PRESS CONFERENCE: TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE BY NATIONAL CHRISTIAN ELDERS FORUM (NCEF) ON THE CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS TO CONFLICTS IN NIGERIA HELD AT THE NATIONAL CHRISTIAN CENTRE, ABUJA, ON FRIDAY 22ND JUNE 2018 AT 4.00PM

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,

DEMOCRACY IS THE FUTURE OF NIGERIA

The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) welcomes you to this Press Conference which is aimed at expressing its concerns about the state of the Nigerian State as well as propose solutions. As this Press Conference coincides with the 67th World Congress of the International Press Institute (IPI), taking place in Abuja, the NCEF wishes to appreciate Journalists worldwide for their immense contribution not just to provide information, but for acting as guardians of freedom, justice and equity in nations of the world. Without the Journalists, dictators and tyrants would have made the world unbearable for the human race. As Christians, we pray that the protection of the Almighty God shall rest on the Journalists, worldwide.

Concerning the issues evolving in Nigerian, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) wishes, first and foremost, to join millions of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to congratulate the Moshood Abiola family, the Gani Fawehinmi family and the Yoruba race for the posthumous award of the highest national honors of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) to Moshood Abiola and the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) to Gani Fawehinmi, SAN even though the awards did not fully comply with the provisions of the law as argued by Hon. Justice Alfa Belgore, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria. Those of us that rejoice at this award hope and pray that this gesture is not another form of stealth jihad, a repetition of the events of June 12, 1993 when the election was annulled, but a genuine instrument for unity and reconciliation.

We are however disturbed because all those granted the 2018 National Honors including Baba Gana Kingibe, are all Muslims ostensibly to swell the ranks of Muslims in the roll call of these awards. Not only is the impression being created that Muslims in Nigeria are in the forefront of championing democracy in the country but awarding National Honors to only Muslims further confirm the religious insensitivity and discrimination of President Buhari in a multicultural and multi-religious society.

That only Muslims are champions of Democracy is untrue because the Sunni Muslims in Nigeria have not hidden their preference for Sharia and President Buhari is their leader in the demand for Sharia while also holding that Sharia not democracy is mandatory for Muslims in Nigeria. The annulment of June 12, 1993 election by military President Ibrahim Babangida was a jihad against democracy which makes it easy for some of us to see the events of this year June 12, as merely an excuse to grant honors to a group of Muslims and to placate the Yorubas in preparation for 2019 elections.

It is also very disturbing that the true champion of June 12, Prof. Humphrey Nwosu who conducted the freest and fairest elections in the history of Nigeria was not considered worthy of inclusion in the 2018 National Honors. Our only conclusion is that Prof. Nwosu was disqualified because he is a Christian.

The religious exclusivity of the 2018 National Honors may also be one of the reasons why it did not pass through the proper legal channel. It shall remain on record that the 2018 National Honors Award is an illegal and unconstitutional action. It is rather sad to observe from events unfolding in the country that a President who was elected into power on the platform of Democracy is using the Democratic office to promote Jihad.

It is also pertinent to point out that on the same day, June 12, 2018, Christian Governor Joshua Dariye was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for corruption and money laundering. The NCEF is opposed to all forms of criminality and those involved in criminal acts. However, selective prosecution is not the answer, but a Truth and Reconciliation Commission is needed for total healing. The impression thus created on June 12, 2018 is that while Muslims deserve to be honored, Christians deserve to be thrown into jail. All Nigerians must be equal under the law.

EFCC AS INSTRUMENT OF STEALTH JIHAD

The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), based on the Biblical injunction of “thou shalt not steal”, and the laws of the country that forbids theft of any kind, condemns any act of stealing or looting of public funds. NCEF is therefore in total agreement with the spirit and the letter behind the setting up of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). It is very disturbing, however to observe that EFCC is not an impartial crime fighter. The impression solidly created by the actions of EFCC is that it is fighting Stealth Jihad by prosecuting Christians guilty of theft while treating with levity Muslims who steal.

