Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari and asked him to withdraw Nigeria from international religious organisations, address insecurity and ensure payment of workers’ salaries.
CAN President, Sampson Ayokunle, disclosed this to State House correspondents after a meeting of the leadership of the association with President Buhari in his office.
Ayokunle, who said the meeting was called by the president, long after the association complained that its request for an audience with the president had not been granted, said the meeting was “better to be late than never.”
The CAN leadership had been critical of many actions of the government under Buhari, including the recent receipt of a N100 billion Islamic Sukuk bond, which the government distributed for the construction of some federal roads.
CAN has also accused the president of plotting to Islamise Nigeria.
Speaking with reporters after the meeting, however, Ayokunle said the Christian leaders were “very humbled by the calm disposition of the President.”
He said such meetings with the president “will always make people be ready to offer help to the government.”
The CAN leader said the association’s objection to Sukuk was because it believed that it was an abuse of the Nigerian Constitution.
“As I said before, there wasn’t any demon in Sukuk bond, but what was wrong is the constitutionality,” he said.
He said while no CAN member was opposed to any Muslim running their own financial system, “what is wrong is for the government to be the one who will be promoting it and initiating it.
It was a violation of the Constitution.”
Ayokunle said the meeting with the President discussed the need for the government to keep the sanctity of the Constitution, which would guide the behaviour and actions of citizens.
He said apart from the demand to withdraw Nigeria from all religious organisations, CAN also asked the president to ensure constant payment of salaries to Nigerian workers.
“When people can’t find food to eat, they resort to whatever they can lay their hands on,” he said, adding that CAN advise Buhari to authorise the recruitment of more police officers to beef up security across the land.
“We have the problems of kidnapping, armed robbery, herdsmen attacks, militancy is also on the increase, about 300,000 police cannot police a nation of about 200 million people, even if they are given the best of equipment.
The CAN leader said the president responded “in the affirmative.”