Buhari to CAN: I”ll Address Lopsidedness in my Appointments
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday promised the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) that he would address the lopsidedness in federal appointments.
The President made this promise while playing host to the Christian Leaders at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In a statement issued later by the President’s media adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina, the president told the CAN delegation that he had already given instructions for the submission of all the names of heads of parastatals in order to address the allegations of lopsidedness in appointments.
“On the question of one-sided appointments, we will look at it. I have given instructions that a list of all heads of parastatals be submitted to me and I know they will not delay in doing that,’’ Adesina quoted the president as saying.
Adesina also said the president assured religious leaders, and all Nigerians, that his administration would address rising concerns on corruption, insecurity and injustices in various parts of the country.
According to sources, the CAN delegation was led by its President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle.
The Christian group used the opportunity of the meeting with Buhari to reiterate its opposition to Nigeria’s membership of international Islamic organisations and demanded Nigeria’s immediate exit from such organisations.
The Christian body while acknowledging the President’s achievement, used the opportunity to demand the withdrawal of Nigeria from various international religious organizations.
Ayokunle, revealed the full details of the organisation’s demands to President Buhari.
According to him, “We [CAN] call on the executive and legislative arms of government to withdraw Nigeria from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and from other international religious bodies and treaties Nigeria signed with such religious organizations because it violates the secular state of the nation as enshrined in the constitution of Nigeria and further violates government’s non-partisanship in religious matters as enshrined in the same constitution. The sanctity of the constitution must be kept for Nigeria to survive as one nation,
“We call on the Executive and the National Assembly to prevail on States in the North to issue Certificate of Occupancy to churches in the region. Many excuses are presently being given by state governments in the North to deny Christians the right of building their own places of worship. Recently, Jigawa state government pulled down some church structures under the guise that they did not have building permit. The truth of the matter as obtained from the chairman of CAN in the state was that the churches had applied for permission to build for not less than a year or more without any response. Do the Christians in the North not have the right to build their houses of worship and serve God without fear or favour? If Nigeria is one country, this type of religious discrimination must come to an end.
“CAN equally calls on this administration to address the lopsidedness in appointments done by this administration for both ethnic and religious balance for all of us to be able to do pilgrimage together as a nation. For example, the defence apparatus in this nation is skewed in favour of one religion. In the recently released statistics of appointments made by this administration so far by the media adviser to the president, there was apparent lopsidedness because while some states have over thirty people appointed, others do not have more than three. How can people from such states with three have the sense of belonging to this nation and this administration?
“We declare the inability of the state governments to pay workers’ salaries and allowances as at when due as unacceptable and call on the federal and state governments to work together to address this as quick as possible. This would step the tide of crimes and suic*de that are increasing all over the nation.”
On the breakdown of infrastructure, the CAN leader said, “We further urge your administration to address the breakdown of infrastructure in the nation such as road construction, provision of uninterrupted power supply and adequate funding of health facilities so as to stop the untimely death of our people and medical tourism abroad.”
Ayokunle called on the President to tackle unemployment, criminal activities and consider the revival of the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council, (NIREC).
He said, “We call on the federal government to declare a state of emergency on unemployment in the nation and to set up a machinery towards the provision of employment for graduates. It is a time bomb that could be devastating if not quickly attended to.
“We observe that the criminal activities that are on the increase in the land should be addressed more squarely. The police should be more adequately equipped in policing the nation. More policemen at the same time should be recruited as the present number is too low to cope with the large population of the country.
“Finally, we request for the revival of the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council, (NIREC) which in the past had fostered interaction and promoted religious harmony between Christian and Muslim leaders in the country whose meeting logistics were to be provided by the government. Government’s position that there is no money to facilitate the convening of the meeting is not good enough. If there is no money to build peace, we believe that it would be more costly to prosecute war.