Vice President Yemi Osinbajo observed yesterday that bombs used by the Boko Haram terrorists to cut short the lives of innocent citizens does not discriminate between religious persuasion or the ethnic origins of its victims before causing havoc and destruction.
Speaking at a church service to mark the country’s 55th Independence Day celebration billed for Thursday October 1, the vice president urged religious and political leaders to lay emphasis on only what unites the Nigerian people and not what divides them.
He said, “I have travelled the length and breadth of this nation, especially in the Northeastern parts in the last few months and I have seen children, women, men who were bomb victims. I have seen the dead, the wounded, the sick.
“The truth of the matter is that the bulk of all those that I have seen, there were Moslems, there were Christians, there were those who professed no particular faith, but were all Nigerians, and one thing that united them was that they were all poor, and in IDPs’ camps.
“When a bomb goes off in Potiskum or in a market in Maiduguri or Gombe, it does not ask if you are a Christian or a Muslim, it does not. It never asks if you are Yoruba or Ibo, or Hausa.”
Osinbajo urged Nigerians to stand together against terrorism and poverty, saying they must understand that “terrorism is not a contest between Christians and Muslims, it goes well beyond that.
“It is our duty not to pursue narratives that divide us. It is our duty to do everything that unites us. We must ensure that we don’t create further divisions, but that we bind together those divisions, that is our duty”, he added.
Lamenting that Nigeria has been divided along ethnic and religious lines for far too long, the VP noted that it was time for unity in the country.
“That unity is so crucial, so important. It is all that will make a difference in the next few years”, he stated, adding that it is the fate of vast majority of poor Nigerians that should be our concern as a people.
Osinbajo further pointed out that one of Nigeria’s major problems was the penchant for playing politics with everything.
He noted that “the fate of over 110 million extremely poor Nigerians have not been the central concern of anyone”. The vice president also condoled with the families of Nigerians who lost their lives in the Mecca stampede, just as he prayed God to comfort them and their communities. He prayed that at 55, Nigeria will experience double grace, since number five stands for grace and wished Nigerians double favours in their personal lives.