The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has asked Nigerians to ignore a warning made by Enoch Adeboye, general overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), calling it a “prophesy of doom”.
Last week, Adeboye warned that Nigeria as it is presently constituted may cease to exist if killings continue. He also added that 2019 elections may not hold.
In a statement by Ishaq Akintola, director of the group, MURIC described the statement as a “message of doom”.
He said nations are not run on prophesies and divisive messages but on industry, love, fortitude, unity, honesty and determination.
“We recall that killings and cattle rustling did not begin yesterday. These attacks have been there since the early 60s. It was not Nigerians who were attacking themselves but cattle thieves and criminals from neighbouring countries like Niger, Chad and Mali,” Akintola said.
“These invasions from other countries have continued till today due to Nigeria’s porous borders. But Nigerians exploit religious rivalry and acrobatic religiousity instead of engaging in diligent investigations. We are blaming ourselves for nothing.
“Still going along the lanes of history, a few years back, Nigerian Christian leaders initially accused Muslims in the country of sponsoring Boko Haram to kill Christians. All denials fell on deaf ears. Foul language was used. Provocative statements were issued. Nigerian Muslim leaders exhibited patience throughout those terrible days. Today, the picture has become clearer to the Christian leaders as Boko Haram has killed more Muslims than Christians (including an Emir) and destroyed more mosques than churches.
“The truth is that both Christians and Muslims are victims of killings, though Christians may have the advantage of media support to use killings on its side as a propaganda tool. The Nigerian media hardly hypes reports of Muslim deaths, nor do they report them correctly with their religious affiliation.
“Meanwhile, Muslims do not use their dead victims for propaganda because, as a rule, Muslims bury their dead speedily whereas Christians delay the burial of their dead and openly display them. But the fact is that the monkey is also sweating, but the hair on its skin may not allow people to see it.”
Ishaq said Nigeria had become a land where Shakespearean lines must be actualised: “When beggars die, there are no comets seen. The heavens themselves blow forth the death of princes.”
“Thus when Muslims are killed, the Nigerian media uses captions like “85 killed in Maiduguri Explosion” or “76 Die as Hoodlums Invade Zamfara Village”. But when Christians are killed, the language and style change. The caption is “Fulani Herdsmen Murder 22 Christians”,” he said.
“It is for this reason that Pastor Adeboye needs to direct his warnings at the Nigerian press, not at the government. Government is not escalating the crisis. Their asymmetrical reportage poses great danger to peaceful coexistence in a multi-religious Nigeria.
“Pastor Adeboye should also note that things are not usually what they look like from a distance. Benue militias have been caught disguised as Fulani herdsmen. None of the hoodlums caught by the military in the ongoing operation in Benue could speak Fulani language, yet they dressed like Fulani herdsmen and carried AK47 rifles.
“Fake military camps have also been exposed in the same Middle Belt. Militiamen arrested have confessed that the Christian state governors are their sponsors. So, why does Adeboye refuse to acknowledge the killing of Muslims? Who are the Benue and Taraba militiamen killing?”
He, however, appealed to Adeboye to refrain from making inflammatory statements and to also persuade his “junior priests to water down their firebrand ‘proselytisation”.