The federal government on Thursday, June 2017, 2019, denied the allegation by the Northern Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was practising bigotry and alienating Christians.
It also denied that the Boko Haram terrorism has link with the official policy of the government, stressing that the violent acts by the terrorist group predated the Buhari administration, like many others that were inherited on coming to office in 2015.
The response by the federal government was contained in a letter to the British Parliamentary Group, signed by Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the UK, Justice George Oguntade.
Two letters were addressed to Rt. Rev. Philip Mounstephen, a former Secretary of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and now Head, “Independent Review of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Support of Persecuted Christians, “and Baroness Berridge, the Chair of “All Parliamentary Group for International Freedom of Religion or Belief.”
According to a presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, in Abuja, in the correspondences, Nigeria dismissed as inconceivable and outright false allusions that the Boko Haram terrorism served a government agenda against Christians.
“It would be useful for me to engage with this process to ensure that you are thoroughly briefed on the situation in Nigeria,” Oguntade reportedly wrote in the correspondences.
Responding to the interim report on Foreign and Commonwealth Office Support for Persecuted Christians, Oguntade, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court, told Mounstephen: “The safety and security of all Nigerians, whatever their faith, is a fundamental priority of the Buhari government. The government knows that Nigeria can only achieve its potential if there are religious tolerance and cooperation.”
He said President Muhammadu Buhari’s deputy is a pastor, adding that the president “has befriended church leaders and church groups both within and outside Nigeria.”
He added that the President’s cabinet was balanced between Muslims and Christians, noting that he himself was a former Chancellor of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)