West & Central Africa

Nigerian Muslims pay tribute to late CAN leader

One of the Nigerian government’s chief critics, the Rev Dr Musa Asake died last week. The 66-year-old General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) was a staunch critic of President Muhammadu Buhari and the federal’s government’s complicity in the ongoing killings in Christian communities in parts of Nigeria.

An official statement by the Christian body on Thursday said “Asake, 66, passed away, on 11 May, 2018, after a brief illness.”

Rev Musa Asake

Asake spoke last week in a official Press Conference against “the incessant killings in the country where CAN called on Christians to embark on a peaceful protest” to pressure the Federal Government and security agencies into living up to their constitutional responsibilities of protecting citizens from the ongoing massacre by Fulani Herdsmen.

The Sultan of Sokoto and president of the Islamic body of the country, Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, in a statement, said, Asake’s death “will no doubt create a vacuum in the interreligious community, which may be difficult to fill… the entire Nigerian Muslim Ummah condole with the leadership of CAN and sympathize with the family of Dr. Asake, praying the Almighty God to grant them the fortitude with which to bear the agony of his death. We are all from God and to God we shall all return,” the Sultan said.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), an Islamic organization which opposed many of Asake’s statements described Asake as “ a great man.”

The statement added: “He was passionate about discipline and hard work… He was deeply committed to what he believed in and he left behind a legacy of activism, industry and patriotism. His sudden demise has left a yawning

Sultan of Sokoto, Saad Abubakar

gap which will be difficult to fill.”

The Islamic group added that “despite our differences, Musa Asake was an epitome of love, goodwill, humility, forgiveness and tolerance. We disagreed on matters of faith but we always agreed on issues affecting our dear country, Nigeria and humanity.

A spokesman for President Buhari who has been at loggerheads with the Christian leader, sent the President’s ‘condolences’. Recently President Buhari advised Askake to “stick to his religious duties and leave politics for politicians.”

 

Hassan John is West Africa Editor and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos.

Image Credits: Google Images/Sultan of Sokoto/Asake