The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) described the composition of members of the Conference Committee on Religion as signaling Chairman of the Conference, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi’s Islamic agenda.
According to the national Christian body, the ratio of the committee members, with 12 Muslims and six Christians is contrary to equal representation of the two bodies.
The association also slammed co-chairman of the national conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi for his alleged failure to protect Christian interest at the ongoing national dialogue.
CAN said the choice Nurudeen Lemu, who is also from Niger State like Kutigi, and Bishop Felix Ajakaiye as chairman and co-chairman of the committee respectively, was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
In a statement signed by the Director of National Issues, CAN, Mr. Sunny Oibe, the christian body said it was not opposed to the choice of Ajakaiye, but wondered why the conference chose a Muslim from the North and Christian from South West, who had little or no knowledge of the Christian persecution in the North.
The association, therefore, demanded equal representation of Muslims and Christians in the conference committee on religion, as well as replacement of Ajakaye as co-chair with a Christian from the North. The body which expressed doubt on the ability of Kutigi to pilot affairs of the conference also demanded the replacement of Dr. Jonathan Obaje, one of the Christians in the committee, saying that his absence would affect Christians’ interest.
“We hereby express our reservations on the composition of members of the National Conference Committee on Religion and without fear or contradiction state that the chairman of the conference, Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, has done his wish to ensure that the leadership of the committee favours Muslims in Nigeria.
“He is from Niger State and the Committee on Religion should be a sensitive committee. The chairman has decided to scatter the Christians in the confab and now brought Nurudeen Lemu, the son of Sheikh Lemu, who is also from Niger State to chair the committee and did not pick any delegate representing the Christian Association of Nigeria.
“The supposed Christian in the committee, Dr. Jonathan Obaje, representing the Diaspora in the confab has been given express permission by Kutigi to travel back overseas for holiday. He is not even in Nigeria at present and does not represent CAN. The delegate is not around and Christians will be affected during voting. Bishop Felix Ajakaiye who was named co-chairman in the committee is representing Ekiti State and not CAN. In that case, we have already lost and the ratio will now be 12 members for Muslims and six for Christians.
“To us in CAN, Justice Kutigi is working out a script to undermine the interest of the Christians in the confab. Ordinarily, the Christians who have been on the receiving end from the members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect in the North should be a co-chairman in the Committee on Religion,” the statement read.