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The Catholic Bishop of Abuja Diocese, Arch Bishop John Onaiyekan, in an Exclusive Interview with PREMIUM TIMES has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to lead Nigeria into the Saudi-led Islamic coalition against terror as a “dangerous and unwise step”.
Mr. Onaiyekan said the decision poses great danger for Nigeria’s armed forces, as well as for the nation.
“I am not sure it is a wise thing.
Once you talk of an Islamic coalition and you are bringing Nigerian armed forces into it, my fear is that this is a dangerous step,” Mr. Onaiyekan said.
“We have been trying, and I think successfully, to keep religion out of our armed forces. Can you imagine what will happen if Nigerian armed forces were fighting in the North-East on the basis of religion?
“So I hope government will be better advised,” Mr. Onaiyekan said.
Mr. Onaiyekan said countries in the alliance did not fare better in terms of security.
“Those who put the alliance together have not succeeded in putting their own house in order,” he said.
“It is not as if they have succeeded well in Iraq, Syria and other places.
“So whoever advised him (President Muhammadu Buhari) did not advice him well.”
Regarding the comments made by Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, that the alliance is not religious, the Bishop said the minister’s remarks depicted ignorance about the behaviour of Nigerians, adding that Mr. Onyeama contradicted himself.
“When I hear the Minister of Foreign Affairs saying that there is nothing religious about the coalition, I am sorry that the Minister of Foreign Affairs does not know how Nigerians behave and think.
“You cannot tell us that something is Islamic and at the same time say it is not religious. That is a contradiction. It’s like saying Islam is not a religion,” said Mr. Onaiyekan.
Mr. Onaiyekan urged Nigerians to reflect on the three days of Easter, beginning with the Good Friday and never forget that Jesus died for them.
He also prayed that God continues to lead Nigeria in the right path and that the country should find a way out of its many problems.