The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has commiserated with the government and the people of South Africa on the Home Call of a great Oracle of God, Bishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu. We thank God for a life well spent by His great Servant who used every given opportunity to speak a potent voice against the defunct apartheid system of racial segregation and white minority rule in South Africa
The Revered Bishop was a South African Anglican Bishop and theologian, known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. He was also the first African Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996. He was also known as a theologian who sought to fuse the Black Theology with African Theology. We recalled with nostalgia when from 1978 to 1985, Tutu was the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. That was when he emerged as one of the most prominent opponents of South Africa’s apartheid system of racial segregation and white minority rule. Although an activist, yet he was an advocate of non-violent protest and foreign economic pressure to bring about universal suffrage. In 1985, he became Bishop of Johannesburg and in 1986 the Archbishop of Cape Town, the most senior position in southern Africa’s Anglican hierarchy. In this position, he emphasized a consensus-building model of leadership and oversaw the introduction of female priests.
Tutu played prominent roles that led to the release of the foremost anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990 and they both led the negotiations that ended apartheid and introduce multi-racial democracy. After the 1994 general election resulted in a coalition government headed by Mandela, Tutu was appointed the chairman of the historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses committed by both pro and anti-apartheid groups. This Commission was used to heal all the wounds of apartheid inflicted on both the Whites and the Blacks. Tutu will always be remembered for his strong support of Palestinians in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict especially his strong belief in Israel’s right to exist. His strong criticism against the perceived anti-people policies under the South African Presidents of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma further made him a respected voice of the voiceless.
Our hearts go to his immediate family, the South African Churches and the common man of that country who saw him as their advocate and protector. May God console and comfort them all in Jesus’ Name.
Signed His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
We have decided not to sorrow as unbelievers because we know there is life of eternal glory and splendor after death for those who believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Death is the beginning of a better life, it is of course described in the Scripture as gain!
Press Statement: The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said that the Association is at a loss on the data or statistics used by the US government in arriving at delisting Nigeria from the list of ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ on the issue of freedom of religion.
The US government did not contact us when they were listing Nigeria among the countries of ‘Particular Concern’ on religious freedom, neither did they seek our opinion before removing Nigeria from the list. If they had done, we would have been able to compare the statistics then and now on the issue of freedom of religion in Nigeria. Whatever may be the data they used, our prayer is that Nigeria would be a country where no religious group is discriminated against or persecuted and that our government would see to it that all religiously biased policies are discontinued with.
Christians had faced and are still facing persecution from ISWAP and the Boko Haram Islamic Group till today as before. These are the people who said their agenda was to wipe away Christianity from Nigeria and to plant Islam as the only religion from the North down to the Atlantic Ocean in the South. That agenda with the killing of Christians has not stopped till today and Nigerians are living witnesses.
The bandits have joined other militant Islamic groups to be ferociously attacking churches, killing worshippers and kidnapping for ransom. The herdsmen are equally doing their havoc. We have lost many people and places of worship to their assault, especially in the Northcentral part of the country and the Northeast. Though, the madness has grown now and those who are not Christians are being attacked, killed and kidnapped, this is because these criminal acts have become lucrative business and it is whoever you can kidnap for money! If the government had responded appropriately when this criminal madness began and subdued these evil groups immediately, we wouldn’t be where we are now!
We have been shouting at the top of our voice in Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), almost in vain, that government policies should be religiously neutral enough so that no religious group would be seen as being favoured or discriminated against. For example, for almost a year ago now, some of our churches are finding it difficult with the Ministry of Interior to get new marriage certificate booklet after they had exhausted the ones they were using. Some had applied for new supply as far back as January this year without any response from Ministry of Interior till now. This means that such churches licensed to conduct wedding were denied the right to do so for no cogent reason from the government!It is not only in Nigeria that churches are allowed to conduct wedding once they were licensed to do so. Why are the churches being denied the right to do so now in Nigeria? If there is nothing to hide by the government and it is not a subtle religious discrimination, why didn’t the ministry in a written form or verbally explain to the churches that needed new marriage certificate booklet why the supply is delayed?
