Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the participation of the country in the Muslims Only Islamic Solidarity Sports Games in Azerbaijan as illegal.
Against this backdrop, the General Secretary of CAN, Rev. Musa Asake, in a statement yesterday, urged the Federal Government to withdraw the country’s contingent immediately from the Games staring today at the Baku Olympic Stadium in Azerbaijan.
Nigeria is one of the 57 countries participating in the sporting event in the Euro-Asian country, tagged BAKU 2017.
But Asake in the protest letter addressed to the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation (OSGF), the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the association reminds them that Nigeria remains a secular state.
The letter read: “It has come to our notice that the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) is organising its 4th game titled BAKU 2017 in Azerbaijan from May 12 through 22, 2017. Of concern to us is the information that Nigeria is listed as one of the 57 countries participating in the Games.
“This information is available on the official web page of the ISSF and can be confirmed at: http://www.baku2017.com/en/countries.
“The organisers confirmed that the Games are strictly for Islamic countries because the ‘‘ISSF is a section of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC.)’’
“We request that this claim and Nigeria’s participation should be investigated because, including Nigeria in an international engagement based purely on religion violates the spirit and letter of section 10 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). We wish to reiterate that Nigeria is a secular nation and any misrepresentation should be corrected without delay, and Nigeria’s participation be stopped immediately.
“We further request you to please call those behind this illegal action to order without delay before further damage is done to the nation’s identity and the perception of the stance of the government of the day as pro-Islam. Nigeria’s membership of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should be withdrawn henceforth.”