The persistent anti-Islamic rhetoric whipped up by some clergymen of the Christian faith in recent times in Nigeria is most worrisome and has become a source of grave concern to every thoughtful observer of the socio-political and ethno-religious sentiments in the country. These “Men of God” have developed a penchant for inciting Christians against Muslims at every time the opportunity present itself while hiding under the umbrella of free speech and alleged social disequilibrium vis a viz religious freedom and practices in Nigeria.
The attention of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) was first called to the vituperations and inciteful comments of one Apostle Johnson Suleman, Founder and General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministry, in January 2017, when Apostle Suleman ordered his followers to kill Fulani herdsmen they find anywhere within the precincts of the church. In the short viral video, the clergyman could be seen and heard unequivocally asking his followers to kill Muslims.
Again, during the #ENDSARS protest in the country when tensions were at a breaking point, a certain Reverend Father Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, mounts the pulpit only to incites his followers with hateful and fallacious statements, resulting in the burning down of Mosques in Nsukka and its environs.
In clear terms, the Council views these utterances as divisive, bigoted, islamophobic and inconsistent with their exalted offices. In fact, we believe the utterances of Rev. Father Godfrey Onah amount to hate speech. The said fallacious statement is undermining the security of the nation as it has triggered off attacks on harmless Muslim faithful in Nsukka and its environs.
Council did predict that the Rev Father’s malicious outburst may inspire hate crime against Muslims and we are witnessing these crimes already with the attacks on Muslims and the burning down of Mosques in the South-East. Obviously, the naked comments of Rev. Father Godfrey Onah has played into the hands of some fanatical Christian youths in the South-East.
It is against this backdrop, that the Council as a law-abiding organisation , under the leadership of its President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Saad Abubakar, petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Muhammad Adamu, to immediately investigate the matter with a view to diligently bring the principal actors in the carnage to justice.
Meanwhile, the Council is worried at the conspiracy of silence by the hierarchs of the Christian faith in Nigeria especially the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). We view their silence as complicit, disappointing, double standard, self-indicting and morally unconscionable.
As we await the outcome of the police investigation and hopefully a diligent prosecution of those found culpable, Council is appealing to Muslims in all affected areas in the South-East not to take laws into their hands, but to have confidence in the police and continue to be law-abiding.
Head, Media and Communication