***tells apex Muslim body to stop playing government underdog
***reveals why Christians fairly dominate FG workforce
***denies claims CBN fund its activities
By Luminous Jannamike – Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, on Sunday, came down hard on Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, NSCIA, over its comment on the alleged Islamisation of the judiciary, describing the Muslim body as “a promoter of bad governance, divisiveness, and injustice in Nigeria.”
The General Secretary of CAN, Barr. Joseph Daramola, said this in a statement titled “Re: NSCIA Accuses CAN of Campaign of Calumny over Shortlisted Justice of the Court of Appeal: A Rebuttal.”
NSCIA had penultimate Tuesday accused CAN of steadily engaging in blackmail when things failed to go its way, and also stressed that it would not “allow the serial falsehood of CAN and its propensity for character assassination of people on the basis of their religious identity to stand.”
But Daramola said with such comments which he described as unfair attacks on the apex Christian body, NSCIA had condescended from the lofty heights of decorum to the gutters of smear and mud sling.
He said, “Our attention has been drawn to a Press Statement issued by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) where the Council used vulgar, immature language and unprintable words to describe the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in its bid to justify the obvious lopsided appointments of the Federal Government in favour of its members.
“The Council was smart by half when it picked an example of just one arm of Government without addressing the totality of fundamental questions on all the arms of government.
“Should it not have been better for the Council to have been bold enough to examine the entirety of appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari as serially referenced by CAN?
“The NSCIA evaded those troubling issues that are well known not only to Nigerians but members of the international community; those knotty issues that have pushed our country on the edge of a precipice.
“By so doing, NSCIA has unwittingly exposed itself as a promoter of bad governance, divisiveness and injustice in Nigeria under the Buhari administration.
“We are disappointed with the tone of the highest Islamic body in the country for the abysmal and tragic condescension knowing that the Council is made up of eminent and highly respected personalities.
“But we will not join them in the mudslinging because we chose maturity, candour, moderation and objectivity over parochialism and fundamentalism because we have the facts and figures to prove our points beyond any (un)reasonable doubts.”
The Chief Scribe of CAN said the highest Islamic body in the land should stop playing the role of government’s underdog, adding “we wish the Council had allowed the Government to speak for itself.”
He said the leadership of NSCIA must have disappointed many of its followers by evading to list the names, state of origins, and religions of those who have held the following positions from 2015 to date: the Chief Justice of Nigeria; the President, Court of Appeal; the Chief Judge, Federal High Courts; and the Chief Judge, FCT High Court.
“Under the watch of President Buhari, especially throughout his first term, the Judiciary was literally an appendage of NSCIA because its members were in charge of its affairs.
“We all know how they removed Justice Walter Onnoghen from office without following due process. But for the critical section of the polity, including the likes of Col. Umar Dangiwa, the incumbent President of the Court of Appeal would have been denied her succession privilege and right. We didn’t see NSCIA on the list.
“The grand plan of subtle Islamization is to make a Muslim the head of every key board, committee, parastatal and put Christians under without much influence in the decision-making process in the establishment (irrespective of their number).
“This observation of the Christian Association of Nigeria has been recently strengthened by the ‘2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nigeria’ of the U. S. Department of State. In the report, it was stated that, ‘traditional relationships were used to pressure government officials to favor particular ethnic groups in the distribution of important positions and other patronage.’
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“Still on appointments, the NSCIA just decided to use figures to pervert the truth and mislead the public. They were economical with the truth,” CAN said.
Daramola added that the NSCIA leadership must have left its admirers confused by sounding like a political organ of government rather than a spiritual organisation which stood by the fear of God, truth, and defence of all citizens irrespective of their religious or political affiliations.
The statement added, “Christians in Nigeria under CAN have severally been attacked through the uncouth and provocative languages by MURIC (The Muslim Rights Concern) but CAN maintained a cool head and never reacted to such evil-intended, anti-Nigerian distractions.
“This country is greater than anybody or association for that matter. We shall come and go, but the country will outlive all of us.
“We should therefore avoid both political and religious war and live in peace as one with the understanding that what you do not want others to do to you, do not do it unto others.
“We recall that the leadership of NSCIA protested against the perceived lopsided appointments of the CONFAB under President Jonathan. We did not go to the press abusing them for their actions. Can’t they borrow a leaf from us?”
Daramola boasted that CAN was a peace-loving association that believed in dialogue and negotiation rather than verbal war in the media as done by the NSCIA in its recent publication.
NIREC, he said, was also established to build religious harmony in the country, asking if the NSCIA also considered body a fluke..
