The Christian Association of Nigeria has protested against the participation of the country in the ongoing 4th Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Nigeria is one of the countries featuring in the competition, which ends on May 22.
Fifty-seven countries were scheduled to compete in the Games, which officially begin on Friday, but Kuwait, Libya and Sudan were all forced to pull out for various reasons.
Kuwait are currently banned by the International Olympic Committee and efforts to help their athletes compete as independents under the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation’s flag ultimately failed, according to the AFP.
CAN asked the Federal Government to immediately withdraw the country’s athletes from the tournament, where they have yet to win a medal.
The General Secretary of CAN, Musa Asake, in a letter dated May 10, 2017 addressed to the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, said the participation of the country in the Islamic Games had contravened Nigeria’s secular status as the competition is exclusively for Muslim countries.
The letter entitled: “Illegal participation of Nigeria at the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation, BAKU 2017”, was also copied to the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
The letter reads, “It has come to our notice that the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation is organising its 4th Games titled BAKU 2017 in Azerbaijan between May 12 – 22 2017. Of concern to us is the information that Nigeria is listed as one of the 57 countries participating in the Games.
“The organisers confirmed that the Games are strictly for Islamic countries, because the ISSF is a section of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation. 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 caution those behind this illegal action 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 Nigeria’s membership of OIC should be withdrawn henceforth.”