EFCC is becoming the prosecuting arm of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI).

Appointments to its top management and key operational personnel appear based on religious consideration. Even the Police Officers that are deployed to the Commission are carefully selected Muslims. It has been observed that when the EFCC is investigating a Christian, the system becomes very efficient but slows down when a Muslim is involved.

Former Governor Joshua Dariye of Plateau state was convicted for diversion of Ecological Fund to the tune of N1.2 billion. However, former Governor Ahmed Muazu of Bauchi state was equally accused of diverting about N2.9 billion of the same Ecological Fund and so far, the EFCC has failed to properly investigate Mr. Muazu, talk less of prosecuting him. The reluctance of the EFCC to investigate Mr. Muazu is a riddle even after a Federal High Court issued an Order of Mandamus against him, the EFCC has not acted promptly.

Former Chief of Air Staff, Alex Badeh, a Christian, was investigated by the EFCC with pomp and pageantry over the alleged theft of N4.5 billion and his assets were confiscated. However, his predecessor in office, Mohammed Umar a Muslim, was accused by the EFCC of stealing over N10 billion and he is yet to be convicted. He is being secretly tried out of Abuja with compromised charges to facilitate loopholes for his acquittal.

The same double standard was applied by EFCC to the case of former Comptroller General of Customs, Mr. Dikko. The EFCC published that Mr. Dikko who allegedly stole N45 billion from the Government. Probably being a Fulani from Katsina state, a kangaroo trial has been arranged for him outside Abuja. The media blitz associated with the trial of Christians who steal is suddenly muted on this case.

This gross discrimination in EFCC extends to recruitment of staff. Recently, there was a recruitment exercise in the EFCC in which over 85% of the new staff are Muslims. It should also be noted that since its inception, EFCC has only been headed by Muslims from the North. The conclusion therefore is that EFCC has become a tool for stealth Jihad in Nigeria. NCEF welcomes prosecution of looters of public funds but we condemn discriminatory prosecution based on religious and cultural affiliation.

CHRISTIAN RESTRAINT TO PROMOTE PEACE

We take this opportunity to thank our Church and Christian leaders for their restraint and influence over Christians in Nigeria that has prevented reprisals and a religious war between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. There are two categories of these leaders. The first group comprises some members of the clergy who genuinely prevented reprisals, and the others who for personal gains would rather be with Muslim rulers (Hausa/Fulani) that have been the rulers of Nigeria since independence and believe that they are “Born to Rule” even as they make very little positive contribution to the governance of the country.

MUSLIM/MUSLIM TICKET

Heavy weather is being made of the Muslim/Muslim tickets of Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe. In 1993, this ticket was seen as South (Abiola), North (Kingibe) and not Muslim/Muslim. One and perhaps the main reason why the June 12 election was nullified was because Abiola though a Muslim was not of the Sunni sect, but of a different sect that accepts Democracy and Sharia in parts. Pressure was put on military president Babangida by the then Sultan of Sokoto, Sultan Dasuki, to annul the election as Abiola in his estimation cannot be trusted to promote Sharia.

NCEF has noted the unbridled desire of Islamists to remain in power in Nigeria primarily to promote Sharia. Nigerians are hereby alerted that with the realization that the current Islamists in power have failed woefully, on all parameters of governance, and it would be difficult for them to scale through a free and fair Democratic process, the NCEF is warning ahead of time that a Military Coup will not be accepted in Nigeria. There should be no attempt by anyone to seek to hold on to power by staging a coup to replace any government thereby forestalling a change in leadership through a proper democratic process. Democracy must triumph in Nigeria.

Presently, the political atmosphere in the country consists of two sides:

a. Those who are prepared to confront and resist evil

b. Those who are prepared to appease and profit from evil

POLARIZATION

Nigeria today has been polarized into two races – the Negro (indigenous ethnic nationalities) and the Negroid (Fulani, Hausa and Kanuri) and the warped understanding could seem to be that the Negroid are “Born to Rule” while the Negroes are born to be ruled. The Negroid are mainly Muslims while the Negroes are Christians.

