The search for an acceptable type of government for the entire people of the country has brought unhealthy competition between the three major groups: Igbo, Hausa/Fulani and the Yorubas. The consequences of this unhealthy competition between the three majority ethnic groups brought the destruction of the country and have done great injury to other ethnic minority groups, who are continually marginalized. Besides, the actions and behaviours of the major groups have made Nigeria one of the most unjust societies in the world. One can be justified to describe them as indigenous colonialists and blind materialism.
“Every Christian, particularly Christian leaders are urged to read this full report. It gives an understanding of the issues unfolding in Nigeria.
The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) took time to prepare this Report to enlighten and educate Christians. May we not perish for lack of knowledge”
COALITION OF CHRISTIAN GROUPS
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REVERSES EID-EL-FITRI PUBLIC HOLIDAY
As Nigerians, we congratulate the Muslims in the nation on their successful completion of the Ramadan fast in 2016. However, we are disturbed by the apparent shoddiness and confusion the Federal Government brought into the declaration of the Public Holiday rounding up the Muslim religious exercise.
The Federal Government had earlier declared Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th July as Public Holiday only to reverse itself and declare Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th July 2016 as Public Holiday. If this was done before Tuesday was observed as Public Holiday, it would have been tolerable but declaring Thursday 7th as Public Holiday in addition to Tuesday and Wednesday is a mark of institutional unseriousness. The implication now is that three days would be work free in the week.
We are equally appalled that the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau based the decision to declare Thursday as Public Holiday on “the directive by the President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, the Sultan of Sokoto, to the effect that the Ramadan fast continues today (Tuesday) as a result of the non-sighting of the moon”. We are not aware that Nigeria has transmuted into a religious theocratic state in which the leader of a religious group issues “directive” to the Federal Government. If the President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs confirmed Wednesday and Thursday as Public Holiday for the Ramadan fasting, then who advised the Federal Government to declare Tuesday a Public Holiday?
As innocuous as some people may want to present this development, it is a dangerous signal confirming the worrisome direction of the party that promised Nigerians CHANGE from the lawlessness and impunity that seem to characterize this nation. Since the inception of the Buhari administration, it has left no one in doubt of its discriminatory leaning towards Islam as the preferred religion in Nigeria, in violation of Section 10 of the Constitution. The Buhari Administration needs to be reminded again that Nigeria is not an Islamic Theocratic State that receives “directive” from a Sultan. Nigeria is a democratic and secular nation and preferential treatment should not be accorded any section of the nation but all should be treated equally.
If indeed a mistake was made in declaring Tuesday a Public Holiday that does not warrant declaring Thursday a Public Holiday. Both the Federal Government and leaders of Islam should have maintained the statutory two days Public Holiday and learnt a lesson on how to not to repeat the mistake in future. It is very embarrassing the tardiness and shoddiness that the Buhari Administration has brought into governance in Nigeria. Decent and respectable people are ashamed at the flagrant acts of discrimination, nepotism, and impunity of the APC led government.
We wish to state clearly that declaring Thursday an additional Public Holiday is not only wrong but an insensitive approach to the management of the economy. The economic well being of the nation should not be sacrificed on the altar of religious fervor.
Nevertheless, having illegally appropriated an additional day as Public Holiday during the Eid-el-Fitri, the Federal Government and leaders of Islam should be prepared to repay the nation the extra day during the next Eid-el-Kabir in which we expect only one day should be approved as Public Holiday. Nigeria should not be turned into a lawless nation. The APC led government should call itself to order.
COALTION OF CHRISTIAN GROUPS
1. NATIONAL CHRISTIAN ELDERS FORUM (NCEF)
2. NIGERIAN CHRISTIAN GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP (NCGF)
3. THINK TANK FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST
4. CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON)
5. ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA (ACSIN)
6. STUDENTS CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT (SCM)
7. CHRISTIAN PROFESSIONALS FORUM (CPF)
8. MINISTERS PRAYER NETWORK
9. INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN EMBASSY JERUSALEM (ICEJ)
11. INTERNATIONAL PROPHETIC MINISTERIAL ASSOCIATION (IPMA) (Inc. Worldwide College of Bishops & Ministers, Africa, UK & USA)
12. INTERCESSORS WITHOUT WALLS (IWW)
13. WAILING WOMEN INTERNATIONAL
14. FULL GOSPEL BUSINESSMEN FELLOWSHIP
15. NIGERIAN FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN STUDENTS (NIFES)
16. UNIVERSITY JOINT CAMPUS CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP (UJCM)
8TH JULY, 2016
Nwankwo Drags Buhari, Saraki, Dogara, Malami To Court ON JUNE 27, 2016 12:57
—President Muhammad Buhari, Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have been dragged to the Federal High Court, Asaba, Delta State, over allegation of attempting to Islamize the country.
Also joined as defendants in the suit are the Attorney General of the Federation, Alhaji Abubakar Malami and the National Assembly.
Media events of the last few days surrounding the reported rescue of one of the Chibok girls are so morally reprehensible that they should be a great concern to everyone with any sense of decency and respect for human dignity. What should be obvious to every fair minded observer is that this horrendous saga is not the tragedy of just one unfortunate schoolgirl (or the hundreds of others whose fate still unknown is keeping their traumatised families in unimaginable distress!) It is the entire nation that is being raped in full public view and every genuine lover of peace and justice cannot but feel scandalized and outraged by the ugly dimensions of this sorry episode.
May 18, 2016 was the day it all began, all Nigerians initially excited and cheering at breaking news that Amina Mkeki, one of the Chibok schoolgirls abducted some two years ago by the infamous Boko Haram terrorists had been rescued by the Nigerian military from somewhere on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest.
