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A REBUTTAL OF CAN PRESIDENT’S CLAIMS

Released: 08-10-2013

As many Nigerians would have observed, the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has, in recent times, been using the media to make frivolous and unsubstantiated utterances on certain issues with a view to heating up the polity. Many of these utterances have been unfortunate, given the public status of the spokesperson who has been fanning the ember of religious hostility through implacable inflammatory utterances in a multi-religious country like ours.

When the unconventional rhetoric of the CAN leadership began on the pages of newspapers a couple of years ago, we took it for a temporary outburst that would soon fizzle out. This was reinforced by our solid commitment to the various layers of our interactions with the Christian community in the country and our belief that turning religion into a political gambit would be igniting a keg of gunpowder, hence our resolve not to respond in the like manner.

 

Despite the attitude of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) of not responding to frivolous and unwarranted media propaganda, we are constrained to recall that certain lies blatantly told in the past had undermined world peace in some parts of the globe and resulted in the death and displacement of millions of people.  It is on this note that we wish to prove that many of the claims of the CAN leadership in recent years on the state of the nation were motivated by reasons which were evidently at variance with the truth.

We are aware that not all our Christian compatriots appreciate or support the combative posture and aggressive rhetoric of the current CAN leadership. This is evident in a recent public rebuttal by the Bornu State’s CAN leadership of a baseless allegation that some churches and Christian schools were clandestinely marked out for demolition in the State. That State’s CAN leadership had to admonish the national leadership of CAN to always "clarify issues relating to Christian communities at the State level before making (embarrassing) public statements on such issues. …We feel that the channel had not been exhausted in this matter hence this response.”  

The mere fact that the Federal Government has been listening to fabricated data and the lies blatantly told about Islam and Muslims in this country have been reflecting in the polity especially  in the lopsidedness being witnessed in critical areas of Federal appointments and postings,even in the military and security agencies. Though we have data to the effect that about 85% of appointments as Heads of Federal Parastatals have been given to Christians through which the majority of Nigerians are marginalized, for now we want to principally address only the single example originated by CAN to illustrate our assertion that lies are being circulated as facts by CAN leadership in Nigeria for personal and political gains
Nigerians would recall that in the last week of July 2013, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, in a syndicated interview, alleged that “Nigerian Christians are treated as second class citizens”. The interview was published in the Vanguard of 27th July 2013, several other newspapers and on-line media. In the interview, among other mendacious statements, the CAN President alleged that Christians are being marginalized in Nigeria while the truth is obvious even to the blind that the opposite is the case.
On the Nigerian Television Authority, for example, the CAN President said: “Go to the Government owned media houses and see what is happening there, especially the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). I don’t know now because some of them retired at a point, but, before their retirement, the seven directors out of eight were Muslims. Turn that around and see what will happen. What do you call that? Second class citizens.”
While the reasons for which verifiable information are distorted and lies are publicly promoted based on mere conjectures, we want to aver that contrary to what the CAN President said, NTA, like other segments of the Nigerian enterprise, is a Christian enclave. Below is the list of the composition of the Management Board of the NTA since inception to date and the facts speak for themselves:
MANAGEMENT BOARD OF NTA (1976 TO NOVEMBER 2008)

1 MADUKA VINCEN T DIRECTOR GENERAL CHRISTIAN
2 O. OLUWOLE DIRECTOR FINANCE CHRISTIAN
3 CHIEF SEGUN OLUSOLA - DIRECTOR COMMERCIALS CHRISTIAN
4 ENGR. UGWU DIRECTOR ENGINEERING CHRISTIAN
5 MOHAMMED IBRAHIM/ YAHYA ABUBAKAR DIRECTOR NEWS MUSLIM
6 ADAMU AUGIE M.D NTPC MUSLIM
7 DR. VICTORIA EZE OKOLI DIR, PROGRAMMES (DG's OFFICE) CHRISTIAN

 

1 DR. WALTER OFONAGORO DIRECTOR GENERAL CHRISTIAN
2 SULEIMAN MOMODU DIRECTOR OF FINANCE CHRISTIAN
3 DR. VICTORIA EZEOKOLI DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMMES     CHRISTIAN
4 ENGR. ISAAC WAKOMBO DIRECTOR, ENGINEERING CHRISTIAN
5 YAHAYA ABUBAKAR DIRECTOR, NEWS MUSLIM
6 SEGUN OLUSOLA DIRECTOR, COMMERCIALS CHRISTIAN

 

1 SHINGLE IGWE DIRECTOR GENERAL CHRISTIAN
2 SEGUN OLUSOLA DIRECTOR, COMMERCIALS CHRISTIAN
3 SULEIMAN MOMODU DIRECTOR FINANCE CHRISTIAN
4 DR. VICTORIA EZEOKOLI DIRECTOR PROGRAMME CHRISTIAN
5 ENGR. ISAAC WAKOMBO DIRECTOR ENGINEERING CHRISTIAN
6 KERE AHMED DIRECTOR CORPORATE AFFAIRS MUSLIM
7 YAHAYA ABUBAKAR DIRECTOR, NEWS MUSLIM