The task that must be undertaken by Christians in 2018 and beyond is how to undo the polarization of the two major religions, Islam and Christianity. Today, some Christian leaders in politics and some of the Clergy seem to have completely “agreed” to work for the promotion of political Islam and Islamization of Nigeria.

In the preparation for independence, the two races (Negro and Negroid), the over 389 ethnic nationalities, the religious groups (including the two major ones, Christianity and Islam) the Armed Forces, the Police and para-military organizations all agreed that Democracy and Rule of Law would apply not Sharia or Islamism. The agreement of all was embodied in the Independence Constitution of 1960 and later, the 1963 Republican Constitution.

Elders in the Christian Elders Forum, individually and collectively decided to come together to find out the reasons for the sudden and drastic polarization of the country along several divides. With the benefit of hindsight, the NCEF can now affirm without any fear of contradiction, that the 1975 coup (and other preceding coups), were jihad, promoted for the Islamization of Nigeria for Sharia to replace democracy by the Islamists who now see elections (not democracy) as a means of transferring power to the Islamists. Election is the farthest the Islamists can go to meet the demands of democracy in Nigeria. The legislature is unacceptable to Islamists which explain the incessant conflicts between the Legislature and the present Executive.

This explains in the view of the NCEF a number of incidences involving the National and State Assemblies:

a. The seizure of the Mace of Senate in which the Executive was fingered.

b. Refusal of the IGP to answer summon of the Senate.

c. Arraigning the President of the Senate before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for assets declaration that could wait until the Senate President completes his term.

d. The granting of 2018 National Honors concerning June 12 without appropriate legislation.

e. Insisting that the Acting Chairman of EFCC could continue in office after rejection on two occasions by the Senate.

All of the above are attempts to turn the legislature into a meaningless symbol of our democratic practices. Unfortunately, the National Assembly is playing into the hands of the Islamists Executive by upward revision of the National Budget which is unconstitutional.

POLITICS OF IDENTITY

It is time all Nigerians say enough is enough to the Islamist exclusion of non-Islamists in the governance especially security and intelligence arms of the country. There are issues that make Islamism incompatible with democracy. In Democracies, men make laws. But Islam contains in the Quran a set of God given laws dictated to Mohammed that are not open to revision, leading Islamists to conclude that Islam is not compatible with democratic rules. The sanctity of the Constitution must remain supreme in Nigeria and all infractions must be redressed forthwith.

JIHAD

Jihad: Jihad is warfare to spread Islam:

• “Fight and kill the disbelievers wherever you find them, and seize them, beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war…” (Q 9:5)

• “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, not hold that forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the Religion of Truth, from among the People of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.” (Q 9:29)

• “So fight them until there is no more fitna and all submit to the religion of Allah alone.” (Q 8:39)

The above are not hate speeches but passages from the Quran.

From the above, it is clear that Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen are conducting jihad against non-Islamists – Christians, traditional worshippers and non-Islamists Muslims in Nigeria.

STEALTH JIHAD

In the book titled Stealth Invasion by Leo Hohmann [2017], he wrote on destroying Western societies from within that “The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Egypt with plans to turn the country away from the West and steer it into a system based on sharia law. In 1970 the Brotherhood has transitioned from a primary nationalist Islamist organization to an international one with a strong plan for the world. Rather than defeat the west, it planned to infiltrate it and change it from within.” [Emphasis supplied] [Pg. 29] Nowhere in the world has this experiment masterminded backwardness succeeded more than Nigeria. This success was achieved with the tacit co-operation and collaboration of Christian politicians and some Church leaders, mostly out of ignorance and greed in their quest for wealth and power.” The Nigerian Islamists have the added advantage of (a) a Constitution with dual ideologies of Democracy; (b) Sharia in the security and intelligence organizations to promote Sharia; and (c) the help and assistance of some Christian politicians and some Church leaders, collaborators in stealth jihad.

