…As cleric seeks proscription of CAN, JNI
Amidst the ongoing agitation for restructuring, separation and the 2019 general elections, former Vice President and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has cautioned Nigerians to be mindful of others who may not think, act or believe in what they do, saying the country’s diversity ought to be her strength and not otherwise.
To this end, a catholic priest, Reverend Father Gabriel Teruwose Ngbea asked the federal government to immediately ban the activities of religious bodies like the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jamatul Nasrul Islam (JNI) to stem the tide of religious instigated crisis in the country.
Atiku who was speaking Tuesday in Abuja as the Chairman of the occasion at the formal presentation of the book, titled “Constitutional Misconception of Secularism: Implications for Politics and Religion” said the country’s national constitution carefully considered the diverse character as a nation and chose the secular path in order to accommodate the diversity and peaceful coexistence.
The Waziri Adamawa, who was represented by the former Speaker of the Plateau state House of Assembly, George Daika said: “Let me, however, use this opportunity to remind us all that at this delicate moment in our nation’s history – with separatist agitations, militancy of the religious and secular varieties, calls for restructuring, and jostling for future elections, we should all be mindful of and sensitive to the feelings and preferences of those who may not think the way we think, the way we speak or worship, the way we worship or belong to the same political party as us. Our diversity ought to be our strength and, together, we can still build the Nigeria of our dreams.”
For the Rev. Fr Ngbea, while calling for total ban of CAN and JNI in his book, said that instead government should set up an independent body to be known as “Religious Equity Commission” whose mandate should be to ensure that there is no discrimination among Nigerians on the basis of their faith.
Both proposals are contained in the new book authored by the Benue state-born erudite priest.
Father Ngbea said on page 302 of his book that “CAN and JNI should be proscribed because apart from their failed mandate of advancing religious interests these bodies have constituted themselves into a political organisations often deployed to pursue political interests.”
Speaking further, the clergyman said in order to keep faith with section 20 of the Nigerian constitution and to ensure that Nigerians practiced their faith in a manner that is devoid of discrimination he is proposing “the establishment of an independent Religious Equity Commission whose mandate should be to ensure that there is no discrimination among Nigerians on basis of faith.
For Benue state governor Samuel Ortom, said politics and religion have been at the heart of problems confronting the country.
“Today in our country, two things are very important, politics and religion and if we can get it right, we will be able to make Nigeria great.
He said that both Christianity and Islam all seek to bring love and peace to mankind, adding that it his hope that these two religions will work toward bringing peace and love to the country.