Niger: CAN flays exclusion of Christians in govt appointments

By Priscilla Campbell, Minna

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Niger State chapter, has faulted the exclusion of Christians in the recent appointments of principal Officers by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello.

The CAN state Chairman, Rev Mathias Echioda, said that the trend was an outright discrimination against Christians in the state.
He lamented:
"Christians took part and voted massively in the last general elections, but the governor disappointed us by appointing three Muslims and not even a Christian."
The governor, it would be recalled recently approved the appointment of Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane as the new Secretary to the Government of Niger State, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe was appointed as the new Chief of Staff to the Governor, and Hajiya Salamatu T. Abubakar was appointed the new Head of Service.
"We consider the most recent development as embarrassing, we consider it to be alarming, to be a disappointment and for this we are speaking on behalf of all Christians in Niger State.
"We have had a very good and cordial relationship with the present administration especially during the first tenure; we appreciate the mutual respect we enjoyed throughout that period.
"This was part of the complain in the last administration but to our embarrassment, surprise and disappointment, we got to know that the governor appointed an SSG, COS and HOS and none of whom is Christian," he said.
On competence, experience and expertise, the CAN chief said, "We have our hands full, we know that we have several competent people that have influence; movers and shakers in the happenings of our time.
"The last time Christians were members of the administrative body was during the administration of Muazu Babangida Aliyu. Dr. Aliyu had a COS and SSG who were Christians but when this administration came in, we discovered that we were deprived of all these.
"The government is giving us an impression that is easily understood. We want to say that we are beginning to doubt the cordiality and sincerity of our relationship with the government because the relationship that looks for my assistance only when they are in need and when you are out of the woods, you no longer consider my pains as to address it becomes what is termed a hypocritical relationship and a one-sided relationship will not work.”
The CAN chairman called on the governor to look into the issue and ensure that Christians are given their due share of the democratic dividends as far as appointments are concerned.
He called on all Christians in active politics in the state to join on the crusade to end the trend.

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