By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – THE leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, on Friday, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House Villa Abuja where it hailed the present administration for its commitment in the fight against insurgency and corruption.
It, however, demanded for more of governments efforts in tackling the menace of marauding herdsmen, abuse of rule of law, release of those under Boko Haram captivity, resolution of the minimum wage palaver, and ensuring a free and fair general elections in 2019, among others.
Addressing President Buhari on behalf of the umbrella Christian body in Nigeria, CAN President, Revd Samson Ayokunle, further noted the efforts made by through the office of the Vice President at creating jobs for the teeming youths across the country but also urged for a total recovery of the economy to make room for those still unemployed.
The full text of Ayokunle’s speech reads:
TEXT OF A SPEECH DELIVERED BY THE PRESIDENT OF CAN, HIS EMINENCE REV DR SAMSON AYOKUNLE, DURING A PARLEY OF CAN LEADERSHIP TO HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI AT THE ASO ROCK PRESIDENTIAL VILLA ON FRIDAY 16 NOVEMBER, 2018
Your Excellency, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) appreciates your kind gesture in hosting us once again despite your tight schedules.
We all know that presiding over the affairs of a complex nation like our country can no doubt be burdensome, hence, we have not ceased from praying for Mr President and the Administration as demanded by God.
CAN acknowledges some of the relative changes that your leadership has brought into being since the emergence of your Presidency, especially the creation of the awareness that corruption is a cancer in our nation which all of us must join hands together to exterminate before it exterminates us.
We are aware of the job opportunities being created through the office of the Vice President. This initiative has reduced the number of jobless teeming youths, especially graduates in the country. It is our hope that very soon, the economy will be totally recovered and all our closed industries and factories would be reopened to provide gainful employment opportunities to the teeming unemployed Nigerians.
In reality Sir, despite the efforts of government in the area of security, Boko Haram terrorists are still attacking some soft targets. However, we are great full to God that their audacity of hoisting flags where they had captured has become history. We commend Your Excellency over your determination, commitment and courage in bringing out the best out of our military.
The menace of bandits in States like Zamfara and Kebbi has become a nightmare, coupled with the unending killings by herdsmen in the North-Central zone, especially in Plateau, Benue and Taraba State. Not only have these attackers killed hundreds of innocent lives on the Plateau, they are presently occupying homes of their victims in Gashish District of Plateau State.
Appalling conditions in some of the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camps are driving many into despair. Unarguably, the failure of the Police to nip the activities of these criminals in the bud accounts for drafting of the military to quell civil insurrection.
Other criminal elements amidst us like kidnappers and hired killers are still perpetrating their havocs as if might has become right. It is not yet UHURU, and the long walk to bidding farewell to these criminalities is fraught with tedious bends.
We are fully persuaded that, but for the prayers of the people and your efforts, it could have been worse. Right from the inception of CAN, her leadership has been among the critical segments of the society, all in an attempt to have an egalitarian society where justice, rule of law and fair play hold sway.
Another area where your leadership deserves accolades is the anti-graft war that has led to the recovery of huge sums of money from those who pilfered our commonwealth. It is reprehensible that elected officials have seized opportunities of being in public office to loot the treasury.
Like we categorically noted here during our last visit, the wish of the people is for the war against corruption to be total and without discrimination. Not a few believe that the ruling party is becoming a safe haven to some corrupt politicians in their bid to escape the trap of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
CAN commends your boldness and courage in implementing the BVN and Single Account system. There is no doubt that the two policies have greatly helped in sanitising the system. We also commend your government for continuing with projects you inherited from your predecessor in office.
As we approach another election year, our appeals to your government include, among others:
1. A presidential order to the Police and other security agencies to be non-partisan, neutral and apolitical in the coming general election with a view to securing international respect and honour for our country in the comity of nations.
The degree of desperation we saw in the politicians during the intra-party elections that took place recently do not give many people hope concerning 2019 unless serious steps are taken to let decency prevail.
We appeal to you to make sure that the law enforcement agents and the election umpire do their work professionally without intimidation of voters, manipulation and any trace of violence throughout the period of elections. We believe that the survival and peace of Nigeria are greater than the ambition of any politician.
2. We again request that your administration conducts free and fair election that would add to the accolades the country received from the conduct of 2015 elections that brought you to power.
3. Restoration of peace and sanity in troubled spots in the country, especially in the States of Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna and Zamfara.
4. Enhancement of security and flushing out of attackers in many towns as is in Gashish District on the Plateau, in order to allow sacked communities in the various IDP camps return to their towns and villages.
We urge your administration to invest more on intelligence gathering and ensure that our security agents work on them before the terrorists would strike.
5.Total adherence to the rule of law as is required by our constitution and full blown democracy by making sure that those whose bails have been granted by competent courts like Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and Leader of the Shiites, Malam Ibrahim El-Zakzaky are released from detention to enjoy the bail granted them by the courts of law. This would ease tension in the land and give credit to your administration together with respect from the international community.
6. A Presidential order directing the Army to stop using life bullets in quelling civil disturbances and an order to the Police to provide protection to any group of people engaging in peaceful protest as the law and modern day democracy allow.
7. A total overhauling of the security system with a view to replacing security chiefs who have overstayed their welcome.
8. An urgent resolution of the controversies on the ongoing dialogue over the new minimum wage.
9. A concerted effort on the part of your government to ensure Nigeria does not return to the dreaded economic recession.
10. An appeal to all political parties to shun vote buying with a view to letting the votes of the people count, come 2019.
11. Setting up of a judicial panel of enquiry to look into the incessant killings in the North-central with a view to unmasking perpetrators and bringing them to book to serve as deterrent to others. One of the terms of reference of the judicial panel, if accepted, should be to investigate the killing of the immediate Director of Administration of the Army, Major General Idris Alkali (rtd), and circumstances surrounding the kidnap and killing of the Paramount Chief of the Adara Chiefdom in Kaduna State, His Royal Highness, the Agom Adara, Dr. Maiwada Raphael Galadima.
12. More importantly sir, issue a presidential order to the security agencies to secure the release of Miss Leah Sharibu, who has been in the captivity of Boko Haram, and the remaining 112 Chibok girls and other innocent Nigerians still held by terrorists organizations.
On a final note, Your Excellency, we thank you for this invitation and it is our prayers that the Almighty God will protect and guide you. By the authority in the Word of God, I proclaim liberty, freedom and deliverance over Nigeria in Jesus’ name.