On account of what may be regarded as the delicate and sensitive nature of the headline of this piece, an explanation was provided (in the first installment), that it was Catholic Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie who (as reported in Thisday newspaper of October 26, 2000) warned on the existence of fake Christian churches and admonished against following them. The point was made that these fake Christians could not be true and authentic followers of Jesus of Nazareth; and that should they persist in claiming to be followers of Jesus, then it had to be jesus of somewhere else and most certainly, not Jesus of Nazareth. It was with this as background that an examination was undertaken to ascertain whether the claims and allegations of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) against President Buhari and his government had been faithful to the principles of truth, honesty and decency which are embodied in the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth. In this second and concluding part, a link is made by examining the opposition of CAN to the removal of Nigeria by America from countries characterised by religious intolerance.
A simple response to this opposition of CAN is that the authorities in the US had discovered that there was no justification for the inclusion of Nigeria in that list, in the first place. Interestingly, the statement of CAN had only pointed to this unjustification of the indictment of Nigerian leaders as operating a system which denies religious freedom. In an attempt to provide that justification, CAN had drawn attention to the activities of Boko Haram and Fulani herders. The false idea CAN wanted to sell to America and indeed the world at large, is that Boko Haram, Fulani herders and the Nigerian government are one and the same thing. However, the truth is that the Nigerian government of Buhari had been fighting Boko Haram and all other terrorist organizsations and the Americans who have been selling to Nigeria weaponry and who have an active and extensive diplomatic presence in this country, are well aware of this. There is then the Fulani herdsmen bogey, which I shall deal with, at some length, because of the frequency with which it is exploited as pretext for discrediting Buhari and his administration. As I had pointed out in previous articles, on March 28, 2014, the then Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang told the world in a BBC Hausa interview that Fulani herder were not responsible for the terrorism taking place. A spokesman of the Benue state government while speaking to the same BBC Hausa on March 26, 2014, also said that the Benue government did not believe that Fulani herders were behind the terrorist activities. Further exoneration of Fulani herders came from the Governor of Osun state, who told Channels television on January 25, 2021 that some criminals were masquerading as Fulani herder to commit atrocities. Prominent Nigerian lawyer, Femi Falana, spoke along the same line when a video on the website of saloneydaily.com lifted from Channels television, showed him observing as follows:- “and I discovered to my utter chagrin that majority of ritual murderers, kidnappers, armed robbers, operating in the South-west are not of the Fulani extraction, they are all, mostly, southerners”.
As is most evident from the instances above, there is unanimity that Fulani herders could not have been behind the large scale terrorist atrocities to which people were being subjected. The narrative only changed when Buhari, a Muslim and a Fulani, became Nigeria’s president in 2015.
The utter falsity of this changed narrative by CAN is therefore obvious for all to see. But then, attempts by CAN to resort to falsehood to discredit Buhari and his government should not come as any surprise. After all, a CAN that would defy integrity and truth to falsely allege that ALL terrorists are Muslims cannot be expected to shy away from twisting issues in such a sickening and diabolical manner as to suggest that all acts of terrorist violence are directly or indirectly the handiwork of Buhari and his government. Denial is not of course being made of Fulani involvement in isolated instances of skirmishes; but most certainly nowhere near the wholesale attribution that is being made against them.
On his part, Bishop Kukah, while virtually addressing members of the American congress, had alleged that the deterioration in Nigeria’s security situation was worse than was the case before Buhari’s assumption of office as president. While making this point, the bishop conveniently ignored the fact that within six months of Buhari’s assumption of office, the more than half of Borno state and a substantial portion of Yobe and Adamawa states which were under the complete control of Boko Haram terrorists were liberated.
There was no night life in Maiduguri and indeed, in other part of Borno state before Buhari, and that even during day time a lot of people remained indoors. However, Buhari has been able to defeat the terrorists to the extent that people now come out freely during the day, with night life in full swing. But in spite of all the hostility, evil machinations and ill will, Buhari and his government will be a success, by the grace of God.
Hayatu writes from Zaria, Kaduna state via aluma[email protected]