It gladdens my heart to say a resounding HAPPY NEW YEAR 2022 to all Nigerians irrespective of their religious, tribal and political persuasions. Glory be to our God who helps us to escape all dangers and threats of the Year 2021 occasioned by the criminal activities of the bandits, terrorists, kidnappers and other unscrupulous elements amidst us.
2021 was one year too many as a result of the ways and manners these criminals have been operating with impunity as if this is not the country we have been all these years. It is as if they have taken over the country. They invade communities, markets, churches and schools. They kill, maim, destroy and kidnap without much resistance or hindrance.
They have turned our roads into death traps where they now kidnap for money, apparently due to the poor conditions of our roads and all of a sudden kidnapping has become a big business as the innocent people are being kidnapped and ransom in millions are being demanded and paid. Families of kidnapped people are at the mercy of the criminals! Some were not even fortunate as they were killed after the ransom has been paid! Our security agencies have been overstretched and the best done by our government is far from being enough if we must say the truth without deceiving ourselves. The Police have been parading the arrested kidnappers on the television but surprisingly, it appears as if they are too busy with their investigations to prosecute them!
We have cried in vain for help from the developed world and the United Nations. They seem to be more occupied and busy with COVID-19 than pay attention to the daily destruction of lives going on in Nigeria. At this juncture, I call on all Nigerians, irrespective of their religious affiliations, to rise up and cry for the mercy of God that can preserve us and bring an end to all these pains. It appears as if our governments have got to their wit end over the menace of insecurity. Their major focus now is on the 2023 general election. Can 2023 election happen if the nation is over-run by criminals? Our nation must survive first and be at peace before election can take place.
Except for the mercy of God to intervene divinely and miraculously, we would be like Sodom and Gomorrah. It is only God who can make the 2023 general election a reality. It is only God in his own way who can teach our leaders the right step to take. It is only God who can send us help from above. Because of the desperate situation we are, some governors are already calling for self-defence and declaration of state of emergency! This is unprecedented.
I call on all our denominational and church leaders to use the opportunity of the New Year Fasting and Prayers programme of our churches to rescue Nigeria from those who are hell bent in destroying it by deliberately praying for the mercy of God over our unfortunate situation. For the Lord our God is a merciful God. He will not leave us or allow these heartless criminals to destroy us. We serve a God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness It was in His mercy that He rescued the family of Noah against the Great Flood; He delivered Lot and his family in Sodom and Gomorrah shortly before the destruction of those cities. By his mercy, he delivered Israel from Egyptian captivity without Israel fighting any battle. The list of God’s merciful intervention in human affairs is endless. That same God will surely have mercy on our country in Jesus’ name.
May 2022 be the year of our total deliverance from all manners of insecurity challenges and blood letting in Jesus’ name. I wish all Nigerians a peaceful and highly prosperous new year.
Signed His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, the CAN President
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked the security agencies in the country to leave no stone unturned in their protection of all churches in Zamfara State in order to prevent the terrorists from carrying out their threats against Christians.
The State Police Command has reportedly confirmed that a threat letter was sent to the Christians in the state asking them to stop worship and to close down churches or risk their violent attacks. We also learnt that it was the Police that even informed the state chapter of the Association about the threat.
We know that all kidnappings and other criminalities being perpetrated in the North western part of the country are the handiwork of terrorists who either migrated from the North-East or those who were released under the purported rehabilitation programme of the Federal government. Now that a Federal High Court has labelled those criminals terrorists, we call on the Police, the military authorities and other security agencies to rise up to the challenge of the terrorists who have turned kidnapping into the biggest business venture in the geopolitical zone.
The way and manner by which our security agencies have been handling those criminals is totally unacceptable, reprehensible and unprecedented. Criminals are criminals irrespective of their religious, political and ethnic affiliations and they should be treated as just. We also call on the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police to Investigate those who are speaking for the terrorists with a view to unmasking their sponsors and beneficiaries of their criminalities.
The leadership of the national Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in our recent visit to Sokoto and Kebbi states was alarmed, surprised and shocked by the record of those criminals who are killing and kidnapping with impunity in the area as if there was a pact between them and the security agencies. Now that both the leaderships of Christianity and Islam in the country are working together on how to stop their criminalities in the North-West, they are now trying to introduce divisive ways by declaring war against Christians and churches in the zone especially in Zamfara State where they are gradually turning into their strongholds. We have no problem with Islam or with our Muslim brothers and sisters but with the handful fanatics and their financiers who have declared war against Christianity. We appeal to all peace loving Muslims to speak against those who are painting Islam what is not.
