The Nigerian Christian Graduate Fellowship (NCGF) lambasted the President and his special adviser on Media and Advertising, Femi Adesina, for attacking the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), following CAN’s reaction to the murder of Reverend Lawan Andimi by Boko Haram.
Andimi, the president of CAN in the local government region of Michika in Adamawa state who was captured by Boko Haram early January, was beheaded by the insurgents.
CAN rejected President Buhari’s reaction to the massacre on Thursday. Buhari, who described the murder as cruel, inhumane and wilfully provocative, expressed sadness that the terrorists went ahead to murder the religious leader while still signalling a will to free him.
But CAN said Christians were tired of the usual press releases and convictions that had no significant impact. Friday, Adesina accused Christian leaders of calling Buhari “anti-Christian.”
This statement from Adesina did not sit well with CAN, NCGF and well meaning Nigerians. In response, NCGF said it understood the tragedy of a man hired to market a bad product.
The Christian group asked Adesina to inform Buhari to tell Nigerians the peculiarity of his department heads that he had retained, despite the insecurity in Nigeria.
A statement from the president of NCGF, Professor Charles Adisa, and of Onyenachi Nwaegeruo, the secretary general, reads:
“If this childish defence came from another government spokesperson like Garba Shehu, we would not have bothered to answer, but we would have rejected him as one of those who do not understand the pains undergone by the leadership of the church by systematically decimating its members daily without those who hold the authority reacting adequately to change.
“But coming from someone who should know the truth and say the truth is disturbing. We are also concerned that when it comes to insulting government leadership of the church, it is always through those who are believed to be Christians in the corridors of power. If it is not Femi Adesina it must be Lauretta Onochie just to please their master.
“Just last week, at the interfaith meeting in Abuja, the Sultan boldly accused government of intimidating religious and traditional leaders of the country preventing them from playing their role. Garba did not attack the sultan. If it was the president of CAN, Adesina or Lauretta would have smothered him. What disrespect for the men of God.
“Now to Adesina’s vitriolics on subjects denounced at the CAN press conference, but before that, we can observe the deception on the so-called feelings of humanity of Adesina following the death of the Reverend Quoting the 16th century classical poet John Donne, he said, “I do not mourn the Reverend Lawan because he is a Christian, but because the death of a man decreases because I am involved in it, in humanity.”
“It sounds human at first glance, but Adesina’s response to the Christian communities who are killed and dispossessed of their ancestral lands is for them to return their inheritance for their lives.” It is a feeling of humanity without sense of justice. For Adesina the saying: your land or your life is a philosophy in keeping with its humanity. But it is impious.
“On the argument that President Buhari sympathised and sympathises with the bereaved families, should he not worry about the image of the president that theirs has become a government of condolences? Can he count the number of these messages of condolence he has issued in the past four years for avoidable calamities if the government is serious?
“CAN said that Reverend Lawan stayed with his captors for two weeks and called on the government to help him. Does it not worry Adesina that, rather than taking action to save the preacher, the government has been quick to send condolences to the family? What is most important? To save the victim or sympathise with the family.
“I am sure the president is waiting to see the video of the beheading of another Christian, then he would ask Adesina to express condolences and to condemn the killers. Of course, it’s cheaper than paying a ransom. We are wary of pontification by people like Adesina on the conduct of the men of God as if the responsibility to be truthful was the only prerogative of the clergy.
“Every man, including those in political positions, is commanded to always tell the truth. But to denounce half-truths and sometimes blatant lies or a deliberate denial of facts by the government and its agencies and turn around to accuse the clergy of promoting lies is the height of hypocrisy that is common with this administration.
“We could have expected Adesina to soberly reflect on the concerns of CAN and advise her boss appropriately rather than embarking on insults to the Association. Perhaps, he doesn’t know that sincere advice to the boss is part of the image creation program. We think government image makers should take a refresher course to understand the need to advise the boss rather than always wanting to make the boss’s offers.
“On the question that CAN insinuates that Buhari is ‘anti-christian.’ Adesina seems to be blind or does he voluntarily choose not to hear or see what everyone sees, hear or say? Opposition parties are a part of the members of the government who by-pass the civil society and the socio-cultural groups of the country, but is it not suppose to be a common refrain that the president carries out a sectoral and sectarian program?
“Adesina would have preferred to remain silent about an obvious truth. The international community has not even made the same observation. Was this not the reason why the same Adesina reacting to the position of Great Britain on a national question retorted that Nigeria could not take orders from Great Britain.
“Come to think of it, why can’t the image creators advise the president to look into the national complaint regarding the need to review his security management policy with a view to changing his team in order to reorganise the system? Why does the president give himself as one who does not listen to public opinion?
“It is unfortunate that the president’s spokespersons do not understand the power of public opinion, but are well educated in the opposite, which is propaganda. Adesina should know that propaganda does not support any system for too long.” The statement concluded.