The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has described the attack by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) on the hijab crisis and appointment of Appeal Court Justices as evasive.
NSCIA, a few weeks ago attacked CAN for opposing the nomination of 13 Northerners/ Muslims out of the 20 jurists listed as Court of Appeal Justices.
The Sultan of Sokoto-led council also accused CAN of beating a war drum over the introduction of hijab in mission schools in Ilorin, Kwara State.
CAN, in a statement issued by its General Secretary, Joseph Daramola, said the Judiciary was the appendage of NSCIA under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, especially throughout his first term, adding that members of the Islamic council were in charge of affairs.
The religious body said: “Our attention has been drawn to a press statement issued by the NSCIA, where the council used vulgar, immature language and unprintable words to describe CAN in its bid to justify the obvious lopsided appointments of the Federal Government in favour of its members. The council was smart by half when it picked an example of just one arm of government without addressing the totality of fundamental questions on all the arms of government.
“Should it not have been better for the council to have been bold enough to examine the entirety of appointments made by President Muhammadu Buhari as serially referenced by CAN? The NSCIA evaded those troubling issues that are well-known not only to Nigerians, but members of the international community; those knotty issues that have pushed our country on the edge of precipice. By doing so, NSCIA has unwittingly exposed itself as a promoter of bad governance, divisiveness and injustice in Nigeria under the Buhari administration.
“Why did the Council remain evasive on the big issue of the Court of Appeal? Interestingly, there was never a time when CAN ever attack or made veiled reference to NSCIA over the obvious lopsided appointments in the country. CAN’s concern has always been directed at the Federal Government as a concerned non-governmental group but NSCIA as an underdog of government rather took it upon itself to speak for the government. We wish the Council had allowed the government to speak for itself.
“We all know how they removed Justice Walter Onnoghen from office without following due process. But for the critical section of the polity, including the likes of Col. Umar Dangiwa, the incumbent President of the Court of Appeal would have been denied her succession privilege and right. We didn’t see NSCIA on the list.
“Is it falsehood or character assassination that the Security Council of the country has remained an appendage of NSCIA under the watch of President Buhari? The Constitutional position is that all of us, Christians and Moslems are stakeholders in this country, and votes were not collated on the basis of religion. So, for the government to bend or lean towards Muslims in its appointment of Security Chiefs is unconstitutional and doesn’t take into consideration the varied interests of other ethnic and religious groups.”
According to the statement: “The entire country knew how the scandalous process went. If this is another falsehood, we dare the Federal Government or its spokespersons to publish the names, state of origins and religions of those who have held the following positions from 2015 to date: The Chief Justice of Nigeria, the President, Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge, Federal High Courts and the Chief Judge, FCT High Court.”
CAN faulted the claim that it has hatred for Islam and Muslims, adding that It is the highest degree of cheap blackmail for any individual or group to have made such claim.
“Up till today, it is those things that cannot bring development in education that the NSCIA members are still fighting for such as the wearing of hijab in schools started by Christians and are still largely being maintained by them. Will a girl wearing hijab be more brilliant in school than the rest of her counterparts? They have forgotten that till today, we are not mounting pressure on the government to introduce the Christian culture to the Islamic schools.”
CAN demanded for some serious adjustments forthwith on the appointments already done, and: “henceforth desire a paradigm shift in the ways and manners the affairs of this country are run, and appointments are done from time to time as to be clearly reflecting that this country.”