President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday declared that 90 per cent of all Boko Haram victims in the past years have been Muslims.
The president made the statement in an article published in Speaking Out; a guest opinion column for “Christianity Today”.
According to him, the perception that members of the sect were always targeting Christians in Nigeria is not completely true.
He recalled that the insurgents began their murderous activities in 2009 after the killing of the leader Mohammed Yusuf.
He noted that Global Terrorism Index indicates that the group since 2009, has killed tens of thousands and displaced 2.3 million.
Mr Buhari while reacting to the outrage that trailed the murder of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Lawan Andimi by Boko Haram, said the terrorists have targeted the vulnerable without discrimination.
According to him, “it is the reality that some 90 per cent of all Boko Haram’s victims have been Muslims.
“They include a copycat abduction of over 100 Muslim schoolgirls, along with their single Christian classmate; shootings inside mosques; and the murder of two prominent imams.
“It is a simple fact that these now-failing terrorists have targeted the vulnerable, the religious, the non-religious, the young, and the old without discrimination.”
The President assured that his government was committed to bringing to an end the activities of the insurgents in order for the country to once again experience peace.
He said, “Just as my government, and our international partners, quicken our campaign to defeat Boko Haram within and without our borders, we must turn our minds to the future.”
The President warned those seeking to divide the country through religion to have a rethink.
He said, “there is no place in Nigeria for those who seek to divide us by religion, who compel others to change their faith forcibly or try to convince others that by so doing, they are doing good.
“We may not, yet, be completely winning the battle for the truth. Christianity in Nigeria is not—as some seem intent on believing—contracting under pressure, but expanding and growing in numbers approaching half of our population today.”
Mr Buhari noted that the terrorists today only attempt to build invisible walls between the adherents of the two major religions in the country.
“They have failed in their territorial ambitions, so now instead they seek to divide our state of mind, by prying us from one from another—to set one religion seemingly implacably against the other.
“Translated into English, Boko Haram means “Western teachings are sinful.”
“They claim as ‘proof’ passages of the Quran which state that Muslims should fight ‘pagans’ to be justification for attacks on Christians and those Muslims who hold no truck with them.
“They are debased by their wilful misreading of scripture—at least those of them who are able to read at all.
“Of course, there is much of Christianity and Islam—both in teaching and practice—that is not the same. Were that not so, there would be no need for the separateness of the two religions.”