By Sam Eyoboka
THE Nigerian Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, has tabled seven-point demands before the British Government for the peaceful resolution of the sectarian crisis threatening the stability of Nigeria.
During a visit to the British High Commission in Abuja as part of its efforts to provide solutions to the crisis in Nigeria, the Christian Elders accused the British Government of skewing leadership advantage to the Islamists of northern Nigeria, particularly the Fulani Muslims.
The NCEF wanted to place on record that it was the responsibility of Nigerian Christians to resist Islamists’ attempt to replace secularity with Sharia in the country and transmute Nigeria into an Islamic Sultanate.
In a statement signed by the NCEF chairman, Elder Solomon Asemota SAN, the elders enjoined the British Government to understand the issues unfolding in the country and assist in the establishment of “Nigeria where, in the words of our Independence National Anthem, ’Though tribes and tongues may differ, in brotherhood we stand.’
Other demands include: “Urgently, a Truth, Peace and Reconciliation Commission should be set up as the basis for confession, forgiveness, healing and reconciliation in the country, and restructuring of the country.”
to conform to True Federalism; removal of Government sponsorship of Religious Pilgrimages and the making of Section 10 of the Constitution justiciable; immediate inventory, assessment and payment of compensation for lives and property lost to Islamic insurgency and Jihad in the country.
The NCEF also requested the urgent intervention of the British Government to secure the release of Miss Leah Sharibu as well as the remaining 113 girls from Chibok still in captivity of Muslim insurgents.
The Forum made up eminent Christian elders drawn from different professions including retired military generals, also called for the “abolition of Nigerian Inter-religious Council (NIREC) and its replacement with Nigerian Charter on Religious Rights and Freedom.”
According to the statement “NCEF is persuaded that JIHAD has been launched in Nigeria and it has its roots in the preparation for Independence at Constitutional Conferences in London. While Southerners and Northern Christian discussed and agreed on Democracy, Rule of Law and Federalism they did not realize that the Muslim North preferred a system of government of which Islamic law is an essential ingredient.
“Not only was the rest of the country unaware of this preference for Sharia, they were also unaware of how hard the Northern Muslims would fight to force it down the throat of other citizens in Nigeria. Currently, the Islamists have introduced both conventional Jihad (Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen) and stealth Jihad (civilization Jihad).”
Continuing, NCEF said “most Christians know what conventional jihad is, e.g. jihad by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, but stealth jihad is more concealed and is more dangerous if not more than Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen. Stealth jihad includes the method by which Nigeria became a full member of OIC, the method by which Nigeria was given 1999 Constitution and the recruitment of Church leaders as foot soldiers for the Islamists. Church leaders need to know the extent to which Stealth Jihad has permeated Nigerian Church.
“Stealth Jihad was largely responsible for the mistakes of Church leaders as well as Christians in government due to lack of knowledge and it may continue if not stopped.
“The NCEF is also concerned at the actions and inactions of the incumbent President of CAN. The unfortunate impression being created is that the President of CAN is fighting the Church. An example is the active attempt to scuttle a scheduled meeting based on spurious allegations. The President of CAN sent an email to the General Secretary of CAN titled: ’The National Christian Centre Must not be Used for National Christian Elders’ Meeting with Church Leaders.’
“Certain unfortunate examples have to be cited to underscore the seriousness of what is going on in the Church. NCEF has no doubt that stealth Jihad is responsible for the following conducts:
“Refusal to sign protest letter to DSS who, unlawfully detained trustees of CAN Trust Fund to which the CAN President is Chairman. He had earlier agreed at a meeting with the NCEF that he would sign the letter before he suddenly reneged.
“Denying the Trust Fund administrative expenses. This in no doubt would cripple the CAN Trust Fund and hinder CAN from becoming financially independent.
“Demand that the administrator of the Trust Fund spend hours on risky road journeys to come and sign cheques personally monthly. The President refused that cheques must not be sent to him.
“Deliberately frustrating those who wanted to donate funds to run the Secretariat of the Trust Fund and creating a parallel Secretariat in CAN which caused confusion and acrimony,” the Forum alleged.