We are seizing this opportunity to appeal to the Ministry of Interior to put its acts together and allow the licensed churches to collect the marriage certificate booklets from the local government registries nearest to them without further delay and cost.
All right thinking people would continue to ask the US government to let the world know what has changed on the issue of religious freedom and persecution the Christians are facing between the time they placed the country in the list of ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ and now! CAN in particular would like to know! This is because all those factors that put Nigeria on CPC list for the first time in 2020 are still there.
For example, many states in the North are yet to reverse the policy which denies Christians the Certificate of Occupancy to build churches in their own country. Equally, some, if not many states in the North do not allow Christian students to study Christian Religious Studies in the public schools because it is not made available in their curriculum. In a similar vein, Christian students had and are still complaining that they are denied admission to government owned universities in the North to study courses like Law and Medicine, among others. Christian students such as Leah Sharibu and students kidnapped from Bethel Baptist High School were left with the kidnappers without any purposeful rescue mission organised for them.
The relatives and churches of the kidnapped people were forced and are being forced to pay ransom worth millions of Naira to secure their people or children! Up till now , the Federal Government refused to see banditry as terrorism and has therefore refused to label them as terrorists. For whose good is this? Is it because the bandits are close to those in government or because of religious consideration?
Similarly, ISWAP and other Islamic terrorists that surrendered or were captured were not allowed to face the wrath of the law but rather, unlike other criminals are being slated for a programme of de-radicalization or rehabilitation! These are people who had sent many people to early graves! Is this action of government fair to the people they killed and the rest of us whom these people traumatized and put in sadness over our property or relatives they killed? Why were the armed robbers not de-radicalized? What becomes of our criminal justice system if this kind of anomaly is allowed to stay?
Up till today, our government is still funding the membership of Nigeria in all the International Islamic organisations like OIC and its allies without being part of any international Christian organization.
Once again, we urge the US government to help us by allowing us to know what has changed between the time our country was put in the list of ‘countries of particular concern’ and now.
Let me conclude by saying that we are trying to bring some of the issues of religious persecution or discrimination up at our Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) meeting so as to douse religious tension and foster harmonious relationship between religious adherents in Nigeria. Please be praying for us for success along this line.
His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
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.
Foundation laying of CAN’s Marquee project, christened: “HOLY TABERNACLE EVENT CENTRE” – Friday, 24th September, 2021
Let us take you through a picture slide of this throw-back event.
In attendance were: Rev. (Dr.) Samson Supo Ayokunle, CAN President, Barr. Daramola Joseph Bade, CAN General Secretary, Apostle ‘Biodun Sanyaolu, Assistant General Secretary; and other National and state officers of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
The Senate has rescinded its decision on some clauses in the Electoral Amendment Bill that was passed in July, especially clause 52 which deals with the methods of voting and collation of results in an election.
The South-South Zone of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is set to hold a One Day Zonal PRAYER SUMMIT, with the theme: “OH GOD ARISE” (Psalms 68:1).
Scheduled for Tuesday, 12th October, 2021 at the St. Patrick Catholic Church, Ovom Yenegoa, Bayelsa State; by 11am. The mega prayer summit is designed as an avenue to seek God’s face through prayers.
All Christian within the South-South Region and beyond are encouraged to massively attend this meeting with divinity, as it is promised to be a rewarding time in God’s presence, praying in unity.
Special Guests of Honour: All South-South Governors, Rev. Dr. Supo Ayokunle (President, CAN), Guest Speaker: Bishop Dr. Wale Oke, (President, CPFN/PFN); Chief Host, Sen. Douye Diri (Executive Governor, Bayelsa State), Host: Archbishop Israel Ege (South-South CAN Chairman).
The TEKAN/ECWA bloc of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said on Monday that it lost 85 people in the recent bloody attack in Jabbu Miango communities in Bassa Local Government Areas of Plateau State.
