The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) has warned President Muhammadu Buhari against dragging Nigeria into the Saudi Arabia-led Muslim-Arab coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS).
Daily Independent reports that the group appealed to the president in a statement made by the chairman of the NCEF, Solomon Asemota, on Sunday, December 27, in Abuja.
According to the group, if the country identifies with the coalition, it would send a wrong signal to Iran, which is the main supporter of Shi’ites, that Nigeria has aligned itself with Saudi Arabia (Sunni) to the detriment of the Shi’ites in Nigeria.
Stressing that Nigeria is neither an Islamic nor an Arab nation, Asemota insisted that the country should maintain its non-aligned position on global religious crisis.
“The National Christian Elders Forum calls on President Muhammadu Buhari not to drag Nigeria into the Saudi Arabia-led Muslim/Arab coalition against ISIS.
“He promised Nigerians before his election that he is now a democrat and has no intention of imposing Sharia or any form of religious domination on the nation.
“It is imperative that Nigeria maintains its neutral, non-aligned status on internationally contentious issues, whether it is politics, ideologies, or religion. Nigeria should maintain its non-aligned status.
“If Nigeria should participate in the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, it would be a negation of all that the president promised before his election. Such a denial would be a terrible betrayal of the trust that Nigerians from all over the country reposed in President Buhari,” he said.
Further in its statement, the NCEF debunked alleged connivance between the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the army and the Boko Haram sect against Shi’ites in Nigeria.
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“There is no iota of truth in a video report credited to an Iranian television station in which an Iranian lecturer posited that a “triangle of evil” composing of the Nigerian army, Boko Haram, and Christian Association of Nigeria have combined to destroy Shi'ites in Nigeria!
“We wonder under which ideology would CAN team up with Boko Haram to destroy an Islamic sect. Apart from its sheer absurdity, this dangerous statement should not be dismissed because it is calculated to beat the drums of war in far away Iran to mobilize Muslim Shiites to attack Nigerian Christians.
“The Nigerian Church has suffered tremendously under Sunni Boko Haram; the emergence of Shiite backed insurgency in Nigeria must be avoided at all costs,” the group said.
On December 14, Nigeria was listed among 34 mainly Muslim countries by Saudi Arabia to coordinate a global fight against terrorist organisations.
According to the government of Saudi Arabia, the alliance would confront not only ISIS, but “any terrorist group in front of us.”