By Luminous Jannamike – Abuja
Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has said it will stop complaining about religious persecution in the country only when all Nigerians perceive that rule of law, fairness, and social justice were allowed in the country.
The umbrella Christian body stated this in a press release by its National Director, Legal and Public Affairs, Evang. Kwamkur Samuel, on Saturday, in Abuja.
According to CAN, discriminatory policies of the government not only ran foul of democratic norms but were a form of persecution.
It, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to allow the Constitution to guide his administration in all its policies and operations.
The press release reads, “The country belongs to all Nigerians irrespective of their religious and tribal persuasions and any policy that is discriminatory is nothing but persecution.
“We call on President Buhari to be fair to all Nigerians. We would stop complaining when we see a just society where the rule of law, fairness, and social justice are allowed.
“When the President released Col Sambo Dasuki and Omoyele Sowore, we hailed him despite the fact that Dasuki is a devout Muslim.
“We want those still languishing in detention after a court granted them bail to be released forthwith.
“Let genuine democracy work in Nigeria and every Nigerian given sense of belonging through inclusive opportunities.”
Reacting further to the claim by Sultan of Sokoto, Alh. Sa’ad Abubakar III, that there was no case of Christian persecution in the country, the Christian group reiterated that the revered Muslim leader was wrong.
CAN added that it would have been better if the monarch remained quiet the way he did when large numbers of Christians were killed by marauding herdsmen in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa and Taraba states.
“We respect the Sultan very much but what he said requires a response in order to put things right.
“It is an insult and insensitivity for anyone to be claiming that the unprecedented persecution which victims are well known did not occur. It is also an act of disrespect to the dead.
“We are happy that the Sultan did not fault our claim that there were unprecedented killings in those areas. Maybe the security agencies would have helped us to unmask the culprits and their religion if they had not appeared powerless while the killings lasted.
“It is reprehensible that to date, those who killed our brothers and sisters after raping and maiming them for weeks are still at large as if they were spirits.
“On the observation made by His eminence that if there have been cases of Christian persecution in the country we would have raised it at the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), where the leadership of both religions meet, we wonder why the Sultan too could not come to NIREC to fault our position instead of using the public forum.
“The Sultan should not pretend as if he was unaware of several times we had gone to President Muhammadu Buhari to complain about systematic and deliberate killings of our brothers and sisters and the need for the killers to be brought to book and the killings stopped to no avail.
“The fact that we are meeting at NIREC does not mean that all is well. We believe that having dialogues with our Muslim counterparts can reduce the tension in the land if there is sincerity.
“As long as a highly placed traditional ruler who is also the head of the Muslims in the country is denying the obvious then we are not surprised that other Muslim groups talk in the same vein.
“The government to whom we had complained about the plight of our people in the hands of over-zealous Muslims who said they were fighting Jihad was not convincing enough to show us that the action was not deliberate. We as well complained about lopsided appointments, especially the security chiefs which has not been addressed until today.”