A not-so-surprising detail was her four-month old baby girl, now a living proof of the ordeal and nightmare that this young schoolgirl had suffered in the hands of her conscienceless abductors. Beyond that multifaceted signpost, however, stood also a most offensive, repulsive and provocative spectacle, to wit the very height of naked impunity, in the person of a male figure. This latter character was introduced to the benumbed public as father of the infant child. More offensively, he was also brazenly purported and celebrated in various media pictures and reports as Amina’s ‘husband’. The said individual has since been identified as Mohammed Hayatu, a self-confessed Boko Haram member known also as ‘Amir’.
Shades and Shadows of Shame
Conflicting statements in the official report of Amina’s rescue have done absolutely no credit to the credibility and image of Nigeria’s military establishment or to the Federal Government of Nigeria and for that matter, the Presidency itself. However, that is not the focal point of our immediate concern here.
As patriots and Christian faithful, we take strong exception to the virtual VIP treatment seemingly being accorded this captured male terrorist suspect. The emerging picture is as dumbfounding as it is egregious, Momammed Hayatu being ceaselessly portrayed as Amina’s decided husband.
We see this unfolding aspect of the matter as most disgusting, unconscionable and abhorrent, a spiteful slap on the face of all civility and decorum. It amounts to the casualization of the most heinous crimes if not a callous endorsement and glorification of criminality. Not only does it suggest a wicked disposition to heaping of unmerited favours on a criminal at the expense of his victim, it veritably rewards a captured bandit with his loot, as fruit of conquest and a fait accompli. Nothing could more odiously, signal to the whole world that the Nigerian state is indeed regressing very dangerously. Nigerians of all faiths need to pray hard for our beloved country. No group must shove us into the primeval depths of the dreaded Hobbesian canyon.
Amina is a Christian girl child by all known records. She was one of over two hundred school girls forcibly abducted from school by a marauding band of criminal insurgents that has been fighting the Nigerian state and citizenry for years in the name of Islam. Boko Haram’s avowed goals, all of which are blatantly treasonable, include the forceful conversion of all Nigerians to their brand of violent Islam. It is no secret that the abduction of the mostly Christian Chibok schoolgirls was a devilish stratagem aimed at procuring sex slaves and child-bearing sub humans to be married off willy-nilly to persons unknown.
To the best of our knowledge, Amina was never betrothed or given away in marriage by her parents. She was still a minor at the point of her reported abduction and had not attained the age of consent. How come she returns with a baby and a suspected rapist is being paraded as her husband?
Where are Amina’s rights and freedoms as guaranteed for every citizen by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Where is any respect for her feelings as a human being and where is any sensitivity for the terrible anguish the embarrassing and highly obnoxious portrayal of a terrorist suspect as her husband is causing her entire family and community?
Facing the Immediate Future
We are thankful to the Almighty God of all creation for sparing the life of this young girl and bringing her back home from twenty-four months of cruel captivity. What Amina and her devastated family need most at this time is public respect of their right to privacy. They must be allowed the space and quiet they need for rightful healing and constructive rehabilitation of their shattered lives. Enough of the inordinate rush to make political capital or journalistic scoop out of the poor victims of this national tragedy. What our Government must keep faith with is timely and transparent prosecution of Mohammed Hayatu and his cohorts to ensure that the cause of justice is not only well served but seen by all as well served.
Nigerians would want to be reassured also that their Government is fully committed to and capable of protecting the citizenry from vandal bands of rampant killers and kidnappers, rapists and paedophiles. Boko Haram has sponsors and surrogates all of who must get the clear and unequivocal message that their crimes against humanity will never be allowed to go unpunished. Regarding the said Mohammed Hayatu, the captured Boko Haram suspect, his obvious desert is to be held in confinement away from public view. What is more, he must be earnestly interrogated by the security forces, bearing in mind that the good people of Nigeria deserve to be told something definite about his date in court.
Conversion of Women by Rape and Violence
It is pertinent to comment here also on the pernicious and cynical tactic of forcing underage girls into non-consensual sex or mock marriage. It is most unfortunate that any person or group in the present day and age could be seeding or in any way supporting such a nefarious and barbaric crime or using it in any shape or form as a pragmatic tool to push the expansion of any particular religion.
As now quite obvious to the whole world, Boko Haram is doing just that in its undisguised and unmitigated espousal of terror and violence. Clearly also, however, that savage group is not alone in pushing their most ignominious agenda.
There are countless other cases of a subtler or more covert nature coming to light, the recent Ese Oruru saga being an eloquent ready example. All those are painful and present reminders to every Nigerian that our nation is today facing a looming threat of ambush by its own conflict of values. The dire need for an urgent meaningful conversation is staring us all in the face.
Let it be restated that marriage and childbirth are at the very heart of life values. They are key levers of regeneration and continuity of the human race – which indeed is why they must be maintained and protected at premium principles and standards of law and order, justice and equity. Every genuine civilization owes that unchallengeable duty to mankind as a whole and Nigeria by its written and operating Constitution is a foremost subscriber to those standards and principles.
The Christian community in Nigeria therefore rejects and refuses to recognize any purported conversions or dagger-point marriages or sex-related liaisons of any type secured by duress or arising from evident abuse of underage girls.
President Buhari hosted the rescued Amina and her baby at Aso Rock Villa and it was a telling media event. Sadly, however, the atmospherics of that event failed to reflect sufficient sensitivity, so much so that it almost appeared as though what the whole nation is being made to celebrate is the fruit of terrorism.
The world is now waiting for assurances of Amina’s complete and effective rehabilitation as a human being and as a Christian. She must be allowed to regain her life and faith, all that she was as a person before her lawful rights and liberties as a free citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria were so criminally violated. Anything to the contrary would make all the stakeholders (not excluding the government of the day) seem complicit to criminality or render each and everyone of us as a nation an accessory-after-the-fact to the travesty.
In the meantime, may we not conveniently forget the 215 other girls who are still missing, the painful count of days….and the untold agony these virgin daughters and their distraught families are still passing through.
