KILLINGS: Let The Truth Be Told

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REJOINDER

KILLINGS: LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD

REJOINDER TO PRESS RELEASE BY THE NIGERIAN SUPREME COUNCIL FOR ISLAMIC AFFAIRS (NSCIA) ON JULY 5, 2018.

THE NATIONAL CHRISTIAN ELDERS’ FORUM (NCEF) PERSPECTIVE OF THE TRUTH

PREAMBLE

On 5th July, 2018, the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) published an article titled LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD. In our candid estimation, rather than tell the truth, the article is the exact opposite of the truth. It might have been more proper to have titled it “Let the Taqiyya be told”. It  is distressing  that  radical  Islam (Islamism)   having  caused much   harm to the Christian community in  Nigeria, is adding insult to  injury, in this  age of information  and enlightenment, by attempting to distort narratives  with flagrant abuse of  the truth.

Of   equal concern is the veiled “fatwa” issued by the NSCIA in the article on members of the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF).  We therefore state clearly that if any member of the NCEF is harassed by security agents, arrested, or harmed in any manner, the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) should be held responsible.

In the said publication, the NSCIA raised the following major among other issues that:

Issue 1

NSCIA stated: Muslims were the targeted victims of the killings by herdsmen and the killings would have been worse but for the maturity of NSCIA that has refused to use emotive language. 

This statement is untrue.  It is Taqiyya to suggest that Muslims were the targeted victims.   It is a truism that all Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims. It can therefore not be said that Muslims in Nigeria were the targeted victims by herdsmen. The Tiv Professional Group (TPG) advertisement in The Nation newspaper of Thursday, July 19, 2018 at pg. 29, stated thus:

“Though the Government of Muhammadu Buhari has continued to acquiesce in the ongoing genocide and ethno religious cleansing of communities in parts of Nigeria to the point of deliberately obscuring the identity of the perpetrators, it is clear, Fulani nomadic pastoralism is responsible for rural instability in Nigeria today. Presiding over a multi-billion-naira archaic livestock monopoly, the Fulani have insisted on the indiscriminate and forceful grazing of their livestock in all parts of the country leaving a trail of blood and desolation. In their latest outing, they slaughtered over 200 crop farmers including children and women in Rizat, Ruku, Nyar, Kura and Ganna Rop in Gashit District and other villages in Bassa, Bokkos, Barkin Ladi and Mangu Local Government Areas of Plateau State. They have in brazen acts of impunity, continued to terrorize rural areas, killing, raping and displacing whole communities. In some instances, they have annexed and settled on ancestral lands underscoring their contempt for the rights and freedoms of other nationalities, modern borders and private property. Their recourse to retribution against perceived infractions underscores a despicable preference for taking the law into their hands.  In 2015, the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) listed them alongside Boko Haram, SIL, the Taliban and AI -Shabaab as the top terrorist groups in the World.”

Any allegation that the Muslims are the target is nothing but Taqiyya, an acceptable tenet of Islam.

Lying/Taqiyya

It is permissible for a Muslim to lie, especially to non-Muslims, to safeguard himself personally or to protect Islam. It is therefore necessary that non-Muslims should understand this teaching so as to discern truth from lies.

  • “Let not the believers take the disbelievers as friends instead of the believers, and whoever does that, will never be helped by Allah in any way, unless you indeed fear a danger from them. And Allah warns you against Himself, and to Allah is the final return.” (Q 3:28)
  • “‘Unless you indeed fear a danger from them’ meaning, except those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers. In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly.… ‘We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.’” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Vol 2, 141)
  • “Mohammed said, ‘War is deceit.’” (Bukhari vol.4:267 and 269)
  • “He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar.” (Bukhari vol.3:857 p.533) 

The targets of the Fulani herdsmen are natives of Middle Belt who are mainly Christians.

In the Daily Trust of July 12, 2018, one Babayola M. Toungo wrote an article titled NCEF and the Tyranny of intolerance which in part reads:

“This has yielded my being classified, for example, as a Negroid and not as a Negro in their bid to dehumanize me and set me up for the kill by murderers already psyched up by earlier pronouncements by religious leaders who the Archbishop of the Abuja Diocese, the most respected John Cardinal Onaiyekan called “overnight religious leaders”.  NCEF is now preaching the tyranny of intolerance. The NCEF, made up largely of men of yester years, these same “Elders” that have anointed themselves to “their sense of entitlement” in some instances “sense of victimhood” against perceived wrongs of their imagination, men whose mouths have been permanently glued to the tits of the nation and are now fighting teeth and nail to maintain their grip and continue to suckle, irrespective of the damage suffered by the nation and their unsuspecting followers.:

He continued,

“They alluded to what they called ‘stealth jihad’, something that I believe only exist in their infantile and senile minds.”

There is need, in the circumstance, to define what is meant by Negro, Negroid and stealth jihad.  It is a fact of history that Nigeria is made up of two races – the indigenous Negro and settlers from the Arab world who are Negroid. Lugard wrote:

“Ethnography, Population, religions, etc: The population of the North-described 60 years ago by Barth as the densest in all Africa-had by 1900 dwindled to some 9 millions, owning to inter-tribal war, and, above all, to slave raids of the Fulani. But these dreaded horsemen could not penetrate the forests of the South, where a population estimated at 7/3/4 Millions (probably an over-estimate) found refuge. These tribes are of purer Negro stock than the Hausas and other Negroids of the North.”  [Lugard and the Amalgamation of Nigeria pg. 56]

It is therefore incorrect to suggest that NCEF members are suffering from intellectual poverty and warped thinking.  In the Guardian of June 25, 2018, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), reacted thus:

“The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has reacted to allegations by the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) against President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, describing the allegations as baseless, unfounded and ridiculous. --- MURIC however described members of the group as suffering from intellectual poverty and warped thinking. --- He said that Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) needs to undertake urgent re-engineering of the perception of its flock. --- In particular, CAN should fumigate its immediate environment in order to rid of this notorious NCEF Islamisation virus. --- CAN should also beware of dissidence in the body of Christ in Nigeria as we suspect open rebellion in NCEF’s statement. CAN is therefore advised to call NCEF to order.”

The above statement suggests making Christians who rightly are the victims of a calculated jihad, as the aggressors.  An example is the arrest of protesters in Benue and the allegation that Christians were responsible for killing two Catholic Priests while those arrested and convicted, bear Muslim names, is a form of stealth jihad.  A zone where over 20,000 persons have been killed and only a few suspects paraded, suggests collaboration and stealth jihad.

Stealth Jihad

In the book titled Stealth Invasion the author, Leo Hohmann [2017] who wrote on Destroying Western societies from within stated that “The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Egypt with plans to turn the country away from the West and steer it into a system based on sharia law.  In 1970 the Brotherhood had transitioned from a primary nationalist Islamist organization to an international one with a strong plan for the world.  Rather than defeat the west, it planned to infiltrate it and change it from within.”  [Emphasis supplied] [Pg. 29]  Nowhere in the world has this experiment, masterminding backwardness, succeeded more than Nigeria.  This was achieved with the tacit co-operation and collaboration of some Christian politicians and some Church leaders, mostly out of ignorance than greed in their quest for wealth and power.”  Leo Hohmann continued, [as we replace the word America for Nigeria in the quote], “unlike the violent jihad we see in daily acts of terror around the world, civilization jihad is stealth and less obvious.  It uses migration (al-hijra) high birth rate and lack of assimilation to build a parallel society – a society within a society – in unsuspecting Western democracies where knowledge of Islam’s major tenets and jihad remain abysmally thin.  This strategy will allow for the taking of America (Nigeria) without firing a shot - Islam is in this fight for the long term and can patiently wait for the attainment of its goal which is nothing less than the replacement of the US (Nigeria) Constitution and the subjugation of the people it governs.” [Emphasis supplied] The Nigerian Islamists have the added advantage of (a) a Constitution with dual ideologies of Democracy and Sharia; (b) Sharia collaborators in the  security and intelligence services in the promotion of a Sultanate in Nigeria; and (c) the help and assistance of some Christian politicians and Church leaders as collaborators in stealth jihad.  Unfortunately Nigeria is being destroyed from within.  Alhaji Shehu Shagari in his book titled Beckoned to Serve, wrote:

