AP: Ill Nigerian president meets Christian leaders

April 5, 2010
By JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press Writer Jon Gambrell, Associated Press Writer, April 5, 2010
LAGOS, Nigeria – Nigeria’s ill and long unseen president met briefly with Christian religious leaders Monday, still physically weak but “able to grunt out an amen,” a pastor who took part in the visit said.

Pastor Emmanuel Kure of the Throneroom Trust Ministry in Kaduna state he and three other Christian leaders met for “about five to 10 minutes” with Umaru Yar’Adua at the nation’s presidential palace in Abuja. Kure said he and the other leaders received separate requests to attend the meeting on behalf of the presidency.

The leaders led a prayer to God on the behalf of Yar’Adua, a Muslim from the country’s Islamic north.

“He wasn’t a Christian, so I don’t think he would understand what we said on his behalf,” Kure said. “He was able to grunt out an amen.”

Yar’Adua, 58, hasn’t been seen publicly since late November, when he left Nigeria for treatment in a Saudi Arabian hospital. The president’s chief physician said Yar’Adua suffered from acute pericarditis, an inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart. But kidney problems and ill health long have plagued Yar’Adua, who even left the country during his 2007 electoral campaign to seek medical treatments in Germany.

“I am told that it is a great improvement from his previous state,” Kure said.

Kure declined to offer further details about Yar’Adua’s condition, saying: “We should not overheat the politics.” However, the visit comes after many criticized Yar’Adua for meeting privately with Islamic leaders Thursday without addressing the nation. During that visit, the imam of Nigeria’s national mosque said that Yar’Adua could raise his hands in prayer though he never stood up.

The visit by Christian leaders also may be an attempt by Yar’Adua’s closest allies to quiet criticisms over the religious nature of the last visit as well. The split among Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, a nation of 150 million people, erupts into periodic violence.

Yar’Adua left the country without formally placing Vice President Goodluck Jonathan in charge, sparking a constitutional crisis in a nation that is America’s No. 3 supplier of crude oil. The National Assembly empowered Jonathan to become acting president Feb. 9. A military convoy and an ambulance apparently swept Yar’Adua back into the presidential palace Feb. 24, though his Christian vice president remained in control of the nation.

The nation’s ruling People’s Democratic Party rotates its presidential candidates among the two faiths, though democracy only has existed for a decade’s time in a nation once ruled by coup and military dictators.

Yar’Adua can resume control of the presidency by notifying the National Assembly, but so far hasn’t. Analysts have suggested those surrounding Yar’Adua brought the ailing leader back to the country to keep a check on Jonathan’s ambitions even if he’s not strong enough to lead.


Obama Invites Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan to U.S.

April 5, 2010

 


Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Jonathan to Meet Obama April 12

Nasiru L. Abubakar

5 April 2010



Acting President Goodluck Jonathan will visit the United States of America on April 12-13 for the Nuclear Security Summit on the invitation of President Barack Obama.

Acting President Jonathan was earlier expected to visit the US on April 7.The nuclear summit is being promoted by President Obama and will attract over 40 heads of state in Washington.

The summit will take place just days after the US and Russia are scheduled to sign a new start treaty to reduce their nuclear weapons stockpiles.

The two-day summit would not be country-specific but would be aimed at eliminating clandestine proliferation and trafficking in nuclear weapons and material.

However, Iran and North Korea, accused of planning to build nuclear weapons have not been invited to the summit.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria-U.S. Bi-National Commission (BNC) agreement to improve bilateral relations in four key areas will be launched on Tuesday in Washington D.C.

Sources close to the Nigerian Embassy in Washington D.C and the U.S. State Department confirmed to NAN that the U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Yayale Ahmed, will sign the agreement on April 6.

The event, which was earlier scheduled for April 7, was rescheduled to April 6 due to administrative reasons, the sources said. Last week, in his maiden news conference with reporters in Washington D.C., the new Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S., Prof. Ade Adefuye, described the agreement as a major step forward for the country.

Adefuye noted that the signing of the agreement was coming few days to Acting President Goodluck Jonathan’s historic visit to U.S.

Clinton and the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Ojo Maduekwe held discussions on how to forge a new partnership under the BNC.

Copyright © 2010 Daily Trust. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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AP: 164 People Face Charges Over Massacres In Nigeria

March 24, 2010
Police Say 164 People Will Be Charged For Their Alleged Roles In Central Nigeria Massacres

March 21, 2010, LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – A Nigerian police spokesman says 164 people will be charged with a variety of offenses, including terrorism, for their suspected roles in the slaughter of more than 200 people in central Nigeria this month.

Spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu says 41 suspects will be charged with terrorism for their alleged role in the March 7 massacres in villages south of the regional capital of Jos. If convicted they face possible life in prison.

Ojukwu says others will be charged with illegally holding firearms, rioting and other offenses.


BREAKING NEWS: Barnabas Fund Exposes Media Coverup of Massacres of Christians in Nigeria

March 18, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010, 11:01 AM
David P. Goldman, First Things

Moral equivalency is a matter of dogma in the mainstream media: When five hundred Christians were massacred in their homes by machete-wielding Muslims in Nigeria’s Plateau Province on the night of March 7, news reports claimed it was simply retaliation for previous attacks on Muslims. That is an outright falsehood, according to The Barnabas Fund, an interdenominational Christian organization devoted to assisting Christians around the world who face persecution.

Here is the Barnabas Fund’s press release laying out the facts:

Nigeria: Media Distortions Of Anti-Christian Massacres In Jos:

The world has been horrified by the bloodshed in Jos, the capital of Nigeria’s Plateau State, as reported by the international media during the last six weeks. It appears, however, that deliberate manipulation and deception at a local level have meant that international reporting has been inaccurate, and has created the false impression that Christians were the aggressors and Muslims the victims when the reality is the opposite. So Christians have become double victims, suffering not only violence but also unjust blame.

Two incidents of large-scale violence have occurred, first in the city of Jos itself on Sunday 17 January 2010, and then in three mainly Christian villages to the south of Jos on Sunday 7 March.

In the latter incident men from the Muslim Fulani tribe, armed with swords and machetes, arrived at the villages in the early hours of the morning. The residents of Zot, Dogo Nahauwa and Rastat were woken by the sound of gunshots and ran terrified into the streets, where the attackers were waiting for them. A horrendous massacre followed. Local police say 109 people were killed, but other sources suggest this figure could be much higher, perhaps up to 500.

 

Some media sources have reported that this atrocity was in retaliation for an attack by Christians on Muslims in Jos in January, where up to 300 people died. It is clear, however, that this earlier violence was started by Muslims who attacked a church. (See previous article: Nigeria: Religious Violence in Jos – The Christians Speak Out) Christian leaders in Nigeria acknowledge that some Christians retaliated and do not condone their actions, but there is no evidence to suggest that their response was on the size or scale reported in the media. There are conflicting reports about how many of the dead in January were Christians and how many Muslims. Baroness Caroline Cox notes that “In the violent attacks, not only in Plateau state but also in neighbouring Bauchi and other northern states, a consistent pattern has emerged … the Muslim militants take corpses to mosques, where they are photographed and released to the media, creating the impression that these are Muslim victims.”

In January a church leader in Jos expressed his belief that Muslims had carried false reports about the conflict to the international media in order to discredit the Church. Confirmation of this view may be found in a video report produced by the Aljazeera news channel in co-operation with a powerful Nigerian Muslim organisation called Jama’atu Nasril Islam and later posted on YouTube via various Muslim websites. Not only does this video suggest that the January violence was simply a massacre of Muslims by Christians; it also appears to use footage from other contexts altogether, spliced in to give bogus support to its story.

It is in this context that the violence on 7 March has been reported as “retaliation” by Muslims against Christians, but this has been denied by the governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, who said that it cannot plausibly be seen as a reprisal for the earlier outbreak. He has also criticised another Aljazeera report on the January violence, saying, “Some people moved Aljazeera there and then covered dead bodies and started labelling them. When you cover dead bodies and start labelling them, who knows who you are covering?”

An eyewitness account from 7 March describes how “attackers were shooting to herd fleeing villagers toward another group of attackers carrying machetes … The attackers asked people, ‘Who are you?’ in Fulani, a language used mostly by Muslims, and killed those who did not answer back in Fulani.” By Sunday afternoon the bodies of the dead were lining the dusty streets. Many of the victims were among the most defenceless – elderly people, women and children, including a four-day-old baby. All the churches in Dogo Nahawa had been burned down, and many homes had been torched. The next day Christians wailed in the street and sang hymns to Jesus as a truck carried dozens of bodies to a mass grave. Hundreds of Christians have fled their homes, fearing further attacks. Significantly, Ben Kwashi, the Anglican Archbishop of Jos, has called the attacks “systematic and quite well organised”, indicating that they were pre-planned.

