President Muhammadu Buhari says 90 per cent of Boko Haram victims are Muslims and that the insurgents are seeking to use religion to divide Nigerians.
Buhari made the submission in an article published in Christianity Today, a magazine, on the death of Lawan Andimi, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State.
He also said in the article that there is no room for those who seek to divide Nigerians on the basis of religion.
In the article, Buhari said the killing of the religious leader by Boko Haram was aimed at pitting Christians against Muslims.
He said Nigeria is winning the fight against Boko Haram insurgents, adding that the group has failed in its campaign, but now seeks to divide Nigerians using religion as a weapon.
Buhari wrote: “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.
“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.
“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 pulling us from one from another — to set one religion seemingly implacably against the other.
“Of course, there is much of Christianity and Islam — both in teaching and practice — that are not the same. Were that not so, there would be no need for the separateness of the two religions.”
Buhari asked religious leaders to learn from the life of Andimi who “acted selflessly in so many regards”, including “giving alms and prayers to both Christians and Muslims who suffered at the hands of the terrorists”.
He wrote: “I call on Nigeria’s faith leaders, and Nigerians everywhere, to take these words of concord — and the many more that exist — to their hearts and their deeds. Just as my government, and our international partners, quicken our campaign to defeat Boko Haram within and without our borders, we must turn our minds to the future. 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.”