The Niger state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, to fulfill his campaign promises by increasing the number of Christians in his cabinet.
Addressing journalists at its state secretariat in Minna the state capital at the weekend, the state CAN chairman, Revd. Mathias Echioda, said “we have maximally supported this administration led by Gov. Sani Bello for over two years and we are appealing to him to give us fare treatment.”
According to him, “it is not fair when, of the 15 executive members in ther state, Christians are only three commissioners. We therefore ask the government of Niger state to immediately address this political imbalance.
“The assurance of Christian presence amongst the principal officers of the governor (Deputy Governor, Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff and so on) were part of his promises that he would give us at least a seat.
“The lame explanation that people’s appointments were based on merit, not on religious leaning is untenable. We wish to remind Mr. Governor that a promise is actually a debt, and a gentleman is bound by his pledge”.
He added that “this will heal our present observation and fear that there is this deliberate arrangement to eliminate Christians from being involved in the governance of Niger state.
While calling on the governor to fastrack the engagement of teachers of Christian Religious Studies (CRS) in public schools, Revd. Echioda said that “this is of paramount importance to Christians. Whoever denies us of this, as other rights, is set at destroying our future and destiny. It was a deal before elections,” he said.
Accordingly, he said: “We ask Mr. Governor to, as a matter of urgency, put machinery in place for the employment of qualified teachers before September, 2017,” he said.
Echioda further expressed disappointment in the construction of public schools where the government only built Mosques and Christian places of worship are never taken into consideration.
The CAN chairman also called on the government to, without delay, bring back the Area Courts that were abolished so that Christians can seek redress. “We smell rats in the event Christians are forced to look for justice in the Sharia courts,” he said.