President Muhammadu Buhari says 90 percent of the victims of Boko Haram are Muslims contrary to views that the group is primarily targeting Christians.
He said this in an opinion piece published in “Speaking Out” a guest opinion column for Christianity Today.
The President, in the piece titled “Buhari: Pastor Andimi’s Faith Should Inspire All Nigerians”, extolled the virtues of Mr Lawan Andimi who was killed by Boko Haram for his refusal to denounce his Christian faith.
Buhari said: “But we may not, yet, be completely winning the battle for the truth. Christianity in Nigeria is not-as some seem intent on believing-contracting under pressure, but expanding and growing in numbers approaching half of our population today. Nor is it the case that Boko Haram is primarily targeting Christians: not all of the Chibok schoolgirls were Christians; some were Muslims, and were so at the point at which they were taken by the terrorists.
“Indeed, it is the reality that some 90 per cent 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. Perhaps it makes for a better story should these truths, and more, be ignored in the telling.
“It is a simple fact that these now-failing terrorists have targeted the vulnerable, the religious, the non-religious, the young, and the old without discrimination. And at this point, when they are fractured, we cannot allow them to divide good Christians and good Muslims from those things that bind us all in the sight of God: faith, family, forgiveness, fidelity, and friendship to each other.
“Yet sadly, there is a tiny, if vocal, minority of religious leaders-both Muslim and Christian-who appear more than prepared to take their bait and blame the opposite religious side. The terrorists today attempt to build invisible walls between us. They have failed in their territorial ambitions, so now instead they seek to divide our state of mind, by prying us from one from another-to set one religion seemingly implacably against the other.”
The president said the action of the terror group must not be viewed as evidence the terrorists were “fully functional, and undefeated” they resorted to criminal acts by targeting innocent Nigerians having been degraded.
He called on faith leaders, and Nigerians to focus more on words of concord in their scriptures, saying “There is no place in Nigeria for those who seek to divide us by religion, who compel others to change their faith forcibly, or try to convince others that by so doing, they are doing good.”