We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sanction any Commissioner of Police or Zonal Police Commanders and the Director of State Security Services wherever kidnappers operate in the country henceforth. This will go a long way in reducing the menace as we are approaching the Yuletide season. We have never had it this bad. We also call on the Federal government to refund all the ransom paid for the release of those who were abducted in the last five years. We reiterate our quest for the State Police in order to reduce the security burden on the Federal government controlled Police. The Police has been overwhelmed with the menace of insecurity in the country. President Buhari should also direct the Police to arraign all suspected kidnappers, bandits and terrorists in their custody with a view to stopping those who are perpetrating the atrocities. Failure to do this will force the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to ask our members to embrace the principle of self-defence wherever the security agencies appeared compromised.
Up till today, the perpetrators of the genocide in the Southern Kaduna are still walking freely despite the killings of hundreds of our members. We cannot be reduced to refugees in the country that belongs to us again.
Finally, we call on all Christians and peace loving Muslims to pray against their threats and for our security agencies to be able to stop all criminalities in the country. Enough is enough.
Signed Barr Joseph Bade Daramola, CAN’s General Secretary. 1 December, 2021.
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has cautioned the political parties in the country against heating up the polity with either Christian/Christian or Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket come 2023 general election.
The counsel was made on Thursday by the CAN’s President, His Eminence, Rev. (Dr.) Samson Ayokunle in a parley of the Association’s leadership with the Deputy Senate President, Senator Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege in his office at the National Assembly complex.
As part of the CAN President’s remark, he said; “We equally want to urge you on presidency, that a balance of both religious practitioners be considered. We don’t want Christian/Christian ticket nor Muslim/Muslim ticket”.
Speaking further, Dr. Ayokunle expressed dissatisfaction with the menace of the economic downturn and its consequences on the polity and called for an enabling environment to cushion the effects on the people.
He said, “Sir, the church is worried about inflation in the land which has sent many people out of business. Unemployment is at unimaginable level. While we appreciate the efforts of the legislative assemblies in calling the attention of the executive to this, more robust and daring efforts are required to nip these things in the bud. Enabling environment should be created for investments and incentives or tax exceptions given to local manufacturers on some goods.”
The CAN President commended the Federal Government on the management of the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic, also warns against forcing the people to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
His words, “We appreciate the Federal Government, especially the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 for the way this stubborn virus has been managed. We want to urge the government to continue to encourage Nigerians to take the vaccine, but never to force or coerce people into doing so.”
In his response, the Deputy Senate President registered his appreciation for the visit and called for more of such interaction with a view to bridging the gap between the National Assembly and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). He also appreciated the interest and the support of the Association in the efforts of the government to promote peace and unity and in its war against the pandemic.
He tasked the Church leadership to encourage people to take the vaccine to reduce the menace if the government should not force it on them.
The parley saw an awesome interaction between the law maker and the leadership of the association.
INDEPENDENCE DAY GREETINGS FROM THE PRESIDENT, CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CAN); HIS EMINENCE, REV. DR. SAMSON SUPO AYOKUNLE.
On behalf of myself and Christian Association of Nigeria, I congratulate all Nigerians on this occasion of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria from colonial rule of the British. With full assurance of faith in the Lord and the power of the Holy Spirit, at this difficult time, I prophesy that there shall be showers of blessings in the name of Jesus.
In Ezekiel 34: 25-30, Ezekiel prophesied to a people in captivity of the Babylonians that there shall be showers of blessings.
It is important to note that in Babylon, the children of Israel were eating the bread of affliction at the time. They were serving as slaves, they were suffering in the hands of the unbelievers who did not know God, they were a people who knew no peace because their land had been invaded and occupied by the surrounding hostile nations. In one sentence, the Israelites were a people with no hope of future!
The situation in Nigeria and of Nigerians today looks like that of Israel and Judah in captivity. We are already in the hands of the enemies because of our corrupt and sinful life. We are in pains of insecurity, inflation, unemployment, poverty is stirring many people in the face. Kidnappers do not allow us to rest. Some religious fanatics want to forcefully convert Nigerians into their own religion. This is the main agenda of the Boko Haram insurgents and the Islamic State of West African Province(ISWAP). They have caused and are still causing mayhem in the nation, killing innocent citizens. As the Lord lives, they shall not prosper in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For the past years, bad and selfish leadership we have had largely contributed to the unfortunate state we are today. These bad leaders did not plan for the country to grow and if they did, they never make effort to implement the development plans. They embezzled the commonwealth of the nation. By their action they threw the citizens into unnecessary sufferings and pains. Unemployed youths have taken to criminalities. Youths are trying frantically to run abroad to search for better life. Some in the process perished in the Mediterranean Sea or ended up being used as sex slaves. Some got themselves engaged in armed robbery and internet fraud, etc.
