By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
The allegation by some Christian groups that President Muhammadu Buhari is running an Islamic government is baseless, reckless, false and malicious, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has said.
In a statement signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintolasaid thatthere is no iota of truth in CAN’s claims, it exists only in the figment of the writers’ imagination.
“The Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) and four other affiliated Christian unions yesterday accused President Muhammadu Buhari of running the country as a Muslim organization and neglecting the entire Christian faith. The other four Christian groups are Arewa Christians Association,Concerned Professional Christians, All Para-Church Organizations and Nigerian Christians in Diaspora.
“Contrary to CAN’s claim, both Christian and Islamic studies are available in public schools in the North unlike the South where every school has teachers of Christian studies but lacks teachers of Islamic studies. The South West case is even pathetic. Teachers of Islamic Studies are hardly employed and they are deliberately and treacherously diverted to teach other subjects. The aim behind this is to render them useless for Islamic Studies. Some school principals even refuse to allow teachers of Arabic and Islamic studies to teach what they are employed for. Many state schools’ boards have been pocketed by CAN for the purpose of eliminating Arabic and Islamic Studies from the South West, including Edo State,” MURIC said.
It explained that it sounds amusing that CAN on one hand claims to be praying for President Muhammadu Buhari’s recovery yet on the other hand it is accuses the Federal Government of lying about his health status.
“Is that what will facilitate the acceptance of the prayer? CAN is blowing hot and cold at the same time. We advise CAN to come out in the open and show its true colour. The Christian body should stop intimidating FG. To be ill is human, to heal divine.
“CAN’s complaint about Nigeria’s participation in the Islamic solidarity football game is still the old song and it fits CAN’s main objective, namely, to isolate Nigerian Muslims from their counterparts in other parts of the world. Football and all games generally are known for their ability to unify humanity under one love. If CAN would have its way, Nigerian Muslims would not be allowed to perform hajj. It was the same complaint over Shari‘ah, Islamic bank, etc. When will CAN live and let live?” It queried.
MURIC said that as professional lobbyists, they are not surprised that CAN is demanding Christian replacements (as if it is a right) for the suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), David Babachir Lawal and the Director General of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ayo Oke, adding that “This is primordial sentiment. Is it religious affiliation that will benefit Nigerians or competence and integrity?”
The group noted that CAN also complained that no Christian has been minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) since 1999.
“We will like to place this claim in its proper perspective. CAN has deliberately restricted its claim to 1999 for its parochial agenda. We must ask CAN what happened from the beginning?
“Out of the nine ministers in office as FCT ministers from 1976 to 1999, six were Christians and the Muslims did not complain. Ex-President Obasanjo who picked Ibrahim Bunu, Muhammed Abba Gana and Nasir El-Rufai as ministers of the FCT from 1999 to 2007 was not a Muslim. So why should Buhari be crucified for that? Bala Muhammed was FCT minister from 2010 to 2015 under Goodluck Jonathan. How can anyone blame the Muslims for this? Afterall Jonathan is yet to announce his conversion to Islam,” it added.
MURIC called on CAN to stop misinforming Nigerians, stressing that several factors determine the allocation of positions in politics.
“We therefore advise YOWICAN to make proper enquiries on issues like this before issuing public statements. YOWICAN also needs to brush up its knowledge of the Bible. “You will know the truth and the truth shall set you free” is not in John 3:38 as listed in its statement. It is in John 8:32. In fact there is no John 3:38. Chapter 3 of the Book of John ends at verse 36.
“It amounts to blackmail and arm-twisting to accuse Buhari of running Nigeria like an Islamic organization. But Nigerians are wiser today than in yesteryears. They no longer yield to blackmail like before and they will only respect claims based on informed opinion.
“To round up, MURIC advises YOWICAN to grow up, to dismiss its infantile propensities and think first of Nigeria. Instead of raising false alarm on a daily basis, we urge CAN to join hands with its Muslim neighbours in building a virile economy, a stable polity and a peaceful nation. We should make less noise. We envision for Nigerians a land full of opportunities where no Christian or Muslim shall be denied the right to work or worship anywhere he or she chooses. We must stop sacrificing excellence on the altar of mediocrity. The parameter should not be religion. It should be competence.”