Following an unprecedented rise of violence against religious communities and people belonging to religious minorities, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution proclaiming 22 August as International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on their Religion, Belief or Faith, amongst other matters.
According to a UN Report, “by terms of the text ‘International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief’ (document A/73/L.85), the Assembly invited all Member States, the United Nations and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil societies and the private sector, to observe the International Day.”
Chairman Solomon Asemota of the National Christian Elders Forum of Nigeria speaking at The George Washington University in Washington, DC as part of the U.S. State Department Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. His visit to the United States was hosted by the International Christian Foundation for Democracy (ICFD).
America’s top diplomat for Africa has admitted there is a religious component of the farmer herder conflict in Nigeria. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, ambassador Tibor Nagy stated this in response to queries from international human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe during the recent Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom hosted by the US State Department.
To: The National Assembly
Christian Association of Nigeria
I arrived London, United Kingdom on the 20th of May 2019 on holidays when a Nigerian Anglican Bishop asked if I had come to attend the Hearing in the UK All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on International Freedom of Religion and Belief (IFoRB) Nigeria Inquiry. This information made me attend the Hearing the following morning, the 21st of May 2019 at Committee Room 20 in the House of Commons at The British House of Parliament. I was accompanied by an Elder in Diaspora and to our amazement a Nigerian Archbishop was making his presentation. What the Archbishop said in his presentation can be summarized as: "Yes there are killings in Nigeria, Yes the killings are on both sides but they are as a result of poverty and lack of education". All attempts made by me to be allowed to comment were ignored by the Chair who is a female member of the British House of Lords. At the conclusion of the Hearing, she promised to pass on all the information obtained at the Inquiry to the British Parliament.
In response to the request of the All Party Parliamentary Groups of the UK Parliament for “written submissions” for an Inquiry “into the on-going violence between farmers and herders in Nigeria”, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) made a submission on 3rd June, 2019. In response to this submission of the NCEF which was reported in the media on 27th June, 2019 that the Government of President Buhari, through the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, wrote to the British Parliament denying persecution of Christians in Nigeria.
25th June, 2019
The Nation Newspaper
REJOINDER TO THE NATION NEWSPAPER:
“HOW CAN PRESIDENT AYOKUNLE WAS RE-ELECTED”
For the second time in two months, the NCEF is compelled to write and correct wrong impressions created about the Christian Elders by journalists of The Nation Newspaper. On 18th April, 2019, the NCEF had to issue a rejoinder to an article by Mr. Sam Omatseye titled “What kind of Elders?” Again, in the wake of the recently conducted election of CAN, Mr. Sunday Oguntola, another journalist with The Nation newspaper made comments in his article “How CAN President Ayokunle Was Re-elected”, published in The Nation on Sunday 23rd June, 2019 which NCEF considers disturbing and should be corrected. We hope The Nation would publish this rejoinder the same way it published the original article.
REJOINDER – “INSECURITY, ALLEGED ISLAMIZATION: PETITION BY CHRISTIAN ELDERS, PRANK TO SCORE CHEAP POLITICAL POINTS”
This rejoinder is in response to the publication in Vanguard Newspaper of 7th June, 2019, with heading: "Insecurity, alleged Islamization: Petition by Christian elders, prank to score cheap political points - by Muslim Groups.”
It is unfortunate that Muslim Groups would make such claims of “prank to score cheap political points” against the Christian Elders as no member of NCEF is neither a politician nor have anything to gain from political patronage. The claim is divisive, which rather than contribute to the efforts of the Christian Elders to find a peaceful and lasting solution to current national crisis, and ensure Nigeria can benefit from the gains of democracy, like other advanced democratic countries around the world, is trying to cause disaffection amongst the people.
3rd June, 2019
All Party Parliamentary Group for International Freedom
Of Religion or Belief (APPG)
RE: APPG FOR INTL. FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF NIGERIA INQUIRY
In response to the request of the APPG for written submissions to its inquiry on ongoing violence between farmers and herders in Nigeria, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), wishes to submit as follows:
We watched on ARISE, the international media television network, the response of a security expert to the statement above by Chief Obasanjo. The programme was aired in the evening of Tuesday May 21, 2019 in which a so-called Security Expert averred that Obasanjo’s allegation was at best a figment of Chief Obasanjo imagination especially as his claim of Fulanisation was not substantiated.
“THE SECULARIZED RESIDUE OF CHURCH DOCTRINE OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD”
BY NATIONAL CHRISTIAN ELDERS FORUM (NCEF)
17th May, 2019
Nigeria’s intellectuals by 1984 began to wonder why the country had been unable to reach its potential. The most plausible reason was centered on leadership, which is correct to some extent. However, leadership alone cannot be blamed for some of the issues in Nigeria that lead to violence, cultism and disregard for human dignity. This reality has led us to the search for other reasons. The NCEF has come to the conclusion that the irreconcilable conflict of ideologies is responsible for the unpatriotic conduct of some Nigerians. As can be seen from this write-up, the ideologies of Democracy and Sharia are incompatible to the extent that any country practicing both is engaged in an endless tug of war. This explains the situation Nigeria found herself since independence in 1960. The NCEF has discussed these issues and came to the conclusion that a country running on two conflicting ideologies make the course of National Unity difficult to attain. Combining the ideologies of Democracy and Sharia is in fact war against our unity. The NCEF, in this write-up has tried to show when and where Nigeria got it wrong and came to the conclusion that brain power always supersedes brawn power. Applying this principle, the NCEF has argued that Democracy not Sharia is good for a multi-national and multi-religious country like Nigeria as her two-track ideologies produce two-track cultures.
“When FALSEHOOD is institutionalized, TRUTH looks like REBELLION” – Unknown
The purpose of this communication by the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) is to present to the Christian Community an abridged Performance Report on the present leadership of CAN under the leadership of Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle as President, for the period July 2016 to June 2019. As Christians and members of Christian Association of Nigeria, NCEF has the right to assess and comment on the performance of the officials of the Association. NCEF is also using the opportunity to stress that the Mandate given to NCEF by the immediate past President of CAN is to:
MURIC: Removal of Onnoghen is JIHAD
3rd May, 2019
Prof. Ishaq Akintola
MURIC TO CHRISTIAN ELDERS ON ONNOGHEN, GOWON: YOUR POSITION IS PEDESTRIAN
Introduction and Coup of 1975
Ordinarily, the NCEF would have ignored your article titled “MURIC to Christian Elders on Onnoghen, Gowon: your position pedestrian, published by The Eagle online, April 23, 2019, but for two fundamental mistakes (a) that you chose to use former CJN Onnoghen and our respected former Head of State as subjects of attack; and (b) your use of the word “pedestrian”, which the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines as “without any imagination or excitement, dull.” This Rejoinder is unusually long for the purpose of stating the entire facts based upon which we drew our conclusion with respect to jihad – stealth and conventional. As Elders and, in some cases, “dramatis personae” in many of the actions under review, we want to put the record straight on the question of the coup of July 29, 1975 and jihad in Nigeria.