NCEF

  • A QUEST FOR PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF CONFLICT OF IDEOLOGY, DEMOCRACY AND ISLAMISM IN TODAY’S NIGERIA:

    Quest

     

     

    Being a paper presented on behalf of the National Christian Elders’ Forum (NCEF) at the Africa Peace, Security and Synergy Summit in Washington, D.C. on 23-24 June, 2017

     

     

    Protocol

    Introduction

    Permit me to begin this presentation by thanking Mr Emmanuel Ogebe for encouraging me to come to Washington, DC to make this presentation on the Nigerian question which we recognise as the conflict between Democracy and Islamism to Nigerians and other Africans in Diaspora that constitute the views of the National Christian Elders’ Forum (NCEF).

  • CONFLICT OF IDEOLOGIES AS THE GREATEST OBSTACLE TO PEACE, UNITY AND DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

    National Christian Elder's Forum

    BEING TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY NATIONAL CHRISTIAN ELDERS FORUM (NCEF), AT ABUJA ON THURSDAY MARCH 17, 2016

     

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,

    A few weeks ago, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) issued a statement titled THE NEED TO PRESERVE THE PEACE AND UNITY OF NIGERIA. Of concern to the Christian Elders is the deteriorating state of national security, the free fall state of the economy, the inflammation of religious tension through the misappropriation of state powers, a worrisome foreign policy that is evidently skewed in favor of Islamization, as well as the increasing impunity of the Fulani herdsmen, amongst many other issues.

    The National Christian Elders Forum was established by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to make statements in defense of Christianity in Nigeria, as well as promote peace and unity among Christians and Nigerians, as a whole. The NCEF is made up of Christian Elders from the six geo-political zones in the country.

    2. NIGERIA: THE BEGINNING

    In retrospect, the amalgamation of 1914 produced a country but not a nation. There was an amalgamation of two Protectorates but there was no integration of the Ethnic Nationalities and this created serious fault lines that still exist today. The unity of the two protectorates was not part of the British Agenda. Rather, Britain sought to maintain a hold on Nigeria through a policy of divide and rule.

    In effect, Nigeria remains a country made up of two races pulling in opposite directions. There is the indigenous African race tilting towards a Westernized ideology and the Arab race, made up of Fulanis, Hausas, and Kanuris in favor of adopting the Arabian culture.

    At independence in 1960, the impression was created that “all” Nigerians opted for Liberal Democracy as the national ideology. As the years progressed, it became clear that some citizens of the Arab stock were more in favor of a system of rule of which an “important ingredient is the application of the Muslim Law”.

    While paying lip service to democracy, many of the political, religious, traditional and military leaders from the Muslim North were insidiously working to undermine democracy and promote Sharia, which is based on Islam and is patterned after the Arabian culture, to which the North has been exposed to for hundreds of years.

    Operating under the Islamic practice of “Taqiyya”, which permits a Muslim to deceive an “infidel” in order to gain the mastery over him, leaders of the Muslim North surreptitiously “smuggled” Nigeria into OIC in 1986 and kept it out of public knowledge for ten years until 1996, when Sultan Dasuki confirmed to the Pope that Nigeria is a member of OIC.

    The Islamization Agenda was solidified in the period 1975 – 1999 under the military rule, of which majority of the military heads of state were Muslims from the North. The Muslim Military leaders favored an Islamic model of ideology because it promoted dictatorship. They set up an “invisible” government which operates behind the scene in the Presidency and constantly undermines liberal democracy while promoting Sharia. The “invisible government” is still active till today.

    The invasion of the nation by Islamic terrorism and smuggling of Sharia into the 1999 Constitution, thereby creating a dual ideology for the nation, are reflections of the activities of the “invisible government”. Boko Haram, membership of Nigeria in OIC, Islam in Africa Organization, the D8 group, as well as compromise of Section 10 of the Constitution on separation of state and religion, are all interwoven conspiracies to abolish Liberal Democracy in Nigeria and declare Sharia as the national ideology and the nation as an Islamic state.

    3. CONFLICT OF IDEOLOGIES

    There is the need to stress that at the root of the insecurity, distrust and mutual suspicion in Nigeria is the conflict between Liberal Democracy and Sharia ideology. Nigeria was established as a nation upon the principles and practice of Liberal Democracy. According to the Willink’s Commission Report of 1958:

    “The whole structure of the proceedings leading to independence is based on the belief that Nigeria meant to follow the road of liberal democracy and parliamentary government and to base part of the structure on the opposite assumption is to invite government to do their worst. But if the road is followed (liberal democracy and parliamentary government), votes will count and in the last resort it is votes that will win fair treatment for minorities”

    Bearing in mind the huge ethnic, cultural, religious, and racial diversities in Nigeria, it was deemed necessary that an all accommodating ideology would be required to ensure justice, equality, and fairness for all the divergent groups in the nation. Unfortunately, a group known as “Islamists” has been working surreptitiously over the years to supplant Liberal Democracy with Sharia as the “source of legislation” in Nigeria, over and above the Constitution.

    The present day state of global Islam makes it imperative for a distinction to be made between Islam and Islamism. While Islam is a religion, Islamism, otherwise called “political Islam”, “is a set of ideologies that holds that Islam is not only a religion but a political system”. As a political system, Islamists insist that Islam is meant to dominate the environment in which it is practiced. In a sharply divergent society like Nigeria, any attempt to implement the principles of Islamism portends great danger for the nation.