“Muhammad Carpenter was Nigeria’s Ambassador to Italy at the time the coup took place at the end of the year 1983. --- Ambassador Carpenter, with the help of his security agents, was able to trace their destinations as well as the purpose of their journeys eastwards. He gathered that these people were planning a coup against his government. Towards this end, they had chosen the Egyptian style of military coup in which the plotters used General Mohammed Neguib as a scapegoat to achieve their ends. He alleged that these conspirators had carefully studied Colonel Abdel Nasser's style of military coup and military rule and were determined to implement same in Nigeria. He gave me the names of those involved but regretted that he was unable to do this at the right time because he could not trust anyone except himself to convey this information direct to me. Unfortunately, however, the military struck before he could find an excuse to come home to Nigeria and report the matter to me.”  [pg. 470]

This shows the admiration of the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army for the Egyptian Army during Shagari’s presidency, it is not clear whether this admiration extends to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Evidence of stealth jihad are in abundance in Nigeria from independence.  However, one example that will suffice, deals with security.  It is very clear that Nigeria needs State Police in a Federation to enforce State laws.  Unfortunately, the Constitutional provision that enables Federal Police alone to enforce State laws is stealth jihad which renders the State weak and powerless with the Federal Police enabled to ride roughshod against any state in the federation as in when Federal Police are withdrawn from protecting the State Governor and are at other times, made to break the law – such as laying siege on the residence of the President of the Senate.  To further weaken the States, the Inspector-General of Police demanded the surrendering of arms in private hands in the states before the attacks of Fulani herdsmen.  We saw how the Police and DSS enabled eight members of the Benue State House of Assembly to try to impeach the State Governor.  The Police and DSS succeeded in preventing the majority of 22 other members from entering the House of Assembly.  It is safe in the circumstance to regard that Section 214 of the 1999 Constitution that provides for one Police Force in Nigeria as stealth jihad.  To say that the President who himself said on July 16, 2018 that deploying of law enforcement officers is his responsibility, should be left out of Benue State impeachment saga as suggested by the Media Adviser in the Daily Sun of August 1, 2018, is incorrect.  Part of the statement reads:

“Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina wondered how Buhari who is currently attending the ECOWAS/ECCAS Summit in Togo could possibly be responsible for an internal squabble between two arms of government in Benue State.  Statements have been issued by different interest groups, insinuating that the President may have a hand in the development in Benue. This is paranoia at its worst, coming from people who have wittingly positioned themselves against the clean-up of the country, and the way we do things,” Adesina said in a statement.  President Buhari will never be part of any unconstitutional act, and any attempt to link him with the inglorious past, when minority number of lawmakers impeached governors, will not stick.” [Drama continues in Benue]  Taqiyya is deceit

It is safe to suggest that the 1999 Constitution is replete with stealth jihad that include the NSO and Land Use Act.  We need Truth, Reconciliation, Restructuring and Forgiveness.   All the listed anomalies we submit, are efforts to weaken democracy by the Military and Sharia proponents who gave us the 1999 Constitution with another Taqiyya in the Preamble to the 1999 Constitution that “we the people of Nigeria give ourselves the Constitution.”

Issue 2

NSCIA stated: “The Governor of Plateau State, H.E. Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, blamed the violence resulting from the protest on some religious groups under the auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern Zone of Plateau State, the Bazata Gospel Team and as a result, the Governor vowed to bring the masterminds of the violent protest to book.” 

It is necessary to observe that it is unfortunate that the Plateau State Governor did not vow to bring those who committed the (jihad) that resulted in the killings of over 200 innocent Plateau indigenes to book but chose to threaten those who protested against the genocide; this is illogical.  However, there is need to remind all, that some Middle East countries where Islamism or political Islam (with the Quran as their constitution) have been unsuccessful in human development.  In an article titled Waking from its sleep, the Economist of July 25, 2009, observed that these Sharia constitutional countries “failed to make their people free; six Arab countries have an outright ban on political parties and the rest restrict them slyly. They have failed to make their people rich; despite their oil, the UN reports that about two out of five people in the Arab world live on $2 or less a day. They have failed to keep their people safe: the report argues that over-powerful internal security forces often turn the Arab state into a menace to its own people. And they are about to fail their young people.”  This was in 2009.  Have things changed?  We doubt much yet one ethnic group in Nigeria has decided to impose political Islam on the country to solidify the supremacy of Islam.   

Nigeria’s problem began with some young men in their 20s in 1966, who decided to stage a military coup.  This mis-adventure paved the way for a counter coup of July the same year that was very bloody.  This bloodbath encouraged the desire of one ethnic group to begin the process of an Islamic Nigeria through stealth and conventional jihad.  The Civil War that lasted for three years solidified this ambition although the Head of State, a Christian proclaimed it “No winner, No vanquished”, the Islamists on the other hand, saw the civil war as victory for Islam.  The coup of 1975 solidified the real Islamization process with the purge that led to brain drain and provided the opportunity for the military authorities then to equate Islamic education to Western education.  Native Authority officials were also transferred to the Federal Civil Service to assume responsibilities far beyond their capabilities which slowed down the country’s development programme.

The burden of modern state craft that had begun with independence in 1960 was truncated.  Nigeria was overtaken by most third world countries such as Singapore, India and Malaysia, etc.  It became very clear that the attempt to turn Nigeria into an Islamic State was an issue when Nigeria became a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference now Cooperation (OIC) in 1986.  The problem of Nigeria today in our view, is the competition between those who want political Islam or Islamism with Sharia and the Quran as sources of legislation, and those of us who want Democracy with the Constitution not the Quran or Bible as source of legislation.  Once these conflicting ideologies, having been identified, are discussed in the open and a decision taken as to what is good for Nigeria in the modern world,  Nigeria with the resources at its disposal (both human and material) would be able to regain lost grounds with some countries of the first world.  For these reasons, we have decided to discuss some tenets of Islam in the hope that our Muslim compatriots will understand that “jaw jaw is better than war war”.

Returning to Plateau State of Nigeria, the Governor, who reasoned two weeks before the attacks on the people by Fulani herdsmen that he had found the formula for peaceful co-existence between farmers and herdsmen, was made to eat his words, when 54 villages in the State were ransacked without provocation, in a jihad or holy war.  The invaders arrived mainly in the night, set homes on fire, chased the people out of their homes, killed and destroyed their farm crops, fed their animals the harvested crops and changed the names of the towns and villages to their ethnic language – Fulfulde.  Statements from the jihadists in the media read in part: “we will never stop killing, because Allah commanded us to kill people – infidels.”  The Vanguard Editorial of July 18, 2018 titled Return 54 villages to Plateau indigenes:

“As Nigeria gained her independence in 1960, it was never in the wildest imagination of our founding fathers that 58 years into the future, some parts of the country would again be re-conquered and colonized. That is exactly what is happening in the Middle Belt, especially Plateau State, where armed herdsmen have attacked and displaced indigenous population from no less than 54 villages in Jos South, Mangu, Bokkos, Barkin Ladi and other local government areas.” 

This sentiment is widely shared by most Nigerian Christians and Muslims alike, but not the Islamists or the political Islamists now at the helm of affairs in Nigeria.

  • “Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, in one of his video releases, said in 2012: … This war is not political. It is religious. It is between Muslims and unbelievers (arna).  lt will stop when Islamic religion is the determinant in governance in Nigeria or, in the alternative, when all fighters are annihilated and no one is left to continue the fight. I warn all Muslims at this juncture that any Muslim who assists an unbeliever in this war should consider himself an unbeliever and should consider himself dead."  This statement is a declaration of Jihad;
  • On the 4th of February, 2017, the United States Congress affirmed that the most dangerous nation on earth for anyone to be a Christian is Nigeria. The implication is that Nigerian Christians have become endangered species in a country in which they constitute over 50% of the population. Under what conditions are non-Muslims attacked and persecuted if not Jihad that portend danger for Christians;
  • According to the Global Index on Terror, the 1st and the 4th most terrible Islamic Terrorist organizations in the world operate in Nigeria. Boko Haram is 1st while the Fulani Herdsmen is 4th. If these terror organizations are not fighting Jihad, what then are they doing in Nigeria?
  • In a 154 page Research Report conducted by Arne Mulder in 2015, the researcher affirmed that over 13,000 Christian places of worship (Churches) have been destroyed in Northern Nigeria as at December 2014. Under what condition do Muslim insurgents destroy Churches if not Jihad? Or,  are   we  to  believe that it is Christians  burning down their Churches?
  • In 1989, Islam in Africa Organization (IAO) held a Conference in Abuja and amongst many other decisions, released a Communiqué tagged Abuja Declarations 1989 in which it affirmed that its purpose was "To eradicate in all its forms and ramifications all non-Muslim religions in member nations. Such religions shall include Christianity, Ahmadiyya and other tribal religions.” (In the original Declaration, the word Christianity was underlined.) Since Nigeria is considered a member nation, could what is going on be an implementation of this decision? Or, could we be corrected that the Conference never held in Abuja in November 1989 or such Communiqué was never released?  We are also unaware of any rebuttal of the same statement by Muslims leaders.
  • Under the present administration, every key and sensitive position in National Security is held by Muslims from the North, in outright violation of Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution. Also early in the life of this administration, we recall that more than 95% of senior army officers retired from the Military were Christians. In NNPC, only recently, more than 95% of the new appointments into senior management positions are Northern Muslims. Taking these developments in conjunction with the lopsided appointments in National Security, is one not confronted with the inevitable conclusion that there is a deliberate attempt to emasculate Christians, Southerners and other non-Muslim population of Nigeria verifiably by intimidation and force which are stealth Jihad?
  • Despite unconstitutionally appropriating all security positions to the Muslim North, the Fulani Herdsmen operate with impunity in mostly Christian areas, killing, maiming, raping, and destroying without any arrest, without any prosecution. If this is not complicity of the Muslim dominated Security services, are we then to conclude that the Nigerian security units are so incompetent that they cannot successfully engage insurgents after the Nigerian Army successfully prosecuted a Civil War?”  [Culled from NCEF paper of 6th September, 2017. To date, no Muslim leader could refute the issues raised in the paper.]