He added, “We need to set a record straight by underlining the fact that CAN as a body does not have hatred for Islam and Muslims or whatsoever. It is the highest degree of cheap blackmail for any individual or group to have made such puerile and empty claim.
“For example, whenever any Muslim leader in the country was under any unjustifiable attack, we have stood up to speak against it.
“Two good examples were the then continued incarceration of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki and the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Ibrahim Yaqoub El Zakzaky, despite the court’s rulings. CAN was among the potent voices calling for their release.
“Similarly, whenever terrorists or bandits attacked any Muslim community or mosque, CAN always comes out publicly to speak against it. But CAN has never seen NSCIA reciprocating that whenever their brethren attacked Christians, or predominantly Christian communities or churches. Who hates who in this context?”
Daramola also faulted NSCIA’s claims that the Central Bank of Nigeria was funding CAN.
He also said that contrary to assertion that Christians unfairly dominated the Federal Government workforce, it was Muslim leaders that put their followers in a state of disadvantage by promoting Islamic/Quranic education above Western academic systems.
He added, “We need to go back to history to understand why in the early years of the emergence of our country as a nation, more Christians were eligible for employment into the public service.
“Where were the members of NSCIA in the 1800s when Western Education was brought to this part of our world and Christians in the Northern and Southern parts of the country were sending their children to schools? Were they not sending theirs to Arabic and Q’uranic schools? Was it Arabic or Qur’anic studies that they would use to get appointment to government offices and the courts? Were they not opposing self-rule initially when the Southerners moved the motion for it because they were not prepared educationally for it?
“They should blame themselves for lack of qualified personnel (not religious discrimination) if the number of them in public service was and is not much.
“Up till today, is the Muslim North still not comparatively lagging behind in Western Education? They would need to do a little bit of more history to understand properly their own predicament.
“It is different from what is happening today when those in power are deliberately overlooking the qualified Christians who should be in different positions. By the way, was it CAN that prevented them from going to school? Most of the schools that the government took over during the military’s unlawful government were built by the Christian missionaries when our Muslim counterparts were investing in the Quranic schools.
“Up till today, it is those things that cannot bring development in education that the NSCIA members are still fighting for such as the wearing of hijab in schools started by Christians and are still largely being maintained by them. Will a girl wearing hijab be more brilliant in school than the rest of her counterparts?
“They have forgotten that till today, we are not mounting pressure on the government to introduce the Christian culture to the Islamic schools.
“A group of Muslims today still says that ‘Western Education is forbidden’ (Boko Haram) and they have taken up arms to wipe Christians out of the country.
“There was a time when a Christian President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, established modernized Almajiri Schools to withdraw their children who, according to some Northern leaders, had become big pool from where terrorists and now bandits recruit from the streets, CAN did not kick against it, despite the fact that we knew that those schools were not meant for Christian children and our commonwealth was being used in several millions of naira to run them.
“Again, when this government came on board and closed down those schools and NSCIA said nothing, did CAN ever make any release to attack NSCIA? It was lack of respect for another religion that made NSCIA to attack CAN thus making themselves official mouthpiece for the Government.
“This suggests again that those in Government are plainly carrying out NSCIA’s marginalization policy against qualified Christians.
“NSCIA also stated that CBN has been funding CAN. This is another wicked lie and dubious attempt by them to mislead the public. It baffles sanity for any group to make such outrageous claim. This is nothing but a blackmail and it is unfortunate for a religious organization with worth to be involved in this. On the other hand, NSCIA is the one benefiting most of the time from Government funding.
“The CBN approached CAN on 11th March, 2005 requesting for the use of National Ecumenical open space as car park by its staff. This was officially approved by CAN in November, 2006.
“In furtherance of that, a rent agreement was entered into legally, since then, they have been using the place till date. NSCIA is aware of this but only attempted to blackmail CAN.
“Didn’t they know that if at all CAN gave them parking space free, it would need to hire security men to watch over the vehicles parked within its premises till the owners take them?
“Will we also not pay such security people? Didn’t they equally know that the parking space has to be maintained with money?
“A religious organization that does not speak the truth but speaks out of malice, spurious propaganda, and bitterness such as NSCIA has done is most shameful and unfortunate.
“In all these, it must be boldly stated that our faith remains firm and resolute. May God help Nigeria to rise above mediocrity, spiralling challenges, and be prosperous in Jesus’ name.
“We hereby demand some serious adjustments forthwith on the appointments already done, and henceforth desire a paradigm shift in the ways and manners the affairs of this country are run, and appointments are done from time to time as to be clearly reflecting that this country, Nigeria, is not owned by Muslims, but a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country.”