The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) – His Eminence, Most Rev. Dr. Daniel C. Okoh has on behalf of the association, congratulated the Primate of The Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide, The Most Rev. (Dr.) Rufus Okikiola Ositelu, on his emergence as the President of the World Council of Churches (WCC) for Africa.
The President described Rufus Ositelu as a trailblazer, visionary leader, great ecumenist and mighty man of valour, full of the Holy Spirit, and abundant in Grace. Stating that his experience and track-record all through the years in ecumenism is a confidence that the Church leader will definitely take the ecumenical body in Africa to the next level.
His statement reads:
The news of your emergence as the President of the World Council of Churches (WCC) for Africa, and indeed the first Nigerian and African to occupy that exalted position since 1948 of its establishment, didn’t come to us as a surprise. This is due to the fact that we have known Your Holiness, not just as a mighty man of God but as a trailblazer, visionary leader, great ecumenist and mighty man of valour, full of the Holy Spirit, and abundant in Grace.
We are very confident that WCC is about to witness the undisputable hands of God in yet another apostolic dimension through your emergence. Your imperishable records as the 4th Primate of the Church of the Lord (TCL) Worldwide and former Vice-President of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) are enviable testaments of the exceptional Grace of God on your life.
The Almighty God, who is the fountain of all wisdom will continue to refresh your mind, increase your anointing and grant you all spiritual and material blessings to function effectively in this new capacity. Let me assure you that as an Association, our thoughts and prayers are forever with you as you begin this new assignment. We are not in doubt that the Church of God in Nigeria and indeed Africa will be proud of you.
Once again, I rejoice with Your Holiness, members of your immediate family and the Church of the Lord (Aladura) Worldwide on this historic milestone.
The 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) holding in Karlsruhe, Germany, has presented Eight new Presidents, as announced by the moderator Dr. Agnes Abuom during the day’s plenary session in Karlsruhe.
The new WCC Presidents were drawn from Six regions and Two from Orthodox churches, in the Assembly vote on held on the 5th of September, 2022 with 574 delegates present.
As inscribed in the WCC Constitution, the role of the WCC presidents is to promote ecumenism and interpret the work of the WCC, especially in their respective regions. The presidents are ex-officio members of WCC central committee.
The Present Presidents are:
From Africa, Rev. Dr Rufus Okikiola Ositelu, of the Church of the Lord (Prayer Fellowship) Worldwide, was chosen as the regional president. Ositelo will be the first WCC president from an African Instituted Church.
Ositelu is the Archbishop and metropolitan of the Arch-Province of Nigeria, and the fourth primate of The Church of the Lord (Prayer Fellowship) Worldwide. He served on the WCC central committee between the WCC 8th Assembly in Harare and the WCC 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre.
Rev. Dr Henriette Hutabarat-Lebang, from Gereja Tora, a Reformed church in Indonesia, was elected Asia president. Hutabarat-Lebang is a church leader and ecumenist from Indonesia. She is a current member of the WCC central committee, and has served the ecumenical movement since her involvement in the Youth Working Group of the National Council of Churches in Indonesia beginning in 1976.
Caribbean and Latin America
From the Caribbean and Latin America, Rev. Philip Silvin Wright, Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Belize, was elected as a president.
Ordained a deacon and a priest at the historic Anglican Cathedral Church of St John the Baptist in Belize City, Wright worked primarily in the pastoral ministry in various districts in Belize.
Wright has served on several boards and committees, including the National Commission for Good Governance, the Board of Governors of the University of Belize, the National Committee for Families and Children, and the Community Rehabilitation Department.
For Europe, Rev. Dr Susan Durber of the United Reformed Church (United and Uniting) will serve as president. She is an ordained minister of the United Reformed Church in the UK.
Dr Durber has served local churches as a pastor in the united church. She served as principal of Westminster in Cambridge, part of the Cambridge Theological Federation, and as theological advisor for Christian Aid, an agency of the churches in the UK for international development.
She attended the World Conference on Faith and Order in Santiago da Compostela as a younger theologian and a few years later a consultation for younger theologians in Turku, Finland where she was inducted into the ecumenical movement and mentored by those with much experience.
