By Lawrence Olaoye
The Presidency has cautioned the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to be careful not to fall for the tricks of the terrorists by reading religious meanings to their activities.
CAN had recently alleged that the silence of the Nigerian Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari over the killing and abduction of Christians in the country is and evidence of persecution.
In a statement on Monday, President of CAN, Samson Ayokunle, pleaded with government to urgently deploy necessary resources to ensure the release of all Christians in the captivity of Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province
Responding in a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by a Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said politicization of religious could be dangerous.
The statement read “The security forces of Nigeria are working continuously to return those taken hostage by Boko Haram to their families, friends and communities. In doing this, the government has full confidence in their ability to accomplish the task.
“On its own part, government has condemned some of the appalling acts of terror, especially following the festive period. Yet, to continue to see these happenings solely in religious terms – removed from social, economic and environmental factors – simplifies complexities that must be heeded. Not seeing them as they should be is exactly what the terrorists and groups wish: they want Nigerians to see their beliefs as reason to turn against one another.
“On the contrary, Christians and Muslims alike are united in their opposition to Boko Haram and the hatred for decency that the infamous group stands for.
“Nigerians must continue to be united in ensuring that they do not subscribe to the terrorists’ message of division. Unfortunately, some leaders and politicians seek to make political capital from our religious differences. As we fight Boko Haram on the ground, so too must we tackle their beliefs: stability and unity in face of their hatred is itself a rejection of their worldview.
This government shall never tolerate religious intolerance. We clearly and unambiguously restate our support for the freedom to practice whichever belief you wish. The politicisation of religion – as forbidden by the constitution – has no place in Nigeria.”