By Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant (Media & Communications) to the CAN President.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Thursday describes the participation of the country in the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation which begins in Azerbaijan today illegal and asks the Federal Government to withdraw the country’s contigents immediately.
Nigeria is one of the 57 countries participating in the Sports event tagged BAKU 2017 which CAN in a statement issued and signed by its General Secretary, Rev Dr Musa Asake in Abuja.
In the protest letter addressed to the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, the office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation, the Senate President and the Speaker, the association reminds them that Nigeria remains a secular state.
The text of the letter reads thus:
“ILLEGAL PARTICIPATION OF NIGERIA AT THE ISLAMIC SOLIDARITY SPORTS FEDERATION, BAKU 2017
It has come to our notice that the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) is organising its 4th Game titled BAKU 2017 in Azerbaijan from 12th – 22nd May, 2017. Of concern to us is the information that Nigeria is listed as one of the 57 countries participating in the Games. This information is available on the official web page of the ISSF and can be confirmed at: http://www.baku2017.com/en/countries
The organisers confirmed that the Games are strictly for Islamic Countries because the ‘‘ISSF is a section of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC.)’’
We request that this claim and Nigeria’s participation should be investigated because, including Nigeria in an International engagement based purely on religion violates the spirit and letter of section 10 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). We wish to reiterate that Nigeria is a secular nation and any misrepresentation should be corrected without delay, and Nigeria’s participation be stopped immediately.
We further request you to please call those behind this illegal action to order without delay before further damage is done to the nation’s identity and the perception of the stance of the government of the day as pro-Islam. Nigeria’s membership of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should be withdrawn henceforth.”