I didn’t say Nigeria is an Islamic country – Foreign Affairs Minister


The Minister of State, Foreign Affairs (2), Dr Nuruddeen Mohammed has said, contrary to a story that has circulated in the media, he did not at any time declare that Nigeria is an Islamic country. The minister made this declaration in a statement issued and signed by him at the weekend. According to the minister, an interview he granted the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) on the sideline of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Mecca, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the middle of August, did not contain any element referring to Nigeria as an Islamic State.

The full statement issued by the minister is as follows: “My attention was drawn to some sensational news articles circulating in both the print, online, and the social media, pertaining to a statement I purportedly made while attending the Extra Ordinary Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which held in Mecca, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, between the 15th and 16th of August, 2012. The reports alleged that I said, ‘Nigeria is an Islamic Country with the largest Christian population’. The reports alleged that I said this  through the NTA Network News anchored in Abuja on Wednesday, the 15th of August, 2012 by 9pm.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I said no such a thing in the said news bulletin. What I did say rather (among other things) was; “The King had extended invitation to the fifty-seven member states of the OIC, including his colleague and brother, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who mandated the Vice President to sit in for Nigeria. The basic agenda of the meeting was to discuss the barrage of problems facing the Muslim world – the crisis in Syria, the crisis in Northern Mali, which is threatening the whole Sahel Region. And you know the Sahel Region is very important to OIC. Because, out of the fifteen member states of ECOWAS, fourteen, I mean twelve, are members of the OIC. And, of course, the issue of interfaith dialogue; in that respect, Nigeria featured prominently. We are the largest Islamo-Christian country in the world, and any initiative to encourage dialogue between faiths will come out to the greatest advantage of Nigeria”.

“This statement, despite being available in the most recent of NTA archives, the video of the news clip can also be viewed on YouTube via the following link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLgH5srB_NU“.

“My first reaction was to ignore the media frenzy, and dismiss it as just the wild and mischievous imagination of some evil-minded authors, but for two reasons. First, the expected negative reaction it generated from the general public, and particularly that of the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, whom I naturally respect and defer to, as a leading religious leader and foremost statement, and had already personally consulted with him to set the records straight.

“Secondly, to respond to appeals, from friends, family, and political associates, cutting across different ethnic and religious divides, who either phoned or visited, since the unfortunate drama began, and demanded that I clear my name.

“Through family upbringing and political training, I had grown to groom myself, to consider our common humanity and its primary needs, as the foundation of my philosophy in public life. A fact reinforced by my choice of Medicine (which emphasizes service to humanity) as a profession. It is most disheartening that my innocent young self has been dragged in to this habitual, needless, and emotive religious controversy, that had done no one any good. A path that my generation can’t afford to tread!

“I finally appeal to the general public, and particularly media practitioners, to always reflect deeply, and be conscious of the huge civic responsibility resting on their shoulders while holding their pen,  and to always double check their facts while avoiding hasty conclusions”.

“As the Fourth Estate of the Realm,  that will not only improve the quality of our public discourse, and reinforce our stand as humans with superior reasoning, but will in the end help us all to build a better and just society for ourselves and generations yet unborn”.



  1. meanwhile, i’m not aware of his initial statement but according to the content of the story i saw here, i believe he made such comments, but he is denying it, inorder to sustain peace and at the same time his post in nigeria.


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