The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on Tuesday asked the Federal Government to ban some ethno-religious organisations in the country including the Arewa Consultative Forum, Ohanaeze, Afenifere, Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI) and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
Mr Sanusi, who was a guest speaker at the dinner organised by the Northern Reawakening Forum (NRF), said such bodies are no longer religious or cultural in nature but political associations.
“These religious organisations, the Arewa, Afenifere, including Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI) and CAN, should be banned because they are not religious organisations, they are not culture organisations, they are political associations under the guise of religious organisations,” the CBN governor said.
He said the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that the Federal Government must promote associations that cut across ethnic groups and the religious divide, adding, “But what we have are religious organisations that invite government officials to speak and the organisations honour them. They are just glorified institutions.”
The CBN governor said that the difference between a Muslim and a Christian in the North is nothing compared to the wide gulf between the rich Muslim and the poor Muslim, which also applied to the Christian in the North.
He said that the North is sitting on a time bomb waiting to explode, noting: “Agriculture farming there is subsistence. There is no development, no education, no prospect for employment and therefore we are sitting on a time bomb.”
Other notable speakers at the event included the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Audu Ogbeh, who said security challenges in the North had set the region on fire, and the former chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ahmed Joda, who accused political leaders of overheating polity and tearing the country apart.
The National Chairman of the NRF, Mohammed Umara Kumalia, said the region had evolved from a people with a great and enviable culture and tradition to the present state where acute poverty, ethno-religious conflict, insecurity, disease and erosion of core values had taken over the life of many and made economic progress almost impossible in several parts of the North.
He said the forum was established to offer support to other stakeholders to elevate the North to its glorious days when peaceful coexistence, tolerance, hard work, service, respect, equity, honesty, humility, trust, brotherhood, commerce, agriculture, trade and above all pride were the values and culture of the people that today populate about 76 per cent of the geographical entity called Nigeria.