…as Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri Christians cry-out marginalization
By CALEB AYANSINA
ABUJA – The President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, yesterday, said that Boko Haram issue was not only a disgrace to Nigeria, but to the African continent as well.
Oritsejafor, who stated this when he played host to the Tarayyar Masihiyawan Nijeriya (TAMANI) known as Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri Christians Association of Nigeria, in Abuja, said he was miss-understood by some people over his stance on Boko Haram and other matters in the country.
According to him, “I am the most misunderstood person in Nigeria today”, adding that, Boko Haram is a disgrace to Africa, and it is the recent problem they face.”
Asked why the statement, the CAN Boss added that “probably because I don’t toll the line other people tolled or I chose to be very blunt in what I say or try to call a spade a spade and they thought I hate them, I love everybody.”
Earlier, the National President of TAMANI, Major Gen. Ishaku Dikko told CAN leadership the high level of marginalization that was ongoing against indigenous Christians by the authorities in their various states of origin.
He said “religion is not the one undoing us, what we are going through today is because we are different in faith. I don’t have problem with my people, 90 percent of my people is Muslim, I don’t have problem with them, but my problem is when I want to get my right as an indigene of the state. It is the individual that are using religion to make it difficult for us.”
Dikko noted that they were highly marginalised, oppressed and discriminated against in terms of employment, promotion and appointment in to public offices both at the local, state and the federal levels.
He added that only a few of them were able to get admission into schools or get scholarship from the state government, given rise to high rate of drop outs among the Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri Christians in the north.
Responding, Oritsejafor expressed sympathy with northern Christians, who their freedom of religion had been tampered with, promising to work hand-in-hand with the association to bring an end to their plight.
“My desire and my heart is for the peace of Nigeria, the oneness, grow and strong Nigeria. The Nigeria we are talking about must be a Nigeria, where everybody is equal, a Nigeria where people were not judge by where they come from, their tribe, religion but where people are judged by the content of their character- who they really are. I believed this is the kind of Nigeria we are looking for.
“I can assure you as the President of CAN, that whatever I can do, whatever CAN can do, whatever God will enable us to do, we will do our best and I pray that God will grant us a level playing ground for everybody in Nigeria,” he prayed.
The CAN President also used the occasion to challenged the human right groups in the country to focus their activities in the area where people are oppressed to bring happiness to them.
“When I hear of human right groups, civil society organization and NGOs, I wondered if they know what is happening in this country, I think they should champion campaign against this (marginalization of Christians in the North), they should move against it, these are the kind of things they should be involved with. I throw this as a challenge to them; they should look at the case of these people who are now marginalised in their states,” he urged.
In his magnanimity as CAN President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor donated N2 million to “Tarayyamasihiyawan Nijeriya” led by Maj. Gen. Ishaku A. Dikko (rtd), saying the money is part of his efforts to ameliorate the plight of the people.
In his response, Dikko said the money would be used as recycling grant for the economic empowerment of the people.