"On the truth of the matter concerning persecution of Christians by fundamentalist Muslims and groups using Islam as a platform"
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. As the world celebrates the United Nations AT 75 YEARS SINCE IT CAME INTO EXISTENCE TO GUARANTEE WORLD PEACE AND HUMAN SOLIDARITY with the charter on Human Rights and the declaration of religious freedom for all, Nigeria is far from living the fruits of this charter. The Nigerian government, which is a signatory, has failed to fulfil the spirit and law of the charter in protecting its citizens from religious persecution and other basic and fundamental human rights.
2. The president of Nigeria and all leading political and economic positions are generally occupied by Muslims, thus the preponderance of Muslim influence in all affairs of the country, although the population of Muslims is far less than that of Christians and other traditional believers in the large country of over 200 million people. For political and economic purposes the statistics are skewed and the impression is created that Muslims are up to 40 percent of the population.
3. The president of Nigeria, Mr Muhammadu Buhari, a military man, fanatic Muslim and from the Fulani ethnic tribal group, has done nothing significant to halt or prevent the continued killings of fellow citizens or prosecute the known killers, denying action for justice and protection of citizens through the security agencies where it is most demanded.
4. In the year 2020 alone, the numbers of Christians massacred in cold blood by Muslim fanatics and fundamentalist Islamic terror groups in Nigeria has exceeded 3,000 persons.
5. In the past five years, Nigerians killed by Boko Haram and other Islamist groups has reached over 100,000 people.
6. In the index of countries with persecuted Christians, Nigeria takes the first position globally as the country with the largest number of persons martyred for religious reasons. The majority of those targeted are Christians.
7. In a country with a constitution that guaranties democracy and fundamental freedom of religions, the Muslim elite have forced the Sharia legal system on 12 states of the federation contrary to the spirit and letter of the federal constitution of Nigeria.
8. Laws forbidding Christians from ownership of land for the building of churches exist in all these Sharia states in Northern Nigeria. In the largely Christian parts of the country, Muslims are free to build their churches or practise their faith.
9. The persecution of Christians is not only with blood and killings. Christian youth and qualified professionals who are locals of these northern states are not offered jobs upon application so that many of them have to relocate from their homes and become refugees without access to sustainable livelihoods.
10. The use of weapons by Fulani herdsmen and Muslim bandits to chase away Christians and traditional farmers out of their homelands in Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Taraba and other southern states is planned and orchestrated with the strategic goal of driving people away so that Muslims can occupy their land. The Muslim elite and the Miyetti Allah association supports these strategies, funds them in the open and even brags about it.
11. The major aim of all these strategies by the leadership and followership within Islam in Nigeria, using in some cases the terrorist group called Boko Haram, has one aim, which is to create an Islamic State for the whole of Nigeria. The use of the Fulani herdsmen and their bandits has sustained these strategies through causing fear and panic, kidnappings, rapes, aggression and other forms of forced ejection and terror on Christian populations.
12. There are moderate Muslims who suffer also under these circumstances but the situation is clearly the establishment of a Muslim State in Nigeria.
13. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran and the Arab Emirates are part of the funding, support groups, patrons, suppliers of extremist Islamic teachings and methods towards the expressed intention to Islamise the entire sub Saharan Africa.
14. The international community with the USA, Western Europe, their diplomats and other business-oriented groups including arms dealers and sellers are indeed seen to do little except pay lip service, if at all, and are prone to support the Islamic preponderance and spread in Nigeria contrary to all the conventions of the International Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief.
15. The country Nigeria has currently over 2 million displaced persons, refugees and victims, many of whom are Christians who have lost their places of worship, their homes, their properties and livelihood and the international community which knows of the situation is completely silent. If Muslims are persecuted in China or in Myanmar all of them with their journalists shout human rights. When Christian are persecuted in much greater numbers and systematically as in Nigeria, most of these keep strangely quiet, often not allowing it to be mentioned in their press, as long as they continue business as usual.
16. The Catholic Church and major Christian religious groups are active in making the awareness of the persecution of Christians in Nigeria a central focus but political and business interests especially from Europe are not interested. They are indeed asleep and snoring and like Nero, fiddling while Rome burns.
17. Moderate Muslims hardly condemn the killings of Christians in Nigeria but all are eager to shout when these Muslim terrorists kill fellow Muslim brothers and sisters.
18. Christians in Nigeria continue to preach reconciliation, tolerance, forgiveness and peace through inter-religious dialogue, of which initiative I am a champion. This is the right way to go as Christians have a teaching from the master Jesus Christ to forgive. But as humans for how long?
And until when?
Professor Dr Obiora Ike
Chairman, Christian Muslim Dialogue,