Ortom’s assassination attempt: We are worried about collapse of security ― CAN

• Asks National Assembly to stop the Bill on Hijab

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the assassination attempt on the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and charged the security agencies to investigate, arrest and prosecute the masterminds.

CAN said it is “worried, sad, shocked, disappointed, and pained at the collapse of the security architecture of the government and the failure of those in charge to rise up to the security challenges. If a state governor is unsafe despite all the security operatives in his convoy, then who is safe?”

This is contained in a statement issued by CAN’s General Secretary, Barrister Joseph Daramola.

“We welcome the presidential directive and that of the Inspector General of Police that the investigation of the matter should be thorough and it is our hope that the matter will not be swept under the carpet.

“We are disappointed that the shadowy group, the Fulani Nationality Movement that claimed responsibility has not been outlawed and the herdsmen leaders who publicly threatened the governor are still going about their businesses as if they have done nothing unusual. Is the government waiting till they have successfully carried out their evil and wicked enterprise?

“What are these people turning the country into in this century? If these murderous Fulani herdsmen are not Nigerians, as we are being told, why do our security agencies appear powerless before these criminals? Are they holding superior ammunitions? Are they waiting till everyone results to self-defence with the attendant consequences?

“The primary responsibility of any government is to protect the lives and property of the citizens. If President Muhammadu Buhari wanted his name to be written in gold, let him fix the security problems in this nation before his tenure is over.

“We challenge the Federal Government to roll out the list of names of the kingpins of those murderous herdsmen, kidnappers, bandits and terrorists in the prison and police custody and those under trial. As long as the government continues treating these criminals with kid gloves so also will they continue operating with impunity,” CAN said.

On hijab legislation, CAN called on the leadership of the National Assembly to suspend a bill before the House of Representatives seeking to institutionalise the use of hijab in the country.

CAN said the bill titled “Religious Discrimination (Prohibition, Prevention) Bill, 2021” was seeking to provide a mechanism for enforcing certain provisions of the Constitution and other international laws that recognizes the right of a female to adorn hijab in both public and private establishments in Nigeria.

“We wonder what the sponsors of the Bill seeks to gain from it other than to compound the security problem and the wearing of hijab in public and Christian schools.

“According to the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the ‘National Assembly shall have the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive Legislative List set out in Part 1 of the Second Schedule to this Constitution.’

“To what extent does this controversial bill seek to promote peace, order and good governance? Has dress code become part of the Exclusive Legislative List? While the citizens are expecting the National Assembly to make laws that will address the lopsided appointments, insecurity, unemployment and economic predicament, our lawmakers are interested in making laws that seek to promote one religion. This is totally unacceptable in a country with multiple religions,” CAN said.

CAN argued that it is not the wearing of hijab that is our problem, it said it is the legislation of the wearing of it in private schools, especially of the schools whose proprietors have a different culture to that of wearing of the hijab.

“If anyone travels to Rome, it is common saying that he or she should do as the Romans do since he was not forced to come! If any Christian pupil goes to a Muslim School, he or she should abide by their practices there and vice versa.

“Why should a Muslim student come to a Christian school which operates under different dressing culture and insist on her own culture? That appears provocative and disrespectful! Legislating the wearing of hijab in private schools would lead to the trouble that those who started it may not be able to handle.

“Abandoning school uniform for religious dressing is going to divide the students along religious lines and further polarize our society. Should the children of Ifa worshipper (god of divination) wear Ifa costume to the school as well, etc? Is that not going to bring confusion? Will the wearing of the religious dress make one student brighter in class than the other? What are we legislating for?,” CAN queried.

CAN said it has been consistently calling on some state governments that are enforcing the wearing of hijab in public schools to exempt the Christian schools where hijab culture is alien.

The Christian apex body said it not against the wearing of hijab in public and Islamic schools but Christian schools should not be included unless those states are looking for trouble.

It said it has resolved to close down its schools and colleges to protest against this ungodly and disrespectful policy.

“We should return to the status quo ante where we were before the politicisation of hijab. Let those who want to be wearing hijab go to schools where it is allowed. Alternatively, let those state governments return our schools and stop funding them.

“We are able to manage them. We did not beg the government ab initio to partner with us. It was the government that couldn’t provide enough school that came in subtly to partner with us but now going another mile to take over completely.

“Can the government own what they did not spend their money to build? Those who took over our schools did not tell us that our religious traditions and culture would be eradicated.

“We call on all Christians in every legislative house, including the National Assembly, to arise and speak for the Church if they have not compromised their faith for political reasons and if they failed to do so, God Himself will ask them of their stewardship one day and equally fight for His Church,” the statement added.

Attack on Ortom, sign Nigeria is drifting to lawless state ― Benue CAN

Meanwhile, the Benue State Chairman of CAN, Rev. Akpen Leva, on Monday also condemned the attack on Governor Ortom.

Rev. Leva who addressed newsmen at a press conference in Makurdi said that the attack on the governor has shown that Nigeria is drifting into a lawless state.

The State Chairman noted that what happened to Governor Ortom was an attack that had degenerated, explaining that Nigerians will in no distant future begin to feel the effect of the act.

The religious body said that it was inexplainable that despite the fact that Fulani social-cultural groups have continued to claim responsibility, no arrest has been made in connection with their claims.

Rev. Leva added, “no country can be as loose and lawless as this except Nigeria. How can one claim responsibility for the assassination attempt, threats to lives, killing of armless citizens and destruction of property and yet walk the streets free?

“This is why we call on the federal government to as a matter of urgency direct the security operatives to without delay arrest those claiming responsibility for such devilish act.”

The religious body said that the prosecution of the leaders of such groups is the only way of guaranteeing the safety of all Nigerians.

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