    The various Military Governments of Nigeria, starting from the regime of Murtala Muhammed in 1975, did not hide their preference for the imposition of Islamism upon Nigeria. The Military changed the status of Nigeria and commenced attempts to make the nation an Islamic nation first by making it an OIC observer and thereafter to full membership of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). Later, Nigeria was made a member of the Islamic D8. 

    It is clear to the NCEF that since the amalgamation of 1914, the Islamists have been in control of northern Nigeria, while the majority of Christians were in the South. The military government of General Babangida merely extended Islamism to the South of Nigeria by Nigeria’s full membership in the OIC. Thus, in 1981 the race to make Nigeria an Islamic state was accelerated.

    Evidently, this ideological competition between Liberal Democracy and Islamism has not helped Nigeria concerning development, progress, peace and security and the reason can be found in the conclusions of several thinkers that Liberal Democracy and Sharia are not compatible. For Islamists of a radical disposition, like the influential Egyptian activist Sayyid Qutb, “democracy and Islam are simply incompatible”.

    The British, in their characteristic divide and rule policy, left Nigeria with democracy in the hands of Islamists, knowing full well that democracy and Islamism cannot peacefully co-habit. The challenge facing Nigeria today is how to resolve this apparent contradiction that has created a conflict of ideologies for the nation. If this trend continues, Nigeria is sadly being moved into an arc of conflict and that is why we are calling for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be established by law.

    It would appear that the Islamists, (otherwise known as the “invisible government”) who used to rule by proxy in all the previous administrations, are now fully entrenched in Government. Rather than pretend that all is well with the country, Nigeria needs to examine its past critically and reconcile all the ethnic, religious, and other groups in Nigeria. Presently, the Islamists control the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.

    It is instructive to note that many Arab nations have found Islamism an extreme way of religious expression and have taken steps to ban it. Examples are Egypt and Tunisia. After the Arab Spring revolution, both nations voted Islamists into power and within a few months, staged another revolution to oust them. Even the United Arabs Emirates is on record to have denounced the extremism associated with Islamism when it alerted Britain on the dangers of giving oxygen to what Britain does not understand. It is therefore a cause for concern that in Nigeria, a multi cultural and multi religious nation, Islamism should be thriving.

    As a principle, Islamists “loathe” democracy believing that it is a “man-made” law that must give way for “God made” law, which is Sharia. Islamists, as opposed to Muslims that practice Islam as a religion, will go to every possible length to eradicate democracy in any society so that Sharia can be introduced. Nevertheless, Islamists pay lip service to democracy and claim to promote and support it. Nigerians should understand that such claims by Islamists of supporting democracy are mere pretensions and a display of “TAQIYYA”(deliberate deception) because they work surreptitiously underground to undermine and destroy democracy.

    4. ISSUES OF CONCERN

    In the build up to the 2015 elections, majority of Nigerians expressed great hope that there would be CHANGE in the nation. However, ten months after the new government was sworn into office, credible apprehension can be expressed given the policy direction of the new administration. We hope that the buildup to these policies do not result in full blown Sharia which President Muhammadu Buhari had promised Muslims in Nigeria.

    A number of worrisome issues readily come to mind:

    a)      The apparent disregard for the Constitution, by Mr. President in many instances. For example, N900 billion was released in bailout package for states without Appropriation, the government was run for five months without a Cabinet, international commitment are being made without recourse to the National Assembly. All these are acts violating the Constitution.

    b)     Including Nigeria in the Saudi Arabia Military Coalition of “Muslim/Arab” nations would appear that the Foreign Policy thrust of the present administration is to make Nigeria a satellite state of Saudi Arabia. The strengthening of the nation’s democracy and security for all should remain the greatest priority of Government. This we see to have been negated by the President’s fiat/unilateral decision to enlist Nigeria in the 34 nations Muslim/Arab coalition. Given the emotive and sensitive nature of this unilateral Executive decision, it should have been handled by Mr. President in line with our democratic culture through popular discussion and participation by the citizenry, or at the very least, through the National Assembly.

    c)      Attempt to fund deficit in the 2016 Budget through issuance of Sukkuk loan which is a “Sharia compliant loan.” Nigeria is not a Sharia compliant nation.

    d)     The consideration of establishing “free visa” arrangement with Islamic D8 nations. These countries are: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey, and of course, Nigeria.

    e)      The apparent Islamization of key security positions in the country.

    f)       The apparent disdain and contempt of Mr. President for Christians in Nigeria as demonstrated during his interview on Al – Jazeera on the objection of Christians to Nigeria’s involvement in the Saudi led Military Coalition to fight ISIS.

    We wish to remind Mr. President that he was brought to power through the votes of Nigerians, Christians inclusive. Mr. President should kindly remember that the over 50% non-Muslims in Nigeria did not vote for the nation to transmute into a Sharia compliant nation. Mr. President assured Nigerians that he is “a convert” to democracy but we are disturbed by the direction of his administration.

    We are aware that there are presently Islamists in Government prepared to execute the Islamization Agenda. Any nation in which Islamists believe that they are sufficiently strong to exercise influence rarely experience peaceful cohabitation amongst the divergent groups within it. This is the current situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the Sudan. Islamism thrives on injustice, inequality and unfairness. We urge Nigerians to remain circumspect so that the Islamists do not drag the nation down the path of destruction.