A Youths Wing’s Chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna South Local Government, recently convened a meeting of stakeholders, and deliberated extensively on ways to contain the consistent attacks and killings of their Christian members in the Northern part of Nigeria by Muslims, describing the act as a deliberate ploy to enslave them.
Participants in the meeting, which held on Wednesday evening at Albarka Church premises in Kaduna south, expressed displeasure over the continuous and unwarranted attacks and killings of Christians by their Muslim brothers at all times without any punitive measures against the attackers.
Youths participants, drawn from across different church denominations, dwelt mostly on the recent killings and attacks in Kano and Kaduna states. Members expressed dismay that mere condemnation of the act perpetrated against Christians by the opposite religion would no longer be condoned, as no religious faithful has monopoly of violence.
Also worried and discussed was the public commentaries ascribed to some top government functionaries in Kaduna state that tend to play down the population of Christians, describing it as ‘derogative and disparaging’ Southern Kaduna population or sized.
Specifically, they condemned the statement by the APC government in its “30%” population estimation of Southern Kaduna and others, saying it’s unfair. They also pointed out that the habit of describing penetrators of the callous act of attackers as criminals and non-Muslims, without any public capital punishment, would no longer be tolerated.
Numbering over a hundred, the youth, which involved non-indigenes, resolved to continue to watch with curiosity, actions that would be taken against the recent killings and attacks on Christians in Kano, Kaduna, Niger and others States in the north, adding that the outcome would determine their reaction in cases of future occurrence.
Officials, led by its chairman, Solomon Tanko, however appealed to the Youth CAN to avoid any act that would jeopardize any peace process, saying, it’s following the issues judiciously with a view to report back to them.
THE PUNCH MONDAY JUNE 20 2016
Friday Olokor, Abuja
The new President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, has urged the government at all levels in Nigeria to safeguard the rights of Nigerians and avoid plunging the nation into a state of lawlessness.
Ayokunle, who said this at in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja after his election, argued that when a government violated the constitution, such government had given room for people to break the law.
The cleric, who explained that he had a premonition that he would lead Christians in Nigeria, advised President Muhammadu Buhari to “maintain balance and keep close to constitution” irrespective of his religious affiliation to avoid opening the door for lawlessness in the society.
The CAN president-elect stated, “I want to advise the present government to maintain balance and keep close to constitution irrespective of the religious belief of those in government. The government should respect the constitution of Nigeria because if the government breaks the constitution of Nigeria on religion alone, they have already opened the door for lawlessness in the society.”
Ayokunle, the President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, called on Islamic leaders to talk to their followers who, he said, were not giving them honour by what they were doing.
He added, “They (children) are bringing disgrace to the religion of Islam; we have existed together for many years without this type of development, so it is the duty of the Islamic leaders in Nigeria to look for those who are radicalising their children and turning them into murderers and be able to apprehend them and hand them over to the government or speak to them to teach what is right.
“To say that they are not Muslims is so embarrassing. So, who are they? Are they Christians? Are they pagans? If they are pagans, why do they owe allegiance to the Quran? Do pagans hold Quran or owe allegiance to it?”
Ayokunle criticised Nigeria’s membership of the Organisation of Islamic Countries.
According to him, Islamic leaders should mentor their children properly and ascertain who is “radicalising their children and turning them into murderers” and be able to teach what is right to reduce religious intolerance.
He added, “Whenever the government is not upholding the sanctity of the constitution in terms of the secularity of our existence, the church must speak out without fear of favour. “For example, we have been talking of OIC. Does the government of Nigeria have the right to take the country to OIC? Is it in keeping with the spirit of the constitution? No and when you continue to push people, the limit is to push them to the wall.
“So the government of Nigeria should not take things for granted and think that Christians are fools and they will be seen to be promoting one religion above the other or favour one religion to the detriment of the other.
“Whenever we see that, we are going to tell them to be very careful and we are going to speak out. Who you are going to worship is a fundamental right of every individual and government is there to protect that, not to force one religion on the other.”
According to Ayokunle, the recent attack on a Christian for allegedly eating during fasting in Kaduna was the height of religious intolerance and bestiality.
He said, “Somebody was going to eat in the afternoon; he was not a Muslim. What right do you have to go and stab that person in a law-abiding society? When you are not from the bush, you are not a beast, how can you just behave like that? What is Nigeria becoming in the name of religion?
“So these are the things we must all rise to condemn. Since nobody has monopoly to guns and violence, we should not continue to provoke people.
“There is a theory in Psychology that instigation to aggression depends on the degree of frustration. If you continue to frustrate a people they may end up becoming aggressive; we don’t want that state.”
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1. NATIONAL CHRISTIAN ELDERS FORUM (NCEF)
2. NIGERIAN CHRISTIAN GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP (NCGF)
3. THINK TANK FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST
4. CHRISTIAN LAWYERS FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA (CLASFON)
5. ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA (ACSIN)
6. STUDENTS CHRISTIAN MOVEMENT (SCM)
7. CHRISTIAN PROFESSIONALS FORUM (CPF)
8. INTERCESSORS FOR NIGERIA (IFN)
9. INTERNATIONAL PROPHETIC MINISTERIAL ASSOCIATION (IPMA) (Inc. Worldwide College of Bishops & Ministers, Africa, UK & USA)
10. INTERCESSORS WITHOUT WALLS (IWW)
11. WAILING WOMEN INTERNATIONAL
12. FULL GOSPEL BUSINESSMEN FELLOWSHIP
13. NIGERIAN FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN STUDENTS (NIFES)
14. UNIVERSITY JOINT CAMPUS CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP (UJCM)
HELD AT THE JUBILLE HOUSE OF NATIONAL CHRISTIAN CENTRE, ABUJA ON FRIDAY 3RD JUNE, 2016 AT 10.00 A.M.