Rev. Dr Angelique Walker-Smith of the National Baptist Convention USA, Inc., will serve as president for North America. Walker-Smith is the national senior associate for Pan African and Orthodox Church Engagement at Bread for the World based in Washington D.C.
She has been Ecumenical Representative for National Baptist Convention USA, Inc. and is a current member of the WCC central committee, and is engaged in work of the National Council of Churches in the USA. She is also President of the Historic Black Church Family of Christian Churches Together also made up of many of the USA national churches. She also served as initiator of the Pan African Women of Faith Networks.
The Pacific’s president will be Rev. François Phiaatae, of the Maòhi Protestant Church a Reformed church. Pihaatae is from Maohi Nui (French Polynesia) and is an ordained minister of the Etärëtia Porotetani Mäòhi (Mäòhi Protestant Church).
In addition to his parish responsibilities Pihaatae was called on to take on broader leadership responsibilities when he was elected chairman of a circuit of the church, a position he held for nearly ten years. As chairman he was also an active member of the Church Executive Committee and Synod where he initiated many programs to benefit churches of the region.
Pihaatae gained significant global leadership experience when he served as a member of the WCC Churches Commission for World Mission and Evangelism, 2000-2005.
For the Eastern Orthodox churches, H.E. Metropolitan Dr Vasilios of Constantia – Ammochostos, Church of Cyprus, will serve as president. Metropolitan Vasilios is a native of Ammochostos on the island of Cyprus.
After he finished his basic education, Vasilios joined the brotherhood of the Monastery of the Apostle Barnabas and was tonsured a monk with the name Vasilios. He lived at the monastery until the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
While pursuing his education, Vasilios entered the Holy Orders when ordained a deacon at the Apostle Barnabas Monastery and a priest in Cyprus, raised to the dignity of archimandrite, and then was elected Bishop of Trimithounta by the Holy Synod of the Church of Cyprus.
H.H. Catholicos Aram I, Catholicos of the Armenian Apostolic Church of Cilicia, at the Catholicosate in Antelias, will serve as a president for the Oriental Orthodox churches president. He is a former moderator of the WCC central committee.
Aram has played an important role in initiation of Oriental Orthodox-Roman Catholic and Oriental Orthodox-Lutheran Theological Dialogues. His Holiness has served as a president of the Middle East Council of Churches since November 2007.
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has forgiven Sterling Bank and its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman over the provocative Easter greeting advertised by the Bank where it compared the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to ‘Agege Bread.’
CAN in a statement signed by the General Secretary, Barrister Joseph Daramola, acknowledged that they have written an acceptable and genuine apology letter dated 20 April, 2022 to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) personally signed by the Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar Suleiman.
The statement reads:
“As a result of this development, CAN has resolved to forgive Sterling Bank and its Chief Executive. We always remember that ‘to err is human and to forgive is divine.’
In taking this step, we are following the footsteps of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ who asked God to forgive those who nailed Him to the cross unjustly and has taught us to forgive always.”
We hereby call on all Christians in the country to join us in forgiving the Sterling Bank and its management. Those who are considering stopping patronizing the bank as a result of the blunder should stop the process but instead continue doing business with the bank.”
“We appeal to corporate institutions especially the banks to be more sensitive, considerate and professional in handling their public messages. Whatever that can cause religious crises in the country should be avoided at all costs, both by the government and the business sector.
“We appreciate our youths who heeded our directive and refused to be dragged into the streets to protest against the bank as being touted in some quarters.
Finally, we acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the well meaning Nigerians who intervened in the matter. May the blessings of Peacemakers be their portion in Jesus’ name,”
The President, Christian Association Of Nigeria (CAN) – His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle requests all Church Leaders, through your various Churches to organize a Solemn Assembly to pray for Nigeria on the 13th, 14th and 15th of May, 2022. We are to passionately call upon the Lord to:
Show Nigeria mercy and divinely intervene in all affairs of our nation, especially economic, political and security matters so that the nation my not violently collapse.
That God would speak to our leaders to take the right steps in addressing the dangerous situations into which we have put ourselves.
