The Christian Association of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja reacted to the allusion to Jesus Christ by a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, on a social media.
The body condemned el-Rufai, saying he was only trying to whip up sentiments around religion for a selfish agenda.
CAN urged religious leaders and political associates to advise him on the need to be sober and circumspect, in his comments to avoid setting the country on fire.”
The organisation, which also asked President Goodluck Jonathan to check the former minister, added that from his unbridled assault on the Christian faith, el-Rufai was capable of “setting the country on fire.”
The ex-minister had, in an attempt to discredit the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku; Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe; and Presidential Adviser on Media and Publcity, Dr. Reuben Abati, tweeted, “”@zebbook: If Jesus criticises Jonathan’s govt, Maku/Abati/Okupe will say he slept with Mary Magdalene.”….LWKMD…..”
The sarcastic post elicited angry reactions from his followers on Twitter and Facebook friends, who saw his comment as blasphemous. The twitter post sparked public outrage on the social media so much that he had to offer an apology on Twitter and Facebook.
His apology stated, “Hello friends. I have been travelling and trying to catch some sleep in between the last 24 hours and missed all the furore arising from my retweet of Ogunyemi Bukola’s (@zeebook) joke, Maku et al and Jesus. I must say I am taken aback by the extent of desperate misrepresentation of what was an innocuous attempt to show the godlessness of the Jonathanians to denigrate anyone that dares to ask them to be accountable.
“To those who were genuinely offended by the retweet, I apologise. I did not meant to offend anyone, neither did the @zeebook I know and featured as one of the Young Voices in my Friday Column. Jesus or Isa Alaihis Salaam is a respected prophet of Islam. Every Muslim accepts this in addition to his miraculous virgin birth. It is therefore absurd for any Muslim believer to disrespect Jesus Christ.
“I hope those in this class will see my point of view and accept my apologies for any offense or disappointment caused. And I advise everyone to read @zeebook’s timeline and mine to read exactly what was tweeted, rather than the second-hand reports of certain people who always twist whatever I write or not write to achieve their morally-repugnant objectives.”
The General Secretary of CAN, Dr. Musa Asake, who read the assocation’s first official reaction on the alleged careless utterance to journalists, had described the statement by the former minister as reckless and a reflection of deep-seated moral bankruptcy.
He said, “We must not allow him to turn Nigeria into a cauldron of fire by his reckless, bigoted and twisted commentaries about our Lord and our faith, and we must view him for exactly what he is.