The Christian Elders Forum (CEF) present; all Heads of Blocs of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN); Other Arms of Christian Bodies; Arch Bishops, Bishops, General overseers, Reverends, Pastors, Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, Gentlemen of the Press, Ladies, Gentlemen and Fellow Nigerians;
We are all here gathered today in one accord to address some significantly remarkable issues about our nation, Nigeria. You will all agree that this is an epoch event as it is one of its kind and it is in order to prevent instability in the Country, occasioned by the tension generated by certain events of recent times which is putting to a test our collective resolve as a democratic and secular State. To the Christian community, all we observed is an Islamization process and we stand to be corrected looking at the issues listed below. Such issues that we intend to address and protest are as follows in stickers forms:
HIGHLIGHTS OF ISSUES:
REMOTE: I, AS A CHRISTIAN
IMMEDIATE: I, AS A CHRISTIAN
- IStandAgainstSkewedAppointment of NorthernersByThe President.
FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION AND THE RULE OF LAW
We fully support the current all out war against Corruption. We believe that this monster should be firmly dealt with –and it is the responsibility of ALL NIGERIANS. Our church leader’s role in speaking with their members and demanding godly restitution is very much in order.
However, we are concerned that the RULE of Law in this process should be adhered to. We are concerned at the deliberate disregards of courts orders on the Fundamental Human rights of Nigerian Citizens. Unfortunately, the wheel of Justice which is known to grind slowly-grinds more slowly in Nigeria. Nevertheless, we live in a democracy. The protection of this hard fought democracy is for the benefit of all. Perceived selective action in this fight against corruption is sending out very wrong signals. We call on the Government and the Law courts to ensure that those currently invited by our Anti-corruption agencies have their bail rights fully protected and ensured.
THE FORTHCOMING CAN ELECTIONS: CONFIDENCE IN THE ELECTORAL PROCESS.
We note the emergence of various groups purported to be parts of CAN and attempting to infer there is a division within CAN and cast aspersions on the CAN Electoral process–even as we approach the elections of our new leadership. We are not unaware of the likelihood of sponsored persons and groups organizations that perceive CAN in negative light and wish, for the personal and group self-interest to create non-existence confusion and divisions.
As with all organizations who have their internal structures and process, CAN structures are well in place. We do wish to unequivocally state that we have implicit confidence in our Electoral process to stay with the process and ensure a duly elected CAN leadership. Under God, we shall have our chosen leadership.
We call on well meaning Nigerians to please join and pray for the elections and advice against undue interferences by external bodies and demonic forces of wickedness.
INFRINGEMENT OF SHARIA ON THE CONSTITUTION
In recognition of Nigeria’s multi-religious and democratic Status, section 10 of the 1999 Constitution prohibits the adoption by the Federal or State government of any State religion. Therefore;
- The adoption and implementation of the Shariah law and principles by some States in Nigeria is a clear and blatant violation of section 10 of the Constitution;
- The deployment of the resources and institutions of the State for the promotion of Shariah is unconscionable and violation of the Constitution and offence against the sensibilities of the diverse Nigerian people.
- The current trend whereby States deploy public revenue to fund activities, functions and programs of Islam are discriminatory and a clear adoption of the Shariah as State religion to the detriment of non-Muslims. It is unjust and a violation of the ideals of sections 16(1) (a)(b) and 17 (1) (2) (a) (3) (a) Y(b) of the 1999 Constitution which provides equal status and opportunity for every citizen.
- The selective and discriminatory economic empowerment of Muslim clerics by some States in the North, in particular Kano state, by their placement on the government payroll is a clear violation of the ideals of democracy and social justice as entrenched in section 14(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
- The proposed Kaduna Religious law violates the Freedom of association, expression, Conscience and Right of worship as entrenched in section 15(3) (d), 38, 39 and 40 of the 1999 Nigerian constitution.
There are adequate provisions in the Penal Code to curtail religious extremism, criminality and terrorism. The escalation of religious extremism, criminality and terrorism is due to the failure of leadership to enforce extant laws due to religious bigotry and discriminatory tendencies and sympathy for religious persecution, extremism and terrorism.
- The proposed Kaduna Religious law is an attempt to adopt and institutionalize preferred religion by the State and religious practices acceptable to the government for the time being.
Section 2 of the 1999 Constitution forbids the control and management of the Nigerian State by any person or group except in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. Therefore,
- The lopsided appointment and constitution of the Federal government and some States which is rampart with the appointment of persons of particular religious faith and ethnic nationality constitute abuse of power; and breach of sections 15(1)(2)(4)(5) of the 1999 Constitution;
- The composition of defence institutions and internal security agencies with persons of particular ethnicity and religion is in breach of the Federal character principles in section 14(3) of the Constitution and induces a state of apprehension and insecurity.
- The predominance of persons from a particular section of the country does not foster the much needed sense of national unity.
The inexplicable selective deployment and use of the armed forces to protect the economic rights of some citizens such as armed offensive against cattle rustling while ignoring the unabated threats of Fulani cattle herdsmen against the lives and economic interests of majority Nigerian people, constitutes abuse of power; and unacceptable desecration and erosion of cherished national value of respect for life above materialism.
We view the selective and discriminatory use of the armed forces and security agencies of the State against unarmed citizens as attempts at stimulating and escalating crises to justify fascism. Therefore,
Enjoin governors and elected public officers to rise to the demand of leadership to protect the lives, and the economic interests and rights of their people.
The national assembly is therefore invited to conduct a public hearing and inquest to audit the above appointments.
Nigeria is a republican State with a democratic Constitution and institutions. Therefore;
- The Bill proposing amendment to Section 262(1) of the 1999 Constitution to expand the existing jurisdiction of the Shariah Court of appeal and the State by including criminal matters is insensitive and inconsistent with democratic and republican ideals of the Constitution and the Nigerian State.
The proposed amendment is a desecration of the sanctity of the FCT as a symbol of national unity, which should be preserved.
- Nigeria’s membership of religious organizations, association, particularly the Organization of Islamic Cooperating countries and the coalition of Islamic nations against ISIS, is insensitive, against our best national security interest and democratic and democratic norms.
