President Muhammadu Buhari has confirmed that Nigeria is an official member of the Islamic Coalition Against Terrorism hosted by Saudi Arabia who recently announced the formation of a coalition of 34 largely Muslim nations to fight terrorism.
Buhari made the stance known in Doha, Qatar, during an interview session with Al-Jazeera aired on Saturday, March 5, 2016.
According to him, the decision to join the coalition was because of the terrorism that has plagued the country which is spearheaded by people who claim to be Muslims.
He said: “We are part of it (the Islamic coalition) because we’ve got terrorists in Nigeria that everybody knows which claim that they are Islamic.
“So, if there’s an Islamic coalition to fight terrorism, Nigeria will be part of it because we are casualties of Islamic terrorism,” the President said.
On the purported plan to Islamize Nigeria, as the coalition was meant for largely Muslim countries, Buhari said: “How can I change the religious identity of Nigeria?
“No religion advocates hurting the innocent and just because the Muslims are the ones that claim to be Boko Haram and they are killing innocent people whether in the church, in the bus or in the market place, then I will just sit and look at them because I too am a Muslim? Islam is against injustice in any form.
“I’ve just told you; it was the Boko Haram itself that declared loyalty to ISIS.
“ISIS is basically based in Islamic countries. Now, if there’s a coalition to fight Islamic terrorism, why can’t Nigeria be part of it while those that are fighting in Nigeria as Boko Haram claim to be Muslims? But the way they are doing, it is anti-Islamic.”
In reaction to the fact that Nigeria has large populations of both Muslims and Christians and that some Christians are complaining that he is giving Islamic identity to the country by his actions, Buhari quizzed the Christians who are complaining on why they had not gone to fight the terrorists.
He said: “Why can’t those Christians that complained go and fight terrorism in Nigeria or fight the militancy in the South. It is Nigeria that matters, not the opinion of some religious bigots.”