CALIPHATE SHARIA

It is pertinent to point out that present day Sharia in Nigeria can be aptly described as “Caliphate Sharia”. The Penal Code of Nigeria which came to effect on 1st October, 1960 was painstakingly drafted in the vision of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of the North after visits to other Islamic countries. The Penal Code gained worldwide acceptance, was applicable to all inhabitants of the Region and above all, was Islamic law compliant. The introduction of “Caliphate Sharia” was intended, the NCEF submits, to contradict Chapter IV of the Nigerian Constitution on Human Right.

ESTABLISHMENT OF 94 RANCHES IS STEALTH JIHAD

The Nation Newspaper of 20th June, 2018 reported that “94 ranches are on the way in 10 States to stem herdsmen/farmer clashes by the NEC Chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has approved a 10 year national livestock plan which will cost N179 billion.” All 36 Governors are members of NEC. The Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh “the National livestock implementation plan is a mediation plan stemming from meetings and recommendations … as regard State intervention following the incessant pastoral conflict … were going to have 94 ranches in the 10 States. We have received 21 Gazetted Grazing Reserves from seven States …”

The above statements, in the view of NCEF, should be interpreted with the background of the history of land and land reforms in Nigeria which have always been in favor of the North and can be narrowed down to Fulani.

a. Lord Lugard was accused by the South of imposing Land Law of the North on the South which Chief H. O. Davies in his book titled “Reminisces” informed us that North Land Law was the product of Fulani Jihad where land abandoned by the original indigenous owners as a result of Jihad were given to the Emirs as Trustees. The compensation meant for the original land owners, paid in accordance to British tradition that land cannot be acquired without the payment of compensation, was handed over to the Emirs to keep in trust until the original owner returned. The compensation is still in the custody of the Emirs to date.

b. The Military established the Hon. Justice Idigbe Committee and accepted the Minority Report of the Committee as a result of which the Military promulgated the Land Use Decree which vested all land with the State Governors. Thereby, with the stroke of the pen, extinguished all traditional ownership of land that existed in the South in the hands of one man. Another example of Stealth Jihad.

c. Sharia provides that all sacred lands, that is, land once occupied by Moslems automatically become their own by grant from Allah that has decreed an Islamic world. It is permissible under the circumstance to reclaim such land by Jihad. This explains why Fulani Herdsmen are conducting conventional Jihad in most parts of the country.

d. It has become very clear that conventional Jihad cannot continue and if it continues, it cannot reclaim all grazing routes in Nigeria as a result the Buhari government has decided to employ Stealth Jihad by introducing ranches. Land would be provided for Fulani Herdsmen without firing a shot.

e. The NEC headed by a Christian Vice President on the recommendation of the Minister of Agriculture, also a Christian, was meant to convey the decision to Nigerians in an attempt to camouflage Jihad.

f. In a few years time, these ranches would have an Emir who would be the traditional ruler of the locality where the ranches are now being established as was done in Plateau and other states in the North.

In the above circumstances, Democrats must come together and join hands to stop the spread of Sharia in whatever form. Christians must insist that those who lead them are not collaborators of stealth Jihad through financial inducement. The Muslims of the South West, who are noted for supporting Democracy, should also not get carried away by assuming that this is Islam. What is unfolding in Nigeria is a cultural and political domination agenda that is manipulating religion to hand over the country to the Fulanis.

JIHAD AND CAN

It is pertinent also to point out as stated in the book 9/11 Stealth Jihad and Obama (2012) that Boko Haram leader, Imam Abubakar Shekarau declared, in his first ever television appearance, that Boko Haram was “at war with Christians” and that its fighters will continue to kill and are ready and willing to be killed themselves as martyrs. Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor as head of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) called the killings of Christians by Boko Haram “systematic ethnic and religious cleansing”. As such, Pastor Ayo urged his followers to do whatever it takes to defend themselves against “these senseless killings”, adding “we have the legitimate right to defend ourselves”. Some Christian politicians and Church leaders accused Pastor Ayo, of promoting revenge against Muslims and stealth jihad was waged against him. Five years after Pastor Ayo spoke, General T.Y. Danjuma repeated the charges of ethnic cleansing against Christians in Taraba State and the complicity of the Nigeria Armed Forces in the ethnic “cleansing”.