    5. KADUNA STATE RELIGIOUS BILL

    We wish to express tremendous shock at the proposed Kaduna State Religious Bill. The proposed Bill contravenes Section 38 (1) of the 1999 Constitution. We should remind the Government of Kaduna State that religion is personal and no one has the right to legislate on how individuals worship. We call on the Kaduna State Governor to retrace his steps from this ill-advised venture.

    ABDUCTION AND FORCEFUL MARRIAGE OF UNDERAGED CHRISTIAN GIRLS

    We are saddened by recent exposure in the country of serial cases of forceful abduction of underage, forceful marriage, marriage without parental consent of the Christian girls and their forceful conversion to Islam. We condemn in totality this act of violation of the Human Rights of these girls and it is a degradation of our national values.

    We are also amazed that the Senate failed to pass the Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill into law. We strongly recommend that this Bill should be re-introduced and passed into law urgently.

    6. RAMPAGE OF FULANI HERDSMEN

    We are dismayed by the inaction of the Federal Government to the carnage and destruction caused by the Fulani herdsmen against legitimate native land owners and farmers, across the country. The most recent case occurred in Agatu area of Benue State in February 2016. According to media report by eye witnesses, over 300 Nigerians were allegedly massacred by the herdsmen and many communities were devastated in the attacks. It is most shocking that till today, there has been no prosecution of any of these marauders. For years, the Fulani herdsmen have been murdering innocent Nigerians with impunity. The murderous escapades of the Fulani herdsmen has gained international notoriety to the extent that the group is now considered, internationally, as the fourth most dangerous terror organization in the world. It is sad to note that Boko Haram, which is presently regarded as the world number one most dangerous terror organization and the Fulani herdsmen, considered the fourth are both operating in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the response of Government to the menace of the Fulani herdsmen has to date, been tepid and indifferent.

    7. GRAZING RESERVE

    One reason adduced to justify the perennial attacks of the Fulani herdsmen is the argument that they seek grazing fields for their cattle and as a result engage in conflicts with farmers. It was therefore proposed that ancestral lands of other ethnic groups should be allocated to them as grazing fields.

    However, the most sensible and economically wise approach would be to build ranches for the herdsmen in their states of origin. This makes more sense and it is the internationally approved best practice under the circumstances. Other nations of the world consume beef yet, nomads do not drive herds of cattle all over the nation in the 21st century.

    The Grazing Reserve proposal is seen as a deceptive manner of appropriating the lands of indigenous ethnic groups for the Fulani herdsmen to spread their tentacles of terror all over the nation. The proposal should be dropped and the state governments of the herdsmen should build ranches for them in their states of origin.

    8. INCONSISTENT POLICIES

    We find it curious that the Federal Government of Nigeria that has pledged total support for a two state solution to the Israel – Palestinian conflict, as well as support for the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), is not addressing the demand of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for a state of their own. To date, the leader of IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu is still under detention while there are frequent killings of the protesting members of the Movement. The latest in the series of attacks on the IPOB occurred on 9th February, 2016 when over twenty two members of the Movement were killed by soldiers during a prayer meeting in Aba.

    It is difficult to rationalize why a government that is clamping down on agitations for self determination by an ethnic group within Nigeria, could be supporting such agitations in foreign countries. We recommend to the Government that as it is considering the case of SADR and the Palestinians, it should in like manner open dialogue with IPOB. The solution to the Biafra agitation is dialogue. While we discountenance any secessionist move, the solution to the Biafran agitation is dialogue.

    9. RECOMMENDATIONS

    a)      Government should urgently convene a Council of State meeting to enable past presidents assess developments in the nation and give mature counsel.

    b)    A Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be set up to reconcile all Nigerians. It would appear that the Islamists, who ruled Nigeria for many years from the background, using various administrations as proxies, are now fully entrenched in the Government. The terms of reference of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission should include:
    i.              To distinguish the differences between Islam and Islamism and identify Nigerians that promoted Islamism in Nigeria.
    ii.            The role that Islamism played in promoting corruption and impunity, which includes cultism, a phenomenon that was developed in Nigeria in the last 30 years.
    iii.           Identify the role played by the armed forces, the police, and the intelligence agencies in the promotion of cultism, corruption and other vices that have since devastated Nigeria.
    iv.           To grant reprieve and pardon to any person, organization or group which confess to criminal, illegal and immoral act in the past.

    v.            To deal with the issues of genocide and/or marginalization perpetrated against certain ethnic minorities and promote reconciliation and healing to all those affected.

    c)      Every form of negotiation to involve Nigeria in issuing Sukkuk should be discontinued. Sukkuk is a “Sharia Compliant Loan” which does not serve the interest of all Nigeria because the nation is not a Sharia compliant nation. In addition, Sukkuk would jeopardize the sovereignty of Nigeria because under Sukkuk, both the lender and the debtor will own the asset which is based on land. It therefore implies that if Nigeria should eventually succumb to the acceptance of the Sukkuk loan, both the Arabs and Nigerians will own Nigeria.

    d)    To put an end to the murderous attacks of Fulani herdsmen, ranches should be established in the states of origin of the herdsmen. The Grazing Reserve proposal is seen as a deceptive manner of appropriating the lands of indigenous ethnic groups for the Fulani herdsmen to spread their tentacles of terror all over the nation.

    e)      The ownership of Nigeria can rightly be claimed by the Ethnic Nationalities. We call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to complement the stand of the National Assembly on the Constitution and implement the Report of the National Conference as regards the Executive and Policy recommendations. The National Conference Report guarantees the introduction of true Federalism which is required to build a strong, united, and prosperous nation.

    f)       In view of the security challenges facing the nation, it is highly advisable that each ethnic group should develop Community Policing to protect its people and its land. The security agencies have not been effective in providing security, particularly for vulnerable communities in the nation.

    g)     For reasons shrouded in mystery, the government stopped the teaching of History as a subject in schools. From the experience of Black Africans in Sudan, Islamists employ this sly method to eradicate the history of the indigenous ethnic groups whose land the Arabs covet and wish to takeover. According to George Orwell, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”A people without history, is a people without a future. We therefore demand that the teaching of History as a subject in schools should be reintroduced forthwith.