The situation humanly speaking appears bleak but knowing that God is not man and with him, all things are possible, this is the right time to believe that there shall be showers of blessings because some people are praying for this country. There shall be showers of blessings because God shall judge the evil doers in the nation. There shall be showers of blessings because God rules in the affairs of humans. There shall be showers of blessings because the thoughts of God towards us are good and not evil.
In view of the foregoing, I declare that there shall be showers of blessings in Nigeria in the name of Jesus.
The showers of blessings shall usher in the the following:
1. The Lord is going to cause peace to return to our nation in Jesus’ name and all agitations would cease.
2. The Lord would cause wild beasts, the criminals operating with various names as Boko Haram, bandits, kidnappers, murderous herdsmen, unknown gunmen to cease from our land in the name of Jesus Christ.
3. Violence shall become a thing of the past in Nigeria in the name of Jesus
4. All of us in Nigeria shall dwell in safety in the name of Jesus
5. Our economy would flourish and there shall be prosperity in the nation in the name of Jesus
6. Nigerians who had run abroad would return home because Nigeria would be a desired nation by everybody in the name of Jesus.
7. Your dry land as an individual the Lord will turn in swamp in the name of Jesus.
8. You will eat in plenty and the days of scarcity would be no more in the name of Jesus.
9. In the forthcoming 2023 election, no wicked leader shall be voted into power no matter how wealthy and powerful he or she may be in the name of Jesus Christ.
Finally, kudos to our military for the upper hand they are having over the insurgents and criminals tagged as bandits, wicked herdsmen murdering and sacking communities, etc. We encourage the law enforcement agents not to give these criminals any breathing space until the battle is won and Nigeria is safe again as before.
Once again, happy 61st Independence Anniversary to all Nigerians home and abroad.
Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle
President, Christian Association of Nigeria & Co-Chairman,
Lecture presented by Rt. Rev. Prof. Dapo F. Asaju (Bishop Theologian), at the Lagos Diocese Pre-Synod Lecture Series, held at All Souls Church, Lekki, Lagos on May 1 2021.
I congratulate the Lord Bishop of the Mother Diocese of Lagos, Rt. Rev. Dr. Humphrey Bamisebi Olumakaiye for the Synod of this year and for organizing this conference in order to add the voice of the Church to concerns about the security and welfare of our dear country, Nigeria.
Martin Luther King Jr. wrote:
“When evil men plot, good men must plan,
When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind,
When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love.
Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice”
THE RELEVANCE OF CHRISTIANITY TO GOVERNANCE, PEACE AND SECURE SOCIETY.
1. God is the creator of man and the world (Jesus is creative Agent- The Word of God – John 1:1-5, Colosians1:15-18. Therefore He has control over world affairs. He judges the world when they sin (Noah’s Flood) and He sends prophets like Amos to challenge evil rulers and leaders. He reigns in the affairs of men. He actually ran a Theocracy in Israel before the monarchy was introduced.
2. Man is a complex Being, made up of the Body, Soul and Spirit. It is Christianity that can influence his behavior and psychology (The Heart of Kings are in the hands of the Lord… He turns it wherever He wants- Proverbs 21:1).
3. The Bible is a manual for successful human governance, nationhood, peace and security.
– The government of the Universe is upon the shoulder of Jesus Christ and of the increase of His government there shall be no end ( Isaiah 9:6).
– His name is Prince of Peace. His influence has brought peace and civility to kingdoms and countries of the world.
– Only regenerated man can bring about good governance and peaceful reign. Man is intrinsically evil and wicked. God once regretted that He made man. God gives new heart and spirit which can enable them have compassion on the welfare of the people and receive revelation to govern aright. Otherwise, typical man is selfish, evil and corrupt.
4. There is a raging battle between the kingdoms of God and Satan (Ephesians 6:2).
Demonic influence over rulers and governments is well known. Many political leaders have involved themselves in pagan rituals including ritual killings and bloodshed of all sorts and are under the influence of Satan, Principalities and Powers…. The Church is the only establishment by God empowered to overcome evil forces and their manipulation of the society. Elisha healed a cursed land of Jericho (2 Kings 2: 18-22). In Daniel’s time, the Prince of Persia withstood the Angel sent from heaven to bring an answer to his prayer requests. (Daniel 10:13) What we see in
Events in different parts of the world, especially Nigeria manifests this ongoing battle in the end time.
