The Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN), on Thursday, described the visit of the United States (US) Secretary of States, Mr John Kerry, to Nigeria as discriminatory.
While in the country, Kerry had visited only the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, met with the 19 northern governors, with just three out of them being Christians.
Reacting to the historical event, the CAN president, Reverend (Dr) Olasupo Ayokunle, condemned Kerry’s action in strong terms, for lack of respect to the heterogeneous nature of Nigeria, while openly favouring northern Nigeria.
He told Kerry to “stop interfering in Nigeria’s affairs,” even as he went further to argue that the visit was a complete flop, as it showed Kerry’s shallow knowledge of Nigeria’s unity in diversity ideology, which had been sustaining it against all the odds that could have wiped it out of existence.
“Why did he meet with some northern states governors without southern governors? Is Nigeria north’s alone? Why did he go to the North alone?,” the CAN president queried.
“If US Secretary of States was coming on a private visit, it’s understandable, but we demand explanation why he was selective. Has the Sultan’s palace become another State House? Was Kerry invited by the Sultan?
“We have 36 states in Nigeria; he only selected northern governors to meet with. It was a visit to the North, not to Nigeria. If they cannot bring us together, they should not interfere in our affairs.”
Ayokunle also threw his weight behind the meeting of northern CAN leaders holding today in Maiduguri, and was optimistic that the church in Nigeria would survive the ongoing persecution.
“I am in full support of the meeting holding today in Maiduguri by the Northern CAN leaders. The national CAN is in support of that meeting. We are together and those who are killing our members will be exposed and disgraced by our God. CAN is against the killings of our members; we are against their persecutions and every discriminatory policy of this government in strong terms.”
He tasked the security agencies to wake up to the challenges since “Nigeria is not an Islamic state, where the rights and the safety of non-Muslims are not guaranteed.”