The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, in the 19 Northern States, yesterday, frowned at cases of Christian minors in the North, forced into marriages to adult Muslims with the knowledge of Emirs.
The group, also known as “Northern CAN”, equally kicked against Nigeria’s membership of the Coalition of Islamic Countries Against Terrorism.
These positions were taking after the emergence of Reverend Yakubu Pam as the new Chairman of Northern CAN.
Pam, then Chairman of Plateau State CAN, had drew the ire of former President Olusegun Obasanjo during a reconciliatory meeting convened by Obasanjo in Wase, Wase Local Government Area, LGA, of Plateau State between Christians and Muslims in the heat of ethno-sectarian clashes that engulfed the lower plateau in 2004.
Pam had observed at the gathering that Obasanjo was not fair to the Christian side in his comments.
A furious Obasanjo had responded: “You idiot! You are talking absolutely nonsense…you are Chairman of CAN; CAN my foot!.”.
Pam took over from Archbishop Peter Jatau, yesterday, as the new Chairman of the more than 40-year-old association.
The new spokesman for the association who was one time Secretary-General of the Kaduna chapter of the CAN, Reverend Joseph Hayab, said that the Ese Oruru case was one of numerous cases in the region.
He said, “Church leaders expressed concern because reports reaching us from different states showed that innocent underage Christian minors have been kept in different palaces under the guise that they will change their faith and are ready to be married out without the consent of their parents.
“The Church leaders are saying government must be up to its responsibility of tackling the issues without playing politics with them. We are saying, government, wake up and live up to expectation.”
The Northern CAN, according to him, also frowned at Nigeria’s membership of Islamic Countries Fighting Against Terrorism.
He said: “Though Christians in the North, who are mostly victims of terror attacks over the years, abhorred terrorism in its entirety, we needed more clarifications from the government of the day of our membership of any coalition against terrorism.”