The statement issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria on June 29, 2018 summarized the frustration of Christians in Nigeria.  It reads in part:

“Barely two months ago, from the Eternal City of Rome during our Ad Limina Visit, we, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, issued a statement expressing our grave concerns about the spate of violence in our country and the Federal Government's inability to deal with the situation. That statement came on the heels of the gruesome murder of two of our priests along with 17 other parishioners in Benue State on 24 April this year. The latest horrendous massacre of scores of innocent Nigerians, especially children and women, including pregnant women, in Plateau State, by the same rampaging and murderous terrorists who now seem to be operating without any hindrance in the Middle Belt and other parts of Nigeria, shows that our last statement, like all the others before, has been completely ignored by those, whose primary responsibility it is to protect the lives and property of Nigerians. Again, the country is likely to witness another mass burial of innocent Nigerians as a result of the serial murderous activities of a group who dearly seem to be above the law in our country and who, by their actions and words, have insisted that human lives are worth less than the lives of cattle. This shameful inversion of values portrays our country as barbaric and our society as brutish.”

It is very clear that what took place in Benue and Plateau are conventional jihad by Fulani herdsmen for the recovery of grazing routes which they regard as sacred space. Sharia provides the meaning of Sacred Space thus:

The concept of Sacred Space is a well-developed one in shariah, which centuries of commentary have established as authoritative. Indeed, shariah is an aggressively territorial system that holds all land on earth has been given by Allah to Muslims in perpetuity: Since the world already belongs in its entirety to Muslims – whether currently in reality or prospectively – they are both destined and obligated to dominate it. [Majid Khadduri, War and Peace in the Law of Islam, (Baltimore, John Hopkins, 1955)] Land already conquered and occupied by Muslims as well as any space ever gained in the past for the forces of the faith are waqf and considered sacred ground, endowed by Allah to the ummah or Muslim people forever. If ever such space has been lost, it is the duty of all Muslims to regain it, by jihad, if necessary. Chechnya, the State of Israel, Iberian Peninsula (or al-Andalus), and Indian subcontinent (Hind) are all examples of such territory, once conquered by the armies of Islam but now under the control of non-Muslims (infidels, or kuffar). In keeping with the shariah principle of Sacred Space, each of these places is to remain the target of declarations of ownership by the forces of jihad and repeated terrorist attacks and plots by Muslim jihadis intent upon returning them to the Dar al-Islam.

With the concept of sacred space in Sharia as espoused by Muslim scholars, it is very safe to conclude that what is taking place in Middle Belt is nothing but conventional jihad by Fulani herdsmen.

Sacralizing new or reclaimed territory for Islam is an ongoing venture in which migrant and converted Muslim communities in the West are constantly engaged, according to Patrick Sookhdeo, who has written extensively about the concept of Sacred Space in Islam. [Patrick Sookhdeo,“Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam”, (Isaac Publishing, McLean, Virginia, 2007)] Such Muslims may first sacralize the spaces within their own homes and mosques while later generations typically move outward to claim an ever expanding share of the public space.

This Muslim mission to sacralize new physical ground for Islam has been especially obvious in Europe. Their gigantic mosques (some have been dubbed “mega-mosques”) have been going up across the continent since the mid-20th century, when infusions of Saudi oil money began to make such massive buildings possible. The mosques, with their towering minarets, attest in a deliberately physical way to the presence and dominance of Islam. As Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated in 1998, “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets, and the faithful our soldiers.”[ Turkey’s Charismatic, Pro-Islamic Leader,” BBC News, November 4, 2002. The 1998 speech in which Erdogan recited these lines from an Islamic poem landed him in jail for inciting religious hatred. Some five years later, in 2003, he became Turkey’s Prime Minister. Accessed June 15, 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2270642.stm]

The neighborhoods around such mosques often are purchased in an incremental way, too, gradually expanding to encompass apartment buildings and even entire city blocks occupied exclusively by Muslims. By establishing network of Muslim-controlled space, in which adherence to shariah is enforced and from which non-Muslims are excluded, Islamic communities seek the ability to live in imitation of Mohammed and the earliest Muslims after the hijra (the move from Mecca to Medina). Muslims also demonstrate their dominance by requiring non-Muslims who may be permitted access to such areas to comply with shariah while in Muslim space. [Patrick Sookhdeo,“Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam”, (Isaac Publishing, McLean, Virginia, 2007)]

The concept of Sacred Space also explains why Muslims who conquer enemy territory traditionally erect mosques and Islamic Centers literally on top of the destroyed sacred places of other faiths.

In the case of Plateau State, the conquered towns/villages were renamed which makes the sacking of these towns/villages conventional jihad to re-claim sacred space.

Visit of Northern Christians to the Villa

One is therefore not surprised that Governor Lalong would rather deal with the protesters at Government House than the jihadist Fulani cattle herdsmen. The Nation publication of July 16, 2018 titled I can't support killing of Nigerians, says President, read in part:

“President Muhammadu Buhari replied his critics yesterday, saying he is doing a lot to end killings in some parts of the country. The President has been under attack by those claiming he has done little to end the killngs by people suspected to be herdsmen and bandits.  He spoke during a meeting at the State House with leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the North.  --- We, Nigerians, are religious people and no religion or culture accepts the killing of people for any reason whatsoever. This is why we must all rise as one to condemn these vile and wicked acts to ensure that all the culprits are brought to justice. --- “I, therefore, seek your support as clerics and religious leaders to join hands with this administration and give us your full support. As you all know, deploying law enforcement agencies is fully our responsibility as a government while creating the platform and mechanisms for dialogue is a collective effort.  The military and police have arrested hundreds of suspects across the various flash-points in the region and several prosecutions are going on. In a number of cases, we have seen convictions. Nigerians are right when they say they want to see more convictions and I would like to appeal to the judiciary to help us fast-track these cases. --- the problems in all these areas, as you all know, are historical. There is no administration that has not had to contend with killings in these same areas over the years. --- Indeed, in 2001, you may recall that after thousands --- We must not forget that the same Plateau State which has been crisis-ridden for years has in the past three years been celebrated for its peace. The governor’s hard work for peace and the presence of the military’s Operation Safe Haven must have had some impact. --- Government, he said, can achieve lasting peace only with the sincere and active cooperation of communities, religious leaders, youths and other stakeholders. These include the Media in whose hands lies the power to frame, shape the perspectives and narratives which influence the thinking of millions of people within and outside Nigeria. Finally, let us collectively shame those who are stoking the fires of ethnic and religious conflicts for their short-term political gains. This country belongs equally to Christians and Muslims and even those who claim ignorance of God. --- A woman in the delegation of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which met yesterday with President Muhammadu Buhari, knelt down and wept profusely before him.  She requested for a private meeting with the President over the killings. Her request was granted. Women leader of North CAN Mrs. Leah Olusiyi Solomon, knelt down, crying over the killings especially of women and children.  The woman raised up her hands while weeping. The President was touched and he directed her to liaise with the person that would arrange the meeting.  With the CAN leaders at the meeting was Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong, whose state witnessed the recent orgy of killings.  The CAN leaders demanded a review of the country’s security architecture and an immediate end to incessant killings by suspected armed herdsmen.  The Christian leaders also called on President Buhari to ensure the release of the abducted Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, who is being held by Boko Haram for refusing to denounce her Christian faith.  In his presentation, CAN President  North, Rev. Yakubu Pam said the review of security architecture in the country would give the security apparatus a new lease of life and responsiveness to earn the required trust, confidence, and support of the general populace.  He also lamented the continuous abduction of underage Christian girls who were forcibly converted to Islamic religion and given out for marriage without the consent of their parents, which he said breeds religious disharmony.  The group urged President Buhari to intensify and speed up actions for the release of girls in captivity, especially Leah Sharibu.  Pam said: “All communities ravaged by the herdsmen violence in the North should be rebuilt and adequate security be put in place to enable displaced persons to return to their homes and means of livelihood.  The Federal Government should roll out a robust advocacy programme to enlighten the nomadic herders on modern cattle rearing against open grazing and roaming across states and national boundaries. Other demands of the group include that “the federal government should encourage herders to acquire land for cattle ranching across the country as a means of private business investment.”  [Emphasis supplied]

