BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – The Presidency on Tuesday declared that the Federal Government shall never tolerate religious intolerance just as it clearly and unambiguously restated its support for the freedom to practice whichever belief one wishes.
It pointedly said that the politicisation of religion as forbidden by the constitution has no place in Nigeria, adding that the President does not wish to be distracted from his major focus by divisive politics promoting religion and accusations and counter accusations on baseless religious issues.
The Presidency which stated this in reaction to recent statement by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), said the security forces of Nigeria are working continuously to return those taken hostage by Boko Haram to their families, friends and communities.
It further said that in doing this, the government has full confidence in their ability to accomplish the task.
These were contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu in which he said on its own part, government has condemned some of the appalling acts of terror, especially following the festive period.
Shehu further said; “Yet, to continue to see these happenings solely in religious terms – removed from social, economic and environmental factors – simplifies complexities that must be heeded. Not seeing them as they should be is exactly what the terrorists and groups wish: they want Nigerians to see their beliefs as reason to turn against one another.
“On the contrary, Christians and Muslims alike are united in their opposition to Boko Haram and the hatred for decency that the infamous group stands for.
“Nigerians must continue to be united in ensuring that they do not subscribe to the terrorists’ message of division. Unfortunately, some leaders and politicians seek to make political capital from our religious differences.
“As we fight Boko Haram on the ground, so too must we tackle their beliefs: stability and unity in face of their hatred is itself a rejection of their worldview.
“What this country needs urgently at the moment is addressing rampant unemployment, alleviating poverty and delivering long-delayed infrastructure. We urgently need jobs, economic growth and relief from debilitating corruption,” Shehu stated.