The TEKAN/ECWA Bloc Leader, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Plateau State, Very Rev Moses Ebuga, while addressing press conference in Jos, called for the removal of the General Officer Commanding 3rd Division of the Nigerian, who is also the Commander, Operation Safe Haven, Major General Ibrahim Ali, for taken side with the attackers and lack of confidence.
‘Christians killed in Irigwe land are touching. Recently, the Irigwe Irigwe land in Bassa LGA of Plateau State has been in the news, over killings and destructions by Fulani herdsmen in the land.
‘We would like to use this medium to give a report of what has happened as observed and recorded by the Church. From July 30th to August 17, 2021, over 85 persons were killed, 55 hospitalised, 3141 houses burnt and about 2901 farms destroyed.
‘Also, 5901 families displaced, more than 26 villages destroyed Ann in 26 communities. Christians, especially our bloc on the Plateau, cannot remain silent while it’s members and properties are destroyed by the killer Fulani herders and militias, with no or less efforts by the government to stop these evil acts.’
Rev. Ebuga noted with dismay how some prominent Islamic scholars confessed their intention to retaliate and attack Christians on the Plateau following the unfortunate incidence of Rukuba road in Jos North Local Government Area where some commuters were killed by hoodlums.’
He added: ‘The GOC of the third 3rd Division of the Nigerian Army who doubles as the Commander Operation Safe Haven in the person of Major General Ibrahim Ali has not lived to expectation. The military barracks being and situate in the self-same Bassa LGA and within a few kilometers radius lie under attacks for long hours and days without any response and protection from the Army this leaves much to be desired any reasonable and security presence by their proximity and neighbourliness.
‘As a result of these spade of insecurity, we have lost confidence in his ability to handle to security situation in Plateau State and therefore call on the Nigerian Army headquarters to relieve him of these responsibilities forthwith and strongly advice that no one officer should again be made to hold these dual responsibilities.
‘The Fellowship of Churches also calls on the Federal Government and all security agencies as matter of urgency to be responsible to their duties as the security and protection of lives and properties are the primary responsibility of every government.
‘We are calling on the security agents in the state to be sincere and non-partisan in the pursuit of their responsibilities, as it seems to favor a selective few or particular group, we decry selective justice and imposition of grave injustice on the peace-loving community dwellers in Plateau State and such still remains highly unacceptable,’ he stated.
Culled from www.sunnewsonline.com, as written by Gyang Bere, Jos
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His eminence, Rev. (Dr.) Samson Supo Ayokunle specially invites all Christians in Nigeria and beyond, to the SAPPHIRE (45TH) CAN DAY CELEBRATION slated to hold on Wednesday, 25th August, 2021 by 5pm, at the National Ecumenical Centre Abuja. Marked with a NATIONAL PRAYER SERVICE.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is the largest ecumenical body ever established in Nigeria and indeed Africa by the then Federal Military Government under General Olusegun Obasanjo, on the 27th August, 1976. Th association was established to promote understanding, peace and unity amongst various strata and people of the society in Nigeria, through the propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Over the last forty-five years, the association has been deeply entrenched in its cardinal objectives, and has remained a watch person on the spiritual and moral welfare of our nation, Nigeria. CAN is also known as a constant force against all manner or socio-political ills in Nigeria
To this end, the leadership of the association has deemed it great to organize a NATIONAL PRAYER SERVICE in commemoration of the 45th anniversary. A time of thanksgiving for God’s faithfulness thus far, prayers for the peace and unity for our dear country, Nigeria, and general intercession for Christians in Nigeria and all over the world.
Holding as follows: Wednesday, 25th August 2021 – National Prayer by 5pm on zoom, and streamed live on the association’s official social media handles @ChristianAssociationOfNigeria. While Friday, 27th August, 2021 by 5pm will also feature prayers at the state level, across the nation.
Christians are urged to participate fully on all activities as slated, as we prayer for God’s blessings upon our lives, families and nation.