Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has accused the United States government of stoking ethnic and religious divisions in Nigeria, after the U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, visited the Sultan of Sokoto and northern governors.
Christians wondered why they were excluded from Kerry’s visit between Monday and Tuesday.
Mr. Kerry travelled to Sokoto where he met the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, who is the head of Nigeria’s Muslim community.
He later met President Buhari, before governors of northern states.
In an interview with journalists, CAN said Kerry’s visit was “discriminatory, personal and divisive”.
CAN said Kerry should stop interfering in the internal affairs of the country, alleging that the visit was aimed at furthering the Nigerian federal government’s plan to continue to persecute the teeming population of Nigerian Christians.
The president of CAN, Rev. Supo Ayokunle, said Mr. Kerry’s “lack of respect for the heterogeneous nature of Nigeria, amounted to favouring northern Nigeria and Muslims to the detriment of the Christian community”.
He said Kerry’s disposition supported claims that the Barack Obama administration openly supported the APC in the 2016 general elections, which produced the current leadership of the country.
“Why did he meet with 19 states governors, without southern governors, is Nigeria the north alone, why did you go to the north alone?” he asked.
“There’s a siege on Christians. Kerry, his actions speak volume, his actions, body language were very divisive. If US Secretary of States is coming for official visit, it’s understandable, but we demand explanation why he was selective. Has the sultan palace become another state house? Was Kerry invited by the Sultan?
“We have 36 States in Nigeria; he only selected northern governors to meet with them. It was a visit to the north, not to Nigeria. It was surely a very divisive visit.
With the visit to the north, Kerry’s visit has heightened fear and tension among Christians in Nigeria, if they cannot bring us together, they should not interfere in our affairs.”