The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has dismissed the assertion of President Muhammadu Buhari with regards to which religion are the most victims of Boko Haram insurgency.
Boko Haram terrorists which has been in existence for over a decade has killed and displaced thousands of Nigerians.
With its name translated to mean “Western education is sin”, the terror group are reportedly on a mission to forcefully turn the country which is a secular state to that of Islam.
But Mr Buhari while citing examples in an opinion article claimed the Islamic terror group were not out to islamize the country because most of its victims are those who share the same religious faith with the terrorists.
“Indeed, it is the reality that some 90 percent of all Boko Haram’s victims have been Muslims: they include a copycat abduction of over 100 Muslim schoolgirls, along with their single Christian classmate; shootings inside mosques; and the murder of two prominent imams,” Mr Buhari claimed.
But in its reaction, the Christian body disagreed with the submission of the president, claiming Christians are mostly the victims of the insurgency ravaging the Northeast region.
The body’s Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel, expressed disappointment and challenged the president to present the reports which made him arrived at the conclusion.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria notes with pains President Buhari’s unfounded, false, provocative and misleading assertion that 90% of Boko Haram victims are Muslims,” Mr Samuel said while speaking to Punch.
“On reading this misleading and provocative statement coming from the number one citizen of the country, one will hardly doubt that the President understands the difference between the real victims and perpetrators of the heinous crime against the Church and humanity.
“No wonder the Boko Haram is getting more attention from the FG in the name of rehabilitation and de-radicalization than the victims who lost their lives, loved ones and living in the internally displaced persons’ camps.
“Are we into any competition with the number of the victims? Is there any life that should not be precious to Mr. President.
“What is the source of the President’s records? He should bring out his records with figures and the Christians will present theirs! Is he calculating the figures brandished by security chiefs as victims killed by Boko Haram; killed during operations? We are so sure that even if the President combines the number of Muslim victims plus the number of the terrorists killed by the army, it cannot be up to half the number of the Christian victims of the insurgents.
“Boko Haram has wiped away all Christian communities in most local governments of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe to mention but a few. Almost all the Christian communities in Northern states have fallen victims to the insurgents.
“What about the repeated attacks on Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Nasarawa and most of the states of the Middle Belt? On attacks on mosques and Muslims, it’s true that some Muslims have fallen victims to Boko Haram, but those victims are few Muslims who speak against the activities of Boko Haram.
“Is it not surprising to the President that the Chibok girls who were abducted many years ago have yet to be found and returned as he promised Nigerians?
“Yet, the Dapchi girls who were abducted within his regime have since been returned with the exception of Leah Sharibu, who was retained because of her faith?
“Nigerians need to know if they have not known the reason why the Presidency could not pay ransom to rescue Chibok girls. It is because 80% to 90% of the girls are Christians. The reason why Dapchi girls’ ransom was quickly paid and they were returned is the discovery that most of the girls were Muslims except Leah Sharibu who is still in captivity.
“It’s very sad that instead of the government to apologise to Christians and Nigerians on their inability to defend their lives and property, they are busy playing international politics with the lives of the citizens,” Samuel added.
But the Secretary-General of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar led Jama’atu Nasril Islam, Abubakar Khalid-Aliyu backed the president.
“That 90% of victims of Boko Haram are Muslims and that Boko Haram is not targeting Christians are statements of truth that can’t be disputed because Muslims who engage in the pursuit of Western education are mostly their target,” Mr Khalid-Aliyu added.
“It is not a hidden secret that Muslims are the greater victims of Boko Haram insurgency. If they are targeting Christians, then, they will be pursuing Christians all over the place,” he added.