Christianity is today under co-ordinated attacks from various opponents: Communist Atheism, Secularism in the West, Paganism in African communities and Islam.
5. The governance structure of Executive, Legislative and Judiciary is Bible derived (Isaiah 33:22 – “For the Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King. It is He who will save us”).
6. Similar trends of religious expansionism, terrorism and systemic domination in Nigeria are old strategies employed by Jihadists to take over North Africa and Asia in UK, USA, Asia and Middle East.
NIGERIA’S CURRENT SECURITY PROBLEMS
1. Islamic fundamentalism and terrorist Jihad in serial order such as Maitatsine, Boko Haram, etc.
2. Attempts at Internal re-colonization, domination and Islamization.
All activities and policies of Government point to these:
Dominance in: Government strategic ministries, Parastatals, Military, Police, Paramilitary, Finance, Education, Foreign Policy, Internal Affairs, Judiciary, Legislature, etc.
3. Fulani herdsmen deployed in every forest in nooks and crannies of Middle Belt, South-West and South-East.
4. Migration of multitudes of Northern youths, Almajiris, handicapped who settle in isolated settlements, fully armed, serving as Guards, Motor cycle transport riders, etc. These pose danger to peaceful settlements as most of these people have access to external remote control through their transistor radios, their mosques and the modern communication gadgets. The south can be overwhelmed if care is not taken by host communities to recover their sovereignty and defend their lands.
5. Spate of kidnappings, abductions, murder of innocent people, including students, ethnic cleansing of Christian communities in the north.
6. Outright failure of government due to incapacitation of the military to check Boko Haram and Isis, who are sacking communities, taking territories, taking over wives of communities, moving towards caliphate imposition.
7. Quranic challenges to Bible and violence instructions in the Quran: There is a need to appeal to fanatical Muslims to re-interpret these violent instructions as inapplicable to religiously plural societies of the modern day; rather they should emphasize the peace content which Islam means.
8. The Apparent silence and compromise by Southern Muslims to speak out against this evil,
9. Threats of secession and beating drums of war fare and restructuring, etc
10. Failure of Government at all levels, hyper inflation, arms proliferation among criminals, heavy debt burden, rudderless governments and complicity of government in the Islamisation agenda.
11. Politicization of Religion in Nigeria has been ongoing for many years in sectors of constitution, education, judiciary, public service, etc.
12. Tactical error of northern domination: Feudal elite exploit their people, Neglect of educating the people, using religion as political weapon and arming the Islamic uprisings such as Miatatsine, Boko Haram, Fulani Herdsmen, etc.
The Role of the Church in ensuring Safe and Secure Nigeria
1. Jesus Christ and Earlier prophets intervened in the affairs of the State: Joseph (economic policy to save from famine), Moses (liberation- Let my people Go), Elijah (challenged idolatry and autocracy of Ahab and Jezebel), Jeremiah and Ezekiel criticized false shepherds exploiting the sheep, Esther reversed decree to annihilate Jews (deliverance through positioning in strategic location [ WATCHMAN AND STANDING AGAINST EVIL]
2. The Early Church persecution and Constantine’s liberation and church -state relations. [CONVERSION AND EVANGELISM]
3. The Martin Luther’s and John Calvin’s Reformation of the Church opened up the world to freedom, education, enlightenment, democracy etc.
4. The Church led the fight for abolition of slave Trade through the parliamentary efforts of William Wilberforce.
5. The Church in Nigeria, like other parts of Africa participated in the vigorous fight against colonialism and for independence of African nations, through Ethiopianism. Names like Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther, Bishop James Johnson, Herbert Macaulay etc.
6. The Civil Rights Movement in USA was led by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a fulltime Baptist Minister. The church leaders can lead a peaceful revolution in Nigeria and other African countries towards peace, justice, equality and fundamental human rights of all citizens without oppression by one religion or tribe, of others.
7. Islamic Agenda and assaults against Christianity and the Church. [ NEED FOR CHRISTIAN AGENDA AND STRATEGIES TO STOP ISLAMIZATION and TERRORISM]
8. Loss of North Africa and Asia Minor to Brute force of Islamic Jihad, legislative sharia control. The Church was weakened by disunity, theological controversies and internal strife; thus the easy prey to Islamic invasion. [CHURCH TO AVOID DENOMINATIONAL DIVISIONS, FORGE UNITY AND MOBILISE MEMBERS TO ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE IN POLITICAL GOVERNENCE AND ELECTIONEERING]
9. The fundamental error of the Amalgamation. British positioning Northern dominance. Lugard covenant with North and official policy to resist Christian evangelism and missionaries in the North. [RESILIENCE OF THE CHURCH THROUGH ACTIVE PROTECTION OF THE VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES, CONGREGATIONS AND USE OF ALL PEACEFUL LEGAL MEANS TO MOBILIZE AND RESIST EVIL POLICIES].
