The Catholic Bishop of Abuja Diocese, John Onaiyekan, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to include Nigeria in the Saudi Arabia-led Islamic coalition against terrorism.
The Archbishop described the move as dangerous and unwise while noting that the countries which came together to form the alliance have not made any form of headway in their respective challenges.
In an interview with Premium Times, he said by taking the decision, it’s apparent that Buhari listened to an ill-fated advice.
“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.”
“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-West on the basis of religion? So I hope government will be better advised.”
“Those who put the alliance together have not succeeded in putting their own houses in order. It’s not as if they have succeeded well in Iraq, Syria and other places. So whoever advised him (President Mohammadu Buhari) did not advice him well.”
Onaiyekan further stated that Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama contradicted himself when he said the alliance isn’t a religious one.
“When I heard the minister of foreign affairs saying that there is nothing religious about the coalition; I’m 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.”