     

    God bless Nigeria

    Yours faithfully,

    Solomon Asemota, SAN

    Chairman

    For and on behalf of the National Christian Elders Forum

  • Discriminatory Appointments against Non-Muslims in Nigeria

    National Christian Elder's Forum

    Islamist Jihadists of the Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri Ethnic Nationalities, who are Negroid immigrants to Nigeria, are pushing the nation to an implosion. It is therefore imperative that the remaining 386 Ethnic Nationalities of Nigeria should, as a matter of priority, convene a Conference to demonstrate to the few Islamist Jihadists of the three Ethnic Nationalities the grave danger of Islamism as a system of governance.  Nigerians are reminded that the present distress in the nation is not an act of God but man-made. The brazen and audacious imposition of Islamist Jihadists into key positions in the country is not an expression of religious piety but a deliberate manipulation of religion for cultural and political domination by three Ethnic Groups. This Agenda commenced in 1975 after the overthrow of General Gowon. The Islamist Jihadists are a violent and domineering strain of Islam rejected by mainstream Muslims.

  • JIHAD IN NIGERIA: BURYING THE HEAD IN SAND

    ncef
    1. As a Mission Statement, the NCEF is committed to the Unity of Nigeria and the duty of the Leadership of the Nation to ensure that this Unity is not sacrificed on the altar of sectarian interests and biases.
    2. In its exercise of the Biblical "Issachar Mandate," the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) is purposed to draw national attention, as Senior Citizens, to the issues as they stand in Nigeria at present. The NCEF Press Release of July 2017, titled: Correct Assessment of Situation in Nigeria, presently under contention by some Muslim groups, was sent as "non-violent communication" (NVC) to keep Nigerians abreast with the disturbing threats packaged no doubt, by Islamists (political Islam), to destroy NIGERIA as one indivisible and all inclusive Union State under GOD. NCEF position still stands on Truth as the only pillar of national strength and unity.
    3. NEED FOR POLITICS OF NATIONALISM

      NCEF
      The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) commenced meetings with political parties in its quest for politics of NATIONALISM instead of the current politics of religion and ethnicity that is threatening to tear the nation asunder. So far, NCEF has met with APDA (Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance) and PDP (People’s Democratic Party). Please find below the paper presented during the visit.

       

      The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) wishes to thank the leadership of your Political Party for granting us the opportunity to meet with you to discuss issues that are critical to the peace, progress, and prosperity of Nigeria.  NCEF is made up of distinguished Christian Elders from the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.  It is not a political party and NCEF has no intention of transmuting or transforming into a political party, either now, or in the future. NCEF is not holding brief for any political party neither is it on a mission to denigrate or discredit any political organization. The main objectives of the NCEF could be summarized as fostering Unity and Reconciliation in the Body of Christ, advocating for Democracy as the only National Ideology that could sustain a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious society like Nigeria, and encouraging Christians to participate actively in providing God-fearing leadership for Nigeria.

    4. PRESS CONFERENCE BY COALITION OF CHRISTIAN GROUPS IN NIGERIA

      National Christian Elder's Forum

      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;

       

      INTRODUCTION

      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
      • IStandforNigeriaConstitutionNotSharia.
      • IStandforNigerianIntelligenceServiceNOTasNorthernInstitution.
      • IStandforReconciliationCommission ForAllNigerians.
      • IStandForAproposedAgeForFemaleMarriageAndNumbersOf Children.
      • IStandForNATIONALConference2014Reportor.
      • IStandforNigeriaAsSecularDemocraticStatewithNoPolitical-Islam.
      • IStandforAppointmentsOfChristiansFromTheNorthAlso.

       

      IMMEDIATE: I, AS A CHRISTIAN
      • IStandAgainstKadunaReligiousBillByEl-RufaiAndOthers.
      • IStandAgainstNigeriaMembershipOfAny IslamicCoalition.
      • IStandAgainstCentralBankofNigeriaGrantOfJaizBankIslamic BankingInThe36States.
      • IStandAgainstShariaLawsInOurLegalSystem.
      • IStandAgainstGrazingRightsRoutesReserves(3Rs)ButONLY GrazingRanches.
      • IStandAgainstBasicEducationCurriculumOfCRSmergedWithIRSasReligionAndNationalValue.
      • IStandagainstAttacksOfIndegenous ChristiansHomestead.
      • IStandAgainstSkewedAppointment of NorthernersByThe President.
      • IStandAgainstEatingOfCowMeatUntilTheAbuseByFulaniHerdsMenAreCurtailed.
      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.   

      INTELLIGENCE SERVICES

      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                                                                -                       Muslim North

      Minister of Internal Affairs                                                     -                       Muslim North

      National Security Adviser                                                       -                       Muslim North

      Economic and Financial Crimes Commission                         -                       Muslim North

      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.