10. International moves should be pursued to redress the fundamental amalgamation of the country and the much talked about restructuring should be vigorously pursued by non-violent means, after the patter of the USA Civil Rights Movement and Mahatmas Gandhi’s non-violent resistance.
11. The Church must deliberately design means of training and raising credible leaders who are disciplined and God fearing and knowledgeable enough to provide leadership at all levels and in all sectors of Nigeria. We are leaderless at the moment. The Church is the Light of the World and Salt of the Earth. Bad leadership endures because of absence of the good.
12. The Church must exit its indifference and lackadaisical attitude towards elections. They must register and vote, campaign and monitor elections to prevent rigging and god-fatherism. The church has for now sufficient population to effect positive change in governments at all levels. Note the populations of Roman Catholics, Anglicans (about 18 million), Pentecostals, Aladura, etc. With proper political education, necessity of current insecurity and failed governance should compel all good Nigerians of all religions (Christians, especially to ensure that the next elections in 2023 does not go to those who are bent on bringing this country down to the grave.
13. The Nigerian churches are too proliferated and materialistic. Some Pentecostal leaders live in too much opulence, being mentioned among the richest pastors in the world, preaching a wrong theology of prosperity theology at this time of national emergency! Of course they afford to own private aero planes and build many mansions and institutions in the names of their families, whilst there is abject poverty, killings, violence, joblessness, youth restiveness and refugees all over the societies.
The church must first cure itself of internal errors before it can challenge similar exploitations in the larger society.
14. There is need for mass reorientation of the citizenry and reeducating the present and coming generations about patriotism, nationhood, nation building, civics, etc., new curriculum to be redesigned for primary and secondary schools, to compulsorily include prayer and Christian religious education. Education is knowledge and
15. Prayer is effective but it must be complimented by action. Faith without works is dead. The Church must organize, protest, speak truth to power, instruct her members in government to be accountable to God through the church to do that which is just and right, and not to indulge in corruption or evil Through prayer and divine intervention, God has the power to humble preliminate all pharaohs and Nebuchadnezzars. And there will be peace in the land.
16. Where it is difficult for government security agencies to defend vulnerable citizens of Nigeria (Including Christians) in the face of rampaging killers, then the Church must organize security for their congregations and communities in all ways legal. They are entitled to defend themselves and their lives as well as that of their family and church members. The church can consult its members who are knowledgeable in intelligence gathering, defense strategies etc., to guide and educate them in case of emergencies. This is the stage we are at in Nigeria already where government fails to provide most of its constitutional obligations, forcing citizens to provide same for themselves. It will help if all prominent Christians in public and private sectors speak out to save Nigeria. Church Leaders should be bold to speak out against the insecurity that is going on in Nigeria. If they fail to be watchmen as commanded by God in Ezekiel, the blood of many people will be accounted for by them. Let us bring to remember the genocide in Rwanda and killings in Sudan, Somalia, etc. We cannot afford any civil war again in Nigeria. This is the time for everyone to shout- Enough is Enough!
When the current storm passes, we will need to reengineer and re-orientate our police and Armed Forces in a manner that will make them genuinely patriotic and committed to the security of one Nigeria. May God have mercy on us.
“If my People, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has declared three days of fasting and prayers against insecurity and bloodshed in the country.
CAN National General Secretary, Daramola Joseph, announced this in a circular dated May 11, 2021, and addressed the Christian body’s leadership at various levels. He explained that the leadership of the association is concerned about the various killings, banditry, terrorism, and other problems facing the country, Hence there is a need for important prayers to be offered to God.
The address states that “This is to inform you that the CAN President, in view of the continuous killings, banditry, and host of other problems in Nigeria has considered it imperative and absolutely necessary that our country needed prayers for God’s mercy and intervention in our land. “Consequently, all local churches are expected to gather in the evening of each day (May 28 – 30th) set aside for the prayers to pray to God in the attitude of mourning or soberness for the bloodshed of many innocent Nigerians most especially Christians. “In the light of these, the following are the suggested prayer points to be followed during the said prayer meetings:
“That we are sad and pained for the blood of many innocent Nigerians that evil people in our midst had shed or for those kidnapped and abused in various ways.
