By Omeiza Ajayi\
ABUJA— A Catholic priest, Dr Gabriel Ngbea, has asked the Federal Government to proscribe Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, andJammatul Nasri Islam JNI, accusing them of being more political than religious.
He made the call, yesterday, in Abuja at the public presentation of his book entitled: Constitutional Misconception of Secularism and Implications for Politics and Religion in Nigeria.
Quoting the author, the book reviewer, Prof. Dakas C. Dakas, SAN, said: “CAN and JNI should be proscribed because they have become political organisations that are used to advance political interests.”
In their stead, the book proposes that an Independent Religious Equity Commission, be established with a mandate to guard against religious persecution.
The author also advocated the scrapping of the various pilgrims welfare boards, noting:“Secularism is not an option, but the only solution to the Nigerian question.”
Be fair to other religions, Onaiyekan tells Christians, Muslims
On his part, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, urged adherents of Christianity and Islam to be fair to other religious groups, urging Nigerian leaders to stop taking religion and politics to the extreme.
“Christianity and Islam have monopolised the space and they are gradually trying to destroy the traditional religion. Adherents of traditional religion do not have a space and there are many other religions. What Islam and Christianity are doing is not good. Everything about Nigeria is always in the extreme.”
Former Speaker, Plateau State House of Assembly, Mr. George Daika, who represented former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, said: “The framers of our constitution, going back to our first national constitution, carefully considered our diverse character as a nation and chose the secular path for us to accommodate that diversity and ensure peaceful coexistence.
“At this delicate moment in our nation’s history, with separatist agitations, militancy of the religious and secular varieties, calls for restructuring, and jousting for future elections, we should all be mindful of and sensitive to the feelings and preferences of those who may not think the way we think, speak the way we speak or worship the way we worship or belong to the same political party as us. Our diversity ought to be our strength and, together, we can still build the Nigeria of our dreams.”
Politics and religion, path to Nigeria’s greatness —Ortom
Also speaking, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State noted that when Nigeria got its politics and religion right, the country would then be on the path to greatness.
“Today in our country, two things are very important, politics and religion and if we can get them right, we will be able to make Nigeria great,” he said.
On the labour crisis in his state, Ortom blamed the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, for “employing blackmail tactics over the issue of workers’ salary arrears.”