That our political leaders will not set the nation on fire or tear it apart by their insensitive political actions which failed to take our complexities into consideration as we approach 2023 elections.
That God would continue to be with the electoral umpire, INEC, to stand firm without iota of partiality in making sure that elections are free and fair.
That God should judge anyone out-rightly, who, out of selfishness is planning to create chaos in the forthcoming elections no matter how highly placed in the nation.
That the electorates would come out and vote the right people into power, those who will make promises and fulfill them.
That daily blood shedding of innocent people and other violent acts in Nigeria should be put to an end by our government and for divine intervention.
That the Lord should show us mercy as a nation concerning the blood of innocent people already shed in this nation, that is calling upon God for vengeance.
That God would cause the terrorists, the gunmen, the bandits, the kidnappers and other violent people in our midst to abandon their evil ways and give this nation respite.
That God would give the military upper hand in subduing the terrorists and other violent people causing mayhem in our nation and that He would divinely fight for Nigeria against these evil people and their financiers.
That our generation would experience a new Nigeria where there are equity, justice and people irrespective of ethnic group, religion or political affiliation.
The Prayer is expected to hold simultaneously on all denominations, as we jointly seek the face of God concerning Nigeria.
A Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday slated June 20, 2022 for hearing in a suit filed by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) against the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, handling the matter fixed the date after counsel to the plaintiff, Joe Kyari Gadzama (SAN) informed the court that all the court processes, including the Originating Summons have been filed and served on the defendants. The senior lawyer prayed the court for a date for adoption of the processes filed.
Counsel to the first defendant (CAC), Jibrin Okutepa (SAN) also informed the court that he had filed a notice of Preliminary Objection to the plaintiff’s Originating Summons and a written address.
After hearing the submissions of counsel in the matter, except the second defendant, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, which was not represented in court, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter till June 20 for hearing of both the Preliminary Objection and the substantive matter.
The Judge also ordered that hearing notice be served on the second defendant to make representation in court on the matter.
The Association, in its Originating Summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/84/2022, wants the court to determine, “Whether Section 839, subsections (1), (7) (a) and (10) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020 and regulations 28-30 of the Companies Regulations (CRs), 2021 are inconsistent with Sections 4(8), 6(6)(b) and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which guarantees the plaintiff’s right to freedom of association and the right to seek redress in court.
“Whether the provision of Section 854 of the CAMA is inconsistent with Section 39 of the constitution which guarantees the right to freedom of expression.
“Whether sections 842 (1) and (2) and 843 of the CAMA are inconsistent with sections 37 and 44 of the constitution which guarantees the right to privacy and compulsory acquisition and whether sections 839(1), (7)(a) and (10), section 842(1), (2), sections843, 851 and 854 are inconsistent with section 251(1)(e) and (3) of the CFRN and thus unconditional, null and void, among others.
Part of the reliefs sought by the plaintiff include “A declaration that Section 839(1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA and sections 28-30 of the are inconsistent with Section 40 of the constitution and thus unconstitutional, null and void.
“A declaration that Section 839(1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 4(8) of the constitution and thus unconstitutional, null and void.
“A declaration that Section 839(1) and (7) (a) of the CAMA and regulations 28-30 of the constitution have a direct effect on the judicial power of the Federal High Court under Section 6(6) (b) of the constitution and is therefore void.
“An order striking down Sections 839(1), (7) (a) and (10), 842(1) and (2), 843, 851 and 854 of the CAMA for being unconstitutional.
“A declaration that Section 17(2) (a) and (d) of the CAMA demand an impossible and impracticable action; thus, void and for being impracticable and unknown to Law.”
The plaintiff also want an order of perpetual injunction restraining and barring the defendants, whether acting by themselves or through any of their agents, privies, proxies, affiliates, subsidiaries or any person or entity whatsoever from doing or carrying out any act or making any pronouncement or talking any step to give effect t or implementing and/continuing with any act to implement the provisions of sections 17(2) (a) and (d), 839(1), 842(1) and (2), 842(1) and (2), 842, 843, 851 and 854 of the CAMA against it or it’s agents as mentioned in Article 4 of its constitution, to prevent further contravention of the provisions of sections 4(8), 6(6)(b), 251(1)(e) and 251(3) of the 1999 Constitution.
