The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused the U.S secretary of state of fueling ethnic and religious divisions during his recent visit to the country, PREMIUM TIMES reports.
CAN’s president, Reverend Supo Ayokunle, in an interview with journalists on Thursday, said that John Kerry had acted in a divisive and discriminatory way by visiting the Muslim north of the country, and meeting the Sultan of Sokoto and other Northern leaders.
Ayokunle said Kerry’s “lack of respect for the heterogeneous nature of Nigeria, amounted to favouring northern Nigeria and Muslims to the detriment of the Christian community”.
According to PREMIUM TIMES, Ayokunle said the disposition of the Secretary of States supported claims that the Barack Obama administration openly supported the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the 2015 general elections, which produced the current leadership of the country.
“Why did he meet with 19 states governors, without southern governors, is Nigeria the north alone, why did you go to the north alone?
There’s a siege on Christians. Kerry, his actions speak volume, his actions, body language were very divisive.
If US Secretary of States is coming for official visit, it’s understandable, but we demand explanation why he was selective. Has the sultan palace become another state house? Was Kerry invited by the Sultan?
We have 36 States in Nigeria; he only selected northern governors to meet with them. It was a visit to the north, not to Nigeria. It was surely a very divisive visit. With the visit to the north, Kerry’s visit has heightened fear and tension among Christians in Nigeria, if they cannot bring us together, they should not interfere in our affairs,” he said.
Ayokunle lamented what he called “the government’s selective persecution of Christians mostly by the Department of State Service (DSS) and the Nigerian Police. “It is obvious the administration is anti-Christians”.
“Have the DSS arrested the Muslim youths who burnt down a Catholic Church in Niger State because they were worshiping on Friday? What happened to the ECWA Pastor who was killed in his farm in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State? What have happened with Redeemed Preacher who was murdered in Kubwa, Abuja?
Look at the recent case in Zamfara State, Christians where burnt alive. What has happened? They will tell you, they are still investigating. Have they been arrested and charged them to court? If the government cannot sit up and protect Christians, tolerance is going to break down, they should do the right thing, they should not provoke Christians. Have we ever seen this government bring anybody to book?” he said.
He also decried the arrest of Joe Chinakwe, who was charged with engaging in conduct likely to cause breach of public peace after he named his dog “Buhari” and paraded it in a Muslim dominated area in Sango-Otta, Ogun state.
“The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should take up that case and ascertain whether the man has the right to give any name to a dog. They should come and protect the man’s human rights and set the record why the case is not a criminal offence,” he said.
There has been no word so far from the U.S about the comments.