To maintain the Unity, faith, Peace and corporate progress of Nigeria, we demand that the Shariah should be expunged from the Constitution and Shariah based public institutions, agencies and practices in the States should be abolished.
In this respect we demand the return to status quo as per the republican Constitution of 1963.
We are disturbed by the virtual northern Islamization of the key security units in the country. Under the present administration, the signal we are receiving is that it is only Muslims from the North that are capable of managing security units in Nigeria. Not only is this policy direction a total negation of the Federal Character principle in appointments into Federal offices, it also promotes the possibility of a section of the country using the instruments of the state to oppress, suppress, and intimidate other parts of the nation. The Federal Character principle was introduced as check and balance to ensure that there is mutual safety and respect amongst all the divergent groups in the country. It is very unfortunate that the Buhari Administration has demonstrated outright disrespect for this erstwhile sacrosanct national value.
Today, the following appointments have been made in key security units in the nation:
Director General, Department of States Services - Muslim North
Minister of Defense
Minister of Internal Affairs
National Security Adviser
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
One is bound to ask, with these lopsided appointments, in favour of the Muslim North, are the intelligence services Nigerian institutions or Northern Islamic institutions? We are certain that if previous administrations headed by Christians from the South had attempted this type of flagrant insensitive appointments, the Muslim North would have cried foul. The ethnic domination of the security and intelligence services in the nation should be corrected.
We demand an immediate reversal of this obnoxious pattern of Muslim North domination of the intelligence services. It cannot be in the best interest of Nigeria. We call on Mr. President to respect the fragile balance of the Nigerian polity and cease causing tension and uneasy in the nation through insensitive and discriminatory appointments. We also call on the National Assembly to pay attention to this flagrant abuse of the Federal Character Principle because it can easily encourage ethnic cleansing and genocide.
To confirm this apprehension, there is currently an atmosphere of palpable fear in the nation. Dr. Frederick Fasheun commented recently that President Buhari is “governing Nigeria by intimidation”. The President should resist the temptation of using executive power to bully Nigerians. The nation is slowly turning into a Police State through the domination of the security units by the clansmen of the President. Nigerians are “free-born” therefore; every form of arrangement that could be manipulated to oppress and intimidate Nigerians should be dismantled forthwith.
TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
On 8th April, 2015, Max Siollun of the New York Times wrote, “Nigeria today requires a reconstructive surgeon, not a bulldozer”. This international assessment of the Nigerian state is correct. With a chequered history of coup and counter coup, mutual suspicion and distrust amongst the federating units, a banditry political class and lately religious tension occasioned by religious extremists, Nigeria requires a leader that would reconcile all the divergent groups within the nation and, with sensitivity and wisdom, providing healing and build trust.
Rather than build bridges, the Buhari Administration is consistently reinforcing walls of division and disunity in the nation. Never before in the history of Nigeria has the nation been so sharply divided along tribal, ethnic, religious, and cultural lines. Wounds that are slowly healing in the nation have been brutally ripped opened by the present administration.
The only panacea to the disunity, distrust, and mutual suspicion in the country is the “truth”. Nigeria is ripe for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As we are now being confronted with the pursuit of National Unity and wellbeing of all Nigerian citizens, peace requires reconciliation between the people of Nigeria and the reconstruction of Society. In order to build the bridge among all Nigerians, we must establish complete picture as possible of injustices committed in the past. Settling old scores between the Dasuki’s and Buhari in isolation of other rulers and coup plotters cannot be regarded as a good solution while ignoring the untold sufferings which resulted from these injustices. While this is going on, our President Buhari should concentrate on rulership while a Commission is set up to handle Truth and Reconciliation in all its ramifications is put in place.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE 2014 NATIONAL CONFERENCE REPORT
The National Conference was duly constituted and inaugurated by a duly elected government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It was funded by the hard earned tax payers’ money of Nigerians for the five months it was convened and headed by a well-respected jurist, Hon. Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi. The composition of the National Conference was made up of well-meaning citizens of this country.
It is therefore impossible for any individual, or group of individuals or any government to wish away or pretend that the CONFAB 2014 never took place. The recent statement of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to jettison this document to the “archives” is very unfortunate and worrisome. The Honourable Nigerians that constituted the membership of the 2014 National Conference are responsible and valuable citizens of Nigeria, therefore they should not be treated as such by jettisoning their well-thought out recommendations which according to the Conference honourable chairman were all ‘adopted by consensus and not once did we have to vote or come to division’.
We strongly advocate that a report that made far reaching decisions on the need to restructure Nigeria and ensure that true Federalism is practiced in the nation should be accorded top priority for implementation in the overall quest for the peace, unity and progress of this great country – which we all desire. We call on our President to re-consider his position and direct relevant agencies to commence implementation.
IMPROPER HANDLING OF NIGER DELTA MILITANTS, IPOB AND OTHER MILITANT GROUPS
The rise of new militant groups is not in the best of a country struggling with security and economy. The Niger Delta Avengers formed since 3rd Feb. 2016 has been making its presence known by attacks on oil and gas facilities. The initial decision of Mr. President to treat the NDA militants as the Boko Haram insurgents has, to an extent, provided the tonic for the renewed wave of hostilities by the NDA.
The recent attacks and killings of IPOB members within a church environment while praying, vis a vis the ominous silence of the government following series of herdsmen attacks across the country send out negative signals of selective responses to perceived perpetrators of violent attacks on the Nigerian people.
The history of militancy and insurgency in Nigeria clearly shows that using force other than dialogue is not the best approach in handling such. We therefore call on the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari to use dialogue as an approach to handle the NDA, IPOB and other militant groups.
The silence of government and her agents over the killing of IPOB members by security agents and that of Christians in predominantly Christian communities across the country is totally unacceptable and runs contrary to government perceived interest on national unity.