The problem is that jihad is one of the tenets of Muslim faith; we have no doubt that President Buhari as a devout Muslim had often said in the past that he would work for the establishment of Sharia in Nigeria.  We also do not doubt him when he said that he cannot support the killings of Nigerians. The question however, is whether he can bring the perpetrators to book especially when we re-call another tenet of Islam, Taqiyya that permits lying.

 

The statement of CBCN continues:

We, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria are devastated by these acts of insensitivity and disrespect for the dignity of human life. We are equally sad that the Federal Government continues to find it difficult to proactively address the issue of these wanton killings. We have said it before and it bears repeating that it can no longer be regarded as mere coincidence that the suspected perpetrators of these heinous crimes are of the same religion as all those who control the security apparatus of our country, including the President himself. Words are no longer enough for the President and his service chiefs to convince the rest of the citizens that these killings are n0t part of a larger religious project,”

This piece should be read against the following statement contained in the communique of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria to wit:

“Once again, we ask President Muhammadu Buhari to please save this country from further pain and avoidable chaos, anarchy and doom. May we here repeat what we said in our last statement: “If the President cannot keep our country safe, then he automatically loses the trust of the citizens. He should no longer continue to preside over the killing fields and mass graveyard that our country has become.  We continue to pray for peace and harmony in our country and invite all men and women of goodwill to do the same.

Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze, Archbishop of Benin City, President, CBCN

Most Rev. Camillus Umoh, Bishop of Ikot Ekpene, Secretary, CBCN”

It is very clear that the Catholic Bishops are speaking the minds of all Christians, men and women of good-will in Nigeria. In the circumstance, it is also clear that President Buhari has not done enough to protect Christians and non-Islamists in Nigeria.

Issue 3

NSCIA stated: “The Chairman of CAN, Bauchi State Branch one Reverend Joshua Ray Miller has described the killings of Christians by Muslims as “the handiwork of saboteurs and a grand conspiracy to make Nigeria ungovernable” thereby making “the Buhari administration appear unpopular as the 2019 general elections approach.” The Reverend refuted the allegation of Fulani herdsmen killing Nigerians adding that “some politicians were sponsoring criminals to perpetrate heinous crimes in the Northern part of the country”

There is something common with the defense of Sharia by most Muslims especially the NSCIA and that is the dropping of Christian names to support their argument that some Christians in Nigeria do not support the claims made by NCEF.  This is illogical because no matter what Cardinal John Onaiyekan says in private, he is bound by the decisions of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) referred to above.  Members of the NCEF have not paraded themselves as religious leaders, but elders willing and able to share knowledge and wisdom with Christians and others who may want to listen.

When we see the title Reverend before an all English name as in Joshua Ray Miller, we begin to wonder whether the names are pseudonyms of some Muslims masquerading as Christian.  Our suspicion becomes more when the statements are political as credited to the so-called Reverend gentleman. It is clear that no Christian Reverend in today’s Nigeria will come out with the type of statements credited to them and to even claim that it is “the handiwork of saboteurs and a grand conspiracy to make Nigeria ungovernable.” Taqiyya (lies and deceits) are permissible in Islam and Reverend Joshua Ray Miller may yet be an operative in the Muslim dominated SSS or DSS.

It is also clear that the Caliphate in Nigeria wishes to establish a theocracy, under the guise that separation of Church and State does not apply to Islam and that Islam is a way of life and cannot be separated from the state.  The reason for the separation in Christendom of the Church and State is to protect religion from the State.  Countries that have had this separation since Reformation have progressed more than those in the Middle Eastern countries, where the holy book (Quran) is their constitution.  Further, a fundamental principle of constitutional democracy is that all citizens have equal standing in the public square.  Religious leaders should be more circumspect and restrained in addressing political issues in a democracy.  Politics tend to corrupt religion, blurring the distinction between the temporal and eternal, the sacred and profane.  The integrity of religion must always be maintained. In that case, citizens who are religious like all other citizens, should as much as possible, put forth arguments on the basis of public reasoning that are accessible to everyone.  Church leaders must not claim supernatural powers to communicate with God, which other citizens do not have especially on matters concerning politics.

The CAN President had approved July 8 – 9, 2018 for a demonstration, to show Christian concern over the killings in the country by Fulani herdsmen.  When he postponed the demonstration indefinitely, his reason was that “God spoke to him that Christians have won and there was no need for demonstration.”  This is not democratic or logical but a choice posed between monolithic (rigid) religion and monolithic (rigid) secularism that is being borrowed from Islamism.  Nigeria needs to separate religion from politics to ensure unity and progress.  

Suspension of Christian Protest by CAN President     

It was announced by the Assistant General Secretary of CAN on 6th July, 2018 that the proposed Christian protest scheduled for 11th July, 2018, which was pronounced by the CAN President  has been postponed for “logistics” reasons. Later, the CAN President clarified the “logistics” reason. It was that “God spoke to him that Christians have won and there was no need for demonstration.” Are we to conclude that at this level of spiritual leadership, the President of CAN could embark on such an important Christian action without hearing from God?

For those who have been observing the leadership pattern of the CAN President, what is strange is who convinced him of such a protest in the first instance. Going by his antecedents, the CAN President has created the impression that he is in the habit of frustrating any concrete action by Christians that will indict or condemn political Islam in Nigeria. This is the reason why the NCEF repeatedly asked to know on whose side the CAN President really stands, Islamists or Christians?

The CAN President was sworn-in in July 2016 and has since  then  been  demonstrating conflict of loyalty  between Christianity and   Islam.  The NCEF   has observed seven (7) instances  in  which the current  President of  CAN  truncated Christian  moves  to indict Islamists of  genocide and attack on Christians.

1.    The CAN President  frustrated Christian protest at US Congress in the wake of John Kerry’s visit to Nigeria in August 2016. CLASFON and NCEF had jointly prepared a protest letter to the US Congress that the visit of the then Secretary of State was divisive and calculated to portray Nigeria as a Sultanate. All that was required was for the CAN President  to sign the letter so that it could be presented by Christians in the US. Suddenly, the CAN President  announced that the US Ambassador to Nigeria came to his office with a letter of apology. (This was completely untrue. Someone came from the US Embassy to see him but it was not the Ambassador.) Consequently, he felt it would not be right for him to sign the letter of protest after accepting the letter of apology. When the issue was raised later, it became clear that both the Vice President of CAN and the late General Secretary did not see the letter, neither were they privy to the decision to suspend the protest at the US Congress. Both the Vice-President and General Secretary, as principal officers, were in Abuja and were neither contacted nor were they part of the decision to suspend protest at the US Congress. 

2.   Unilateral cancellation of the International Day of Christian Protest on 19th March, 2017. NEC passed a resolution during its meeting of 28th February, 2017 that Christians should observe an International Day of Mourning. A few days to the D-Day, the CAN President called from outside the country requesting the Vice CAN President  to plead with Heads of Blocs to cancel the program based on information he received from Muslims that they would attack Christians if the protest was held. Interestingly, the only Head of Bloc who insisted the program should go on was the CCN Head of Bloc.  The CAN President was later heard to change the narrative that it was the Heads of the Blocs who called that he should cancel the program. That global protest would have gone a long way to expose and disarm the Islamists but was cancelled without recourse to NEC that passed the resolution.

