case that the terrorists are targeting only Christians; the reality indeed is that some 90 per cent of all Boko Haram’s victims have been Muslims.”
“Those who seek to divide and undermine us are putting their energies into spreading various falsehoods, such as that Christianity is under threat in Nigeria, and that Boko Haram is primarily targeting Christians.
“It is very tragic that there is a tiny, if vocal, minority of Nigerian religious leaders—both Muslim and Christian—who appear more than prepared to fall for the divisive antics of terrorists and to blame the opposite religious side.”
In recent months, the insurgents have intensified their strikes, especially in Borno and Yobe States. Apart from killing the CAN chairman in Adamawa State, the insurgents also recently released a clip of how they shot a student of the University of Maiduguri in a gruesome manner.
This has pushed some senators to demand the resignation of the president. The House of Representatives has also demanded the sack of all service chiefs, a quartet of military commanders who have been accused of incompetence but had remained unchanged despite public outcry.
The possibility of showing the military chiefs the exit door would later be swiped aside by the National Security Adviser. Instead of the sack, the president in his statement preached against disunity among Nigerians.
“We cannot and must not 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.
“There is no place in Nigeria for those who seek to divide us by religion, who compel others to change their faith forcibly, or try to convince others that by so doing, they are doing good.”
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