“That our leaders would do justice in leadership and show fairness to all ethnic and religious groups in all their actions so as to douse ethnic and religious tensions we have presently.
“That the law enforcement agents would rise to their responsibilities and provide the necessary security we need in Nigeria.
“That every step the terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, gunmen and other wicked people in our midst take henceforth would be failed. That unseen hands and the army of the Lord would fight them and Nigeria would be at peace.
“That the plans of the evil people in our midst to paralyze human, social and economic activities in this nation and throw the nation into chaos would be foiled by the Lord Jesus Christ.
“That God should forgive our sins wherever we as a church or Nigerians, especially our leaders had sinned against God.”
The CAN leadership had repeatedly expressed its displeasure with the current state of affairs in Nigeria, particularly the rising of insecurity across the country and demanding for better governance and security.
We align with the recent Punch Editorial and join our voices to the demand for Pantami’s resignation
THE PUNCH EDITORIAL HAS DEMANDED FOR PANTAMI RESIGNATION:
WHY PANTAMI MUST RESIGN OR BE SACKED Punch Editorial A brewing storm over sensitive allegations unveiling Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, as a fervent supporter of extremist Islamist sects, who preached their violent cause should not be overlooked.
The minister is under fire for vociferously espousing the violent Jihadist narrative of al-Qaeda and the Taliban before he was appointed minister by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.). These allegations are far too weighty and there is copious evidence that Pantami once held on to extremist ideology and expressed it openly. Therefore, the honourable step is for him to resign. Otherwise, Buhari should sack him for unfettered investigations to be undertaken.
The case against Pantami, which has gone viral on social media, is dangerously earth-shaking. Initially, the minister, who until his appointment in 2019 was the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, denied the obvious. But when he was confronted with his preaching in the 2000s on social media, he backtracked and claimed “immaturity.”
Essentially, Pantami’s past is catching up with him. Although he claims that he has “repented” of his Salafist ideology, his violent preaching of those days is damagingly chilling. Among other things, he said, “Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda,” and, “This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria.” In another, he reportedly endorsed the killing of “unbelievers.” And what is the difference between his statements and that of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the defunct Islamic State’s chief spokesman, who had called on Muslims in Western countries such as France and Canada to find an infidel and “smash his head with a rock,” poison him, run him over with a car, or “destroy his crops?” This is a cataclysmic ideology, which has upturned the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan; instigated the 9/11 terror attacks and charging at the very soul of Nigeria. So many more extremist views have been attributed to Pantami.
In his defence, Pantami argues that he has repented; that he erred as an innocent youth. This is a hollow excuse. He should not have aspired to the position of a minister, then. When, where and how did he renounce violent jihad? What of the fresh allegations on the social media that he approved an Islamic TV station to be broadcasting official programmes of the Ministry of Communications? Was this after his repentance? When did Pantami sever his ties to his jihadist past? According to Wikipedia, the minister, whom Buhari entrusts with the biometric data of Nigerians, trained under extremist Islamist scholars in Saudi Arabia, including Muhammad Ibn Uthaymin, whose extremist views include opposition to women driving in that country.
Whether Pantami admits it or not, his preaching then must have enticed some innocents into joining the Salafist crusade to cause mayhem and establish its global caliphate through bloodshed. The Boko Haram jihadists whom he now claims to have opposed, have tormented Nigeria, especially the North-East of the country, since 2009 with their vicious ideology. They have conquered territories, murdered people in thousands, kidnapped schoolgirls in Chibok and Dapchi, blown up the UN HQs in Abuja, attacked military formations and currently threaten the country’s corporate existence.
Beyond that, Pantami’s elevation to high public office exposes the ridiculous state Nigeria finds itself. All around, mediocrity, incompetence and questionable compromises are evident in the current miasma. First, Buhari was wrong to have appointed Pantami as a minister. It means the President’s yardsticks for such appointments are too pedestrian, perhaps based on extraneous ties apart from competence.
Second, the Senate, which screens ministerial nominees, is an abject, hollow chamber. In this case, the Ahmed Lawan-led Senate failed woefully. There was no rigour. It is shameful that nominees of questionable characters, some of whom harbour extremist views, did not have an NYSC certificate or forged documents are approved without question. The nauseating tradition of “take a bow” defeats the purpose of the screening, which is meant to sift out the chaff from the wheat. But the Senate has turned screening to a charade, sheer commercial and party affair, abnegating rigour.