3.   During the tenure of President Oritsejafor, arrangements were made for the CAN President to meet with an American Congressman sympathetic to the Nigerian Christians’ plight. The meeting finally came through and was scheduled for March 28, 2017 after Pastor Oritsejafor  had   left  office.  NCEF, due to  its   involvement  in facilitating the meeting, prepared a paper for the current CAN President focusing on the issues at stake in the country.  The CAN President  not only refused to use the paper, but presented a paper on tourism, TINAPA, mineral resources, Olumo Rock, Ikogosi Spring, Yankari Game Reserve, and so on. The first two pages of his seven page paper presented to the Congressman focused on tourism and investment. Meanwhile Christians are being slaughtered in their hundreds.

4.   The CAN President refused to sign the letter of protest to SSS/DSS on February 28, 2017.  The SSS had arrested Laity Trustees of the CAN Trust Fund: Gen. Dogonyaro (rtd), Dame Priscilla Kuye, Justice Anigbogu (rtd), Mrs. Osaretin Demuren and Mr. Tunde Lemo but surprisingly, the Chairman of the Trust Fund (CAN President), was left out.  An agreement was reached on February 15, 2017 between the NCEF and the CAN President that NCEF would write a protest letter which would be signed by him. During the meeting of NEC on February 28, 2017, the CAN President  suddenly announced that he would no longer sign the letter as earlier agreed and delegated the task to the Legal Adviser of CAN. By the time the letter was eventually sent to the SSS, significant portions of the document had been deleted leaving a watery document that did not convey the angst of Christians on the embarrassment. The CAN President was later heard to claim that it was NEC that instructed him not to sign the letter. The statement is untrue as NEC did not tell him not to sign but he announced that he would not do so.

5.   After series of meeting with various key players in politics and governance, NCEF requested a meeting with Church leaders to discuss the issue of Jihad and Christian participation in governance. After granting approval, the CAN President turned around and claimed that he was never informed about the meeting and no Church leader should attend. To press his point home, he issued another letter that CAN Executive joined him in taking the decision to cancel the program. It was untrue as he acted alone.

6.   When the NCEF insisted on proceeding with the meeting on the basis that the CAN President  had earlier given approval, the CAN President  issued another statement that NEC joined him to take a decision that the National Christian Center should be locked up from being used for the meeting. 

7.   The latest occurrence is the protest slated for July 11, 2018 which has now been suspended for “logistics” reasons. Whoever is surprised does not know the conflict of interests currently playing out in CAN. It is definitely not in the interest of Christians.

    

Now is not the time for prayers alone, but prayers and action. From the facts enumerated above, it became very clear to the NCEF that the CAN President (possibly as an operative), is serving the interests of political Islamists that want to turn Nigeria into a Sultanate.  As this is a matter of life and death for Christians (jihad) in a secular country known as Nigeria, covering up is no longer an option.  One cannot but agree with John Neuhaus who wrote in 2007 thus:

“Thank God, and thank the American Founders, our circumstance is very different. Ours is a pluralistic society in which, by the means of representative democracy, all citizens whether religious, nonreligious, antireligious, or undecided are on an equal footing as they bring their diverse and sometimes conflicting moral visions to bear on the great question of politics how ought we to order our life together? The resolution before the house is "Religion and politics should always be kept separate." Because it violates the First Amendment guarantee of the free exercise of religion and associated guarantees such as free speech, because it is alien to the American experience, and because it could not be implemented without undermining the equality essential to a pluralistic and democratic society, I urge you to defeat this profoundly illiberal resolution.” [Debating the Separation of Religion and Politics/The Bishops’ Conscience Clause}

Fortunately, from 1960, Nigeria had and still has a written Constitution:

“(1) This Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on the authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(2) The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall not be governed, nor shall any persons or group of persons take control of the Government of Nigeria or any part thereof, except in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.

(3) If any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.” [Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999]

Unfortunately some Pastors have been lured with wealth and power to promote extreme religiosity under the guise of rejecting monolithic secularity. Christians must understand the tenets of Islam not to regard the religion as an adversity but why and how we, must as a people order our lives together.  In essence, this should portray as Nigerians who wish to have a free country in a free world.

Issue 4

NSCIA stated: The NSCIA called on Nigerians to heed the warning given by the General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Church, Pastor William Folorunso Kumuyi that we should “be vigilant, wary of those who kill for political reasons to resurrect religious war”

The advice given by the General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Church Ministry Pastor Williams Kumuyi for vigilance is appropriate and timely.  This must be differentiated from the statement by agents of Islamism among church leaders.

The CAN Trust Fund was introduced to raise funds for Christians to meet the demands of rehabilitating and re-constructing Mission schools and Churches and other related activities.  On Monday, June 13, 2016, one Rev. Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua sent an e-mail to Pastor Bosun, which reads:

“Subject: Re: Why Every Christian Should ...

Dear Pastor Bosun and co-elders

Thanks very much for your mail and your efforts at CAN TRUST FUND. Your approach to this project is very worrisome and I am afraid if people will not understand you to be sourcing for funds to build a Christian Army to fight the Muslims. Moreover It is good to know that there is something the gun cannot kill and that money cannot buy peace and unity. You reduce Christians to mere children by assuming that the disunity on CAN is from without whereas the problem is deeply within. I strongly suggest that you design a renewed Christian approach to this ICAN project so that the CHRISTIAN ELDERS do not further polo rise the body of Christ in Nigeria.  Love and peace  Fr. CORNELIUS” [Emphasis supplied]

It is very surprising that CAN Trust Fund could be interpreted to support buying arms and waging a crusade against Muslims in Nigeria in the 21st Century.  The Chairman of NCEF, the undersigned, who himself, is a Roman Catholic, sent an appropriate reply part of which reads:

Pastor Bosun is not an Elder but Secretary to the Forum. In our paper titled “WEAPONS WIN JIHADS BUT IT TAKES IDEAS TO WIN THE PEACE” we affirmed:

“Christians have no choice but to transform CAN into an established organization for the promotion and protection of Christianity in Nigeria in the face of the threat of Islamism otherwise known as – Political Islam, which has no single creed or political manifesto but certain common beliefs such as that (1) Nigerian Society should be reconstructed in line with the religious principles and ideals of Islam.

(2).      The Islamists are demanding that the principles of governance enunciated in Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution should be replaced by the norms of an Islamic State in which religious principles and authority have primacy over  political principles and authority; and

(3).      That the West and Western values which Christians and some Muslims over the years, have adopted in Nigeria are corrupt and, to an extent, justifies Jihad against the West and Nigeria and its values.”

Rev. Fr. Omonokhua again in 2018, wrote an article titled Say “No” To Religious War! claiming that the opinion expressed in the publication is his not that of the Catholic Church, where he made some startling  remarks that include:

“The desire of every extremist, terrorist and those who politicize religion is to cause religious war.  To achieve their aim, they operate as if they are speaking in the name of an organized religious body such as the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA). For this reason, responsible Christians and Muslims must say NO to their efforts. In the Catholic Church akin to other organized religious institutions there is what is called “personal opinion” and “official statements” either from an Episcopal Conference or from the Holy Father the Pope. I say this because some people who seek to make religious institutions and organizations chaotic by causing intra-religious conflict do not seek the welfare of the people.  --- The publication in Punch newspaper on Saturday, June 23, 2018 sounds like a clarion call for war. The publication states that “The present generation of Christians in Nigeria may cease to exist in 25 years from now (2043), beginning from 2018”. This was credited to “a group of Christians under the aegis of ‘National Christian Elders Forum’”. --- After naming the members of this forum, the report added that the Secretary of NCEF, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel, expressed these fears in his paper entitled: “Impact of lack of unity in CAN as threat to Christian faith.” Emmanuel Bosun said that “the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in Nigeria is openly pursuing an anti-Christian agenda that has resulted in countless murders of Christians all over the nation and destruction of vulnerable Christian communities” (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

He went on:

This publication does not represent the consensus of all the Christians in Nigeria. It is not the collective decision of the National Executive Council of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN NEC). The general public and readers of Pastor Bosun’s publication should take serious note that the “National Christian Elders Forum” is not in the organogram of CAN. The Constitution of CAN only recognizes the “President in Council” that comprises responsible Christian leaders who play the role of responsible elders. These Church leaders are committed to the promotion of Christian Unity and Peaceful Co-existence with people of other religions. The President in Council do not have the mandate to echo the sounds of inter-religious war. ---The publication of Pastor Bosun shows that the “Christian Elder’s forum” is anti-CAN leadership. May they not drag innocent Christians into unnecessary religious war. No responsible institution would come to the open to wash dirty linens in the pages of the newspapers. --- These clarifications are necessary because the publications by the “Christian Elders Forum” have been credited to CAN by Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC). Professor Is-haq Akintola, the President of MURIC should not think that these drums of war are the decisions of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria. The readers should know that even the CAN President  is under serious attack by the “Elder’s Forum”.  MURIC should also note that the July 18, 2017 publication in the “Renaissance” tilted, “ Stop politicizing religion: MURIC warns CAN and belligerent retired Christian military generals” --- It is a pity that the Christian Elders have brought CAN and its immediate past President to ridicule with this question  by MURIC: --- I beg the “Christian Elders Forum” to respect the leadership of CAN and our dear Pastor Ayo whom they claim to be their founder.  --- What Nigeria needs now is for Muslims and Christians to jointly demand for justice and accountability from the leaders we gave our votes to make Nigeria a developed nation such that every Nigerian citizen would live in comfort. --- What we need now is a human being who is a Nigerian that has value for human dignity and care for the common good to be voted as our leader. Preparing for war in 2019 and prophesying the extinction of any religion is not what Nigeria needs now. It is an insult to humanity to count only numbers of those who have died or displaced due to security challenges. Have these killings really respected any religion? Human beings who are Nigerians are being killed on a daily basis by hunger, kidnappers, armed robbers, ritualists, political thugs, religious extremists, terrorists and herdsmen. These are the enemies we should fight and bring to justice rather than instigating Christians and Muslims to prepare for inter-religious war. We must say NO to war and YES to peaceful co-existence. May God save us from unguided insinuations and threat to peace! [Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua is the Director of the department of Mission and Dialogue, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Blog: www.omonokhua.blogspot.com)]

It is pertinent to note that the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria had earlier suspended relations with CAN at the National level and gave conditions that should be met for them to return. Yet Fr. Omonokhua decided to speak not for the Catholic Church but to express his personal opinion, as the megaphone of the Muslims Rights Concern (MURIC) and the CAN President .  It is interesting to note that this article was not only published, but also circulated by him to prominent Muslims: Alhajis, Alhajas, Imams, Sheikhs including the Sultan of Sokoto via e-mail. Rev. Omonokhua has since been appointed as the Secretary of Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC) as a befitting reward for his service to Islamists in Nigeria.  The implication is that as Secretary of NIREC, the Islamists would have a sympathizer and dialogue with Christians will be reduced to a monologue of the Islamists. 

In this category, we place the incumbent CAN President , who cancelled Christian peaceful protest claiming that his action was in obedience to the voice of God that has already granted Christians victory in Nigeria.  In a recent statement, he accused Christian Elders of being “terrorists.”

A day after the called off proposed march, the Daily Trust Friday, July 13, 2018 with a front-page caption How 3,000 were killed in Zamfara in two years … what President Buhari should do – Dansadau, declared:

About 3,000 persons were killed in Zamfara State by bandits in the last two years, with over N1.2 billion paid as ransom to secure the release of residents abducted during the period.  This was disclosed by a former Senator Sa’idu Dansadau during a press conference in Abuja yesterday. He said the killings took place between June 2016 and June 2018.  He said 682 villages and towns were sacked by the bandits causing residents to flee to neighbouring states of Katsina and Kebbi. The former lawmaker said 2,706 farms were also destroyed, just as 13,838 cattle, and 11,088 sheep and goats were looted.  Reeling out the statistics of the banditry, Dansadau said of the 682 villages and towns destroyed and deserted, residents were only able to return to 374 of them because of the intensity of the crimes. He said the bandits during the period under review stole motorcycles totalling 2,244.  Dansadau, who urged President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the aid of the residents of the state, said he arrived at these figures by multiplying the figures obtained from Dansadau state constituency by 22 other constituencies affected by banditry.

Christians in Nigeria have been at the receiving end of Islamist brutality and cruelty (jihad). The pattern is that the Islamists strike at will and the Christians do nothing. A peaceful demonstration is not a war cry.  A demonstration that may involve civil disobedience is appropriate to serve as an expression of disapproval of killings in the country.

National Christian Elders’ Forum is merely sharing knowledge and wisdom

We, of the National Christian Elders’ Forum (NCEF), do not claim that we are the voice of God but from our ages and experience in life, the best we can do is to share our worldly experience with other Nigerians.  Therefore when General Danjuma a highly decorated General who was Chief of Army Staff, Minister of Defence etc with the second highest national honor of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), told Nigerians not to rely on the Army for protection in that ethnic cleansing being perpetrated in some states of the Federation, is evidence of his disapproval in the military he had served meritoriously for almost six decades.  Rather than accept the admonition as a wakeup call, the Director of State Services (DSS) decided to harass him by trying to prevent him from leaving Nigeria a week after the statement and went further to get the Accra Tower to prevent any private plane from Nigeria from landing in Accra.  It took the intervention of the Presidency in Ghana to overrule the Tower before General Danjuma could land for a four day visit to Ghana.  This is Islamism (Sharia not Democracy).   Lawyers in the Elder’s Forum who have over six decades in the practice and involvement with the law in Nigeria, should know the difference between Democracy and Sharia.

It is clear from the above, that the Nigerian Government and the people are on two different distinct frequencies.  The Constitution provides for freedom of movement etc and to deprive an eminent Nigerian of this freedom, constitute stealth jihad.  In any case, ethnic cleansing is conventional jihad.

Issue 5

NSCIA statement: The NSCIA named three out of the 24 members of NCEF, Elder Solomon Asemota SAN, Prof. Joseph Otubu and the General-Secretary Pastor Bosun Emmanuel as “Religious Drivers of Murder” attempting to set the country ablaze with dangerous distortions, spurious claims and outright lies. The NSCIA came to these conclusion without facts, but we cannot describe the allegations as fake news.

Democracy and Sharia

Most ordinary Muslims have come to the conclusion that democracy and citizens’ rights are incompatible in Islam.  Unfortunately, not all Muslims subscribe to this idea. Most Muslims in Nigeria especially those in the South, value a number of democratic principles and they see no contradiction between democratic values and religious principles.  However most modern Muslims do not want a theocracy nor a secular democracy and would opt for a third model in which religious principles and democratic values co-exist.  It is very clear that the present civil dispensation in Aso Villa holds the view that democracy and Islam are simply incompatible.  The reason this is “that democracy requires human delegation and the act of making law places human sovereignty above that of God who alone is sovereign.

Sharia and Democracy

“For Islamists of a radical disposition, like the influential Egyptian activist Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966; see Qutb 1953; Musallam 2005) democracy and Islam are simply incompatible. The reason this is so is that democracy requires human legislation, and the very act of making law places human sovereignty above that of God, who alone is sovereign (a sovereignty referred to as hakimiyya; see Abou EI Fadl2004, 7; Carre 2003,192-94; Moussalli 1992,149-72). For strict-constructionist believers like these, there can neither be law nor legislation other than that revealed by God to humans by way of the Prophet Muhammad. To claim otherwise, and to suggest that humans can craft laws in light of the changed circumstances of the age, is to arrogate a legislative function which is God’s alone. (Musallam 2005)

Many modernists are quick to add that democracy for Muslims is subject to one critical ethical qualification. Even as they affirm that God has allowed humans to craft laws and construct democracy, these authors insist that the legislation that results from these activities must not contradict either of the two types of injunctions that, according to long-established scholarly understandings, lie at the heart of the shari'a. These are, first, the shari'a's “universal” rulings, rather few in number, on matters like murder, theft, fornication, inheritance, and (according to some jurists) apostasy. All of these rulings are mentioned directly in the Qur’an or in traditions of the Prophet and, as a result, are thought to be absolutely certain and applicable for all time. The second type of provision democratic legislation must not contradict is anything related to the shari’a’s goals or higher objective (Ar. maqasid, sing. maqsad; see Auda 2008; Raysuni 2005; Weiss 1998, 54-58).”  [Shari’a Politics Islamic Law and Society in the Modern World, edited by Robert W. Hefner, pgs. 6 – 7]

From the above, it is very clear that Nigeria’s problem of unity is conflict of two ideologies – Democracy by-product of Christianity etc and Sharia a by-product of Islam.  In the book The Tales of June 12, Prof. Omo-Omoruyi stated what one can regard as  the view of the elite Northern Muslim:

“Alhaji Saleh told me that in his own words his definition of democracy: “Professor, my vote is not the same weight as the vote of the Emir of Bauchi and the vote of the Emir of Bauchi is not the same weight as the vote of the Sultan of Sokoto”.  He then said “that is why we are not going to accept the mandate which Chief Abiola is claiming”.  He added that if I was able to develop a new political education programme to reflect this new and curious philosophy of democracy, I would get money and much more from the Head of State for the Centre and for myself.  It was obvious that he was thinking of buying me just as many people I had always respected gave up their honour and collected money from the regime’s handlers during this period.” [pg. 34]        

 

All we of the NCEF did was to look back at six decades of our involvement in the affairs of Nigeria and came to the conclusion that while one section of Nigeria is working for the promotion of Democracy, another section is sabotaging it for the promotion of Sharia.  This conclusion cannot be faulted by any discerning Nigerian Christian, Muslim or Animist.

