National Conference: CAN faults JNI on Christian-Muslim population, threatens to boycott 2016 Census

Posted by News Express | 22 March 2014 | 3,637 times

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) today in Abuja faulted the claim by the umbrella body of Nigerian Muslims, the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), that the process of selecting delegates to the National Conference was not done with fair representation and will affect the credibility of its outcome.

Replying JNI Secretary General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar, CAN General Secretary, Dr. Musa Asake, threatened that Christians would boycott the 2016 population census and subsequent exercises if there is no provision for religion in the questionnaire. Asake in a statement insisted that the inclusion of religion in the census questionnaire is necessary to establish which religion has more adherents than the others in the country.

ASAKE said in the statement: “The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), read with consternation the provocative and inciting statements by the Secretary General of the Jama’atul Nasril Islam, (JNI) Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu at a press conference in Kaduna recently.

“At a press conference, the JNI Secretary General claimed that the process of selecting participants to the National Conference was not done with fair representation which will affect the credibility of its outcome. That Moslems were cheated in the process in spite of having the largest population as revealed by many international agencies. Democracy, he said, is a game of numbers but it has not being respected, because Moslems constitute the majority in the country, Christians, who by all acceptable records are not more than 40% of the country’s population ironically constitutes 62% of the total delegates. According to him, they find it disrespectful to Moslems that of the twenty delegates of the Federal Government, only six are Moslems, no Moslem is deemed fit to make the delegates of the Nigerian economic submit.”  

CAN, “with grief and concern,” condemned what it called “the unprovoked defamation of Nigeria Christians by the Ja’amatu Nasril Islam (JNI) through its Secretary General.”

According to CAN, “To assume or suggest, as it were, that Muslims are more than Christians in Nigeria as the basis for his argument when no census anchored on religion has been carried out is logically faulty. When and how are these figures by the international agencies arrived at? Which of the international agencies have census figures that Nigerians do not have? Has there been any census by international agencies in Nigeria? To put forward a suggestion or theories like this one by Dr. Khalid, for others to consider should have been well thought out.

“In this case, the JNI Secretary General goofed, having put out insensible arguments and thoughts.

“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is therefore challenging the Secretary General of the JNI to make it public the source of his population figures which shows that Christians in this country are 40%?

“If JNI at this point does not respond to this population issue, and produce their claimed sources, CAN will use alternative means to ascertain the fact of their publication, for we cannot continue to allow people like the JNI be making reckless and false statements, bringing division among Christians and Muslims, when we are busy working hard to see we live together in peace and harmony.

“The body of rules, ideas, principles and techniques that applies to subjects like census figures must be those matched by empirical evidences. Dr. Khalid’s ideas, thoughts and beliefs about the 40% Christian population and 62% of delegates being Christians are therefore mere speculation and conjectures to buy in the idea of a region’s reluctance to attend the conference. It is another way of using religion to shoot down the conference.

“CAN may need to remind JNI of the argument and refusal of Muslims to include religion during the last census in Nigeria. We appeal to JNI not to use religion as a basis for their reservations about the National Conference. We believe the conference will do Nigeria a lot of good. “Meanwhile, the JNI Secretary General should come out with the figures that make the Muslim population to be more than that of Christians as we in CAN will boycott future census in Nigeria beginning with the 2016 exercise if they do not include religion. Enough is Enough!”

•Photo shows CAN General Secretary, Rev. Dr. Musa Asake.

Source: News Express

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