By CALEB AYANSINA
ABUJA – The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), Sunday, called on the Federal government to critically examine the current agitation for the republic of Biafra and give the agitators a fair hearing.
The forum also observed with contempt the impression that only one section of the country with same religion faith is qualified to be the Chief Justice of the Federation.
NCEF in a communique signed and issued in Abuja by its chairman, Mr. Solomon Asemota (SAN) after the forum meeting in Jos, Plateau State recently, however noted supported any action capable of causing the disunity and disintegration of the country.
The statement, which raises several national issues to be looked at, submitted that in as much as issue of secession had never been raised since retuned of democracy in 1999 till now, it should be looked into by government with keen interest.
“While the National Christian Elders Forum frowns at, and discountenances any move towards secession by any group in the nation, it firmly believes that the grievances of the agitators for Biafra Republic should be examined and the people should be given a fair hearing.
“It was noted that since the return to democracy in 1999, there has been no such widespread agitation until now,” it stated.
Also, Asemota wondered why it is only one section of the country with Muslim background that is qualified to be the Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN), calling on government to look into the matter.
According to him, “The Christian Elders also observe with much concern the impression that is created in the Judiciary that only persons from a section of the country are qualified to be the Chief Justice of the Federation.
“That the Nigerian Judiciary has been garrisoned by a section of the country and a religion is no longer in doubt, however, the dismantling of this anomaly is expedient. Nigeria can only survive and thrive on a tripod of Justice, Equality, and Fairness.”
However, he made it clear that the forum had no personal grudge against the current CJN in the country, calling the government and Nigerians attention to recent appointments of those who hold the defence line of the country.
“The Christian Elders wonder why in a divergent and pluralistic society, such as Nigeria, all the critical security institutions in the nation are headed by people from one section of the country. The Minister of Defense, the Director-General of Department of State Security (DSS), the National Security
Adviser (NSA), and the Minister of Interior, are all from one section of the country and are adherents of the same religion.
“The Christian Elders decry the violation of the Federal Character principle in sensitive Federal appointments by the current administration. This discriminatory anomaly should be reversed without delay,” the statement added.
On the National Conference Report, the forum called on “the government to implement the Report of the National Conference and urge all Nigerians to raise a clarion call in this regard. It is in the best interest of Nigeria and all Nigerians that the Report of the National Conference is implemented in full.”
On the current insecurity in the country, the elders called on Christians to evolved means of self-defence, while urging them to remain law abiding.
“The Forum enjoins all Christians in the nation to adhere to the Biblical injunction of “follow peace with all men”. While Christians are urged to remain peace loving and shun any act of provocation, it has become necessary to advise Christian communities to evolve means of “self defense” to ensure self-preservation.
“The impunity and lawlessness with which religious extremists seek to exterminate Christians should be checked, more so, since the security agents seem helpless to apprehend these “unknown gunmen,” they said.