      GRAZING RESERVES

      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.

      These include:

      (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.

       
      RECOMMENDATIONS                                                                            

      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,[154][155] operated by two rival services -Islamic Sharia Council and the newer, smaller, less strict Muslim Arbitration Tribunal.[154][156] The councils/tribunals provide arbitration that is VOLUNTARY but NOT LEGALLY  BINDING, are "officially mandated" and set up outside the court system.[156][157].
      In Germany, it applies to people with nationalities from countries using Sharia law. Its application is limited by the other public. [159]. (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.

      CONCLUSION                                                                                    

      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

    5. PRESS RELEASE: CONTINOUS SOUTHERN KADUNA KILLNGS

      national_christian_centre

      CAN Declares Jan. 8 2017, National Day of Mourning …Over Southern Kaduna Killings         

                    To:  All Christians in Nigeria and Diaspora. 

      Gentlemen of the Press,

      I bring you greetings in the precious name of our Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. I have been directed by the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo A Ayokunle to bring to your attention the on-going ethnic/religious cleansing of Nigerian Christians in general and those of southern Kaduna in particular in the last few weeks. 

    6. PRESS RELEASE: CORRECT ASSESSMENT OF CURRENT SITUATION IN NIGERIA

      national_christian_elders_forum

      The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) has viewed with much concern and apprehension, the issues currently unfolding in the country. The Christian Elders are saddened that once again, the nation is being driven to a needless and mindless conflict that if not well managed, could conflagrate into war, destruction, and threaten the cohesiveness of the Nigerian State.

    7. REJOINDER: ISLAMIC GROUP, MURIC, SEEKS SIX RELIEFS FOR NIGERIAN MUSLIMS

      ncef

      Bishop Prof. Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies 

      Firstly, rather than taking on the Christians, and we trading words, the Islamic cleric and the group would be encouraged and advised to immediately 'Google' (read) these six topics on the World-Wide-Web (News headlines on the six issues raised) as ideology is hereby paramount with wide consultations, to be informed and well-educated on such matters. 

    8. THE NEED TO PRESERVE THE PEACE AND UNITY OF NIGERIA

      National Elder's Forum

      THE NEED TO PRESERVE THE PEACE AND UNITY OF NIGERIA

      We bring greetings and best wishes to all Nigerians, both at home and abroad, in the name of the Almighty God. It is our prayer that this nation shall continue to experience peace, unity, and prosperity for all the citizens. Our history as a nation, though not too long in comparison with other nations in the world, has been turbulent and at times full of uncertainty. Nevertheless, God in His mercy has granted us the grace to survive and remain united.

      In 1999, after many years of military rule, Nigeria returned to democracy. There was hope in the nation that liberty and freedom of choice that will ultimately translate into justice, equality and fairness for all had returned to the nation. The tripod of justice, equality, and fairness shall certainly produce prosperity and strengthen the unity of the divergent groups within the nation.

      Unfortunately, recent events in the nation signal a steady reversal of the expectations of the founding fathers of Nigeria that this shall be a country based upon the principle of liberal democracy, in which citizens shall have freedom of choice and be treated equally. There are worrisome signals that Nigeria is sliding dangerously down the destructive slope of injustice, oppression, discrimination and disregard for the rule of law.

      It is imperative, given the challenges facing the Nigerian Church and the Nigerian nation to stress the need for the Nigerian Church to unite so that it can take its pride of place in the building of one united nation.

      We also call on all Christians, and indeed all Nigerians, whether in or out of Government to realize that corruption is not only a crime under the Laws of our land, but also and more importantly a sin against God and humanity.

      The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) therefore, condemns corruption in all of its ramifications and charges all persons in positions of responsibility and at all levels to shun corruption, as well as abide by the Laws and Rules governing their general conduct. This would ensure that Government is not put under unnecessary pressure and the resources of the nation would then be applied fully to developmental projects.

      Nevertheless, while commending the efforts of the Government to tackle corruption in the country, NCEF advises that adequate care should be taken to ensure that prosecution of corrupt persons should be done across board. 

      MANIPULATION OF RELIGION

      There is the need to alert Nigerians that there is a gradual increase in state sponsored manipulation of religion for cultural and political domination. In a culturally and religiously divergent society, this level of discrimination is an invitation to chaos and anarchy. Consequent upon certain discriminatory actions and utterances, discordant voices are rising in protests threatening the peace and unity of the nation. What the nation requires is mature nationalistic leadership that will accommodate all Nigerians and provide an all inclusive fair treatment for all the divergent groups in the country on the basis of equality and fairness to everybody. This need for equality and fairness is underscored in our old National Anthem which states “… though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand.”The prayer in the last verse sums up the yearning of the founding fathers of the nation, “O God of all creation, grant this our one request. Help us to build a nation where no one is oppressed.”

      This intervention does not in any way seek to denigrate one religion and promote another. The major religions in the nation, traditional worship, Islam and Christianity, all seek to find God through their respective modes of worship. Unfortunately, a group within one of the religions seeks to manipulate religion for political gains.

      Islam is a religion and there are many Muslims in the nation committed to genuine practice of Islam. However, there exists a group known internationally as Islamists which practices religion as a political system. While Islam is a religion, Islamism is not. Islamism is a political ideology that holds that Islam is not only a religion but also a political ideology that demands that only Islamists must dominate the environment in which they are.

