By Rotimi Ijikanmi
The Federal Government says the alleged Islamisation of Nigeria under the current administration is totally false and should be perceived in its entirety as a campaign of calumny.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated this on Monday in Ilorin at the Federal Government Town Hall meeting for the North Central zone.
He noted that in recent times, the media had been increasingly awash with incendiary statements designed to pitch the adherents of the two prominent religions Christians and Muslims against one another.
The minister said the secular nature of Nigeria’s Constitution makes the issue of religious dominance and impunity improbable.
“Such fallacies like the Islamisation of Nigeria, the killing of Christians by Muslims, the labeling of Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world can only serve one purpose: trigger a religious war.
“Needless to say that no nation ever survives a religious war,’’ he said.
The minister said those making the allegations were using religion as tool to demonise the government and divert attention from the government’s anti-corruption stance.
He said that more often than not, conflicts between Muslims and Christians were fuelled by political motivations, ethnic differences, extremism, intolerance and terrorism.
“Make no mistake about it, there have been conflicts between adherents of the two major religions in certain parts of the country.
“To now extrapolate from that to say Nigeria is the most dangerous place for Christians in the world is a disservice to Nigeria and an overkill.’’
He appealed to the media to desist from providing a platform for exponents of incendiary statements.
The minister also appealed to Christian and Muslim leaders to emulate Catholic Cardinal John Onaiyekan and Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar who formed the Inter-faith Initiative for Peace to promote inter-faith dialogue.
Mohammed said the North-Central edition is the eighth in the series of the Town Hall Meetings, which started in Lagos on April 25, 2016.
He said the intention was to bridge the communication gap between the government and the people, carrying the people along in the process of governance and also getting the much-needed feedback from the citizenry.
The Ministers of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu attended the event.
Others are Ministers of State for Mines and Steel, Bawa Bwari, Budget and National Planting, Zainab Ahmed and Industry, Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar.
The ministers gave accounts of their stewardship and fielded questions from the audience on critical national issues.