The plaintiff, in an affidavit averred that if CAC is allowed to suspend its Trustees and appoint interim managers to manage its affairs, it will be usurping its powers under the constitution and the powers of the standing committee and the plenary session which would not be in line with the constitution.
The CAC had, in its Preliminary Objections, opposed the suit filed against it by CAN.
It argued that “The Registered Trustees of the Christian Association of Nigeria;” as a non-juristic person, was unknown to law to institute and maintain the action.
The plaintiff is not an entity registered under the Companies and Allied Matters Act and not one otherwise recognized as being vested with statutory rights of incorporation and bereft of the requisite locus standi, legal capacity or competence to sue and maintain this action against the 1st defendant.
The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) has created a Directorate of Politics and Governance. In a memo addressed to all regions, provinces, zones and other levels of the church, the mission said the directorate was created for the political education of its members.
The directorate is also created to charge members of the church to obtain their Permanent Voter Cards ahead of the 2023 general elections.
As inscribed in the memo dated February 28, 2022, and titled, ‘Office of Directorate of Politics and Governance’, with the reference number: RCCG/AGO/ADM/AA/MEMO/20/01/2022; as signed by the Assistant General Overseer in charge of Administration and Personnel, Pastor John Odesola.
The memo partly reads, “We write to formally notify you that the mission authority has created the Office of Directorate of Politics and Governance in the RCCG. Further to this, Pastor Timothy Olaniyan (PICP Lagos Province 12) has been appointed to lead the Office”.
“…You are kindly requested to appoint with immediate effect a Provincial Officer for your province and also ensure that the same is done at all levels of the church – zone, Area and parish. The essence of this directorate is to help coordinate the engagement of our people who are willing to be involved in politics as well as mobilize support for them when required.”
According to RCCG Head of Media and Public Relations, Pastor Olaitan Olubiyi said the directorate is to sensitize members of the church for active political participation.
He said, “One thing I know is that we have a directorate on politics and governance to galvanize opinion and views to discuss issues as they occur, not only in Nigeria but globally, because as Christians we cannot afford to act ignorantly. It is to serve as a form of sensitization (for those interested in politics) and to mobilize our people to register and play their own roles, collect PVCs. Those who are interested, let them join the political party they choose.”
About eight worshippers have been abducted by terrorists during a church service at Salama Baptist Church in a village called Gidigori in the Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State. A source from the community told Daily Trust the incident occurred at about 10 am on Sunday, 27th February 2022, adding that the pastor of the Church was among the abductees.
It was gathered that the church is close to Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State.
Similarly, in December 2020, a 37-year-old pastor with the Evangelical Church Winning All in Chikuba town in the Shiroro Local Government Area of the state, Reverend Jeremiah Ibrahim, was killed by bandits.
The victim was killed when the assailants invaded his church.
Also in November 2021, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kaduna State, Rev. Joseph Hayab, confirmed the killing of two persons and the abduction of 66 worshippers. He also said three other victims were seriously injured by the bandits.
Pope Francis has appointed Nigerian prelate and the Apostolic Nuncio to the Antilles, Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, as the new Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations Office and Specialized Institutions in Geneva.
Archbishop Nwachukwu was also appointed the Permanent Observer to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Representative of the Holy See to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The 61-year-old Nwachukwu replaces Bishop Ivan Jurkovic, previously appointed nuncio in Canada.
The appointment was contained in a press release from the Office of the Secretariat of the Episcopal Conference of the Antilles dated Friday, December 17, 2021, where Archbishop Nwachukwu is currently serving as Nuncio.
“The Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, titular of Acquaviva and until now apostolic nuncio in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, Grenada, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Santa Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Suriname, and apostolic delegate in the Antilles; and Holy See Plenipotentiary Representative at the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), as Holy See Permanent Observer to the United Nations and Specialised Institutions in Geneva and at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and Holy See Representative at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM),” the communique read.
