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Be Fair to Minorities in Nigeria, Atiku Tells Buhari

Former Vice President and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, yesterday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to provide the world a good example in the way minorities are treated in the country, The Guardian reports.

Atiku applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for drawing the United Nations (UN) attention to the sufferings of Myanmar’s Rohingya people cited by the UN as perhaps the world’s most persecuted minorities. The former vice president spoke via a statement issued in Abuja by his media office in reaction to President Buhari’s presentation at the UN General Assembly in New York, United States.

He stressed that minorities all over the world deserve the cooperation of majority groups, adding that he is convinced that Nigeria would also provide the world a good example in the way the country treats its minority groups.‎ “It is my sincere desire that arising from President Buhari’s speech, the UN will increase its support to Nigeria and her neighbours in the Lake Chad Region as we redouble our efforts to rid the region of the scourge of terrorism and restore peace and prosperity to a once thriving zone.‎”

Atiku aligned himself with the president’s message of gratitude to the international community for its efforts in the Lake Chad region which has helped bring succour to Nigerians affected by the scourge of terrorism. He congratulated President Buhari on a successful outing at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly in New York last Tuesday.

Efforts to reach the spokesperson of the APC, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, via a phone call and text messages, for him to react to the issue of the protection of the rights of minorities failed. Similarly, the founder of Powerline Bible Church, Bishop Lawrence Osagie, has enjoined President Buhari to drop the terrorist tag on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

At a press briefing on the forthcoming annual conference of the church to be held on October 1 to 8 this year, Osagie said it was lamentable that a country, which serves as a role model to other African countries, would display such a level of failed leadership. “The present situation is very painful because at a global level, people talk about civilised ways of leading people, but here we are still more like in the dark ages. We are acting as if we don’t know what democracy is all about, particularly with what is going on in the eastern part of the country. The way the government has handled it has exposed what the problem has been over the years.

“I cannot stop you from expressing yourself, it is your right, even if it does not suit me. There are better ways of going about it, we have a constitution, though it is not perfect but it guarantees some level of freedom and liberty. The right to life should not be denied anybody, under no circumstances should you take another person’s life. What we are seeing now is an eloquent display of failed leadership. For Nigeria, a nation that other African countries looked up to, to be manifesting this level of decadence at this time is so sad,” he said.

The cleric urged the leadership to retrace its steps immediately. “The damage is already done and whether Buhari likes it or not if God gives him life he will answer for what he has done, there is no way he can escape it, there is absolutely no where he can run to hide. The world today is not the same as we had it 30, 40 years ago, it is moving and we need to be seen to be a nation that is moving along with civilisation.”

Osagie maintained that the president should dialogue with the agitators instead of asking the military to crush them. He advised IPOB to exercise caution in its agitation, stating that it should not be a do-or-die affair.

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