Confab: CAN Faults Composition of Religious Committee, Says Kutigi Has Hidden AgendaFeatured, Latest News, News Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN has lamented the composition of the members of the National Conference Committee on Religion alleging that the leadership of the national conference favors Muslims more than their Christian counterpart.
Making this declaration, through a statement sent to newsmen by CAN Director on national issues, Mr. Sunny Oibe, explained that, the Chairman of the confab has decided to scatter the Christians in the confab, thereby bringing in Nurudeen Lemu, the son of Sheikh Lemu, who is also from Niger State to chair the committee.
He however, complained that the supposed Christians in the committee, Dr. Jonathan Obaje, representing the diaspora in the confab has been given express permission by Kutigi to travel back overseas for holiday.
“He is not even in Nigeria at present and does not represent CAN. The delegate is not around and Christians will be affected during voting. Bishop Felix Ajakaiye who was named co-Chairman in the committee is representing Ekiti State and not CAN. In that case, we have already lost and the ratio will now be 12 members for Muslims and 6 for Christians” he explained
In his words, “To us in CAN, Justice Kutigi is working out a script to undermine the interest of the Christians in the confab. Ordinarily, the Christians who have been on the receiving end from the members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect in the North should be a co-chairman in the Committee on Religion. But what Kutigi did was to pick a Muslim from the North as chairman and a Christian from the South West (Ajakaiye) who has little or no knowledge of what is happening in the North as co-chairman. The interest of Christians in this case, will not be adequately protected. Already, the confab is a stage-managed conference. President Goodluck Jonathan has a good intention; but there is a problem in allowing Kutigi to be chairman.
“Justice Kutigi is from Niger State and he decided to pick his Muslim brother from Niger State to head such a sensitive committee. So Christians in Nigeria are not happy and we don’t expect that a man who is highly placed like Justice Kutigi would allow his religion to override national interest. That is why he decided to keep the issue of religion and the committee to himself closely. So we are asking the Vice Chairman of that Conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi what he is doing there. It may also interest Nigerians to note that none of the delegates sent by CAN were allowed to head any committee in the confab; this is unfortunate. Where is the transparency? Where is the equity and fairness?”
“For us, we have no problem with Ajakaiye but we see his choice as a mischief by Kutigi. Ajakaiye is a Christian from the South West but to us, a Christian from the North and CAN delegate who knows how Christians are being slaughtered on daily basis by Boko Haram should be the co-chairman of the committee. But Kutigi refused because he is carrying out an Islamic agenda. These are the same people who claimed that Jonathan skewed the conference to favor the Christians. But the truth has now been revealed that Kutigi is the person who skewed the committee to undermine the Christians.” he noted
According to Oibe, What Nigerians need is equal representation in the confab, adding that if Muslims are 12; Christians must be 12 in the religious committee.
Finally, he called for Obaje, representing Nigerians in the diaspora to be replaced because he doesn’t know what is going on in the country.
“We want a Christian from the North to be a co-chair. Anything short of that means that Kutigi is biased and playing an Islamic agenda against Christians in this country.
“We are therefore doubting his credibility to pilot the affairs of the good conference put together by the Jonathan’s administration.” Said Oibe
Responding to CAN, The Assistant Secretary of the confab (Media and Communications), Mr. Akpandem James pointed out that CAN is just an association and not every Christian is a member.
“Is Bishop Ajakaiye not a Christian? Somebody is a Christian and because he is not a CAN delegate he shouldn’t be co-chairman? Look, CAN is just an association and it is not every Christian that is a member. Not all churches in Nigeria are members of CAN. Must somebody come from Borno or Yobe State before heading a committee on religion?
“We had few people representing CAN and is that a group that should dictate what to do? The committee is made up of Christians and Muslims, whether you are a member of CAN or Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria. Are there no other members of SCIAN? People are just looking for trouble where there’s none.” He said
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