The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Muslim Council Taraba state chapter has fall in a loggerhead on issues regarding to the leadership of the state and the more populated religion in the state.
The feud between the two religion organization begins when the leadership of the Taraba State chapter of the Muslim Council of Nigeria cried out over the alleged marginalization of its members by the incumbent state government who is a christian.
The group which voiced out its displeasure during a media parley, expressed sadness at the alleged way and manner members of Muslim faith are relegated to the background especially in the area of appointments despite their massive population in the state.
Speaking to the Khadi of the muslim group Abdul-min Abubakar during a briefing, he lamented that all efforts to reach out to the government to address the anomalies, have turned into watershed.
According to him, he said “the council has noted with sadness and dismay the gradual purging of Muslims at all levels of governance and civil service by the current administration of His Excellency Governor Darius Ishaku as the governor of Taraba state.”
The Council also expressed displeasure at the recent appointment of twelve Permanent Secretaries who they alleged are all Christians.
He asserts that “Recently, twelve permanent secretaries were appointed and none of them is a Muslim, despite the presence of very senior directors among the Muslim population in the state civil service. Laid down procedures for employment in civil service are no longer followed in Taraba State.
“Right now, no Muslim heads any of the three arms of government in the state, the Head of Service, Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff are all Christians. All the state owned tertiary institutions, as well as media organizations, are all headed by Christians,” he said.
In this regards, the Christian Association of Nigeria responded to the muslim group, stating that they determine who becomes the governor of the state. This in turn, has provoked an atmosphere of religious crisis, hovering around the state.
On the 11th February, this year, the Christian Association of Nigeria in Taraba State respond to the muslim, stating that they would again determine who becomes the next governor of the state through its members’ majority votes.
The state chairman of CAN, Rev. Isaiah Magaji Jirapye, said the allegations by the Taraba State Muslim Council and MURIC were baseless and politically-motivated with intent to intimidate the Christian majority in the state.
According to him, he said, “We are a peace-loving religious group and will not want to join issues with our Muslim brothers but this cheap propaganda against the governor must stop in the overall interest of peace and progress.
“If Governor Ishaku was adjudged a good leader who has performed creditably by a Muslim monarch, the Emir of Muri, Alhaji Abbas Njida Tafida recently in Takum, why is the Muslim Council and MURIC speaking differently?
“We have the number and where the Christians vote that is where the winner will emerge in Taraba. We could have chosen to replicate what President Muhammadu Buhari is doing at the federal level and (Gov) El-Rufai in Kaduna, but we have being accommodating our Muslim brothers and our simplicity should not be taken for cowardice.”
CAN further state that there is growing persecution of Christians in predominantly Christian states in northern Nigeria and MURIC has been silent over such acts against Christians in states like Kaduna, Niger, Adamawa, Gombo, Nasarawa, Borno, Yobe and others.
This fallacy being perpetrated by mischief-makers who are bent on destabilising the peace of the society for their selfish aggrandisement must stop.
CAN said appointments made by the governor were based on merit and due process, adding that Muslims were occupying sensitive positions in the administration of Governor Ishaku.
This fireworks by the two religious organization has created a bit tension, that may escalate if not curtail.
In turn, the feud has drown attention of notables group in the state and outside the, advising the two religious body to leave by example.
The coalition of Civil Society Groups in Taraba on Monday, impelled the Muslim Council of Taraba State and the State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria not to build tension in the state but to work in unity to promote harmony and ensure peace.
A joint statement issued in Jalingo and signed by Onyeka Nwigwe, Executive Director, African Resilient Initiative for Community and Sustainable Development and four others, acknowledged the concerns of the two religious bodies and advised them to employ dialogue and find a peaceful resolution of their differences.
The statement read in part, “As concerned organisations committed to social cohesion and violence prevention, we watched with dismay, the recent tirades between the Taraba State chapters of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Muslim Council.
“We acknowledge the role of faith leaders in nation-building and their impacts cannot be overemphasized. We advise that they seek better avenues to dialogue and find a peaceful resolution of their differences.
“As the election circle begins, stakeholders, especially religious organisations and their leaders should endeavour to douse tensions and promote harmony and unity as their actions or inactions tend to impact the political atmosphere negatively or positively.
“We were all witnesses to electoral violence that was recorded in the state after the 2019 general elections and the resultant loss of lives and property, which necessitated the government to impose a two–week curfew.
“We don’t want a repeat of that as we build up to the 2023 elections. The recent tirades between the religious organisations are early warning signs that should not be overlooked.”
Religious crisis have been one of the leading cause of death in the north, and this is no different if it escalated.