 

1 MOH'D IBRAHIM DIRECTOR GENERAL MUSLIM
2 SULEIMAN MOMODU DIRECTOR, FINANCE CHRISTIAN
3 PATRICH ITYOHEGH DIR., NAT. PRODUCTION CHRISTIAN
4 DR VICTORIA EZEOKOLI DIR., PROGRAMMES CHRISTIAN
5 ISAAC WAKOMBO DIR., ENGINEERING CHRISTIAN
6 BAYO SANDA DIR., COMMERCIALS CHRISTIAN
7 YAHYA ABUBAKAR DIR., NEWS. MUSLIM
8 ABDULRAHMAN MICHIKA DIR., ABUJA PROJECT MUSLIM

 

1 MOHAMMED IBRAHIM DIRECTOR GENERAL (PART. PRIVATIZATION) MUSLIM
2 SAIDU ABUBAKAR   ED, FINANCE & ADMIN MUSLIM
3 PATRICK ITYOHEGH DIR, OPERATIONS CHRISTIAN
4 DR. VICTORIA EZEOKOLI ED, MARKETING CHRISTIAN
5 ENG. ISAAC WAKOMBO ED, ENGINEERING CHRISTIAN
6 PRINCE BAYO SANDA ED, PROGRAMMES CHRISTIAN
7 DR. MADU MAILAFIA ED, NEWS CHRISTIAN

 

1 PARICK ITYOHEGH DIRECTOR GENERAL CHRISTIAN
2 DR. VICTORIA EZEOKOLI ED, MARKETING CHRISTIAN
3 ENGR. ISAAC WAKOMBO ED, ENGINEERING CHRISTIAN
4 DR. BIODUN SOTUMBI ED, PROGRAMMES CHRISTIAN
5 DR. MADU MAILAFIA ED, NEWS CHRISTIAN
6 SAIDU ABUBAKAR ED, FINANCE & ADMIN MUSLIM

 

1 BEN MURRAY BRUCE DIRECTOR GENERAL CHRISTIAN
2 BABS AKINLOLU/ JAMES DUGGAN, ED, FIN./ ADMIN CHRISTIAN
3 ENGR. EDDY AMANA ED, ENGINEERING CHRISTIAN
4 JIMMY ATTEH/PETER IGHO ED, PROGRAMMES CHRISTIAN
5 DR. TONIE IREDIA/JIMMY ATTEH  ED, NEWS CHRISTIAN
6 MALLAM HASSAN BELLO ED, MARKETING MUSLIM
7 MALLAM USMAN MAGAWATA ED, TRAINING (1YR) MUSLIM

 

1 DR. TONIE IREDIA DIRECTOR GENERAL CHRISTIAN
2 EMMA MBANUGO ED, FINANCE & ADMIN CHRISTIAN
3 ENGR. EDDY AMANA ED, ENGINEERING CHRISTIAN
4 JIMMY F. ATTEH ED, PROGRAMMES CHRISTIAN
5 ENGR. SUNDAY IBOK ED, SPECIAL DUTIES CHRISTIAN
6 PETER IGHO ED, MARKETING CHRISTIAN
7 USMAN MAGAWATA ED, NEWS MUSLIM
8 MALLAM HASSAN BELLO ED, MARKETING MUSLIM

(Mallam Hassan Bello retired during this time which was followed by a re-organization process that left Usman Magawata as the only Muslim in the Management till 2008)

FROM NOVEMBER 2008 TO APRIL 2012 (Less than 4 years)

1 MALLAM USMAN MAGAWATA DIRECTOR GENERAL MUSLIM
2 MALLAM BELLO SULE ED, PROGRAMMES MUSLIM
3 MALLAM MUSA MAYAKI ED, FINANCE & ADMIN MUSLIM
4 MALLAM YAKUBU IBN. MOH'D ED, SPECIAL DUTIES MUSLIM
5 ENGR. SHUIBU NDA ADAMA ED, ENGINEERING MUSLIM
6 MALLAM GARBA MAMU ED, NEWS MUSLIM
7 PASTOR (MRS) IFY UZODINMA ED, MARKETING CHRISTIAN
8 VICTORIA OLUMIDI ED, TRAINING CHRISTIAN

 

1 MALLAM MUSA MAIYAKI AG DIRECTOR GENERAL MUSLIM
2 ENGR. SHUAIBU NDA ADAMA ENGINEERING MUSLIM
3 MALLAM GARBA MAMU ED, NEWS MUSLIM

OVERSEEING OFFICERS

1 MUHMUD UMAR PROGRAMMES (acting)  
2 DEMBO UMAR MARKETING (acting)  
3 WOLE COKER SPECIAL DUTIES/ multi channels  
4 FRANK WILLIAMS TRAINING (acting)  
5 NGOZI BARDA ADMIN. (Acting)  
6 PHILIP OFUEGBU DIR, FINANCE  


