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Nigeria did not join Islamic coalition against terrorism for religious reasons: Onyeama

By The Rainbow
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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama said Monday that Nigeria's membership of the Islamic coalition against terror under the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would in any way detract in the country’s secular disposition.

Onyeama, while reacting to a deluge of media reports which tended to give the recent action of Buhari administration a release hue, said that the country’s signup to the had nothing to do with giving Nigeria an Islamic identity.

President Muhammadu Buhari had revealed in an interview with Aljazeera At the weekend that Nigeria has signed up to the coalition.

The minister flayed  the media for not being “responsible” enough in the presentation of their reports.

According to him, the media ought to be more interested in the objectives of the coalition rather dwelling on the religious concerns. He spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Foreign Affairs minister said that terrorism was a global phenomenon and Nigeria was ready to support any move to deal with it.

Giving more explanations on the development, he said that  the Islamic countries were uncomfortable with the perception that terrorism was Islamic and consequently wanted to show that it was not the case.

He noted that the coalition was interested in demonstrating that terrorists were not speaking for Islam and there was nothing in Islam teaching that encourages terrorism.

He said, “What I say first of all is that you guys in the media have to be more responsible in the way you present news. First and foremost, get your facts right.

“It has nothing to do with religion as far as Nigeria is concerned. We have to look at what the objective is. We face terror challenges and it's a global phenomenon.

“Unfortunately, the problem we have today is that some of the terrorists groups are claiming some of the things they are doing is in the name of a particular religion and it is clear to everybody that this is not the case which is obviously a concern to people of Islamic faith and Islamic countries that their religion should be so abused.

“So, there is naturally a tendency to show that this has nothing to do with Islam. Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam. Islamic countries, Islamic people want to be seen as being in the forefront of the battle against these terrorists to show also that it has absolutely nothing to do with religion.

“That's what this is all about. So, we are supporting every move to achieve this, to disabuse people's minds that some of these terrorists are speaking in the name of Islam or are Islamic or that there's anything about Islamic teaching that somehow condones these barbaric actions.

“I think it's something we should all get together and we should all support whoever is working towards it. And that's what this coalition is for, to show too that we are a Muslim country, we are Muslims and these people do not speak for Islam, have nothing to do with Islam.

“Most of the victims of these people are Muslims if you look at it. So, that's what it is.

“It has nothing to do with Nigeria, Christianity, Islam. I think the media should really get the main message across”.