Prominent Christian leaders in the country have appealed to President Muhammad Buhari’s government to carefully follow through the allegation of budget padding at the National Assembly, saying any attempt to cover it up would boomerang.
The Christian leaders who expressed mixed feeling on the handling of the issue also appealed to government to address issue of poverty and hunger in the land with immediate effect, saying failure to do would sound a death knell on law and order presently being enjoyed in the country.
The Christian leaders, who converged on Abuja at the weekend during the inaugural meeting of retired leaders of major denominations in Nigeria under the auspices of the After Service Leadership Forum (ASLF), said insecurity, hunger, despair and hardship in the land were becoming unbearable and Nigerians were dying.
They vowed to resist any attempts by President Muhammadu Buhari Government to Islamise Nigeria, warning that the aftermath could lead to a religious crisis in the country.
The immediate past Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Sunday Makinde spoke to newsmen after the meeting.
He specifically accused President Buhari of being biased in the way he has made recent political appointments, among other issues he raised
His exact words: “The general situation in the country is tense right now. Nigerians should be patient. We have been preaching it for so many years. You do not expect something that has been battered for so many years to be fixed immediately. Let us assist this government in prayer.
“I will advise the president to listen to voice of Nigerians. He should not be partisan in his appointments. He should avoid religious or political partisanship. He has said he does not belong to anybody. Let us see that statement in practical terms. Nigeria belongs to all of us. Nigerians voted for him.
“It appears Buhari belongs to some people that he favours. Let him consult before he makes appointments. Consultation is very important. I am not interested in appointments. There is poverty in the land. There is frustration, insecurity and hunger in the land. People are in despair.
“I want to be sincere. I cannot be afraid at this age. Buhari should address these issues. There is this issue of padding and it will be very dangerous if it is not followed through. It will be dangerous if the fight against corruption is one-sided. It must be total. If it is restricted to the opposition, it will be dangerous.”
Warning the Federal Government and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to be fair in the fight against corruption, Makinde said: “APC is part of the corruption in the country. They are not fit to be there. They must handle the issue of padding very carefully. We are sitting on a keg of gunpowder. The day it will explode, it will consume us. So many graduates are not employed. Unemployed people are the people behind the militancy in the Niger Delta region.”
On the consequences of trying to islamise the country, Makinde said: “Nobody can Islamise Nigeria and I want you to quote me. They are trying it, but it will not work. They tried it many years back, but it did not work. The more they kill Christianity, the more it grows. How will they do it? Will they use the guns or what? It cannot happen in the South.
“We have militants, Oodua and another one in the South-East. Everybody has his or her own badness. They should not make any attempt to Islamise Nigeria. If they do, they will only be bringing what happened in Rwanda here.”
Similarly, former President of the Evangelical Church Winning All ECWA), (formerly Evangelical Church of West Africa) (ECWA), Rev. Victor Musa, has also hinted that any attempts to Islamise Nigeria would be resisted and will subsequently fail.
Speaking to newsmen after the meeting of Christian leaders, he said: “The matter of Islamising Nigeria can never happen. It will not happen. We as Christians have not been as aggressive as we should be in preaching. Christians always face persecution. We do not get certain jobs because we are Christians.”