Nigeria rejects UK Report on religious freedom, lists Buhari – Osinbajo efforts at tackling challenges



Nigeria has rejected the United Kingdom All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom for their report, launched a few days ago.

A statement by the Presidency signed by Garba Shehu, Senior Media Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari contrary to  “misrepresentation” in the report, listed the efforts in the months ahead to tackle challenges in Nigeria.

Shehu said contrary to the impression created by the report, “In the months and years ahead, President who is Muslim and Vice President who is an evangelical pastor are irrevocably committed to addressing these multiple and long-term challenges for today’ and future generations. These include:

“Continuing and increasing Nigeria’ efforts alongside allies to fully defeat and finally finish Boko Haram, in order to bring security to the north of the country.

“Continuing to seek, negotiate for, and secure the return of all those held hostage and in captivity by the terrorists, regardless of the religious faith or belief.

“Uniting through dialogue organised around respect for difference in religion. Such a programme is already underway under the leadership of the Vice President, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo.

“Addressing, through Joint Federal and State Governments programmes, access to arable farmland – with land mandated both for farmers and herders. The federal government will detailed measures regarding this plan and its rollout in the coming weeks

 “Countering fake news – particularly on social and digital media – by working with the non-partisan community, the National Broadcasting Commission and social media platforms , to address the proliferation of false and inflammatory commentary.

The reaction from the presidency reads thus: “The President and Government of Nigeria wish to thank members of the United Kingdom All-Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom or Belief for their report, launched a few days ago.

“Although it is difficult reading, the statement also acknowledges the importance of accurate, unbiased, depoliticised and truthful information when it comes to the realities and addressing the challenges for those of faith in Nigeria. In this regard when uncritical attention is afforded to critics with dubious intentions, it only becomes harder for both the government and people of Nigeria to engage in constructive dialogue to resolve our differences, and uphold what is enshrined in our Constitution and laws: that everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

“It is clear for all to see that there have, for generations in Nigeria, been tensions between our major religions, Christianity and Islam – and between herders and farmers – both for access to ever-decreasing arable and farmland due to a rapidly rising population, temperatures and desertification through global warming.

Exacerbating those tensions, our has also been in recent times and focused within the states – subject to vicious and criminal attacks by the terror group Boko Haram.

“In concert with our American and British allies, Nigeria’ military have pushed back the terrorists and largely reduced their over the last five years compared to the previous decade.  

“Boko Haram have targeted Christians and Churches specifically because they know it drives religious and land tensions already existent in the country. Similarly, they attack mosques and Muslims in order to the threat: radicalise, or become targets yourselves.

“In the months and years ahead, our President who is Muslim and our Vice President who is an evangelical pastor are irrevocably committed to addressing these multiple and long-term challenges for today’s and future generations. These include:

“- Continuing and increasing Nigeria’s efforts alongside our allies to fully defeat and finally finish Boko Haram, in order to bring security to the north of the country.

“- Continuing to seek, negotiate for, and secure the return of all those held hostage and in captivity by the terrorists, regardless of the religious faith or belief.

“- Uniting our through dialogue organised around respect for difference in religion. Such a programme is already underway under the leadership of the Vice President, Pastor Yemi Osinbajo.

“- Addressing, through Joint Federal and State Governments programmes, access to arable farmland – with land mandated both for farmers and herders. The federal government will detailed measures regarding this plan and its rollout in the coming weeks

“ – Countering fake news – particularly on social and digital media – by working with the non-partisan community, the National Broadcasting Commission and social media platforms , to address the proliferation of false and inflammatory commentary.

“The President and Government have and will at all times work with those – both within and without Nigeria – with a concern for the rights to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.  

“In this regard, we look to welcoming members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group to our country to see for the work that is going on to promote these fundamental rights of our citizens.”