Sunday, August 7, 2022

Boko Haram persecuting Christians in Nigeria, Buhari regime tells U.S.

“What ISWAP is doing is that because of their dwindling influence, they are now attacking churches and Christians.”

• July 4, 2022
Boko haram and Lai Mohammed
Boko haram and Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has asserted that the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), a splinter of Boko Haram, has been responsible for a series of Christian persecutions across Nigeria.

In a telephone interview on Monday, Mr Mohammed said the insurgents persecute Christians to cause religious violence.

“What ISWAP is doing is that because of their dwindling influence, they are now attacking churches and Christians in order to create a crisis between various religious groups,” he said.

The minister had condemned a call by five U.S. Republican senators, who sought the redesignation of Nigeria as a country of particular concern because of alleged persecution of Christians.

The senators, who made the call in a letter to the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, also alleged violation of freedom of Christians’ rights to practise their religion.

However, Mr Mohammed asserted that the call was based on a false premise and misunderstanding of Nigeria’s situation, while recalling that Nigeria was recently removed from the list of countries of particular concern.

“The country also does not have a policy of violation freedom of religion, and it is not true that Nigeria persecutes anybody on account of his or her faith,” he said.

The minister claimed that most commentators not well-versed in the politics and happenings in Nigeria mistook crimes and communal clashes as religious persecution.

“Nobody in Nigeria is being persecuted, But we have issues of criminality going on, and the criminals really do not make a distinction of any religion,” Mr Mohammed asserted. “They kidnap for money, they hold people on ransom irrespective of their religion, and there are some issues pf communal matters dating back to many years.”

He added, “If a statistic is to be taken, I can say confidently that as many Muslims as Christians have been victims of these criminals.”

The minister, however, stated that Mr Muhammadu Buhari’s regime mounted large-scale military operations to wipe out bandits and other criminals, and the efforts were yielding results.

Mr Mohammed added that some NGOs were also feeding the international community wrong information to get donor funds.

According to the minister, a Muslim, the two major religions in Nigeria, Islam and Christianity, are collaborating to create peace and harmony.

(NAN)

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