The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has responded to claims by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, that the association failed to cite clear cases of abuse of constitution allegedly committed by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The association urged Nigerians to pity Mr. Shehu, whom it said was constrained to defend ‘a bad product,’ an apparent reference to President Buhari.
Reacting to comments made by CAN, through its Secretary General, Musa Asake, at a press conference on January 16, Mr. Shehu had denied claims that the current administration was enmeshed in acts tantamount to destroying Nigeria’s democracy.
Mr. Shehu said Mr. Buhari’s government “poses no threat to the country’s democracy and Constitution.”
“There are no cases of any violation of our sacred constitution and there will be none under this President,” the presidential spokesperson said.
In a similar development, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam JNI also in a statement by its Secretary General, Khalid Aliyu, accused CAN of destroying the cordial relationship between Christians and Muslims by persisting in its purported allegations, aimed at “destabilising the polity ahead of the 2019 general elections”.
Reacting to both statements, Mr. Asake listed sections of the constitution the association believes has been abused by the administration.
“Frankly speaking, Garba Shehu should be pitied with his current position because he is trying to sell a bad product and as a result he cannot do without being sycophantic. Unfortunately for him, in his bid to defend President Muhammadu Buhari, whose government’s record for nepotism, favoritism and discrimination is second to none, Shehu goofed by claiming that he could not cite any valid cases of constitutional violations.
“It is apparently clear that Shehu did not read the full text of my address at the Press Conference before kicking against it otherwise, he would have kept quiet. Because in my address, I said inter alia, “…By failing to curb the attacks of the Fulani herdsmen President Buhari has failed to uphold Section 14, Para. 2 (b) in the Constitution which reads, “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
“Through his partial, sectional and discriminatory appointments, particularly in Security and Education, President Buhari violated Section 14, Para. 3 which reads: “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies,” the CAN secretary said in a statement on Friday.
Mr. Asake further said in his statement, that it was the duty of church leaders to help politicians lead the country well.
Regarding the statement by the JNI, CAN accused the Islamic body of handling national issues with kid gloves, saying that the JNI secretary erred when he related the herdsmen perpetrating recent killings in the country to a branch of the Christian association.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) wishes to protest the lack of seriousness and kindergarten approach of JNI to serious national issues. We are amazed that the spokesman of Jama’atu Nasril Islam could ascribe the ownership and control of Fulani herdsmen to any Christian organisation. Such attempt to stand reason on its head does not portray JNI as a serious minded organisation.
“We used to assume that JNI is a credible and responsible organization that can meaningfully engage in national discourse. Unfortunately, the response of Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu is a great disappointment.
“May we suggest to his Eminence, the President of Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, to reach into the community of educated Muslims and find serious minded individuals that could engage in serious national issues to speak for JNI.
“The Fulani herdsmen are Muslims. For the herdsmen, it would be considered demeaning if anyone should ascribe any other religion apart from Islam to them. Therefore, for anyone to suggest that the Fulani herdsmen are “franchise” of CAN is the most unimaginative and ridiculous statement of the century,” the statement said.