Sharia also has a universal ruling on matters concerning murder, theft, fornication, inheritance and apostasy, matters directly in the Quran or in traditions of the Prophet and therefore under the category of “absolute certainty and applicable for all time”.  Democratic legislation must therefore not contradict anything related to sharia, goal or higher objectives.

Slander/Blasphemy in Sharia  

To single out three names Elder Solomon Asemota SAN, Professor Joseph Otubu and Pastor Emmanuel Bosun out of the 24 member NCEF is to suggest that those whose names were mentioned have been found guilty of slander/blasphemy which, under Sharia, means “anything that might offend a Muslim”. Such naming is an indirect way of pronouncing fatwa against those named.  Some Muslims in Nigeria are offended, no doubt, because we exhibit knowledge of the Islamic law – Sharia, embarrassing to the Sunni Muslims.  As one of the important tenets of Sharia, Slander/Blasphemy is viewed in the same vein as other tenets including Islamic supremacy: “a person should not speak of anything he notices about people besides that which benefits a Muslim to relate or prevent disobedience.” Umat al-Salik v 3:1.

From the above, it is very clear that “any system of man-made law is considered illicit under Islamic law.  For those adherents, Allah has already provided the only law permitted - Sharia”, therefore Islam and Democracy cannot exist in harmony.  “And if any fail to judge by the height of what Allah has revealed, they are not better than unbelievers.” [Q5:47]  Finally, Sharia cannot be amended to conform to changing human values and standards but it is the absolute norm to which all human values and conduct must conform says Yousef al-Qaradawi Spiritual leader, Muslim Brotherhood.  In the above circumstance, Christian leaders must join hands to encourage some Muslims who are not Islamists to make disclosures about Islamism.  We, Christians, are entitled to know the limit of some tenets of Islam - Abrogation, Adultery, Apostasy, Female Genital Mutilation, ‘Honor’ Killing, Hudud Punishments, Islamic Supremacy, Jew Hatred, Jihad - stealth and conventional, Lying/Taqiyya, Slander/Blasphemy, Underage Marriage, Zakat and Sharia vis-à-vis Democracy. 

Three of us, non-Muslims, are entitled to make these demands in that (a) amalgamation of the two Nigerias was for the South to bail out the North and the two Nigerias to become not two, three, four, twelve, nineteen, etc today 36 and one federal capital territory.  The South bailed out the North and is this entitled to know what the North represents – Sharia or Democracy? It is pertinent to remind all that the Penal Code of the North has harmonized the criminal law of Northern Nigeria with the promulgation of the Penal Code on October 1, 1960, which provided criminal law applicable to all citizens in the North, internationally accepted and compliant with Islamic law; (b) In the struggle for independence, the South played a more prominent role than the North but most of the fruits of independence went to the North, especially the Restructuring Revenue. (c)  Non-Muslims are now demanding for a Truth, Reconciliation and Restructure and the North cannot deny them.

Problems of CAN and Nigeria

The problems of CAN are a replication, in a wider form, of the problems of Nigeria.  The conflict in CAN is as a result of two agendas – one by the CAN President and the other by the NCEF.  The CAN President and his supporters act and behave as operatives of the Intelligence Service dominated by Muslims and want to high-jack CAN for the benefit of Muslim political Islamists in Nigeria.  The NCEF on the other hand, alarmed at the manner and speed with which Sharia, especially jihad had taken place in Nigeria in the new form of Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen, decided to act proactively.  In the past it was Araba and pogrom. The 1999 Constitution - a compendium of military decrees is nothing but stealth jihad as in the Land Use Act and the NSO (SSS) Act.  These two Acts are nothing but stealth jihad given constitutional protection by way of amendment.  The result is confusion, insecurity, violence, etc that is pushing Nigeria to the precipice and yet the AGF says that the President has the right and duty to decide whether to deny a Nigerian bail after such has been granted bail by the law court, thus making the executive, supervisors of the Judiciary. This is baseless and contemptuous.  Rule of law is being subverted by the President who is assuming the posture of being above the law.  The point being made is that any Christian who speaks for Christians is subject to scrutiny by Christians not only members of the CAN executive.

It is said that words matter but actions matter more while “faith is belief in action”. 

As Christians, NCEF has the responsibility of sharing knowledge with humanity.  It is our hope and prayer that our papers and the following publications will serve as materials for dialogues - jaw jaw (not jihad) with Muslims including Islamists.  We have no weapon, we however rely on the humanity of non-Islamist Muslims in Nigeria and all men and women of goodwill throughout the world.  Nigeria needs a common denominator – Democracy not two  ideologies:  Sharia in competition with Democracy.

Any Christian especially Church leaders working for the Islamists in Nigeria, is working for Sharia not Democracy.  It will not be out of place to suggest that some Church leaders are operatives given the way and manner they use all means at their disposal to truncate the desire of Christians to be independent of the handouts from government.

Issue 6

NSCIA statement:  NSCIA alleged that Pastor Bosun hiding under NCEF wanted to set Nigeria ablaze when he prepared and distributed “dangerous distortions, spurious claims and outright lies.”  “Their strategy is to stir the emotions of the unwary majority and appeal to the primordial sentiments of their religious followers”

It is untrue that Pastor Bosun distributed any dangerous distortions, spurious claims and outright lies.  The videos distributed were produced by Boko Haram and all that Pastor Bosun did was to appeal to Christians to be mindful of what was going on, jihad and ethnic cleansing, to draw attention to the fact that Christians were the main target, thereby appealing to Christians to be careful and at the same time to be their brothers’ keepers by the provision of food, materials for internally displaced persons, etc.  There was nothing distorted or spurious, they were facts that cannot be controverted because they were authentic pictures of destroyed Church buildings, executions and evil.  In the Vanguard newspaper of Saturday, July 21, 2018, the photographs of about 20 suspects were displayed, who abducted the Chibok girls in 2014. One Maita Albaji Modu confessed being a Boko Haram top commander etc.  Pastor Bosun provided awareness as to what was happening in Borno State that had claimed well over 20,000 lives, millions worth of properties and over one million internally displaced persons.  In the Sun newspaper of July 31, 2018 an article titled Again, US demands trial of people behind killings in Nigeria, stated thus:

“The United States has, again, urged Nigerian Government to arrest and prosecute people behind killings of innocent persons in the Middle Belt region of the country.  Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Abuja, David Young, who made the call, said prosecuting those arrested in connection with the killings in Plateau, Benue, Zamfara, Taraba and other parts of the country, would be a step towards ending the circle of violence.--- The US government condemned, in the strongest terms, the violence which claimed innocent lives here in Plateau State, the Middle Belt and across Nigeria. The killing of innocent persons is not acceptable, whether in Plateau, Zamfara, Benue, Borno, Delta, Taraba states and any other part of the country.  We, as a people of faith, must submit ourselves to God; we love God, but, some people don’t submit themselves to God. We must ensure that the criminals who commit this terrible act must be caught and prosecuted, we must break the circle of impunity.  We call for effective reinforcement to arrest and prosecute the criminal elements and evil men. It is absolutely essential that those arrested should face charges in court, because bringing the criminal people to justice is a first step to end the violence.  He charged Nigerians to dedicate themselves and work as drivers of conflicts resolution in the Middle Belt, Borno and the Niger Delta to enthrone peace in the country. Young cautioned that effort must be made to halt the impending scarcity of land and resources in the country, particularly in the Middle Belt, to avert generational crisis. We must work as drivers of resolution of conflicts in Plateau, across the Middle Belt, in Borno, Niger Delta and beyond this country, because here, in the Middle Belt, we see there is a competition for land and resources, and it will get more in years to come.  It’s time for everyone to realise, in Nigeria, that your country’s population is growing fast, and in 30 years to come, the population of Nigeria will grow from 190 million to about 400 million, and most of this population will be found in the Middle Belt region of the country. The challenges we face about land and resources is not going to get easier, it will get hotter and your children and your grant children will face greater challenges in the future; this is a crisis and we must give it a long term solution in Plateau State and all over Nigeria. We want different groups, farming communities and others to work together with government, to find solutions about their future and for everyone. My hope for Nigeria is that people will think about this, talk about this and work together to find solution now, because the attention the country needs is so much.  He applauded the Imam of Yelwa Gindin-Akwati, Alhaji Abdullahi Abubakar, for saving over 300 women and children during the recent bloody attacks which consumed several lives in the villages of Barki-Ladi Local Government Area.”  [Emphasis supplied]

