The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) yesterday accused the federal government and President Muhammadu Buhari of selecting only Muslims for the National Merit Awards as June 12 heros.
They argued that the impression President Buhari created with such parochial selection was that only Muslims were champions of democracy during the June 12 struggle.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, NCEF Chairman, Solomon Asemota, SAN said: “Concerning the issues evolving in Nigerian, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) wishes, first and foremost, to join millions of Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to congratulate the Moshood Abiola family, the Gani Fawehinmi family and the Yoruba race for the posthumous award of the highest national honors of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) to Moshood Abiola and the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) to Gani Fawehinmi, SAN even though the awards did not fully comply with the provisions of the law as argued by Hon. Justice Alfa Belgore, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria.
“Those of us who rejoice at this award hope and pray that this gesture is not another form of stealth jihad, a repetition of the events of June 12, 1993 when the election was annulled, but a genuine instrument for unity and reconciliation.
“We are however disturbed because all those granted the 2018 National Honors including Baba Gana Kingibe, are all Muslims ostensibly to swell the ranks of Muslims in the roll call of these awards.”
He explained that “not only is the impression being created that Muslims in Nigeria are in the forefront of championing democracy in the country but awarding National Honors to only Muslims further confirm the religious insensitivity and discrimination of President Buhari in a multicultural and multi-religious society.
“That only Muslims are champions of Democracy is untrue because the Sunni Muslims in Nigeria have not hidden their preference for Sharia and President Buhari is their leader in the demand for Sharia while also holding that Sharia, not democracy is mandatory for Muslims in Nigeria.
“The annulment of June 12, 1993 election by military President Ibrahim Babangida was a jihad against democracy,” they said. .
excuse to grant honors to a group of Muslims and to placate the Yorubas in preparation for 2019 elections.
“It is also very disturbing that the true champion of June 12, Prof. Humphrey Nwosu who conducted the freest and fairest elections in the history of Nigeria was not considered worthy of inclusion in the 2018 National Honors. Our only conclusion is that Prof. Nwosu was disqualified because he is a Christian.
“The religious exclusivity of the 2018 National Honors may also be one of the reasons why it did not pass through the proper legal channel. It shall remain on record that the 2018 National Honors Award is an illegal and unconstitutional action.
“It is rather sad to observe from events unfolding in the country that a President who was elected into power on the platform of Democracy is using the Democratic office to promote Jihad.
“It is also pertinent to point out that on the same day, June 12, 2018, Christian Governor Joshua Dariye was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for corruption and money laundering.
“The NCEF is opposed to all forms of criminality and those involved in criminal acts. However, selective prosecution is not the answer, but a Truth and Reconciliation Commission is needed for total healing.
“The impression thus created on June 12, 2018 is that while Muslims deserve to be honored, Christians deserve to be thrown into jail. All Nigerians must be equal under the law.”
Speaking on the lopsided and biased anti-corruption war waged by the government, Asemota who was accompanied by Prof. Joseph Otubu, Elder Moses Ihonde, Elder Matthew Owojaiye, Justice Kalajine Anigbogu (rtd), Elder Shyngle Wigwe, Elder Michael Orobator,, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel explained that “the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), based on the Biblical injunction of “thou shalt not steal”, and the laws of the country that forbids theft of any kind, condemns any act of stealing or looting of public funds. NCEF is therefore in total agreement with the spirit and the letter behind the setting up of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
“It is very disturbing, however to observe that EFCC is not an impartial crime fighter. The impression solidly created by the actions of EFCC is that it is fighting Stealth Jihad by prosecuting Christians guilty of theft while treating with levity Muslims who steal.
“EFCC is becoming the prosecuting arm of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI). Appointments to its top management and key operational personnel appear based on religious consideration.
“Even the Police Officers that are deployed to the Commission are carefully selected Muslims. It has been observed that when the EFCC is investigating a Christian, the system becomes very efficient but slows down when a Muslim is involved.
“Former Governor Joshua Dariye of Plateau State was convicted for diversion of Ecological Fund to the tune of N1.2 billion.
“However, former Governor Ahmed Muazu of Bauchi State was equally accused of diverting about N2.9 billion of the same Ecological Fund and so far, the EFCC has failed to properly investigate Mr. Muazu, talkless of prosecuting him.
“The reluctance of the EFCC to investigate Mr. Muazu is a riddle even after a Federal High Court issued an Order of Mandamus against him, the EFCC has not acted promptly,” they stated.