Jihad Threat Worries Christians

Posted to the web April 20, 2005

Jos, Nigeria - Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN), has called on the Federal Government to take extra security precautions to protect law abiding Nigerians, following threats of Jihad by Northern Muslim leaders.

The call was contained in a communiqué issued in Jos yesterday, signed by COCIN President, Reverend Pandang Yamsat, and Secretary-General, Reverend John Audu, after a two-day executive meeting of the body.

According to them, "Council expresses grave concern over the shouts of marginalisation by Muslim leaders in the north, followed by threats of jihad if the Federal Government does not reverse what they perceived as unfair distribution of national offices.

"The cry of marginalisation sounds very strange, even provocative, coming from the same people who are unrelenting in marginalising Christians, including their indigenes, in Sokota, Katsina, Zamfara, Kano, Kebbi, Jigiwa, Yobe and Bauchi states, and treating them like second class citizens in the land of their birth."

The council said the threat of launching a jihad is "a crude and uncivilised way of settling disagreements in a democratic dispensation in the 21st century."

The Church leaders urged delegates at the on-going National Political Reforms Conference, President Olus-egun Obasanjo and Nigerians generally not to be distracted by what they termed, "inelegant ranting" seeking to give the conference a religious coloration.

"Those who feel aggrieved in anyway should seize the opportunity to articulate their grievances and present same there," it said.

On the national census, the Church deplored the exclusion of religion and tribe in the questionnaire, saying the exc-use that they are sensitive to national unity is not tenable.

"This position is unacceptable to COCIN, because the exercise will at the end of the day, result in mere listing of peoples' names, while stripping us of our true identities.

"We reject a situation whereby we are reduced to mere figures, and therefore call on Obasanjo to reverse his earlier decision in the interest of national unity and peace."