Amidst speculation that the President, Muhammadu Buhari, has an agenda to islamise the nation, Mr President has confirmed the membership of Nigerian in the Islamic Coalition Against Terrorism group headed by Saudi Arabia.
In a recent Interview granted by the President to Al Jazeera during his visit to Doha, Qatar, the President confirmed the nation’s membership.
He said; “We are part of it (the Islamic coalition) because we’ve got terrorists in Nigeria that everybody knows which claim that they are Islamic.
“So, if there is an Islamic coalition to fight terrorism, Nigeria will be part of it because we are casualties of Islamic terrorism,”
The President confirmed also that the nation’s inclusion in the coalition was discussed during his visit to King Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
When asked by the interviewer what purpose(s) the membership of the Islamic coalition would serve the country, the President rebuffed the question, noting it would be wrong to divulge such information to the media.
“Well, that we mentioned under the Lake Chad Basin Commission, our regional grouping compromising Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin and we dedicated a certain number of troops to be deployed in our own sub-region and I don’t think we have to tell the press the details of that.”
Justifying the nation’s membership of the Islamic coalition, the President said it was not a bad move as the Boko Haram terrorists have claimed to be Muslims although their activities stand against the religion.
“I’ve just told you, it was the Boko Haram itself that declared loyalty to ISIS. ISIS is basically based in Islamic countries. Now, if there’s a coalition to fight Islamic terrorism, why can’t Nigeria be part of it while those that are fighting in Nigeria as Boko Haram claim to be Muslims? But the way they are doing, it is anti-Islamic.”
Concerns were however raised as to the comfort of Nigerians who are Christians and view the move by the President as one to Islamise or give the Nation an Islamic identity, the President answered;
“Why can’t those Christians that complained go and fight terrorism in Nigeria or fight the militancy in the South. It is Nigeria that matters, not the opinion of some religious bigots,” he declared.
The President however denied any attempt to change the religious identity of the country.
“How can I change the religious identity of Nigeria?
“No religion advocates hurting the innocent and just because the Muslims are the ones that claim to be Boko Haram and they are killing innocent people, whether in the church, in the bus or in the market place, then I will just sit and look at them because I too am a Muslim? Islam is against injustice in any form.” he added.