Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said it welcomes the placing of the country on a special watch list by the US government.
In a statement issued yesterday and signed by Special Assistant (Media &Communications) to the CAN President, Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the body said it welcomes the move despite the fact that it was not contacted before the decision was taken.
CAN said there were enough evidence to prove that the subtle Islamisation agenda and nepotism were real, adding that all the key appointments that were being made since the second term of President Muhammadu Buhari commenced followed the same blueprint.
“These are facts and they are violations of some portions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). These include but not limited to Sections 10, 13 (3-4), 15 (2) (d) and (4).
“We are not happy that our country is being listed among the nations where religious intolerance is one of their hallmarks but it gladdens our hearts that, at least, the global community is not unaware of the fact that Nigerian Christians are becoming endangered species in their Fatherland,” it said.
CAN said the reasons given by the United States were too glaring to be disputed, adding that US, like every other country, has an embassy in Nigeria that monitors and reports back what the country is going through and the approach being adopted by the government to addressing the situation.
“Is it not true that the Nigerian federal government failed to implement effective strategies to prevent or stop such violence or to hold perpetrators accountable,” as noted by the US government?, CAN queried.
The statement said the leadership of CAN had made this known to President Buhari in all its meetings with him “to see the whole country as his constituency and to avoid nepotism as much as possible; but instead of correcting the imbalance, one of his aides was fond of abusing and insulting the association using every unprintable words”.
According to CAN, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, few days ago, called for amendment to the Constitution with a view to adding more Sharia contents.
It noted that since the Chief Justice has not denied the story and the government has failed to call him to order, it is crystal clear that the US government has more facts than the government thinks.
CAN said: “If the government is sensitive to our yearnings and aspirations, how come no Christian is heading any of the three arms of government in the present dispensation? This is unprecedented in the history of this country since independence. Is that one of the reasons why no Christian worthy of occupying any of those sensitive positions?
“Another slap on our face is the composition of the National Security Council of the country. We learnt that 98 per cent of its members come from one part of the country and people of same faith. Let the government unmask its members, including their religions and states of origin. The government is telling us that Christians are not worthy for those key appointments but to play the second fiddle.”
“So, another thing that could be responsible for the action of the US government is the lopsided appointments in the polity which confirms popular fear and perception that the government is against the Christians. We have made it abundantly clear to President Buhari repeatedly that the lopsided appointments of his government in favour of one religion and a section of the country is unconstitutional, violates Nigeria’s Federal Character Principle and so it is unacceptable.
‘But the action of the President is strong enough to convince us that he is not ready to correct the imbalance of his appointments forgetting that the country belongs to all Nigerians irrespective of their religious, tribal and political beliefs. The recent appointments in the Police are a good evidence to the critical posture of CAN,” it said.
CAN, which warned that no country has ever survived two civil wars, urged the government to correct the imbalances and not to be insensitive to the new development but instead address all the factors that are responsible.
“The government can deny all these facts to the governed but the US government cannot act on mere make-up stories. Of the three arms of the government, none is being headed by a Christian? Why?
Is the US government not aware of the untold hardship Christians are going through in the country, especially in states such as Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa and Taraba where Christians are being slaughtered like rams by the Boko Haram terrorists and killer herdsmen while the security agencies appear powerless, complacent and it seems as if the government of the day lacks political will to deal with the criminals?
“Although we are not unaware of the fact that some Muslims living in those states are also affected but since these states are predominantly Christian, the primary targets of violence, barbaric killings and destruction of properties are Christians.
CAN said that it is a fact that no fewer than 95 per cent of those who are being detained by the terrorists are Christians and the government has been paying lips service towards securing their freedoms. Leah Sharibu is a case study and the only reason why the government that secured the release of her colleagues has not freed her is because of her religion. We wonder why the government has not done the needful to liberate this innocent girl who happens to be a daughter of a Police officer”.
CAN said that it is disheartening and disappointing to note that even the ongoing anti-graft war of the government is not an exemption.
It said that while CAN is not encouraging corrupt practices, it is against selective approach to the fight against corruption.