      Today, Nigerians point to the South West as an example of tolerance in religion with all the various forms of religion in the nation cohabiting in peace. The reason is that majority of the Muslims in the South West region practice Islam solely as a religion while in the North East and North West zones, Islamists are greatly entrenched. With Islamism comes discrimination on the basis of religion, intolerance of non-Islamists, (including Muslims that are not Islamists), destruction of lives and properties and gross violation of human rights.

      Islamism which started in Egypt in 1928 as the Muslim Brotherhood is the ideology driving all the major Islamic terrorist organizations in the world. These include the Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Al Nusra, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, etc.

      It is instructive to note that many Arab nations have found Islamism an extreme way of religious expression and have taken steps to ban it. Examples are Egypt and Tunisia. After the Arab Spring revolution, both nations voted Islamists into power and within a few months, staged another revolution to oust them. Even the United Arabs Emirates is on record to have denounced the extremism associated with Islamism when it alerted Britain on the dangers of giving oxygen to what Britain does not understand.

      Any nation in which Islamists believe that they are sufficiently strong to exercise influence rarely experience peaceful cohabitation amongst the divergent groups within it. This is the current situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and so on. Islamism thrives on injustice, inequality and unfairness.

      As a principle, Islamists “loathe” democracy believing that it is a “man-made” law that must give way for “God made” law, which is Sharia. Islamists, as opposed to Muslims that practice Islam as a religion, will go to every possible length to eradicate democracy in any society so that Sharia can be introduced. Nevertheless, Islamists pay lip service to democracy and claim to promote and support it. Nigerians should understand that such claims by Islamists of supporting democracy are mere pretensions and a display of “TAQIYYA”(deliberate deception) because they work surreptitiously underground to undermine and destroy democracy.

      It therefore becomes very worrisome when the intolerant and discriminatory traits of Islamism are detected in the exercise of state power in Nigeria. For Nigeria to survive, thrive and flourish in peace and unity, the nation must stand solidly upon the principles and practice of liberal democracy. The only way any government in Nigeria can succeed is for it to harness the potentials of all the divergent groups in the nation. A government with discriminatory tendencies will only utilize the potentials available within the narrow confines of its exclusive group while it would unwittingly, shut out the larger potentials available in the other groups. That is reason the Federal Character principle was introduced.

      At the onset of the present administration, government was run without Ministers for seven months contrary to what the Constitution stipulates. Nigerians should be aware that it was not a mistake, it was deliberate. Already the present Constitution of Nigeria has been severely compromised to the extent that the nation now carries a Constitution with “dual ideology” – Liberal Democracy and Sharia. If Nigeria is to survive and flourish, Nigerians should intentionally strengthen and promote Liberal Democracy as the only ideology that can accommodate all the divergent groups in the nation.

      Before independence, the Willink’s Commission wrote:

      “The whole structure of the proceedings leading to independence is based on the belief that Nigeria meant to follow the road of liberal democracy and parliamentary government and to base part of the structure on the opposite assumption is to invite government to do their worst. But if the road is followed (liberal democracy and parliamentary government), votes will count and in the last resort it is votes that will win fair treatment for minorities”

      The consequence of a dual ideology is that the nation has no identity, has no direction and makes no progress. Nigeria at 55 years after Independence cannot stand beside nations that commenced the journey of development with it in the 1960s. Today, nations like China, Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, have left Nigeria far behind. As the two ideologies, completely antithetical to each other, pull the nation in opposite directions, Nigerian citizens become the unfortunate victims of the ideological struggle.

      It is necessary to point out to Nigerians, that the main problem of the nation is not only corruption or tribalism, neither is it ethnicity nor mediocrity. Those are symptoms of the disease. Nigeria is in the throes of a terrible ideological struggle between Liberal Democracy and Sharia that must be resolved in favour of Liberal Democracy in the best interest of the divergent ethnic, cultural, and religious groups in the nation.

      ISSUES OF THE MOMENT

      We are amazed at the level of glaring impunity into which governance in Nigeria is sliding. Certain decisions and proposals that are on the table require reconsideration in the overall best interest of the nation. Please permit us to highlight a few:

      National Security: It was with an appreciation of the cultural and religious diversity in Nigeria that the Federal Character principle was enshrined in the Constitution. It is therefore strange that the government in power would concentrate leadership of all the security units in only one section of the country. Presently, the Director General of Department of State Services (DSS), the National Security Adviser, (NSA), the Minister of Defence, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Comptroller General of Customs, are all adherents of the same religion. This is not right.

      Demolition of Churches in Zamfara:It is on record that Boko Haram destroyed over 13,000 Churches in the northern parts of the country. We are yet to resolve the devastation when reports reached us that on 19th January, 2016 the Government of Zamfara state rolled out machines and demolished the Auditorium of Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship in the state. At the same time, Dominican Catholic Church and the Anglican Church were also demolished.

      It should be noted that these places of worship were not marked for demolition at any time. On the contrary, buildings which had been marked for demolition in the environment were left untouched. Are we to conclude that Section 38 (1) of the Constitution is no longer sacrosanct?

