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Archbishop: The government of Nigeria does not do enough to protect Christians and Muslims

Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze of Benin City, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, spoke with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) about persistent insecurity in the country as evidenced by continued atrocities perpetrated by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province, and deadly attacks on Christians by Fulani herdsmen.


How would you describe the current situation of Christians in Nigeria?

The current situation reflects an unnecessary, unwarranted and self-inflicted tension. Our Constitution [stipulates] that in the administration of federal Institutions there must be representation from every sector of the country. This was designed to make every Nigerian feel welcomed and to show that Nigeria belongs to everyone.

But the present federal government has decided to take a completely suspicious approach to appointments of people to sensitive positions. Virtually all the officials who advise the President belong to the same Hausa-Fulani ethnic group. 95 percent of them are Muslims, in a country where there are about 50 percent Christians.

Boko Haram attacks on Nigerians have continued for many years. This terrorist group that has sworn allegiance to ISIS is operative in North-East of Nigeria. But they have staged attacks even in Abuja the Federal capital.

Do you think the government isn’t doing enough to protect Christians?

The Government is certainly not doing enough to protect both Christians and Muslims. A few days ago, the National Assembly unanimously moved that the President change the officials because they are not providing sufficient security for the lives of Nigerians. This legislative arm of the Government has a majority of the ruling party as members. This speaks to the fact that Nigerians are dissatisfied with the level of incompetency shown by the Government of Nigeria with regards to protecting lives and properties.

Finally, let us hope, the Government of EU nations and America will probably see the moral obligation to seek ways to protect the lives of Christians and other Nigerians who are constantly being attacked by Boko Haram and the herdsmen.

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