This brings us to the State Security Service. What does it do when the executive forwards the names of nominees to it? As a party to the screening of nominees, there is no confidence about its reports to the parliament. The press, the watchdog, should be alert and henceforth, objectively unearth aspiring public office holders for the public to assess.
Pantami’s case happened because of deficient leadership that refuses to abide by global best practices in governance.
The Nigerian Senate should adopt a rigorous process in screening nominees. It is not compulsory that all the nominations from the executive should sail through; the job of the parliament is to deny incompetent and dangerous people the chance to gain top public office where they can do irreparable damage. In 2012, Goodluck Jonathan, the President, claimed that sympathisers of Boko Haram had infiltrated his government. “Some of them are in the executive arm of government, some of them are in the parliamentary/legislative arm of government, while some of them are even in the judiciary…Some are also in the armed forces, the police and other security agencies,” he had said. The Senate should wake up and replace indolence with diligence. Media scrutiny of prospective public officials should be stepped up.
The UK Institute of Government says individual ministerial accountability ultimately means an expectation that they should resign if something has gone seriously wrong. And truly, many things have gone awfully wrong with Pantami’s jihadist pantomime. His credibility as a minister has run out. He should bow out or be kicked out.
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, has urged churches in the country to follow strictly the COVID-19 protocols and additional directives by the relevant state government authorities as they prepare for the CROSSOVER NIGHT SERVICE.
We understand the unfortunate state COVID19 infection has put everybody world over which caused some state governments to place total ban on crossover night service and we are not happy that we would not be able to enter into the new year prayerfully in joint fellowship with our brothers and sisters. We however urge you all to abide by the directives of each state government on this so as to prevent the spread of the infection. There is no sacrifice that is too much in order to put an end to the pandemic once and for all. One thing that is certain is that, the end of COVID-19 is here at last in the mighty Name of Jesus Christ.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) advises that, where the government places an embargo on the Crossover Night service, churches may meet earlier to praise and give God praises for the gift of life despite the pandemic and to place their requests for 2021 before God. In those states, services should be closed about 10:30pm or at most 11:00pm to enable worshippers to return home on time. It is a passing phase and this too shall pass away in Jesus Name. Very soon, the pandemic will become history and we will return to our usual routine services in Jesus’ Name.
We appeal to all state governments to be relating with the leadership of CAN under their watches for understanding and support on their directives. We are partners in progress and development of the country.
We also call on local government authorities to enforce the COVID-19 protocols in our markets and in the transport sector.
Our Condolences to the family of the late Professor Charles Adeyinka Adisa
On behalf of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), I commiserate with the family of the late Prof Charles Yinka Adisa on his glorious Home Call. It was one death too many because nobody expected such a God’s General to depart from the scene when his contributions are still highly needed. Prof Adisa used his influence and position to speak for the Church in the country. He led the Nigeria Christian Graduate Fellowship and other related groups to champion the cause of the Body of Christ. We cannot forget their contributions during the agitation for the restoration of Christian Religious Knowledge back to the public schools, CAN’s position on the controversial Ruga Settlements, Company Allied Matters Act (CAMA), lopsided appointments, etc. Our consolation is that, for Christians, to die is gain. He served the Kingdom to the end and he has gone to his rewards.
Our condolences go to his immediate family, especially his wife, who stood by him to the end, the Nigeria Christian Graduate Fellowship, the Think Tank for the Body of Christ, colleagues, friends and relatives. May his home call be a challenge to us to be sincere in our services of the Lord.
Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has expressed sadness over what it described as the unfortunate wastage of lives of unarmed young Nigerians who were protesting at the Lekki Tollgate in Lagos.
The association’s President, Reverend Samson Ayokunle, who expressed the shock while briefing journalists on Thursday in Abuja, said soldiers had no business with the peaceful protesters.
Ayokunle said that though the military had denied being responsible in spite of some glaring evidence and eyewitness accounts, their presence at the scene of the incident did not help their matter.
“Whoever ordered the shooting of unarmed citizens on legitimate protest in a democracy for whatever reason has crossed the red line and has caused more pains for this nation and many parents of these young and promising Nigerians, who would have been Nigeria’s future glory.
“In very strong terms, CAN condemns the dastardly and callous act. It is a minus for our democracy and a scar to be remembered forever.
“On the other hand, we appeal to all Nigerians that the arson, wanton destruction of property and infrastructure that have followed the killings, though one understands that they came out of the provocative killing, should stop.
“It would further inflict pains on fellow Nigerians who are either working in those facilities or deprive them the benefits which those facilities are providing on daily basis,” he said.