      Section 38 (1) of the Constitution states, “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”

      We demand that the State Government of Zamfara should urgently rebuild, at its expense, the Christian places of worship that were destroyed by its agents. This should not be difficult because when such a similar act of wanton destruction was carried out on the Baptist Church place of worship and the Pastor’s house in April 2015 at Gidan Maso, Rogo LGA, in Kano State, the Emir of Kano personally visited the Church and instructed that the Chairman of the LGA should send the estimate for the reconstruction to the Kano State Government. When the Kano State Government did not respond quickly, the Emir offered to pay for the cost of the reconstruction of the properties. Presently, work is on-going on the reconstruction project. The Emir went further and sternly warned all the District Heads that if such an act of impunity should occur again, the District Head in charge of the affected area risks forfeiting his position and throne.

      Similarly, when a mob destroyed a Mosque in Onitsha during a public protest, the Governor of Anambra state immediately paid for the renovation and reconstruction. Within a few weeks after the occurrence, the Mosque was renovated.

      Osun State - Threatening Religious Harmony in the South West:It is disturbing to note the alarming developments in Osun state where the religious harmony for which the South West is commended is intentionally being undermined. The peaceful co-existence between the Christians and the Muslims in the state is being deliberately threatened by agents of Islamism.

      The introduction of Sukkuk loan into the state as an alternative to the conventional economic model of borrowing is designed, in our assessment, to plunge the state into chaos and provide means for Arabs and Islamists to take over infrastructure, like schools, particularly those schools previously owned by Christian missionaries. There are states in Nigeria that are returning Christian missionary schools to the Christian owners because government takeover of those schools was done arbitrarily. Rather than follow suit, Osun State Government wishes to surreptitiously convert those Christian schools to Islamic infrastructure through injecting Sukkuk funds into them.

      Some of the affected Christian schools are:

      • Baptist Boys High School
      • Seven Day Adventist Sec. School
      • St. James Grammar School
      • St. Francis Grammar School
      • St. Paul’s Grammar School
      • St. Michael Grammar School
      • Etc, etc

      The plan to inject Sukkuk funding into these Christian Schools is a sly and devious ploy to turn these Christian Schools into Muslim institutions and investments. We are aware that any project that is funded by Sukkuk loan must be administered according to the dictates of Sharia. We therefore call on the Osun state government to return Christian Schools to the missionary owners. If there is any renovation and upgrading that should be done, the owners of the schools shall be glad to do it.

      Saudi Arabia Led Military Coalition:Without recourse to the National Assembly, this Administration was alleged to include Nigeria in the Saudi Arabia led military coalition of 34 Arab/Muslim nations to fight ISIS. While fighting terrorism is the right thing to do, why should Nigeria, a non-aligned and multi-religious nation, be enlisted, allegedly,  in a military coalition that specifically identifies participating nations as “Arab/Muslims”?

      This is another attempt to railroad the nation into an Islamic Sharia controlled state. We state emphatically that Nigeria is not an Islamic nation and it is not ruled by Sharia law.

      Sukkuk Loan:In an attempt to fund the deficit in the 2016 Budget, the Federal Government resorted to seeking external loan. Earlier reports indicated that Government was looking in the direction of obtaining a Sukkuk loan from Islamic lenders. However, we are pleased to observe that Government is now contemplating receiving a World Bank and AfDB loan to fund the deficit in the Budget. (Nevertheless, it should be a matter of concern to all Nigerians, the report that some State Governors in the North are negotiating Sukkuk loan. The report, if true, would be very unfortunate because the expression of religious extremism resulted in widespread devastation and destruction in the North. It is clear that obtaining Sukkuk loan would exacerbate such religious extremism rather than diminish it. Such negotiations should discontinue because Nigeria is not an Islamic nation.)

      While we appreciate Federal Government’s sensitivity, in this case, to the diversities in the nation, we find it disturbing that Government should present a bloated budget that requires external borrowing to fund. It is wise that in a period of dwindling economic resources government should cut its coat according to its size. Why should the government present a bloated budget that the nation cannot fund? And, if the nation is to seek a loan, definitely, it should not seek one that is based on sectional religion. Therefore, we hope that there would no recourse at any time, directly or indirectly, to engage the nation on a loan that is based on sectional religion. Sukkuk is described internationally as “Sharia compliant” loan. It should be clear to everyone that Nigeria is not a Sharia compliant nation.

      For those who are not aware, Sukkuk loan is ASSET BASED as opposed to conventional banking which is ASSET BACKED. Under Sukkuk, both the lender and the debtor will own the asset which is based on land. It therefore implies that if Nigeria should contemplate the Sukkuk loan, both the Arabs and Nigerians will own Nigeria.

      Other disturbing aspects of the Sukkuk are:

      • At no time does the title to the asset pass to the customer (debtor), nor is it expected to pass. (If Nigeria takes Sukkuk, Arabs become the co-owners of Nigeria.)
      • If the customer wishes to purchase the asset at a later date a separate agreement is drawn up.
      • The “New Rules/Amendments to the Rules and Regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission”, paragraph 5.0 (c) states, “Ensure that the applicable Shariah principles and any relevant resolutions and rulings endorsed are complied with;) Paragraph 6.0 (a) states, “The underlying asset and its use shall comply with the requirements of Shariah.”

      We urge Government to always bear in mind the cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity of Nigeria and always take decisions that will reflect the non-aligned status of the nation.

      Harassment of Christian Leaders: Information at our disposal indicates that a wave of embarrassment and intimidation is being planned for selected Christian leaders in the nation.

      We advise the government of the day to concern itself with the business of governance and desist from embarking on any form of harassment of Christian religious leaders. Christians in Nigeria constitute over 50% of the population and we shall not stand idly by and watch our leaders embarrassed and ridiculed by Islamists in government. Every Nigerian citizen has the freedom of choice and freedom of worship as enshrined in the Constitution.