The statement from the Episcopal Conference of the Antilles continued, “He sincerely appreciates your support during his mission in this region and requests that you accompany him with your prayers and friendship as he prepares to assume the new responsibilities.”
Archbishop Nwachukwu has previously been assigned as Apostolic Nuncio to Saint Lucia, Grenada, and the Bahamas on 27 February 2018; and Apostolic Nuncio to Suriname on 9 March 2018; and Apostolic Nuncio to Belize on 8 September 2018.
The Zamfara State police command has confirmed the threat to SaharaReporters, saying, “We are on top of the threat.”
A group of bandits has written to the Christian community in Zamfara State, Northwest Nigeria to close churches or risk ferocious attacks, SaharaReporters has exclusively learnt.
The Zamfara State police command has confirmed the threat to SaharaReporters, saying, “We are on top of the threat.”
Spokesperson for the command, DSP Mohammed Shehu, told our correspondent that the police were aware of the threat letter.
He said, “Yes, I can confirm that it’s true, a threat letter was sent to the Christians in Zamfara State to stop worship and to close churches.
“Actually the police informed the Christian leaders about the threat.
“Accordingly the CP has invited the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state to discuss security measures around the churches.
“In that regard, a special squad has been created by the CP to patrol and protect worshippers, especially on Sundays.
“Additionally, plain-clothes personnel have been deployed for intelligence gathering and to unravel those behind the threat letter,” he said.
On Sunday, a Christian leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, had requested prayers from Christians around the world in respect to their plight in Zamfara and other parts of northern Nigeria.
He said, “Let’s pray for Christians in Northern Nigeria, especially in Zamfara State as we are issued a three-year ultimatum to close all churches in the state.
“Some churches were listed for attack between now and the end of December, though the churches that would be attacked according to the Fulani group that wrote the letter are located on the outskirts of the town, but we believe it’s just a trick.
“Same letter was also copied to the Police, Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other security agencies and they all Confirmed receipt of the letter.
“The police in the state have directed Christians to intensify security in all places of worship, pastors’ houses, other Christian centres.
“Christian Association Nigeria (CAN) in Zamfara State has also directed all churches not to hold church activities beyond 5pm for the next three months,” he said.
As things stand, some Christians are contemplating leaving Zamfara State for safer areas.
The Christian Association of Nigeria likewise calls on the government to effectively speed-up their plans in tackling insecurity in the Nation, as it is now depriving Christians in Zamfara their freedom of worship and fellowship.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has commiserated with the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakae III, the people and the government of Sokoto State on the recent killing of innocent people and destruction of property by bandits at the Goronyo Central Market in the State.
We are shocked, pained and disappointed with the reported attacks and the loss of many lives despite all the efforts being made by the government to stop these criminal elements amidst us. CAN condemns in strong terms the operations of these criminals and tasked security agencies to rise up to this menace before it’s too late.
The fact that the bandits struck when the Chief of Army Staff, a prominent indigene of the State, Lt. General Faruk Yahaya, was visiting Sokoto State, speaks volumes about the evil intentions of the criminals.
We join the Sultan and Governor Aminu Tambuwal in appealing to the Federal Government to deploy more troops to the state to stop these criminals and their criminalities.
While still counting the losses of lives and property at the Goronyo market, the criminals also attacked the Kaduna-Abuja train line. According to Senator Shehu Sani, who was among the passengers that escaped the attack, he said the bandits planted an explosive that damaged the rail track and shattered the windshield of the train’s engine on Wednesday evening.
May God console and comfort all the bereaved occasioned by these attacks and may God grant accelerated healing to those who are still recuperating in the hospitals.
We once again reiterate our clarion call for a total overhauling of our security architecture with a view to injecting fresh energy and ideas into the system. The security architecture has been compromised. The bitter truth is we have never had it this bad. The earlier the government realised this, the better for us.
We are also calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to ask the National Assembly to amend the Constitution with a view to allowing the State Police as it is being done in other climes. The existing system can no longer handle this situation effectively. Nigerians are no longer sleeping with two eyes closed because they are all living in fear. This is too bad.