“One of such critical facilities is the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) buses which are providing ease of movement to Lagos workers on daily basis.
“Ours is a special appeal as spiritual fathers, priests and prophets to the nation, for calm to allow comprehensive peaceful resolution of this situation.
“An adage says, ‘cutting off one’s head can never be the right medication for a headache.
“From the side of the government, let there be humility that the response to the protest by what happened on Tuesday night at Lekki tollgate was not good at all”, he said.
Ayokunle, however, urged the government to speak soft words to the nation to calm the situation and assure Nigerians of immediate action if the situation repeats.
He further advised the government to bring the uniformed men who killed the protesters to book, in order to ensure that those whose lives wasted got justice.
The CAN President called for effective dialogue among all the relevant stakeholders, especially opinion leaders such as the traditional rulers, religious leaders and leaders of various youth groups and others.
He said there was the need for the bodies to come together to proffer solution to what he described as a ‘great threat’ to our nationhood.
“Wisdom is required and urgently too, so that things may not deteriorate further. We send our condolences to all the families who have lost their loved ones prematurely in this unfortunate incident. We pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit for them all.
“We advise the government to compile the list of those killed nationwide during this protest, especially those shot dead on Tuesday and compensate their families, as a way of identifying with them and ameliorating the pains of the irreparable loss. “It is our prayer that our country will rise from this terrible experience to be a better nation, where the law enforcement agents are humane and thoroughly professional in the discharge of their duties,” he said.
…Calls for immediate resolution of FG-ASUU conflict
…Offers suggestions to end the protest
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has commended the youths who are advocating for the reform of the Police either through #EndSARS protests or Prayer Walks nationwide for embracing peaceful approach. We are not unaware of your sacrifices; time, money and other risks in your quest for a reformed Police and an egalitarian society. CAN acknowledges and appreciates your patriotic agitation in a peaceful manner despite the pockets of attack against you either by the Police or some hired thugs to disrupt the exercise. We condemn in strong terms every attempt being made to stop or disrupt the peaceful protest which is lawfully allowed and guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended). We are monitoring the #EndSARS protests nationwide and we are praying that their unprecedented efforts to have a decent society will not be in vain. We call on the Military and Police to resist the temptation to intervene in a civil protest in order to avoid a harvest of deaths. We have had enough of mass burials without fighting a war in the recent past. CAN is calling on the Federal and state governments to walk their talk with a view to restoring the lost TRUST to the governed by doing the following:
1. Immediate inauguration of Judicial or Quasi-Judicial panel with representatives of the Civil society at all levels with a view to bringing all the criminals in uniform to book.
2. President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately send an Appropriation bill to the National Assembly for the compensation of all victims of the Police brutality and other extrajudicial killings in the last 10 years.
3. Fresh recruitment into police should take background check of those being recruited into consideration so as to avoid recruiting criminals into the force as we had seen. Similarly, semi-literates should never be recruited into the Police again. Well educated, morally and mentally sound people are good enough to wear police uniform in Nigeria.
4. All the three tiers of the government should stop paying lip service to the welfare of the people and immediately begin the welfare programme that will bring succour to the suffering masses occasioned by the increase in the fuel pump price and the power tariff. 5. Each of the 36 state governors including the FCT Minister should set up a committee to dialogue with the representatives of the protesters to douse the tension in the country.
6. The Inspector General of Police should suspend the implementation of the establishment of SWAT until sanity is restored to the Police. All the officers and rank and file who were members of SARS should be screened administratively to unmask the rotten eggs among them with a view to sanctioning them.
7. The mass unemployment of our teeming youths who graduated from higher institutions and continued closure of our universities as a result of unresolved University lecturers welfare and infrastructural demands have fuelled this current #EndSars protest. The government should wake up now and provide a future for our youths through provision of gainful employment or enabling environment for their employment.
8. Federal government should do the NEEDFUL to reopen all the closed tertiary institutions in the country with a view to addressing the rot in our educational system. All things necessary should be done urgently to resolve the deadlock in negotiations between the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria and the Federal Government.
9. Our roads must be made motor-able throughout the country for ease of moving human and economic goods while interrupted electricity supply should be ensured among other infrastructures requiring urgent attention in our nation. Our leaders need to wake up to pragmatic and task-oriented leadership now so as to save our nation. We call on all churches in the country to be praying for the deliverance of our country from all self-inflicted problems. God will surely deliver us from all these hardships as our leaders resolve to make us proud of them by being more accountable to the citizens of this nation in Jesus’ name.
His Eminence,Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)