Saturday 22nd August, 2020
The General Assembly of the United Nations on May 28, 2019 adopted Document A/73/L.85 and passed a resolution proclaiming 22 August as International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on their Religion, Belief or Faith, amongst other matters. According to a UN Report, “by terms of the text ‘International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion, Belief or Faith,’ the Assembly invited all Member States, the United Nations and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil societies and the private sector, to observe the International Day.”
Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) commemorated the International Day of Religious Freedom (IDORF) on Saturday 22nd August, 2020 with an international Webinar featuring speakers from United States of America, United Kingdom, as well as Nigeria.
The Report and Resolutions of the Conference are as follows:
a. WHEREAS Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) states, “The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion,”
b. WHEREAS Section 38(1) of the same Constitution states, “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance,”
c. WHEREAS Section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution also states, “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few States or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies,”
d. WHEREAS Section 14(2)b of the Constitution goes further to state, “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government,”
e. CONTRARY to these Constitutional provisions, it has been observed, with credible evidence, that the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari has flagrantly and with unhidden impunity violated the above stated Constitutional provisions which he took an oath to uphold. The President mismanaged Nigeria and its security apparatus in a manner that has resulted in the murder of Christians and the wanton destruction of Christian communities by Fulani Militia of his ethnic and religious group, in addition to destructions and deaths caused by Boko Haram which is another insurgency group that shares the same Islamic faith as the President of Nigeria,
f. CONSEQUENTLY, the Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN), in compliance with the United Nations Resolution A/73/L.85, designating 22nd August as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion, Belief or Faith, organized a Webinar with the theme, “UNFOLDING GENOCIDE IN NIGERIA,” to mark the 2020 International Day of Religious Freedom (IDORF).
g. THE Conference, which included international and local participants, decried the unfolding genocide taking place in Nigeria with Christians as its main target, and subsequently passed the following resolutions:
1. THAT Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has acknowledged that Boko Haram and ISWAP “have started targeting Christians and Christian villages for a specific reason, which is to trigger a religious war and throw the nation into chaos… they seem to now have a deliberate policy of attacking Christians.” Despite this admission by President Buhari’s Administration, the Nigerian Government has been seriously remiss in protecting its civilians and bringing perpetrators of the killings to account;
2. THAT the UK Government’s response has also been appallingly inadequate. Even as militant groups such as Boko Haram and ISWAP sweep across the Sahel, imposing their radical ideologies with killings, abductions, rape and torture of those who refuse to convert, the UK Government appears to underplay the scale of massacres or refuses to acknowledge that a genocide is occurring;
3. THAT the Government of United States of America is demonstrating appreciable concern about the genocide going on in Nigeria but it should hasten its appointment of a Presidential Envoy to look into these issues in Nigeria as well as the implementation of the Executive Order to defend Religious Freedom.
4. THAT the International Criminal Court (ICC) is not helpful for spending 10 years (since 2010) in conducting Preliminary Examination over Nigeria without commencing any prosecution;
5. THAT Christians should commence litigations locally against those confirmed to aid or abet the Jihadists involved in the ongoing genocide;
6. THAT justice for the victims should not only be the prosecution of the criminals and their sponsors, but also compensation, rehabilitation and empowerment;
7. THAT the main objective, globally and locally, should be to end the impunity of the Federal Government without which the genocide will not stop. Conference agreed that the impunity of the Federal Government is the major problem in Nigeria;
8. THAT the political imbalance in the country should be redressed as a matter of urgency as it tilts power and influence in favor of those who abuse both;
9. THAT the Kaduna State Governor should be held liable for the exacerbation of violence and destruction of lives in Kaduna State;
10. THAT the imposition of 24 hour curfew on Christian communities in Kaduna State for two months during which Fulani Militia roamed freely to attack Christians in their homes and kill them should be considered a war crime for which the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam el Rufai, should be held to account;
11. THAT Educational Jihad in the North as well as in the Middle Belt in which Christian candidates are discriminated against should cease;
12. THAT the current wave of kidnapping of Christians in Nigeria for ransom by Boko Haram and Fulani Militias is a deliberate program to impoverish one group in favor of the other. Conference lamented that this wave of kidnapping is Jihad;
13. THAT the imprisonment of Prof. Solomon Tarfa for eight months by the Kano State Government because he is running a Christian Orphanage is a violation of the Constitution and an abuse of his fundamental human right. Conference demanded his immediate release;
14. THAT Christians must unite and work as one to overcome a common foe;
15. THAT the issues in Nigeria are political and require political solutions. Therefore, Christians should cooperate to build Christian political platforms that will henceforth launch Christians into governance.
Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN)
27th August, 2020