Some retired military generals and Christian elders under the aegis of the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) declared on Thursday in Abuja that Nigeria was being Islamised. The retired generals included Theophilus Danjuma, Joshua Dogonyaro and Zamani Lekwot while Elder Solomon Asemota, Elder Moses Ihonde, Elder Shyngle Wigwe and Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife were among the elders.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) totally rejects this allegation. It is false, baseless, deceptive, malicious and provocative.
Using Christian and Islamic studies (CRK and IRK) which are in the current school curriculum as a launching pad for its tirades on Muslims in the country stands logic on its head because both Christian and Muslim leaders asked the Federal Government under ex-President Jonathan to make the two subjects compulsory for students who belong to their respective faiths.
However, we are not surprised at this latest development because Christian leaders are simply behaving to type. They have always been shouting wolves where there is none. Warnings against the ‘Islamisation’ of Nigeria is now an old song and nobody is interested any longer. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and its attack megaphones like NCEF are adept at subterfuge and their false alarms usually come after they might have committed an evil act. It is diversionary tactics.
Come to think of it. Why is the new false alarm coming just after the bloody massacre of an entire Fulani Muslim population in Taraba State? NCEF feels frustrated that its plot to Christianise Muslim children by using the old deceptive curriculum failed when government introduced a policy which grants religious freedom to all. What is wrong if government makes Christian Religious Knowledge compulsory for Christian students while Islamic Religious Knowledge is also made compulsory for Muslim students? How on earth does that translate to Islamising Nigeria?
NCEF is shouting blue murder because CAN’s plot of catching Muslim children as ‘fishes’ through a deceptive curriculum has been floored. It is a cardinal dogma of CAN that any child who lacks Christian moral training must end up as a social outcast and a burden on society. They therefore seek to compel Muslim children to take CRK and deny them the chance to study IRK. There is no gainsaying the fact that researchers have long agreed that the colonial master and later its ‘beloved son’ (CAN) used Western education as a tool of forceful conversion of Muslim children.
We must also call the attention of the Federal and State ministries of education to another grand plot of CAN which has been in operation for long. Teachers of IRK are being cleverly diverted to teach other subjects. Senior officials in the Ministry of Education who are Christians are made to compromise their positions. They conspire with CAN to neutralize teachers trained for IRK.
These teachers are not allowed to teach IRK when employed. They are threatened with dismissal and offered alternative subjects to secure their source of daily bread. Thus CAN creates scarcity of IRK teachers by diverting experts in the field to other subjects. On the other hand, Christian graduates of any subject under the sky are given juicy offers to drop their core areas to teach CRK. This is how our cunny neighbours who are now alleging Islamisation create scarcity by diversion for IRK but ensure proliferation by the same diversion for CRK parri passu.
Our claims are verifiable and we charge the Federal Ministry of Education in particular and the state ministries of education in the South West to launch an investigation into this. Many graduates of Islamic Studies who have been forcefully diverted to teach other subjects are ready to come forward. Those clamouring for restructuring have something interesting here. CAN has created a rot in the ministries of education all over the country and restructuring must start from there.
Besides, what is this idea of using former military generals to intimidate the country in an issue involving religion? When last did Muslims use their own generals to make noise? Must we flex military muscle over a civil matter? Why the emphasis on a statement “issued by retired military generals and Christian leaders”? Are the generals there to represent the Nigerian Army? To make what point? Who did this to CAN? The reference to war by the group is an admission that they are already making secret plans to wage war on Muslims. It must also be noted that the names of the army generals involved have been linked with one crisis or another in the past and this is the danger.
Otherwise why the assemblage of Christian war veterans in the form of army generals and why the need for the emphasis on the military elements in the group? Why do Christian leaders always mobilize their army generals? This attitude is suggestive of subtle intimidation and coercion. Is there any connection between this surreptitious union and the South African money-for-arms scandal which involved an aircraft belonging to Ayo Oritsejafor, former CAN president? Also, can any sane mind rationalize the involvement of Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife in this group? How does he fit in for crying out loud? So how Northern is the Northern Christian Elders Forum?
We declare clearly, categorically and unequivocally that Nigerian Muslims are not in any way moved by this subtle threat. Who is afraid of the Northern Christian Elders Forum? Count Nigerian Muslims out. We get the message but we dismiss it as the usual ranting of incorrigibly belligerent neighbours. Our avowed role in this country as tutored by our leaders is to work for peace, to pray for progress and to search for the stability of the Nigerian nation.
Instead of utilizing precious times on hard work that will put bread on the tables of Nigerians, CAN leadership has misled Nigerian Christians into superfluous religiousity, leading to a situation where a large proportion of the Nigerian population spends 17 hours daily searching for an ever elusive and perpetually fictitious miracle.
Every Christian civil servant or businessman in Nigeria today is being indoctrinated and made to believe that not only must he become a pastor, he must also own a church, a situation which has led to unbearable noise pollution as churches spring up in the most unlikely places: tiny 2 x 2 shops with huge signboards and gargantuan loud speakers. Yet morality continues to sink to a very low ebb.
MURIC charges the Nigerian military to caution its retired Christian generals. They must desist from brandishing their expired medals in our faces. Something has gone terribly wrong with their pre-retirement briefings. We appeal to CAN to allow Nigerians to work together as compatriots and without religious bias. Only thus can we forge a truly genuine nation where rewards for citizens are based on potentials and performance rather than affiliation to a church, a mosque or a tribe. Allow merit to be the deciding factor.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)