The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has faulted the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over its insinuations of religious marginalisation on the shortlisting of 20 Justices-designate by the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC).
This was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday, April 6, by the Ag. Director of Administration, NSCIA; Prof. Salisu Shehu and Deputy Secretary General, NSCIA Arc. Haruna Zuberu Usman-Ugwu.
According to the NSCIA, it was compelled to reply CAN as it has often resisted joining issues with CAN; only as a matter of principle.
The Council recalled that not too long ago, it was forced to expose the marginalisation of Muslims in the successive Boards of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA); after CAN made one of its wild and mendacious allegations of Christian marginalisation.
“It is actually a wicked strategy and unholy tactics to accuse Muslims of marginalisation though Muslims are the ones being deliberately and systemically marginalised by Christians, who continue to consolidate on the colonial agenda of emasculating Muslims,” NSCIA said.
It said that the narrow-mindedness of CAN is playing out again; especially in the deliberate distortion of the issues surrounding the shortlisted 20 Justices-designate.
It said, “Though the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, on her honour stated unequivocally that the procedure of the appointment followed ‘due and usual process’ and that the recommendation ‘was done without any preference for tribe, creed or association’; mischief makers, ethnic jingoists and religious bigots resorted to blackmail.
“In venting their spleen against the development, CAN especially and its apologists choose to ignore the fact that Muslims are a minority in the religious composition of the Court of Appeal.
“The truth is that Justices of the Court of Appeal (JCAs) are 70. But the North with 19 states has 34 while the South with 17 States has 36. The South thus has more JCAs than the North.
“Meanwhile, out of the 36 JCAs from the South West (where Muslims are a majority); South East and South South (in both of which Muslims have considerable indigenous populations); all the JCAs are Christians except for Justice Habeeb Adewale Abiru of Lagos State and Justice Mistura Bolaji-Yusuf of Oyo State.
“But in the three geo-political zones of the North where Muslims are predominant; there are 34 JCAs out of which 15 are Christians. In other words, the North East has four Muslim JCAs and seven Christians; the North Central has six Muslim JCAs and seven Christians; while the North West has nine Muslim JCAs and one Christian JCA.”
The council added that of the 36 from the south, only two are Muslims, and that however, the three geopolitical zones of the south have only two Muslim JCAs while the three geopolitical zones of the North have 15 Christian JCAs.