National Confab: Northern CAN To Revisit Issue Of Minority Commission

A CROSS SECTION OF MEMBERS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE DURING THE INAUGURATION OF THE COMMITTEE AT THE STATE HOUSE, PRESIDENTIAL VILLA, ABUJA. PHOTO: ABAYOMI ADESHIDA
A CROSS SECTION OF MEMBERS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE DURING THE INAUGURATION OF THE COMMITTEE AT THE STATE HOUSE, PRESIDENTIAL VILLA, ABUJA. PHOTO: ABAYOMI ADESHIDA

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, has expressed some worries about the proposed national dialogue, saying that the conference would have failed if it does not address minority issue in the country.

The Executive Secretary of Northern CAN, Professor Daniel Babayi in an interview said that there was a minority commission put in place during the British rule where ethnic minorities had their problems, particularly conflicts, resolved up to the time Nigerian gained independence from the colonial masters.

Babayi lamented that successive governments jettisoned the commission, saying that now was the time for Nigerians to revisit the issue and revive the commission at the national conference.

The northern CAN scribe, who is a Professor of Theology, noted  that the various conflicts in different parts of the country, particularly in the North would not have come up if the commission was in place, adding that governments at all levels owed it to the people to provide good governance.

He said aside the Christian body’s agitation for a minority commission, it would also take a position on some other national issues and present to the committee on the national conference.

His words, “You see, the British, in their own wisdom when they were withdrawing from the country ensured that a minority commission was put in place to address the issue of minority, especially in the North, but of course, now we have completely jettisoned that idea, nobody is even talking about the issue of minority commission any more.

“We have rubbished it, and for doing so you will see that we will continue to overlook the need of minority, and because of that we will continue to have conflict because the minority commission was put in place to help reduce areas of conflict. Now that we have removed it, we have compounded our own conflict situation.

“To start with, there are ethnic groups who think that they are minority, in fact they are minority. Apart from the ethnic groups, women are in a minority in a sense, children are in a minority in a sense, you can go on and begin to categorize various minority groups. So every time we talk about minority commission, we only think of ethnic groups, but the commission that addresses minority issues looks far beyond ethnic enclaves because there are other social groupings too that can be regarded as minority.

“We just want to call on the federal government and the state governments to revisit the issue of minority commission at the federal and state levels.

“Such commission is very needed now in order to reduce the areas of conflict. Remember that we cannot set out to establish a utopia society, but we can allow the existence of such minority commission to address issues and reduce areas of conflict.

“As far as we are concerned in Northern CAN, we don’t believe that there is any aspect of governance in Nigeria that should be excluded from this national conference. So minority commission is one issue that should be discussed there, and we are calling on the committee in charge to revisit the issue of the commission.

“We are waiting for the national conference committee to come up with a modality, and when they come up with that modality, we are always ever ready to contribute, and we have set up a dialogue sub-committee to work on some of these issues and come up with a position paper for Northern CAN”.

Saturday Sun

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