The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has criticised the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over its demand for a Christian senate president or speaker of the house of representatives in the 9th assembly.
CAN had asked the leadership of the national assembly to balance the appointments of its principal officers across religious divides to ensure equity and fair play.
But reacting to the demand, the NSCIA said the election and appointments of principal officers in the national assembly have always favoured Christians to the detriment of Muslims.
In a statement by Salisu Shehu, its deputy secretary-general, the Muslim group accused CAN of undue interference in the polity.
“Given the trajectory of the recent activities of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), like other informed groups and people in Nigeria, cannot but wonder whether CAN still remains a religious body or a political party in a religious garb,” the group said.
“The Council is persuaded to believe the latter because of the Association’s posture as the counterfoil for and opposition to everything Islam and Muslims in this country.
“Specifically, the statement issued by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji on behalf of CAN is the last straw to break the camel’s back in the Association’s ill-advised and ill-motivated interventions in the polity.
“Is CAN suffering from selective amnesia or is it just obsessed with chronic mendacity? Was there no CAN between 2009 and 2011 when Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Justice Aloyious Katsina-Alu was the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Senator David A. B. Mark was President of the Senate and Senator Ike Ekweremadu was Deputy Senate President? Was there religious balance in 2007 when David Mark was elected Senate President and Patricia Etteh was elected Speaker? Was there no 1999 Constitution at that time?
“Even prior to 1999, the two arms of the National Assembly were headed by Christians.”
The Muslim group asked the federal government to conduct a census of all ministries, departments and agencies of government including higher institutions to determine whether Muslims would constitute up to 30 percent of its staff strength.
It also accused CAN of preaching hatred against Muslims and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. It advised the Christian association to register itself as a full-fledged political party rather than acting “as a front for politicians who nurse the ambitions of holding political offices.”
“The chronic intolerance and political partisanship of CAN and its alter egos are becoming alarming as they are ardent at purveying blatant falsehood and fake news,” the statement read.
“It is hypocritical for CAN and its alter egos to claim to be on the side of justice by forming the ‘National Peace Committee’ which is not surprisingly dominated by Christian clergymen.
“The pretense of the ‘Peace Committee’ had been exposed by the various comments/actions of their prominent members.
“All these are not surprising as it is on record that CAN itself had maliciously referred to President Muhammadu Buhari as a ‘bad product’.
“The indecorous and outright partisan statement by CAN which is meant to polarize the country has created doubt in NSCIA and any right-thinking person about the genuineness of the partnership of CAN with NSCIA.
“All these must stop! CAN should save itself of creating hatred in the minds of well-meaning Nigerians through its divisive and evil-impelled interventions.”