How can anyone say that the killing of women and children doesn’t matter because he is vice-president or because he is president? How is that possible?
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has vouched for President Muhammadu Buhari, saying his principal has not departed from the commitment and promise he made to religious leaders to be fair and just to all Nigerians regardless of religious faith and belief.
Osinbajo, while absolving the president of complicity in the perennial killing of Christians by herdsmen in Benue State, said that as a Christian he would not hesitate to quit his position if truly there was an agenda on ethnic and religious cleansing in the country.
The vice-president made this known Tuesday night at a stakeholders’ meeting in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, in response to allegations that the administration was pursuing an agenda of Islamisation.
According to Osinbajo, “I am not just a politician. As a matter of fact, I’m also a priest and I am a Christian, a born again Christian. Because I’m a born again Christian, my destiny is not determined by any man but by God who I serve.
“Let me assure you that under no circumstance whatsoever will I give up my faith or refuse to stand up for my faith. You can take that to the bank. Even the position that I currently occupy, I did not ask for it and I’m prepared to leave it on short notice. It doesn’t mean anything.
“I became a born again Christian after I became a professor, a Professor of the Law of Evidence, a professor of proof. But when the Lord Jesus Christ met me, He persuaded me by showing me clearly that there is such a thing as the evidence of faith that is not seen.
“It is because of the evidence of things that are not seen, it is because you can make something out of nothing that I stand here today as vice-president. How can anyone say that the killing of women and children doesn’t matter because he is vice-president or because he is president? How is that possible?
“Certainly, it cannot be for a person who is born again. A renewed mind will know that there is justice, there is consequence even if there is no justice here on earth.”
He assured his audience that the federal government has marshalled out a plan for the state that will bring relief to the victims of the farmers-herdsmen crisis.
“The first issue of course is one of security and that is why we have definitely beefed up security and I’m sure if you heard some of the comments that were made and especially by the governor, you would notice that a lot has been done with respect to security especially in the past couple of weeks and we must continue to ensure that security is first priority.
“Second, the issue of course is to ensure that those in IDP camps return to their homes. Many of their homes have been destroyed, and farmlands have been destroyed too,” he said.
Osinbajo acknowledged that the crisis was a major problem, adding however that it did not start with the present government and must be studied carefully before making any allegations.
Earlier at the meeting, the Bishop of Gboko Catholic Diocese William Avenya had said there was an attempt to Islamise the country.
He called on the vice-president to stand up for Christians who have been worst hit since the killings started.
“Honourable Vice-President, you are a Christian. When you once met us, we spoke to you at Gwarimpa (Abuja). We called you a friend, you called us your friend. When Buhari came to campaign and requested of us to appeal to our people to vote for him in 2015, he pointed at you and said, ‘Here is a Christian, my vice-president; here is one of your sons, Akume, another Christian; Audu Ogbeh, another Christian. How can I turn this country into an Islamic territory?’
“The point I’m trying to make is that a day is going to come when you as vice-president, the injustices in our land, especially those perpetrated on smaller tribes that have no one to fight for them; when the issues and the records are raised, you too will bear the brunt of that problem. So, as a Christian, exonerate yourself from this situation.
“I plead with you to be a Christian and a committed Christian, somebody who understands the law and one who speaks for justice. This is the way to conciliation and peace in our land. Let us stop this political thing that means practically nothing. Let us talk in truth. We thank you for coming.
“At least we are telling you face to face. I hope you are hearing and I hope you will not politicise and swing the thing. And those with you, if they quote somebody, let them quote precisely what we have said. It will be very beneficial,” Avenya said.