Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, says security forces are working tirelessly to secure the release of all the captives in custody of Boko Haram.
Shehu said this in reaction to the allegation of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) that Christian faithful were being persecuted and are the primary targets of the insurgent group.
The Christian body also alleged that the government had failed to secure the release of Leah Sharibu and some other Christian captives “because of her religion”.
Reacting in a statement on Tuesday, Shehu said the government trusts the security agencies to secure the release of all the captives.
He accused some leaders of seeking political gains from religious differences, warning that “the politicisation of religion has no place in Nigeria”.
He added that the government would not tolerate any act of religious intolerance and called on Nigerians to unite against the “terror group and see the sect members for what they are”.
Shehu said: “The security forces of Nigeria are working continuously to return those taken hostage by Boko Haram to their families, friends and communities. In doing this, the government has full confidence in their ability to accomplish the task.
“On its own part, government has condemned some of the appalling acts of terror, especially following the festive period. Yet, to continue to see these happenings solely in religious terms – removed from social, economic and environmental factors – simplifies complexities that must be heeded. Not seeing them as they should be is exactly what the terrorists and groups wish: they want Nigerians to see their beliefs as reason to turn against one another.
“On the contrary, Christians and Muslims alike are united in their opposition to Boko Haram and the hatred for decency that the infamous group stands for.
“Nigerians must continue to be united in ensuring that they do not subscribe to the terrorists’ message of division. Unfortunately, some leaders and politicians seek to make political capital from our religious differences. As we fight Boko Haram on the ground, so too must we tackle their beliefs: stability and unity in face of their hatred is itself a rejection of their worldview.
“This government shall never tolerate religious intolerance. We clearly and unambiguously restate our support for the freedom to practice whichever belief you wish. The politicisation of religion – as forbidden by the constitution – has no place in Nigeria.”
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