 

The above statement shows clearly that the International Community has lifted the veil of deception.  Nigeria is one of the very few countries in the world with internally displaced persons.  It is unfortunate that some Islamists like the NSCIA are in the habit of attacking the messengers and the message of reconciliation and calling them names.  The NSCIA is yet to tell Nigerians whether jihad – conventional or stealth and Taqiyya are not other tenets of Islam? If it is correct and we know it is, then Nigeria cannot progress by substituting agreed truth with falsehood.  The same applies to Democracy and Sharia, whether they are compatible or not.  Some Muslim scholars say they are not, others say they are and as conduct speaks louder than voice, Muslims in Government today, especially the Attorney-General of the Federation does not believe in the rule of law and the compatibility of Sharia with Democracy.

Issue 7

NSCIA stated: The NSCIA accused Pastor Bosun of producing concocted videos, circulated “to incite Christians and thwart the electoral victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2014 and that among what he said was “that General Sani Abacha was the best President Nigeria ever had. His reason for reaching that conclusion was simply that General Abacha deposed a Sultan”

Pastor  Bosun is  entitled to  his opinion on whom he  considers the best President Nigeria had. After all, President Buhari also said publicly that  Abacha never stole any money.

However there is need to comment on General Sani Abacha and why he deposed Sultan Dasuki.  It was for two reasons, one personal and the other political.  With respect to the personal, this was based on information available to most Nigerians at the time that Abacha was in business with Sultan Dasuki’s son who later died in an air accident in Kano, Abacha requested for account of the business but Sultan Dasuki was reported to have told Abacha that he was unaware of such business transaction.  As everyone knew, Abacha  had been involved in “business” even as a Major in the Army as evidenced by the recovery of various accounts in some parts of the world, classified as Abacha’s loot.

The political reason for deposing Sultan Dasuki was that Abacha, as Chief of Army Staff and later Head of State, was nicknamed Kalif, meaning successor to the Prophet.  The Sultan as Seriki Muslimi by inference is head of the Muslims in Nigeria.  It is on record that Sultan Dasuki, over the years, had fought for and enhanced the status of Muslims in Nigeria – Aniagolu in his Report wrote:

“The Moslem Students' Society (M.S.S.)-This militant students' organization with headquarters in Lagos, is believed to have been set up, with the active encouragement of GUMI and JNI, to propound extreme religious views in furtherance of the JNI's objectives. Its executive members particularly in its branches in Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, University of Sokoto and Bayero University Kano, are known to be extremists. The M.S.S. branches in the North have no belief in the Nigerian Constitution, do not recognize the existence of the Federal Government, and abhor the sale and consumption of alcohol in the campuses where they exist. M.S.S. extremists also have a firm belief in the ultimate attainment of an Islamic state in the country; through an Iranian-type revolution.” [Report of Tribunal of Inquiry on Kano Disturbances, pg. 88]

At that time, Sultan Dasuki was the General Secretary of Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) with Muslim Brotherhood’s propensities which developed into present day political Islam.

The above reasons amongst others were why Sultan Dasuki was deposed.  A large group of Muslims in Sokoto, some Princes and King Makers did not accept Sultan Dasuki’s appointment as Sultan.  Therefore, making an issue of an individual’s opinion based on personal perception can only come from the hearts and minds of those who believe in Taqiyya to whip up sentiments. The fact remains that Nigerians celebrated the exit  of  Abacha.

 

Issue 8

NSCIA stated: The NSCIA called on the Federal Government to take security seriously and be proactive by preventing anarchists, whether in religious or political garbs, from exacerbating our woes through their new-found industry of fake news, hate speeches and violent language because some religious leaders hoodwink their audience that they are speaking on behalf of God, the extent to which these elements have poisoned the hearts of gullible Nigerians is hard to imagine.

This call by the NSCIA is not only Taqiyya but also stealth jihad.  In this presentation, we have showed how CAN was taken over by some Christians with the aid and professional backing of the Islamist Intelligence Service (Mukharabat).  We have also shown that these Mukharabats have ensured that (a) Christians are prevented from having a Trust Fund, so that Christians remain helpless and vulnerable in the face of jihad of Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen.  Stealth jihad, however include how the CAN President was elected, his strategy since election that culminated in the purported dissolution of the Trustees of the CAN Trust Fund; (b) the strategy of first promoting a parallel organization within CAN (popular with Islamists) with a group of operatives dictating issues in CAN, is not new. It is an age old ploy that has rendered traditional institutions, unions, professional associations even Church denominations in Nigeria compliant and powerless after the takeover of these organizations by operatives (Mukharabats).  Christians Elders will not allow this to happen to CAN.  We thank God for hearing our prayers.

The sum total of (a) and (b) above is to make Nigeria anti-democratic with a lower index of Human Development.  The CAN President  and his Mukharabat Excos cannot be said to have specific competence in political, economic and military strategies and also do not possess any particular tactic that qualifies them to insult their elders calling them “terrorists” especially those who possess the competence and strategies based of age and position held in these fields spanning over six decades.  No Church leader should fabricate messages from God to lead Nigerians astray. 

Conclusion

There is the emergence of transnational terrorist networks fueled by an ideology that perverted one of the world’s great religions and ignited a struggle not just between Islam and the West, but between Islam and modernity.  It is this kind of politics which is on the move at a pace that would have seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. NCEF is not being an alarmist or war monger, but simply stating the facts. “Look around.  Strongman politics are ascendant suddenly, whereby elections and some pretense of democracy are maintained – the form of it – but those in power seek to undermine every institution or norm that gives democracy meaning.  I believe in Nelson Mandela's vision. I believe in a vision shared by Gandhi and King and Abraham Lincoln. I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multi-racial democracy, built on the premise that all people are created equal, and they're endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.  And I believe that a world governed by such principles is possible and that it can achieve more peace and more cooperation in pursuit of a common good. That's what I believe.”  Obama in South Africa at Mandela’s 100 years Posthumous anniversary.

On Democracy, he continued:

“Democracy is based on the majority principle. This is especially true in a country such as ours where the vast majority has been systematically denied their rights. At the same time, democracy also requires the rights of political and other minorities be safeguarded.  Democracy depends on strong institutions and it's about minority rights and checks and balances, and freedom of speech and freedom of expression and a free press, and the right to protest and petition the government, and an independent judiciary, and everybody having to follow the law.  And yes, democracy can be messy, and it can be slow, and it can be frustrating. For all its imperfections, real democracy best upholds the idea that government exists to serve the individual and not the other way around. And it is the only form of government that has the possibility of making that idea real.”  It is clear from this statement that Democracy and Sharia are incompatible.

Mandiba reminds us that: "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart." Love comes more naturally to the human heart, let's remember that truth. Let's see it as our North Star, let's be joyful in our struggle to make that truth manifest here on earth so that in 100 years from now, future generations will look back and say, "they kept the march going, that's why we live under new banners of freedom."

The NCEF is waiting for invitation to dialogue with the NSCIA. We have in this presentation and other over 100 works/materials made a case for reconciliation.  If we of this generation are unable to meet with NSCIA, it is our hope that others or the next generation will be able to meet with those who believe that they are born to rule and especially those who dispute the fact that democracy is the best form of government and have tried to replace it with sharia that promote values of supremacy of Islam.  We also have tried in this and other works to share our Christian values that gave birth to democracy.  For over 100 years since amalgamation, Christians have shared their nation’s wealth with non-Christians in Nigeria.  We are not demanding gratitude but to be allowed space to live in peace for our common good.  We do not want as Nigerians go to war or jihad as it is not only unnecessary but also wasteful of human lives and physical structure.  All we need is a solution. We must design how to live together in the geographical space called Nigeria and this can be realized through dialogue.  

God bless Nigeria

Solomon Asemota, SAN

For and on half of the NCEF

ANNEXURES

1.         Activities undertaken by NCEF since inception

2.         Press Statement by NSCIA

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