Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan
Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan

By Concise News Correspondents 

Ex-Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan wants the current government to address religious violence and extremism, as he believes the menace portends threat to the country’s existence.

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The former Nigerian leader made this known in a presentation to the United States House Sub-Committee on Africa, where he spoke on the ‘Challenges facing Nigerian Christians and the Niger Delta Question’.

Jonathan noted that failure to arrest culprits of previous religious killings had emboldened those who engaged in such acts.

He advised the Federal Government to always ensure it gives prompt attention to conflicts going on in various parts of the country

Jonathan said: “If, as a nation, we do not kill religious persecution and extremism, then religious persecution and extremism will kill Nigeria.

“The potential danger associated with the level of conflicts going on across the country is so glaring that no sane mind can ignore.”

He remarked that Nigeria’s security outfits are known for failing to apprehend the culprits.

“Your invitation [of the sub-committee] letter profusely highlighted the issues of the killing of Christians in Nigeria, the last major incident being the recent killings in Southern Kaduna in Kaduna State, and I do not need to elaborate on that.

“The challenge is how we stop that from recurring. How do we ensure that Christians and Muslims co-exist peacefully in Nigeria and practise their religions freely without discrimination, molestation and killings?”

He stated that although there had been more than 10 major incidents of ethnic and religious violence in Kaduna State since 1992, only in one were the culprits punished.

According to him, this happened in Zango Kataf, when the Ibrahim Babangida administration sentenced 14 persons to death over the riot in the area.

He further said in the report that “In view of the fact that religion plays a vital role in many aspects of our national life, especially in the aspect of national security and national unity, it is highly imperative that it be singled out from other fundamental rights and given a special attention via the creation of an Equity Commission whose sole mandate will be to focus on religious rights and their promotion.

“This is in line with best global practices as many advanced democracies have special legal and institutional arrangements for some very sensitive aspects of their national life,” the former president stated in his presentation.