The Presidential Support Committee (PSC) has taken a swipe at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over its recent comment that Christians are being hated and persecuted in the North, saying such utterances coming from a body of ecclesiastics’ amounts to hate speech against the entire country.
The committee was reacting to a lead story of a national daily newspaper in which the vice president of CAN, Northern state and Abuja chapter and chairman of the Kaduna state chapter of the association, Reverend John Hayap was quoted to have backed the United States’ decision to put Nigeria on her watch list of countries whose governments had engaged in or tolerated the severe violation of religious freedom.
Hayap claimed christians are hated in Nigeria and that the country has so many issues of religious intolerance where individuals disrespect other individuals because of their religious beliefs or identity.
But in a statement by its director of communication and strategic planning, Mallam Gidado Ibrahim, the PCS faulted CAN’s line of reasoning, arguing that the level of peaceful coexistence between the two major religions in Nigeria cannot be matched by what is happening in other countries of the world.
Cautioning the christian body against utterances and incisive vituperations that are capable of setting the country on fire, Ibrahim pleaded with CAN to guard against hate speech and divisive tendencies that could divide the country along religious lines.
He said, “We plead with our christian leaders to be wary of comments such as the one made in the Sun newspaper of Sunday by one of CAN’s leaders. That tendentious utterance by the deputy vice chairman of CAN should not just be condemned for its mendacity; it should also be considered as treason because of its inciting nature.
“Nigeria is a country where Muslims and Christians coexist in absolute
peace are families where brothers and sisters are either Muslims or Christians depending on whether they choose their father’s religion or mother’s.