The Grazing Reserve for cattle husbandry which is a private enterprise as is curiously being promoted and sponsored by the Federal and some State governments without its full implication in view of the provisions section 42 (1) (b) of the 1999 Constitution, (as amended) to the effect that a citizen of Nigeria or any ethnic group or community shall not be accorded either expressly or otherwise any privilege or advantage that is not accorded to other citizens, groups or communities. Moreover, setting up of a National Commission to acquire and deprive communities of their choice land for the private enterprise of a preferred ethnic group is contrary to the provisions of section 26 of the Land Act to the effect that any transaction or any instrument which purports to confer on or vest in any person any interest or right over land other than in accordance with the provisions of the Land Use Act is null and void. Also, section 6 (1) (b) of the Land Use Act empowers only the Local Government “to grant customary right of `occupancy to any person or organization for the sue of land for grazing purposes and such other purposes ancillary to agricultural purpose as may be customary in the Local Government Area concerned”
To forestall the anticipated, dangerous and devastating outcome of the proposed Grazing Reserve Plan we recommend ranching which is the modern and up-to-date-technique of animal husbandry which is practiced in other developing countries such as Saudi Arabia, Botswana, Argentina etc. We believe that the creation of ranches will solve the lingering herdsmen/ farmers crisis in the country which has resulted in the wanton destruction of human lives, properties and sacking of villages.
Dear Nigerians, please tell your legislators, traditional rulers and other stakeholders that you are opposed to the issue and bills of Grazing Rights, Routes and Reserves.
FULANI HERDSMEN ATTACKS ON INDIGENOUS HOMESTEADS AND CHRISTINA COMMUNITIES
The unchecked killings and wanton destruction of communal life from the ranges of Middle belt down to the South is a time bomb waiting to explode. There is hardly any day that passes without a report in the news media of the heinous activities of these ubiquitous herdsmen. The Vanguard Newspaper of 26th April, 2016 reported “Blood bath in Enugu as Fulani Herdsmen kill 40.” The Vanguard of 27th April 2016, also reported “Activities of Herdsmen, Threat to Nigeria’s Unity says Emir of Ilorin”. We therefore recommend that the Federal Government, should as a matter of utmost urgency and in the interest of National Security:
1. Totally disarm the rampaging and murderous herdsmen.
2. Put a stop to all their acts of terrorism including kidnapping, raping, killing and destruction of properties all in the name of grazing their cattle.
3. Identify the owners of this cattle and employers of these herdsmen and hold them responsible for all their terrorist activities unleashed on non-Muslim indigenous communities and prosecute offenders with their accomplices, in accordance with the law.
4. Undertake to pay all damages, compensation claims and reparations to all victims of herdsmen terrorism.
We believe that it is the duty of all Nigeria to say No to any religion of hate, extremism, terrorism, killing of human beings and intolerance.
VIOLATION OF PRINCIPLE OF FEDERAL CHARACTER IN FEDERAL APPOINTMENTS
We, the Church in Nigeria are worried over wanton violation of the principle of federal character in the appointments of key positions in the government by the present administration. We are worried because we know that justice and fairness are germane to progress and development and their lack could breed anarchy in the polity.
Section 171 subsection 5 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 19999 as amended stipulates that the president in exercising his powers of appointment under this section shall have regard to the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity. A cursory look into list of appointments by this administration shows utter disregard for issues that promote national unity. How can one explain a situation whereby out of 48 key positions in a country of six geopolitical zones one has 25 which is more than 50% of the entire appointments, while another has only one.
This is more worrisome considering the touted slogan of the government is war against corruption. Yet no government, even the one considered as the most corrupt in the last 37 years has violated this principle as the present government with all impunity. And if this is not corruption what else could be?
A rundown of the appointments shows that Northwest where mr president come from got 25, Northeast got 9, South south got6, Southwest and North central got 4 respectively, while Southeast is made to lick the sand with one appointee. We call on government in the interst of peace and unity and for fairness and justice to review her appointments to conform to the stipulations of the constitution as the only way to justify her corruption crusade. Government cannot be building on one hand and be scattering on the other by sowing seeds of discord.
NEW EDUCATIONAL CURRICULUM: 9-YEAR BASIC EDUCATIOON
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has painstakingly studied the content of the current educational curriculum as it concerns Christian religious studies (CRS) as it is merged with Islamic religious studies (IRS) as on omnibus subject called Religion and National values and have observed key lapses in the curriculum.
(1) Inciting and derogatory statements which attack the foundation of the Christian faith. For example, that Jesus is not the Son of God and that he was not crucified.
(2) Production of single textbook in print which combine Christian religious studies and Islamic religious studies, thus exposing the children to other religion which negates the principle of our constitution.
(3) Making religious studies compulsory to all without adequate provision of teachers in those subjects, with implication that a Christian student in the core Islam dominated state in the far north will be forced to take Islamic religious studies if he must obtain his certificate; ditto a Muslim student in the Christian dominated state in the south.
We have also noted the explanations of the management of the National Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC). We believe that these explanations and defenses fly in the face of reason and reality. We, therefore insist that the two subjects should be separated and each made to stand alone. Again, it is our view that religious studies should be made compulsory, only according to the religion of the parent, guardian and the child.
Furthermore, because of the obvious irreconcilable deficiencies in the curriculum, particularly, its flagrant violation of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Child Right Act of 2003, the curriculum should be withdrawn immediately and a new one formulated after due consultation with relevant stakeholders in the education industry.
Finally, the National Education Research and Development Council should withdraw all the text books in circulation whose contents have in conjunction with the curriculum insulted the Christian faith and the publishers should be reprimanded. At the same time we demand an apology from the NERDC for gross dereliction of duty and insensitivity in matter that is capable of affecting the peace and unity of the nation.
