CAN accuses Niger governor of sidelining Christians in key appointments

CAN accuses Niger governor of sidelining Christians in key appointments

- The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Niger state chapter, accused the state governor of abandoning Christians in his appointments

- CAN said Governor Bello has made four key appointments with no Christian included

- The religious body said its members supported the governor's re-election and should be included in the government

The Niger state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has alleged that appointments so far made by Governor Abubakar Bello were “lopsided”.

“Governor Bello has named appointees to occupy four principal offices; none of the appointees is a Christian. We think this is not fair because many of our members campaigned for him,” the state CAN chairman, Mathias Echioda, said on Thursday, June 13, in Minna.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Echioda, in a press conference, said CAN members offered “overwhelming support” to Bello during the general elections and deserved some recognition.

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“We see this development as equal to `political robbery’ and we believe justice was not done because Christians also contributed to enthroning the present administration.

“We believe that we should also be part of the decision making processes at the highest level. It is the only way to ensure that everyone is carried along,” he said.

Governor Bello recently made four appointments with Ibrahim Matene named Secretary to the State Government (SSG) while Ibrahim Balarabe was appointed the Chief of Staff.

Other appointees included Salamatu Bawa as the Head of Service and Adamu Aliyu the Principal Private Secretary to the governor.

While acknowledging the cordial relationship CAN enjoyed with the Bello administration in its first term, Echioda said the Christian body had expected an improvement on that.

“During Bello’s first tenure, we drew his attention to the need to appoint Christians into positions where they could also be part of the decision making processes.

“Anytime we raised that, the governor’s explanation had always been that the appointments were based on merit and participation in politics.

“During the campaigns, our members were active and many made personal sacrifices towards Bello’s success.

“We have competent people within our fold. It is no more a question of competence, experience and expertise. The governor has no reason to leave us out.

“Now that the battle has been won, the dividends should go across the stakeholders. Everyone should benefit. Everyone that participated in the elections and made sacrificial contributions to the success of the administration should also benefit.

“To whom much is given, much is expected. Christians in Niger participated actively during the primary and secondary elections. They deserve to be carried along,” he said.

When contacted, Aliyu said he could not speak on such sensitive issue without clearance from his principal.

“I cannot speak on such sensitive issue without getting clearance from my principal. That is all I can say,” he told NAN.

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In a related development, Esther Asabe Karatu, acting chief judge of Kebbi state, has alleged that Governor Atiku Bagudu refused to confirm her as substantive chief judge of the state because she is a Christian.

The acting chief judge reportedly disclosed this in a petition she wrote to the National Judicial Council.

The Kebbi state House of Assembly confirmed Karatu as substantive chief judge of the state on Thursday, January 17, but the governor reportedly refused to act on the Assembly’s confirmation.

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