Legal practitioner, Emmanuel Ogebe, says that the unjust vilification of prominent cleric, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, “for speaking the truth about the horrific Nigerian situation before the US Congress” actually validates what the respected cleric said.
He said he himself who had testified several times before the Congress had been subjected to worse attacks by the Muhammadu Buhari regime, including the plot to revoke his Nigerian passport.
Ogebe cited remarks of Rev. Bob Fu, PhD., Founder and President of China Aid Association, on The State of Religious Freedom Around the Globe, who said: “Regardless of China’s attempts to block information on persecution from reaching the outside world, ChinaAid’s research shows that religious oppression continues to increase with each passing year since 2017.
“As China advances its plan to Sinicize Christianity and other religions with forced indoctrination of Communism ideology, authorities all over the country are interfering with normal religious operations and arbitrarily detaining and arresting hundreds of thousands of religious believers purely for peacefully practicing their religious faith. Given the observed universality in which the CCP persecuted both officially sanctioned and independent religions and faiths, ChinaAid has concluded that the CCP’s war on religion will continue to grow unless the world intervenes.”
Rev. Bob Fu recommended as follows:
“To hold the CCP’s ‘bad actors’ accountable for their actions, ChinaAid and I urge the United States government to continue to implement and utilize the Global Magnitsky sanctions against the Chinese Communist Party members committing and delegating gross human rights abuses.
“This should include those who commit violations of freedom of religion and belief in Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The United States government should continue to work with like-minded countries in implementing bilateral sanctions like those announced in March 2021.
“I also urge Congress to quickly pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in order to confront the vast labor system put in place by the Chinese Communist Party that effectively profits off the genocide of an ethnic and religious minority.
“In addition, U.S. Congress should raise the alarm considering the 2022 Winter Olympics hosted in Beijing, China. A country with as poor a human rights record and actively committing genocide should be disqualified from hosting international events such as Olympics.
“The United States should boycott the Beijing Olympics and call on other countries that adhere to universal values to do the same.
“It is equally important to show solidarity with victims of religious persecution by having members of Congress continue to meet with persecution survivors and adopt Chinese prisoners of conscience through the Defending Freedoms Project. In the Administration, President Biden and Vice President Harris should meet and host the victims of persecution and genocide in public at the White House and the United Nations in New York and Geneva.”
Ogebe also cited a seven-page statement by Amjad Mahmood Khan, National Director of Public Affairs Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, who concluded:
“Mr. Chairman, I request this important body to urge the Pakistan Government to take the following immediate measures to stop the tide of religious repression of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan:
- Repeal Chief Executive’s Order No. 15 and permit Ahmadi Muslims to vote alongside all other citizens of Pakistan as part of a joint electorate without any religious test.
- Stop the extra-territorial prosecution of foreign citizens for alleged cyber and blasphemy crimes, including U.S. citizens who are members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
- Cease and desist from directing technology companies to remove or alter Ahmadi Muslim digital content.
- Repeal regulations that prohibit the creation, possession and distribution of peaceful Ahmadi Muslim print publications.
- Protect the rights of accused Ahmadi Muslims in criminal proceedings and allow independent trial monitors, including foreign diplomats.
- Stop local and provincial police from desecrating Ahmadi Muslim mosques and gravestones.
- Remove Passport and National Identity Declarations pertaining to Ahmadi Muslims.
- Restore religious freedom for Ahmadi Muslims through repeal of the Second Amendment to Pakistan’s Constitution and Ordinance XX.
- Cease prosecuting Ahmadi Muslims as “terrorists” under Pakistan’s anti-terrorism laws.
- Combat impunity for attacks on Ahmadi Muslims by effectively investigating allegations and by prosecuting those responsible.”
Ogebe then surmised that Bishop Kukah’s three-page submission to the Congress did not go anywhere near “the tough/robust critique and recommendations made by his Chinese and Pakistani co-panelists.”
Again, he quoted the co-chair of the Congressional hearing, Rep Chris Smith, who said: “In Nigeria, we see a country which, on paper, has robust legal protections for all religions, but in practice is now a country where many religious and ethnic groups perceive themselves to be under serious threat.
“While much attention has focused on extremist terror by Salafist groups such as Boko Haram and breakaway factions such as Islamic State West Africa or Ansaru against those they consider infidels, that is not the only threat; nor is it from climate change or ‘farmer-herder conflict’, a popular narrative favored by the State Department and certain academics, but a narrative which is woefully incomplete.
“Rather, the principal threat comes from Fulani ethno-religious supremacism, which has been actively encouraged and abetted by the current administration of Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is important to note that this cannot be labelled strictly a Muslim-Christian conflict, though Christians, particularly in the Middle Belt of Nigeria, are often targeted by Fulani Muslim extremists. So too are Shia Muslims, however, as well as ethnic Yoruba, who can either be Muslim and Christian, and often have families where interreligious marriage is commonplace.
“What we are seeing unfold in Nigeria under President Buhari is the deliberate Fulanization of Nigerian institutions. This can be seen, for example, in the sacking of the Chief Justice of the Nigerian Supreme Court, Walter Onnoghen, and his replacement by Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad.
“It can be seen, for example, in the monopolization of key security and military as well as economic leadership positions by Fulanis appointed by Buhari in recent years, including National Security Advisor, the Chief of Staff to the President, the Inspector-General of the Police, the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Minister of Police Affairs, the Ministers of Justice, Finance, Education and Agriculture, the heads of the National Petroleum Corporation and the Federal Inland Revenue Services, as well as the Chief of Army Staff – more than 30 key positions at the highest level of government.
“Nor is this a new agenda; if you speak with Nigerians or listen to what Fulani say in Fulfulde or Hausa, you will hear expressed the desire to fulfill the jihadist ambitions of Usman dan Fodio, who in the late 18th and early 19th century sought to spread Islam to the sea under a Fulani spear, displacing and subjugating the far older Kanuri-dominated Islamic political order.
“As goes Nigeria, so goes all West Africa, underscoring the importance of respect for ethnic and religious pluralism in this critically important African nation.
“I think it is also important to underscore the fact that the single most persecuted religious group in the world is Christians, and that often these persecuted Christians come from the most economically downtrodden and marginalized classes.”
Ogebe said the afore-mentioned comments are undisputed facts known to the whole world, “so what does the Nigerian government think attacking Bishop Kukah will achieve other than sheer intimidation of truth tellers?”
He said it is instructive that the Buhari regime had just warned the media not to report the truth about the insecurity in the country.
“The regime had also arrested the pussy cat of Sunday Igboho in a stupefying display of mindless cowardice and dictatorial paranoia.
“Ironically, by its actions, the regime has proved Kukah right. Buhari who didn’t fire Sheikh Patami for supporting terrorism is insulting Bishop Kukah for condemning terrorism.
“Igboho and Kanu, southern ethnic advocates, are being abducted abroad while Sheikh Gumi and other northern governors who are photographed with bandits haven’t led to their arrest.
“Now bandits are shooting down Airforce fighter jets in total vindication of the legitimate concerns the revered clergyman raised. Clearly, only clerics of the wrong religion can be lambasted by the Buhari regime,” Ogebe said.