The Presidency has challenged the Christian Association of Nigeria for not condemning the alleged hate speech by the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, Apostle Suleman.
The Department of State Security (DSS) had invited Apostle Suleman over his recent alleged inciting comments that Christians should defend themselves against attacks by Fulani herdsmen.
The cleric was quoted to have incited thus: “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.”
A Presidency official queried: “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 official, who pleaded anonymity, said all religious leaders, be it Christian, Islamic or traditional, should condemn Apostle Suleman’s call and call him to order.
He said the Federal Government had been sending reinforcements to Southern Kaduna and would enforce the law against perpetrators of violence and was seeking the cooperation of all religious leaders not to support hate speeches that call for even more violence.
The official stated: “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 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 official noted that the decision of the DSS to invite Apostle Suleman for talks this week was 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.”