Incidents of large-scale anti-Christian violence have occurred periodically in Nigeria’s Middle Belt (where Christians and Muslims are roughly equal in number), and sometimes in the Muslim-majority North, for many years. But recently these have become more frequent and severe, with major outbreaks in Jos (November 2008), Bauchi State (February 2009), Borno State (July 2009) and Jigawa State (February 2010), in addition to those described above.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, comments,

“Once again our brothers and sisters in Jos have suffered grievously in anti-Christian attacks. The seemingly skewed reporting by the international media of the January violence has exposed them to the risk of unjust ‘retaliation’. Please join us in praying for them in their acute distress, and ask that the Lord will protect them from further harm. It is so rare that the international media report incidents in which Christians suffer violence or injustice. How tragic that in this case they have done so but with such a strong anti-Christian bias as to make the Christians seem the aggressors not the victims.”

Barnabas Fund is sending assistance to those bereaved or made homeless by the violence.


BREAKING NEWS: Internet video proclaims Muslims must rise up in Nigeria

March 18, 2010
By JON GAMBRELL, Associated Press Writer Jon Gambrell, Associated Press Writer Tue Mar 16, 2:59 pm ET

LAGOS, Nigeria – A video posted on a militant Web site calls for Muslims in Nigeria to use “the sword and the spear” to rise up against Christians in Africa’s most populous nation, according to a translation released Tuesday by a U.S. group that monitors militant sites.

The video on the Ansar al-Mujahideen forum, a Web site sympathetic to al-Qaida, comes in the wake of a series of religious massacres and riots in central Nigeria.

The video shows television news footage and graphic images of those killed as a narrator tells viewers “the solution is jihad in the cause of Allah,” according to a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group.

“Negotiations, dialogues and protests will not stop the advancement of the enemies and their massacres,” the narrator says. “Nothing will stop them but the sword and the spear.”

The narrator also says the “crusader West” is interested in Nigeria for its abundant oil reserves. He refers to President Umaru Yar’Adua, a Muslim from northern Nigeria, as a “tyrant” who allowed the killing of a sect leader whose group’s attacks on police stations and rioting left more than 700 people dead in July.

Nigeria’s military ended fighting led by the group, known as Boko Haram, after seizing its leader. The group’s name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the local Hausa language. The group’s leader was later killed, and the army and police gave differing accounts of his capture that suggested that he may have died while in police custody.

The release of the 10-minute video comes after more than 200 people — mostly Christians — died last week in massacres in villages outside of the central Nigerian city of Jos. More than 300 people — mostly Muslims — died in January during rioting in the same region.

Nigeria, a country of 150 million people, is split almost evenly between Christians in its south and Muslim in its north. However, the nation has yet to see an al-Qaida-inspired terror group take hold inside its borders — despite others beginning to thrive in West Africa.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi said nothing would stop Nigeria’s ethnic violence except splitting the nation into Muslim and Christian states, Libya’s official news agency reported Tuesday. Gadhafi told a group of African student leaders in Tripoli that the violence in Nigeria is a “deep-rooted conflict of a religious nature” that requires a radical solution.

In May 2003, Osama bin Laden purportedly urged Muslims in the country to rise up against one of the “regimes who are slaves of America.”

Security forces claimed to break up such a linked terror cell in November 2007. Last year, a 23-year-old Nigerian who later claimed ties to al-Qaida attempted to detonate an explosive abroad a Christmas Day flight headed via Amsterdam to Detroit.

Copyright © 2010 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

BREAKING NEWS: Fulani Muslims Massacre 12 Christian Villagers in their Beds

March 18, 2010

 

17 March 2010

Twelve people from Byei village, Jos South were brutally murdered in an attack by Fulani Muslims last night, just over a week after around 500 Christians were massacred with machetes by a similar group of attackers.

Most of the victims were attacked in their beds. The dead include two men, four children and six women, two of whom were pregnant. One women and her son had their tongues cut out, while another was burnt alive in her home along with her two young children. Four further victims were hospitalised, two with gunshot wounds allegedly from AK 47s, and the others with machete wounds.

Twelve houses were also burnt in last night’s attack, which took place, 4 kilometres away from Riyom Local Government Council. Victims say some attackers were dressed in military uniforms.

 
For photographs of the violence, please click here (graphic):


CSW’s National Director, Stuart Windsor said: “We condemn this appalling attack on innocent men, women and children, who again have been brutally murdered in their homes merely because of their religious affiliation. The fact that these latest attackers were allegedly in military attire begs serious questions over whether army units currently stationed in Plateau State are truly capable of providing protection. We call on the federal government to initiate an immediate review of the army’s continuing failure to provide adequate safety for vulnerable Nigerian citizens, and to urgently investigate allegations of complicity on the part of elements of the armed forces”.

Source: CSW. CSW is a human rights organisation which specialises in religious freedom, works on behalf of those persecuted for their Christian beliefs and promotes religious liberty for all.