NORTH EAST RECONSTRUCTION AGENDA OF THE FEDERAL GOVT
We applaud the Federal Government’s initiatives in this regard. We believe it is the moral and Godly duty of all Nigerians to be involved with both the Reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts of their fellow brothers and Sisters alone in the North East. We however note that repeated media footages and reports showing only Muslims as being majorly affected and supported while conveniently forgetting that the primary attacks were Christian communities and organizations (churches and business)-in the Boko Haram self-declared war and search for an independent caliphate.
Through the CAN Trust Fund and as our contribution to support this well thought-out initiatives, we shall be mobilizing and putting in place a 500-person volunteer work force of professionals/young people (medics, educators, trauma counselors, builders etc) drawn from all the CAN blocs to provide service. We shall, through our developmental agencies act as ONE for the preservation of our National Unity by God’s grace.
The Christians' bottom line recommendations and conclusions on the burning issue of Sharia is to the end that:
1. WE BELIEVE IN NIGERIA NOT IN SHARIA:
As a result of deep reflections on this SHARIA BILL, we are no more comfortable and do not want Sharia Law upheld again in ANY STATES of the Nation and entire Federation, not even in the North as this has impacted negatively on the Christian Community. The idea is unconstitutional for the ONENESS OF NIGERIA and our peaceful co-existence. We are a SECULAR STATE and this is SURE NOT an Islamic Nation. For instance - In which way HAS THE SHARIA LAW SO FAR HELPED TO CURB THE BOKOHARAM insurgencies, we still depend solely on our Nigeria Soldiers and Security. The only way to protect the Christians as claimed by the author of the SHRIA BILL is to expunge all forms of Sharia in Nigeria.
2. WE BELIEVE IN NIGERIA NOT IN POLITICAL-ISLAM:
A need to expunge Islamism and Sharia from Nigeria Constitution will be acceptable. This is because USES OF SHARIA BY COUNTRIES ARE USUAALLY TOWARDS A FULL ISLAMIC CALIPHATE AND ISLAMIZATION includes:
- Sharia playing role in the Judicial system
- Sharia applies to Muslim's personal law
- Sharia applies in full, including criminal law
- Regional variations in the application of Sharia
- Total application of Sharia to a State or nation,
Rather than amend Sharia laws by scope and juridiction, we opine that the Nigerian penal code and the criminal code should reflect all the supposed ‘good’ the application of Sharia would guarantee.
3. WE BELIEVE IN THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION:
This is because we as Nigerians already have our National Provisions for Civil and Criminal Acts in our Nigerian Constitution. If it is no more ONE NIGERIA, as Christians, we deserve the right to be informed! WE ARE NIGERIANS AND NOT MUSLIMS AS A NATION. WE CHRISTIANS SAY NO TO POLITICAL-ISLAM. We are so much fed up with the bloodshed by BOKOHARAMS AND THE FULANIZATION / ISLAMIZATION PROCESS. We cannot afford the infiltration of fundamental Islamists as SHI’ITES, ISIS, ISIL, Ishabaab, Al-Kedah, etc., in our Nation all in the name of SHARIA. There are no Christian Courts, Laws and Legal institutions in the Nation. In fact, we all can see and it is evident, that this is just not paying us all off as Nigerians.
4. THE AMENDMENT OF CONSTITUTION TO HELP CHRISTIANS:
We therefore propose, assert and insist that wherever any forms of provisions exist for any Religion only in the Nigeria's entire Constitution; this should be amended and hence forth REMOVED OR there should be a SLASH (/) alongside the Christian Religion.
5. SHARIA LEGAL SYSTEM SHOULD NOT BE NATIONALISED IN OUR CONSTITUTION:
It is of notable importance, that as of 2014, there were reported to be around 85 "Sharia courts" in the UK, operated by two rival services -Islamic Sharia Council and the newer, smaller, less strict Muslim Arbitration Tribunal. The councils/tribunals provide arbitration that is VOLUNTARY but NOT LEGALLY BINDING, are "officially mandated" and set up outside the court system..
In Germany, it applies to people with nationalities from countries using Sharia law. Its application is limited by the other public. . (Online Free Wikipedia.) This is what is needed in Nigeria as a Secular/ Democratic State.
6. ISLAMIC BANKING IS UNACCEPTABLE
Islamic banking is unacceptable to us in all ramifications in the 36 states of the nation.
7. WE DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE PRO-SHARIA BILL:
As regards the Controversial Pro-Sharia Bill of Constitutional Amendment Proposal BY HON ABDULLAHI BALARABE SALOME:
“A bill for an Act to alter Sections 262 and 277 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999,
to increase the jurisdiction of the Sharia Court of Appeal
of the Federal Capital Territory and Sharia Court of Appeal
of a State by including Criminal Matters of Hudud and Qisas’’
This to us is aimed at expanding the Islamic legal system across a Secular Nigeria State by the back door method using our law makers indirectly and the entire Christian Body is NOT IN ANYWAY INTERESTED, we say NO and it is as such dismissed because:
1.) NO PLACE IN HIS BILL (ATTACHED) DID HE MENTION SHARIA COMPLIANTSTATES.
2.) WHY MUST HE EXPAND THE SHARIA JURISDICTION TO CRIMINAL LAW WHEN THE NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION HAS ADEQUATE PROVISIONS FOR CRIMINAL ACTS AND IS SUPREME TO THE SHARIA?
3.) HOW DOES HE PROTECT CHRISTIANS AND NON MUSLIMS WHEN HIS OBNOXIOUS BILL ACTUALLY REMOVES, IN HIS WORD 'DELETE' THE PROTECTION FOR NON MUSLIMS IN SECTIONS 262 AND 277 OF 1999/CONSTITUTION!
4.) HE CLAIMED HIS BIGOTED RELIGIOUS BILL IS ONE OF THE CHANGE AGENDA OF APC. SALAME AND APC IF HIS BIGOTED BILL TRULY REPRESENTS APC AGENDA, APC AGENDA OWE NIGERIA A PUBLIC APOLOGY.