      Fulani Herdsmen - Murder Legalized:Under the guise of cattle herding, some “Fulani herdsmen” have legalized murder in Nigeria. These “unknown gunmen”, according to security officers, routinely murder Nigerians with impunity, sack entire communities, and leave in their wake death and destruction. It is curious that these harbingers of death and destruction have not been arrested with all the resources committed to security and defense of the nation.

      One easily observable pattern in the attacks by the “Fulani herdsmen” is that their victims are predominantly Christian communities. This has therefore confirmed the suspicion that these are the military forces of the Islamists engaging in ethnic and religious cleansing in the nation. The “Fulani herdsmen” must be stopped and all the perpetrators and their sponsors must be prosecuted.

      Grazing Land: One reason adduced to justify the perennial attacks of the Fulani herdsmen is the argument that they seek grazing fields for their cattle and as a result engage in conflicts with farmers. It was therefore proposed that ancestral lands of other ethnic groups should be allocated to them as grazing fields.

      However, the most sensible and economically wise approach would be to build ranches for the herdsmen in their states of origin. This makes more sense and it is the internationally approved best practice under the circumstances. Other nations of the world consume beef yet, nomads do not drive herds of cattle all over the nation in the 21st century.

      The Grazing Reserve proposal is seen as a deceptive manner of appropriating the lands of indigenous ethnic groups for the Fulani herdsmen to spread their tentacles of terror all over the nation. The proposal should be dropped and the state governments of the herdsmen should build ranches for the herdsmen in their states of origin.

      RECOMMENDATIONS

      In view of all the above, we wish to make the following recommendations:

      Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Nigeria should convene a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to resolve every crisis in the nation. The nation needs healing and only the truth can provide it.

      “Conscience is an open wound; only Truth can heal it.” – Othman Dan Fodio.

      Implementation of the 4th Alteration of the 1999 Constitution:We identify with the current efforts of the National Assembly to give full effect to the 4th Alteration of the 1999 Constitution. We commend the efforts of the 7th Assembly for making the provision that the Constitutional Amendment is a continuous exercise.

      The wisdom of the leadership of the 8th Assembly to continue from the 7th Assembly stemmed in recognition of the enormous human and financial resources invested in the 4th Alteration exercise. This is a clear manifestation of the commitment of the 8th Assembly to the stability and future of the Nigerian Republic.

      We therefore urge the Presidency to remit without delay to the National Assembly a copy of the original 4th Alteration Bill which was submitted to the Presidency and was allegedly signed by the immediate past President of Nigeria, in order to assist the National Assembly in its current exercise.

      Implementation of the Report of the National Conference: We call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to complement the stand of the National Assembly on the Constitution and implement the Report of the National Conference as regards the Executive and Policy recommendations.

      The Recommendations bordering on the Constitutional issues should be referred without any further delay to the National Assembly for legislative action. Failure to do this will amount to washing down the drain the colossal financial and human resources invested in the National Conference and will be a great disservice to the Nation at large.

      Finally, we recommend that the said report be Gazetted and made public as is usual with such National document for Nigeria to move forward in peace and stability.

      Development of Ethnic Security Infrastructure: In view of the security challenges facing the nation, it is highly advisable that each ethnic group should develop Community Policing to protect its people and its land. The security agencies have not been effective in providing security, particularly for vulnerable communities in the nation.

      Restoration of History as a Subject in Schools: For reasons shrouded in mystery, the government stopped the teaching of History as a subject in schools. From the experience of Black Africans in Sudan, Islamists employ this sly method to eradicate the history of the indigenous ethnic groups whose land the Arabs covet and wish to takeover. Nigerian ethnic groups should be aware of this subtle attack and ensure that the teaching of History is restored in schools. If an enabling law is required, then the State Houses of Assembly should enact such a law to ensure that coming generations study the history of the various peoples of Nigeria, and in the process, also learn the history of their ancestors.

      According to George Orwell, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”A people without history, is a people without a future.

      God Bless Nigeria.

      For and on behalf of: The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF)

      Signed

      Solomon Asemota, SAN

      Chairman,

      February 2016

    9. THE NEED TO PRESERVE THE PEACE AND UNITY OF NIGERIA

      National Christian Elder's Forum

      We bring greetings and best wishes to all Nigerians, both at home and abroad, in the name of the Almighty God. It is our prayer that this nation shall continue to experience peace, unity, and prosperity for all the citizens. Our history as a nation, though not too long in comparison with other nations in the world, has been turbulent and at times full of uncertainty. Nevertheless, God in His mercy has granted us the grace to survive and remain united.

    10. UNDERSTANDING THE ISSUES: AN URGENCY FOR A NON-ISLAMIST PARTY/PARTIES IN NIGERIA

      national_elders_forum
      Definition of Terms:

      Muslim – An individual who practices Islam as a religion.

      Islamist/Islamism – A Muslim who practices Islam as a political ideology that holds that Islam is not only a religion, but also a political system that must dominate the society (Political Islam); antithetic to Democracy.

Get News in Your Inbox

DisclaimerInformation on this site is provided for the purpose of creating awareness, mobilizing prayers and raising support for persecuted Christians in Nigeria.
No information on this site should be used as the basis, or the purpose, of mounting, or inciting, an attack, hatred, or any vindictive action on any individual or groups of individuals.

Management, Kingdom News

pd