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…FG accuses him of spreading incredible falsehood to discredit Buhari

… Says no bias in government that has Muslim President, Christian Vice President

… Insists attack on Christian students unacceptable, so abduction of students of other faiths

… Urges Nigerians to define evil as evil, not allow religious differences to divide them

THE federal government yesterday came down hard on the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto over his recent address to the U.S. Congress, accusing him of spreading falsehood with the aim of discrediting the Buhari administration. Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said that for the Catholic cleric to declare to the foreign audiences that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration does nothing amount to an “incredible” falsehood. According to Shehu, “to suggest that investment in infrastructure between Nigeria and the Niger Republic is wasteful and biased – when a similar infrastructure project between Lagos and Benin has revolutionized the two neighboring economies to the advantage of both our countries – is quite disturbing.”

“There is no bias in this government when the President is Northern and Muslim, Vice President Southern and Christian, and the cabinet equally balanced between the two religions. “But neither is there anything in our Constitution to state that political posts must be apportioned according to ethnicity or faith. It takes a warped frame of mind for a critic to believe ethnicity is of primary importance in public appointments. It is yet more troubling to hear a Churchman isolating one group for criticism purely on ethnic lines”, he stated. Speaking further, Shehu said “with due respect to the esteemed position he holds, the Bishop’s assertion that only Christian schools are being targeted by bandits or terrorists is not supported by the facts on the ground. It is sad to say but also true that victims of crime, kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism cut across all strata of the society.”

“It’s sad but true that Kankara students in Katsina State were stolen by bandits of the same Islamic faith as those they took away. The same may be true of those who are still holding the 134 students of the Islamic School at Tegina in Niger State. “The nation witnessed the sad incident of the female students abducted by bandits at Jangebe in Zamfara State and the over 100 predominantly Muslim students of the Federal Government Girls College Birnin Yauri in Kebbi State who are currently in captivity and the nation’s security agencies are hard at work to release them unharmed. “The attack on Christian students is sad and unacceptable; so also is the abduction of students of other faiths. The claim that only Christian schools are being targeted is totally untrue.

“As a nation and a people, we must together define evil as evil. We must not allow our religious differences to divide us. No one gains but the evildoers when we divide our ranks according to ethnicity and religion in confronting them. The bandit, kidnapper, and terrorist are the enemies of the people who should be confronted in unison. “To be clear, The Bible is definitive on matters of ethnicity and racialism: In Romans 2:9-10, it says: “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good. “And in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Whether Christian or Muslim, we stand by these beliefs and are steadfastly committed to them in governance. “There is no place in mainstream civil discourse for those who actively, negatively, and publicly label an individual ethnic group, especially before a foreign audience. These are not the views expressed or opinions held by the vast majority of the citizens of Nigeria. “For all our challenges as a nation, nearly all of us seek to live together in harmony, celebrating differences, and finding common ground as Nigerians above all.

But people like Kukah are doing their best to sow discord and strife among Nigerians. “More than any other set of people, leaders – in politics or religion, who preach respect for the truth have a duty to practice it. It is a moral and practical responsibility. Going by the history of the Church, as is well known, it will stand up publicly for the truth. It is time others did the same”, he added.

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