By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Presidency has frowned at some religious leaders that make hate speeches to fuel up crisis in the country.
It specifically took on the Leadership of the Christian Association of Nigerian, CAN, querying while it has not condemned the hate speech made by Apostle Suleiman that Christians should kill Fulani herdsmen.
A senior official of the Presidency who spoke on the condition of anonymity stated that the Federal Government has been sending reinforcements to Southern Kaduna and would enforce the law against perpetrators of violence.
The source however said that the presidency was seeking the cooperation of religious leaders not to support hate speeches that called for even more violence
The source who supported the invitation of Apostle Suleiman by the Department of State Service, DSS added that calling for the killing of herdsmen was un-christian.
The source said: “Making specific reference to a cleric whose statements openly called for the killing of Fulani herdsmen, the presidency official noted that all religious leaders be it Christian, Islamic or Traditional should condemn the call and bring the pastor back to order.
“Yes, we understand the emotional reactions arising from a breakout of violence and day-in day-out the government is dealing with the situation. Perpetrators of violence are being arrested, and we don’t need a religious leader calling for more violence,” the official added.
“The said pastor had said any Fulani herdsman you see around you, kill him. I have told them in the church here, that any Fulani herdsman that just entered by mistake, Kill him, Kill Him. Cut his head. If they are busy killing christians over there and nothing is happening, we will kill them and nothing will happen.
“Is CAN, aware of this kind of statement. Is it in line with Christian conduct? Why haven’t there been a condemnation of this kind of criminal conduct. There is some understandable outrage about cases of violence in Southern Kaduna, yet this coming from a religious leader is certainly even more outrageous.
“The Buhari administration fought Boko Haram which was advocating violence and calling for the scraping of Nigeria’s secularity, and the administration will eventually get to the root cause of Southern Kaduna violence as well.
“But we need patience and little time to get to the bottom of the issue, knowing that the Southern Kaduna crisis has been a recurring crisis over several years now.”
“The decision of the DSS to invite the said preacher for talks this week over the statements he is reported to have made is in clear demonstration of the agency’s duty that does not require any kind of presidential directive as is being speculated on the Social Media.”
“Anyone, especially leaders, who engages in such questionable conduct, ought to at least be asked a few questions. We just hope religious leaders will also at least call on the said pastor to behave in a Christ-like manner.”
“President Muhammadu Buhari has recently, given instructions for decisive measures aimed at bringing an end to the recurring violence in the Southern part of Kaduna State.
“On his directive, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, was in the area on Saturday and Sunday to assess the situation first hand, President Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, had said in a statement earlier this month.
“The statement said in addition to conventional policemen deployed in the area, a squadron of mobile policemen has now been stationed there.
“Equally the presidential statement added that the Nigerian army is also in the process of setting up two battalions in Southern Kaduna while the military continues to carry out air surveillance across flash points of the area.
“President Buhari has equally directed the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to carry out a joint assessment of the situation with the sister agency in Kaduna, SEMA, to determine the level of response required for urgent aid to the victims of the violence,” the statement noted.
“The presidential statement added that the president had “once again, sent condolences to the people of Southern Kaduna, who have lost loved ones in the recent violence”.