NOTE: The Secretary/Legal Adviser who is a key member of NTA Management Board has always been a Christian since the inception of NTA. The Secretaries, since inception, are:

  • MRS. DAISY DANJUMA
  • DR. DEJI AYINDE
  • MRS. NGOZI BARDA
  • MRS. PAULINE IGBANOR
  • MRS. TESSY NWANERI

The summary here is that members of the Board of Directors (External Board members) have always been about 80% Christian and 20% Muslim since the inception of the NTA. The propaganda launched against Muslims and falsehood peddled against them have often influenced the composition of the Boards and Parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation in such a way that Muslims have been grossly marginalized. For example, members of the New Boards of Federal Parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation are as follows:

1. Nigerian Television Authority (NTA)

1 Chief Patrick Ogbu Chairman
2 Bashir Samaila Ahmed Member
3 Daniel Bwala Member
4 Ahmed M. Agina Member
5 Dele Fagoriola Member
6 Rose Okoronkwo (Mrs) Member
7 Billy Etuk Member
8 Director-General, NTA Member

2. Voice of Nigeria (VON)

(1) Andy Aghaji Chairman
(2) Haruna Ahmed Member
(3) George Korgba Member
(4) Prof. Fred Onyeziri Member
(5) Oruma Steve Member
(6) Bature Umar Member
(7) Ogu Odey Member
(8) Director-General, VON  Member

3. Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN)

(1) Ben Murray Bruce Chairman
(2) Elvis Agukwe Member
(3) Funke Egbemode (Mrs) Member
(4) Bola Doherty Member
(5) Farouk Dalhatu Member
(6) Joyce Chinedu (Mrs) Member
(7) Hajia Hauwa Kida Member
(8) Abubakar Damboh Member
(9) Director-General, FRCN Member

4. NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA (NAN)

(1) Ibrahim Buba Chairman
(2) Vtony Prest Member
(3) Dr Attah Pine Member
(4) Ifeanyi Ossai Member
(5) Tons Fetepigi Member

5. NATIONAL ORIENTATION AGENCY (NOA)

(1) CHAIRMAN 

EDOH OBI

6. NIGERIAN FILM CORPORATION

(1) Bongos Igwue Chairman
(2) Sani Danja Member
(3) Wada Musa Member
(4) Bright Chinedu Nnebedum Member

This disproportionate composition as the names show characterizes various segments of the current Government’s Administration. The Christian community is being appeased and pampered while the rights of the Muslim community are being trampled upon with impunity.Where for God's sake is the sense of equity of the President of CAN?

ADMISSION INTO NDA TOO!

The recently published admission list of students into the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) is another shocker for Nigerian Muslims and a seeming precursor of a hidden agenda being nursed by the authorities in charge. The composition of that list through which Christians dominate such admission list even in predominantly Muslim States is a clear reminder of ‘Rwanda Experience’.

ANOTHER POINTER: FEC
Another display of flagrant insensitivity to all norms of justice and fairness is that there is no single Muslim from the entire Southern Nigeria in the cabinet of the current Federal Government. !
 
INSULT UPON INJURY
NSCIA used to assume that the apparent lopsidedness in those appoints was accidental but the constant reckless utterances of Pastor Oritsejafor have lent credence to the contrary. Moreso, his pronouncements have, of recent, become directives to the FGN.

Given this dangerous trend and the random deliberate provocation by the current CAN President to add insult to injury; the NSCIA is left with no choice than to join issues with CAN by updating Nigerian Muslims with unassailable facts. Having tolerated CAN’ s irritation for so long in the interest of peace and without any reciprocation, we are compelled to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH and to henceforth resist  any unwarranted bullying and intimidation of Nigerian Muslims by the President of CAN.  We insist that it is unbecoming of religious leaders to publicly tell lies in order to gain cheap popularity and vainglory and we believe that right-thinking Nigerians would, for the purpose of truth and justice, note these facts. Why would anyone who claims to be a religious leader want to lead Nigeria into the ugly spectre of a religious war through belligerent utterances and false allegations just to gain vainglorious self-assertiveness? Why would a religious leader not reflect before making a public pronouncement?

As Muslims, we affirm our belief in peaceful and harmonious co-existence with people of other faiths according to the tenets of our religion just as we recommit ourselves to working together with reasonable Christian brothers and sisters in Nigeria towards promoting what unites us .  Meanwhile, as a further demonstration of our tolerance, we still advise the national leadership of CAN to always PAUSE, THINK and VERIFY information before making public statements that may amount to fallacy and desist from its chosen path of war mongering just for transient pleasure and selfish cheap gains. If the politicians are busy heightening tension and increasing the national blood pressure, the role of religious leaders should be to douse rather than ignite an inflammable situation in the land. God save Nigeria.
 
Signed 

Muhammad K. Qasim
NSCIA Ag. Director of Publicity
FOR AND ON BEHALF OF NSCIA