Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Wednesday in Kano State dismissed as false, the United States comments that Christians were being persecuted in Nigeria or among countries that violate religious freedom.
The monarch dismissed the allegations at the opening ceremony of the 77th annual Islamic Vacation Course, organized by Zone A of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria at Bayero University.
The Royal father argued that, if the alleged persecution existed, it was unethical for it not to have been tabled at an interfaith forum, where both the Christian and the Muslim leadership meet periodically to brainstorm on harmonious co-existence between the two dominant religions.
The US, in a statement by its Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, had on Friday last week placed Nigeria and six other countries on the watch list of countries, which had been violating freedom of religion. Other countries on the list are Comoros, Russia, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Nicaragua and Sudan.
While reacting to the statement by Pompeo, the CAN spokesman, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, in a statement, said the US report on violations of religious freedom confirmed the fact that Christians had become endangered in the country.
CAN said, “We are not happy that our country is being listed among the nations where religious intolerance is one of their hallmarks but it gladdens our hearts that, at least, the global community is not unaware of the fact that Nigerian Christians are becoming endangered species in their fatherland.”
The Sultan maintained that the numerous atrocities allegedly committed by Fulani herdsmen were by no means ignited by religion, noting that not all Fulani are Muslims.
The Sultan said, “I have travelled to so many countries, including the US. None of these countries have such an erroneous impression that Nigeria engages in a violation of religious freedom.”
The Sultan also charged the Federal Government to disown the erroneous impression about Nigeria, adding that the Council is working tirelessly to change the narrative.
Also, the Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammad Sanusi ll, cautioned Muslims against growing their needs beyond their resources. He attributed the increasing rate of out-of-school children in Northern Nigeria to uncontrolled polygamy, as well as escalating divorce rate.
Furthermore, the Kano State governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, who was represented by the Commander General of Hisbah Board, Harun Ibn-Sina, said the State government was committed to upholding Islamic values.
He said Kano State government has banned mixing opposite sex in tricycle across the state from January 2020.