- Asks if President will attend World Council of Churches meeting
- Urges FG to heed Obasanjo’s warnings
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Saturday raised constitutional concerns about the recent representation of Nigeria by President Muhammadu Buhari at a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In a statement by President of CAN, His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson ‘Supo Ayokunle, signed by his Special Assistant (Media and Communications), Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the Christian body condemned what it called attempts to force-foot Nigeria, a constitutionally secular state, into a purely Islamic association.
CAN asked if Buhari would also be attending the meetings of the World Council of Churches. It advised the Buhari government to listen to the wise counsel of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who had expressed concerns about an alleged Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda.
The Christian body also deplored the executive order issued by Buhari withdrawing gun licences issued to eligible Nigerians, while armed herdsmen were yet to be disarmed, saying such made Buhari’s attendance of the OIC meeting suspect. It regretted that despite widespread opposition, Buhari attended the OIC meeting immediately after being sworn in for his second term, as his first official assignment.
The statement said regarding the OIC, “This is an organisation, which states it is ‘the collective voice of the Muslim world’ and works to ‘safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony’. Are the government officials listening to those who voted them into power at all? Is the government not heating up the polity?
“We all remember how Nigeria was smuggled into OIC during the military. We wonder if the President is ready to attend the meeting of the World Council of Churches or be asking the Vice President to represent him whenever the members meet.”
On the tendency to attack Obasanjo over his position on the alleged Islamisation and Fulanisation of the country, CAN said it was not good for the government to always rain abuses or pour venoms on former leaders whenever their thoughts were critical of government’s actions or policies. It called on the federal government to pay attention to Obasanjo’s thought-provoking positions, rather than disparaging him.
“We appeal to the federal government to listen to Obasanjo on his counsel over the alleged West African Fulanisation and African Islamisation agenda instead of resorting to disrespecting him and misinterpreting his noble warnings to the nation,” CAN stated.
CAN regretted that while the likes of Obasanjo were treated as honourable statesmen and institutions in developed nations, like the United States and the United Kingdom, they were antagonised and vilified at home by the Buhari government.
“This is not only unfortunate but exposes us as a people that have lost their moral values. Obasanjo sacrifices a lot for this nation in order to make it one and great! He deserves respect and his pronouncements should be treated with caution,” the apex Christian body said. It added, “The truth is evident for those who care to see the danger of Obasanjo’s warning except those who are either part of the agenda or are just being mischievous.
“When the perceived genocide started in Southern Kaduna, how many of the suspected herdsmen involved in the barbaric attacks were arrested by the security men? How many of them have been detained and are being prosecuted?”
With respect to the recent presidential order to mop up legally held guns, CAN said the federal government must be wary of actions that tend to portray it as protecting or preserving a section of the country against others. It accused the security agencies of not doing enough to deal with killings and kidnappings by bandits and herdsmen, saying the whole thing smacks of bias and deliberate effort to defend and advocate for a group being accused of atrocities.
It cited as an example of ethno-religious injustice the case of Kaduna State, where the government claimed they had arrested 17 suspects in connection with the killings in Southern Kaduna and three years after, nothing had been heard about the matter.
CAN also faulted the composition of the country’s security management system under the Buhari administration, insisting that such an important national structure must not be dominated by people who share the same faith and ethnicity.
“This is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria,” it stated, adding, “The preponderance of the Fulani people at the corridors of power is what Chief Obasanjo refers to as Fulanisation agenda.
“As President Buhari begins another term, we appeal to him to have a blueprint for the security challenges facing the country. He should see the whole country as his and avoid lopsided appointments in every facet of the government, especially, the appointment of chief security officers.”