To conclude finally, the supremacy of the Nigerian Constitution should always be defended by all, regardless of divergence of interest as we collectively seek solution to our national problems. This is to the end that we can truly say that our nation is consolidating the gains of democracy by it yielding acceptable dividends to us all. Thank you all for your rapt attention. May the Almighty God bless you all and may He bless the federal republic of Nigeria in Jesus Mighty name. Amen.
Long live the federal republic of Nigeria!
Long live the federal republic of Nigeria!!
Long live the federal republic of Nigeria!!! Amen.
God bless you.
3rd June, 2016
The most significant problem that African nations face is lack of leadership. Normally, Leadership should be an intentional conscious effort to attend to the people’s needs and aspirations. But in Africa, even though many of those that are thrust into the position of leadership mean well, they lack the capacity to lead and meet the people/s hopes and aspirations. Apart from lack of adequate preparation for leadership, one other notable factor that had inhibited good leadership among African leaders is the seemingly non-existent structures for research and information management in the society. Hence, many well-meaning leaders often do not have the requisite information needed for a thorough appraisal and resolution of problems as they arise.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently claimed that herdsmen causing mayhem and committing terror acts all over the country are foreigners, specifically Libyans and not Nigerians.
I completely disagree with this narrative from no less a figure as our Commander in Chief and Father of the entire nation.
His comments amount to pure propaganda and image laundering for his kinsmen. This is nothing but tribalism .
And tribalism is a very perverse form of corruption, in fact, the infrastructure on which corruption thrives. This negates his government /party's vow to defeat corruption.
Unfortunately, this propaganda has now become a refrain/chorus sang by several powerful individuals and government agencies for example the Inspector General of Police, Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister of state for Agriculture, Senator Abdullah Adamu and several others.
The reasons why this dangerous refrain is false and insulting to the intelligence of Nigerians are many and I will mention a few of them
1. Nigerian Fulani herdsmen are now ranked as the 4th(fourth) worst terrorist organization globally by the global terrorism index after BOKO HARAM, ISIL and El Shabaab in terms of mass murder they commit.
2. While it is true that very few herdsmen arrested recently claimed they were foreigners, it is an undisputed fact that the Fulanis or Fulfubes (20 millions in population) spread across 20 countries in West Africa and 2 in North Africa (Sudan and Egypt) and they are bound by the same culture, religion and language. They move freely across the West African boundaries and they regard themselves as kiths and kins. It is therefore
artificial to claim those who commit terror attacks are only foreigners when they view themselves as a brotherhood and family.
3. Victims from the communities where the terror acts have been committed attest to the fact that they are the same Fulani herdsmen who have been ravaging and destroying their farms. E.g Agatu, Kaduna, Nimbo, Edo and Delta.
4. The massive act of terrorism is often preceded by a long running battle for months or years with the local community and wanton destruction of their farms.
5. The Fulani herdsmen have often collaborated with border communities at conflict with one another and used as mercenaries by one community against their feuding neighbor with the agreement that they (Fulani herdsmen) can then occupy the defeated or sacked community as their grazing reserves. This happened in a community in Odukpani, Cross River state.
6. Few days to the massive terror attacks, the Fulani herdsmen disappear from the host communities and never returned which showed pre knowledge and fear of reprisals attack by host communities if they return after the terror acts.
7. President Buhari's government surreptitiously smuggled 954 million naira into the 2016 budget for grazing reserves when there are still controversies raging on the grazing reserves. The Senate has publicly denied the grazing reserve bill and the House of Representative is yet to complete debates on the grazing bill.
8. Several Fulani herdsmen groups have publicly admitted that they retaliated or committed reprisals attacks because their cattle were rustled or their kinsmen killed or attacked by the host communities.
9. Mr President's first security assignment as President in addition to fighting BOKO HARAM was a determined putsch against cattle rustlers while turning a blind eye to the atrocities of his kinsmen until recent upsurge in their terror attacks and unprecedented public outcry.
10. The peak/upsurge in the Fulani herdsmen terror attacks coincides with President Buhari's Presidency. Is it possible that they felt emboldened that a sympathetic kinsman is now at the helm of affairs and now they can do and undo? Is it also possible that the real owners of the cattle which are powerful individuals/Nigerian elites are arming these herdsmen knowing that President Buhari is a life patron of Miyeti Allah cattle breeders association (MACBAN)?
These and many other questions are begging for honest and unbiased answers from all concerned.
If care is not taken, I sincerely pray and hope that this conflict will not snowball into an implosion and a much bigger conflict. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
7 THINGS PMB MUST DO NOW
I have been warned that I will be labeled an ‘enemy’ for addressing the issue of herdsmen killing innocent villagers but I love my country more than I fear blackmailers. In my humble opinion, wisdom, tact, and common sense dictate that President Muhammadu Buhari do the following:
1. Address the nation directly on TV and radio.
2. Commiserate with affected communities deliver a message of peace and hope.
Promise the rapid delivery of compensation and restitution to the survivors, the wounded, and the families of those who have lost loved ones and livelihoods.
3. Go on BBC and other relevant radio services that Fulanis have a tendency to listen to. Speak to them in their own language, and in no uncertain terms state that this nonsense must come to an end quickly.
4. Set up and empower a Rapid Task Force with a view to stopping future violence and preventing a national conflict that might be much more difficult to contain.
5. Personally visit the affected communities to see things for yourself.
6. Meet with the leadership of Myetti Allah, the umbrella association of Fulani cattle herders, and explain in vivid detail what the consequences of future conflicts could be.
7. As a start, all herdsmen must be disarmed immediately, otherwise we are only postponing the evil day.
Mr President, you owe it to Nigerians, to the many Fulani herdsmen of no determinate nationality who rampage and roam Nigeria, and to future generations, to be seen at this time to be on top of the unfortunate situation; to the plight of affected communities in word and deed; and to the security implications of these most barbaric and medieval acts.
Read more at http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/