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Jihad: Shehu Sani, Fani-Kayode differ on Danjuma, others’ warnings

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Jihad: Shehu Sani, Fani-Kayode differ on Danjuma, others’ warnings

Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

The lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Senator Shehu Sani; and former Minister of Aviation, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, have differed on the claim by the National Christian Elders’ Forum that there is an underground move to Islamise Nigeria.

While Sani in a Facebook post on Friday night said it was unfair to accuse the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of having such agenda, Fani-Kayode in his Facebook post on Sunday endorsed the position of the group.

Sani warned that the position of the Christian group could worsen the ethnoreligious crisis in the country, but Fani-Kayode argued that it was those who killed Christians and practice “stealth jihad” who were bound to set the country on fire.

Retired military generals and eminent Christian elders, under the aegis of the NCEF, had at a meeting on Thursday observed that Nigeria was drifting towards a needless conflict that could culminate in another war if not well managed.

Those in attendance at the meeting included Elder Solomon Asemota (SAN), Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro (retd.), Gen. Zamani Lekwot (retd.), Elder Moses Ihonde, Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), Elder Shyngle Wigwe, and Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife.

The elder statesmen, in a communiqué issued after the meeting, stated that Jihad or holy Islamic war had been launched in the country to eradicate democracy and supplant the constitution.

They noted that the nation was in the throes of jihad while calling on Nigerian leaders to tread softly to avoid the impending implosion.

But Sani said, “It is unfair to President Buhari for any individual or group to accuse him or his administration of having any theocratic agenda. Other issues raised about his administration may or may not be true but, certainly, he is not a religious bigot. If there exists credible evidence of a religious agenda, I will be one of the first to raise a voice.

“Elder statesmen should champion the cause of peace and national unity, and not aggravate the crisis. In this inflammable or combustible state of our country, we don’t need more bellows of ethnic smokes or religious flames. We must balance our natural passion to defend our ethnic and religious rights and our moral duty to preserve peace and our constitutional responsibility to preserve the unity of our country.

“A dark cloud of uncertainty hangs over the sky of our country, it is our duty as patriots and men and women of conscience to stand and to speak to dispel it. Ethnic and religious sentiments are corrosives, inimical to our existence as a country and as a people. We can collectively extinguish the infernos of agitations by standing up for our country.”

Fani-Kayode, however, differed with Sani.

His post read, “I commend the Elder Solomon Asemota (SAN) and Gen. T. Y. Danjuma-led Christian elders’ forum for warning the Buhari government to stop attempting to Islamise Nigeria, and I wholeheartedly endorse their position.

“It is those that kill Christians and practice stealth jihad that will set this country on fire and not Asemota, T.Y. Danjuma and the Christian elders. Their concerns are legitimate, their observations are pertinent and their counsel is wise. They have spoken the minds of over 90 million Nigerian Christians.

“Theirs are the voices of restraint and reason, and it is in the interest of the Federal Government to listen to them carefully, to consider their concerns and to take their admonitions very seriously if they want peace and unity in our country.

“Anything short of that will be unacceptable, will lead to greater division and will have devastating and long-term consequences for the future of our country.”

Prominent groups, including the Ijaw Youth Congress; the Middle Belt Forum; and the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, had supported the warnings by the NCEF.

The groups, in separate interviews with Saturday PUNCH on Friday, urged the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to ensure justice for all Nigerians, irrespective of their tribes or religions.

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