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What We Discussed with Buhari - CAN President Speaks Out After Aso Rock Meeting

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I just welcomed Christian leaders to the State House, for a meeting. At 2pm I will meet with Muslim leaders. Our diversity is one of the most important things about us as a nation, and we must do everything in our power to promote religious harmony and understanding.
TORI News earlier reported that the leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Friday, met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja in a meeting which was attended by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; Babagana Monguno, national security adviser; and Winifred Oyo-Ita, head of service of the federation, and others.
While speaking with State House correspondents after the high profile meeting, the President of CAN, Sampson Ayokunle, disclosed that the association told President Buhari to withdraw Nigeria from international religious organisations, address insecurity in the country and ensure payment of workers’ salaries.
According to Premium Times, Ayokunle, who said the meeting was called by the president long after the association complained that its request for an audience with the president had not been granted, said the meeting was “better to be late than never.”

President @MBuhari in a closed-door meeting with members and leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The CAN leadership has been critical of many actions of the government under Buhari, including the recent receipt of a N100 billion Islamic Sukuk bond, which the government distributed for the construction of some federal roads. CAN has also accused the president of plotting to Islamise Nigeria.
Ayokunle who spoke with reporters after the meeting, said the Christian leaders were “very humbled by the calm disposition of the President”, adding that such meetings with the president “will always make people be ready to offer help to the government.”
The CAN leader said the association’s objection to Sukuk was because it believes that it was an abuse of the Nigerian constitution. “As I said before, there wasn’t any demon in Sukuk bond. But what was wrong is the constitutionality,” he said.
Ayokunle said while no CAN member was opposed to any Muslim running their own financial system, “what is wrong is for the government to be the one who will be promoting it and initiating it. It was a violation of the constitution.”
Speaking further, the cleric said the meeting with the president discussed the need for the government to keep the sanctity of the constitution, which will guide the behaviour and actions of citizens.
He said apart from the demand to withdraw Nigeria from all religious organisations, CAN also asked the president to ensure constant payment of salaries to Nigerian workers.
He said government’s inability to pay workers’ salaries across the country has heightened tension and led to suicide and increase in crime. “When people can’t find food to eat, they resort to whatever they can lay their hands on,” he said.
Ayokunle also said CAN advised Buhari to authorise the recruitment of more police officers to beef up security across the land. “We have the problems of kidnapping, armed robbery, herdsmen attacks, militancy is also on the increase, about 300,000 police cannot police a nation of about 200 million people, even if they are given the best of equipment.

“There are lots of young people who are ready to work. Government should therefore vote more funds for security. We also advised the government to address the issue of Fulani herdsmen squarely,” he said.
The CAN leader said the president responded “in the affirmative.” He said the menace of rampant attacks was as a result of the end of late President Muamar Ghadafi in Libya “whereby those who were armed by him have now moved down South, infiltrating into our country and are living with the herdsmen in Nigeria ravaging entire communities.”
He said Buhari said he was doing something to stop the menace. CAN said it looks forward to more action from Mr. Buhari, especially in the area of “lopsided appointments, where some states have 30 people and another states having less than three. This will not give any sense of belonging to the government and to the country.”
He said CAN had been helpful to Buhari by constantly speaking out against what it perceived to be going wrong in the country.

“The people that don’t talk are the enemies of the nation. When you see things going wrong, you quickly speak out so that they can be corrected, so that the nation can move together as one,” he said.

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