Posted by News Express | 31 December 2019 | 1,219 times
PAN-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), the mouthpiece of monarchs, leaders and stakeholders of coastal states of Niger Delta, Monday, lashed out at the Sultan of Sokoto over his claim that Christians were not under persecution in Nigeria.
National Chairman of PANDEF and former Military Administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd) told Vanguard: “It is rather unfortunate for the Sultan to have said there are no religious violations in Nigeria. It is not correct and we totally disagree with him, because the facts are glaring.”
“The Sultan cannot claim to be unaware of the atrocious activities perpetuated by herdsmen on Christian farmers across the country, particularly in the Middle Belt region, including Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau and Nasarawa states, as well as Southern Kaduna, where mostly Christian communities have been, over the years, attacked by Muslim fundamentalists, with wanton destruction of property and killings of innocent citizens.
“Furthermore, if the Sultan says Christians are not being persecuted in Nigeria, on what basis is Leah Sharibu still been held by Boko Haram, after the release of the other 104 girls, who were taken hostage with her.
“The only reason they have given is that she refused to renounce her Christian faith. And the Government cannot exonerate itself from all that are happening in the country.
“It is for the same reasons that we are having difficulties with our democracy; we are having anomalies. If it is not true that religious persecution is being tolerated in the country, how come today, there is so much talk about nepotism in the government; people are accusing the Presidency of nepotism, and it goes beyond the appointment of family members or persons from a section of the country.
“There are genuine concerns that certain political portfolios and positions in the nation’s public service are reserved for only people of a particular religion. And the government has not done anything to address these concerns. Let us stop deceiving ourselves in this country.
“PANDEF completely supports the United States on listing the country among nations that tolerate religious persecution, as the global community is not unaware of the improprieties against Christians by the Islamic terrorist groups in Nigeria, and even by the government of Nigeria.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the purported killing of eleven Nigerian Christian hostages on Christmas Day by the Islamic State terrorist group. It is sad and barbaric.
“However, it clearly vindicates the United States on its position, and disparages the comments of the Sultan on this matter. The His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, who is also the President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs should instead of denying the obvious, use his revered position to exhort his subjects and even the government to respect the plurality of religions in Nigeria, and the dignity of human life,” he asserted. (Vanguard)
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