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CAN president accuses government of bias in Ile-Ife, Southern Kaduna crises

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Samson Ayokunle

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The President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, who is also President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Samson Ayokunle, has accused the Federal Government of bias in the manner it handled the recent crises in Ile-Ife and the Southern Kaduna.

He argued that while government was so swift and active to arrest suspects in the Ile-Ife crisis, the same government, with the same apparatus, has not been able to act decisively on the issue of Southern Kaduna crisis.

Briefing journalists yesterday ahead of the 104th annual session of the Nigerian Baptist Convention opening today at the National Stadium, Abuja, Ayokunle lamented that despite the announcement of the establishment a military battalion, in addition to a squadron of Mobile Police in Southern Kaduna, lives are still being lost, as Fulani herdsmen, a few day ago, allegedly killed about 13 people in the area.

He said: “The government appeared not have been in control of this situation yet. After the crisis between the indigenes of Ile-Ife and the settlers there, government was so swift and active to arrest suspects, but the same government, with the same apparatus, has not been able to act decisively on the issue of Southern Kaduna crisis.
“When the government was sometime ago accused, government said it was liaising with the governor of the state, who was the one briefing the president.

“Why didn’t they liaise with the Osun State governor, so that action might be delayed as was done in the case of Southern Kaduna?

“We need to audit our political office holders and every action they take. They must act with sincerity and transparency for all to know that there is justice and fair play.

“In that way, all of us can do a successful pilgrimage as a nation. Otherwise, it will be to your tents, oh Israel, when there is continuous injustice.”

Ayokunle urged government to desist from giving excuses and bring to an end, the wanton destruction of lives and property in Southern Kaduna.

He recalled that the United States House of Representatives in February this year cited Nigeria as the most dangerous place for Christians in the world, adding:
“Certainly, this is a most unpleasant classification for a country that is a democracy and the giant of Africa. What type of giant are we?

“It is a classification that should not make patriotic Nigerians glad in a country where the population is roughly divided equally between Islam and Christianity.

“It is essential for the Federal Government, in whose care instruments of cohesion lie, to quickly remedy this situation,” he added.

On the war against corruption, the CAN president insisted that there is corruption in the executive, legislature and the judiciary and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to be more broad-minded in the war against corruption, as it is not restricted to a particular political party or religion.

He said: “ The church is against corruption; the spirit of the church is that of holiness, forthrightness and righteousness to be more broad-minded on the issue of war against corruption, because it is not restricted to a particular political party or religion.

“As the President is outward-looking; he must also be inward-looking, because there is corruption in the executive, legislature and the judiciary. It is a deadly insect that has the potential of snuffing life out of Nigeria.”

The cleric, who commended the recent efforts of the Federal Government on the economy, especially on strengthening the local currency, noted that more sincerity should be shown on this, so that the siege of economic hardship that has almost crippled the lives of Nigerians and increased the rates of suicide might be lifted.

According to him, all must be done in political appointments and in the conduct of government business to reflect federal character, not only on ethnicity, but also ensuring religious balance.

“The suspicion of favouritism by government of one religious group to the detriment of others must be avoided.

“The more the government adheres to these admonitions, the more coherent we would be, as a people, and the greater the peace and development,” he added.



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