Professor Wole Soyinka on May 1, 2018, urged President Buhari to stop Nigeria from sinking by putting a stop to the killings in various parts of the country which he also described as ethnic cleansing. He proposed a simple solution – “give a marching order to all land usurpers across the country who are occupying forcefully acquired land, 48 hours to vacate the land”. These are voices of eminent Nigerians, which an Islamist Head of State has ignored. It is very clear from the above, that the call for self defense by NCEF was not misplaced as it shows clearly that the armed forces cannot be trusted to protect Nigerians and therefore can be construed as support for the Islamist Boko Haram and Fulani Herdsmen.

In the book “Democratization and Islam Law” by Johannes Harnischfeger, the author so well pointed out that when Democracy was introduced to Nigeria in 1999 one-third of its federal states declared that they would be governed by sharia or Islamic law. The Author argued that such a break with secular constitution traditions in a multi-religion country can have disastrous consequences. The efforts by Islamic politicians to assert their own religion law,

Harnischfeger contends, have driven Muslims and Christians unto avoidable confrontation with one another. The twelve sharia declared states which the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo SAN said President Obasanjo could do nothing about was because of the fake legal advice offered him by Islamist judges in the Judiciary which noted that Sharia declaration by the twelve Sharia state was constitutional. The Christian Social Movement of Nigeria, (CSMN) as plaintiff, has decided to challenge this assertion in court.

CONCLUSION

With respect to General Obasanjo, we believe him when he said recently that his life is under threat because Islamism does not accept opposition and stealth jihad will be programmed to shut off President Obasanjo temporarily or permanently. We therefore urge Christians and all Nigerians of goodwill to continue to defend themselves against all forms of jihad (conventional and civilized). Gen. Danjuma was recently halted on his way out of the country because of his statement that Nigerians should defend themselves. We must all be vigilant. Arrest of Danjuma or Obasanjo or Gowon for that matter is arrest of ALL Christian leaders in the country.

However, there is need to mention here that Obasanjo as Head of State, first and second calling, operated more on the side of Islamists jihad. It is very clear that he now knows better and, in his old age like those of us in NCEF, wants to make peace with other “passengers” in and outside the departure lounge to eternity.

The NCEF is telling the above stories to promote discussion and debates in the hope that Christians in Nigeria will, individually and collectively ask themselves whether they are part of the Islamists politics or their leaders are instruments of jihad in Nigeria.

If so, they have the duty to convert these leaders to genuine Christianity. The NCEF recommends that Nigeria’s problems can be reduced to the least common denomination of Democracy versus Sharia, and intends to work with ordinary Nigerians to improve on the country’s political leadership that Democracy is the future for Nigeria. There should be no violence, but only dialogue, conducted only in truth and reconciliation, without bitterness so that with God’s grace, Nigeria may become one indivisible and united Nation under God.

God bless Nigeria.

Solomon Asemota, SAN

Chairman, NCEF

Abuja, June 22, 2018

Solomon Asemota, SAN (Chairman),

Prof. Joseph Otubu,

Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro (rtd),

Archbishop Magnus Atilade,

Dr. (Mrs) Kate Okpareke,

Dr. Ayo Abifarin,

Gen. Zamani Lekwot (rtd),

Elder Moses Ihonde,

Elder Nat Okoro,

Gen. T. Y. Danjuma,

Elder Matthew Owojaiye,

Kalajine Anigbogu (rtd),

Elder Shyngle Wigwe,

DIG P. L. Dabup,

Sir John W. Bagu,

Dr. Saleh Hussaini,

Elder Mike Orobator,

Justice James Ogebe, JSC (rtd),

Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife,

Chief Debo Omotosho,

Dame Priscilla Kuye,

Dr. S. D. Gani,

Mrs. Osaretin Demuren,

Prof. Yussuf Turaki,

Pastor Bosun Emmanuel (Secretary)

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