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ABUJA – CHRISTIANS under the aegis of TEKAN/ECWA, weekend, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to ignore a statement credited to the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, alleging marginalisation of Muslims in the country and that Nigeria will be great only if leaders like the Sultan will tell the truth.
The Sultan was reported as saying during a national prayer session organised by the NSCIA where eminent Islamic scholars gathered to pray for peace and security in the nation that if the government can address injustice against Muslims, the seemingly intractable security challenges will be surmounted, adding that Muslims are not happy, but willing to support the government in its efforts towards peace and stability.
Reacting to the statement, the National Head of TEKAN/ECWA bloc of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Rev. (Dr.) Emmanuel Dziggau argued that if the head of NSCIA was serious, he should identify those marginalizing Muslims in the country.
The Christian group also described the Sultan’s claim of marginalization which was widely reported, as inciting.
They explained that a close look at the statement could be interpreted to mean that unless the perceived injustices against Muslims are addressed there will be no end to the current insecurity in the country.
“We are yet to overcome similar statements by an eminent Muslim politician who vowed to make the nation ungovernable if he was not pronounced winner of the 2011 presidential election. When the CAN leadership called for his arrest for making such inflammatory statement many Muslims accused him of heating up the polity, but today Nigerians know those who are heating up the polity,” the statement added.
The Christian group therefore warned traditional, religious and political leaders in the North against such inciting statements capable of motivating uninformed Muslim fundamentalists into killing innocent adherents of other faiths in the name of fighting perceived injustices.
“We therefore call on the Federal Government to call the revered Islamic leader to order before another Islamic group will begin another round of terrorist attacks on innocent Nigerians perceived to be marginalizing Muslims as the Sultan had claimed,” TEKAN/ECWA pleaded.
It maintained that the Christian community in the North in particular and other parts of the country which has been at the receiving end of several untold injustices in the country is, however, happy that the recent adoption of over 275 schoolgirls from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok has loosed many tongues who had hitherto remained silent.
“Over the years, Christians in the North had cried themselves hoax over discriminatory laws which had made it impossible for them to practice their religion without let in accordance with the tenets of the 1999 Constitution. As a deliberate matter of policy most core northern governments have refused to sign Certificates of Occupancy, C of O, for Christian organisations to build churches.
“It is also a well known fact that governments in the region have also deliberately discriminated against Christians in appointments into government service for the simple reason that nobody will speak on their behalf. There are several cases of elected Christian politicians who were suspended on some flimsy excuses and who have not been reinstated despite numerous pleas for justice.
“It is only the truth that will save this nation from the present morass that we have inadvertently found ourselves. For far too long we have pretended and lied to ourselves. We must therefore take advantage of the Chibok schoolgirls to tell ourselves so home truth for a proper and true healing process,” the statement said.
Continuing, Dr. Dziggau said: “Nigeria and the international community must appreciate the leadership of CAN for his unwavering efforts to restrain Christian youth from retaliating numerous unprovoked attacks, institutionalised marginalisations of Christians in the hands of political, religious and traditional leaders.
“Our appeal to His Eminence, the Sultan, is for him to ensure that truth is being told at all times even of it hurts, rather than deceiving the whole world with this story of marginalisation of Muslims.
Nigeria will be great only if leaders like the Sultan will tell the truth at all times and in all situations because if there is any seemingly marginalisation of Muslims, it’s the traditional, political and religious leaders of Northern extration who have pauperised and marginalised their followers that have led to the current mass poverty in the region.