Nigeria's Defense Minister Says Muslims Plan to Wipe Out Christianity

Sunday, June 2, 2002

Katsina State Stops Christian Religious Education
by Obed Minchakpu

ABUJA, Nigeria (Compass) -- Muslim leaders aim to eradicate Christianity in northern Nigeria, says Nigeria's Defense Minister, Lt. General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma. Danjuma told a gathering of the Northern (Nigeria) Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF) on April 20 in Abuja, the federal capital, that Christians are now under severe pressure. He urged the Christian leaders assembled at the All Saints Anglican Church not to be intimidated.

"Our religion is under assault in our country. If Christians are not careful, there will be a time that the propagation of the teaching of Jesus Christ will become an offense," Danjuma said. "We know that we are minority in the north, but if we are not careful, we will be wiped out of existence in the north."

He said the only way out is for the church and its leaders to ensure that indigenous citizens of northern Nigeria are massively recruited into the pastoral ministry so that they can effectively reach their Muslim brothers with the gospel.

"We want full indigenization of the clergy in all the cities and the rural areas so that … when there is any religious crisis in such places, there will be people that can not run away because such have no second home."

He lamented that thousands of Christians had been killed in northern Nigeria in the past three years, and thousands of others were forced to relocate to the southern parts of the country for fear of being killed by Muslim fundamentalists.

"Many of our brothers and sisters have had cause to run away from Kano, Kaduna and Bauchi, to Jos and Abuja. But with the recent attack on them in Jos, those who could not go down south had resettled in Abuja," he observed.

He likened what is happening in northern Nigeria to what happened in Egypt and other North African countries, where he said Christianity flourished as a faith and was later wiped out by Islam.

Danjuma also told the NOSCEF attendees that the incessant attacks on Christians by Muslim fundamentalists and the implementation of the Islamic legal system by Muslim governors in northern Nigeria were just two of many strategies to wipe out Christianity in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the government of Katsina state in northern Nigeria has cancelled the teaching of Christian Religious Knowledge by removing its curriculum from all public primary and secondary schools, while making the teaching of Islamic Religious Knowledge compulsory.

An official statement issued on April 30 stated, "The government's decision was in line with its policy of tailoring programs that are in tune with the Islamic system we envisaged and can bring about rapid development."

Rt. Rev. James Kwasu, the Anglican Bishop of Katsina, told Compass that the decision is a continuation of Islamization in the state.

"It is a tactful way to curtail our religious liberty, hoist Islam on us, and ensure that Christians are eliminated from Katsina state," Kwasu said. He explained that Nigeria's national policy on education provides for the curricula of both Islamic and Christian religious studies to be taught in all schools.

Katsina state, with a population of 3.7 million people, has a minority Christian population of about 30 percent. The state is one of 12 states in northern Nigeria that has adopted and is implementing Islamic law.

Copyright 2002, Compass News Direct. Used with Permission.