CAN Presidential Dialogue with Atiku, Obi, Adebayo

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), yesterday, said it had not changed its position on same-faith ticket.

Speaking during the Second Phase of Dialogue with the Presidential Candidates of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), Atiku Abubakar, Labour Party(LP), Mr. Peter Obi, and their Social Democratic Party (SDP) counterpart, Adewole Adebayo; the President of CAN, Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Okoh emphasized: ”If we want to change any position, we’ll let the Nigerian public know,”.

The three candidates also unfolded their agenda on restructuring, insecurity, economy, power and corruption.

While Atiku shared how he planned to address the age-old issue of restructuring and devolution of power to the federating units, if elected in the 2023 election, Obi highlighted his vision for the economy and wealth creation, as Adebayo said he would prioritize food security, housing, education and infrastructure development.

CAN, however, presented an 11-point demand entitled, ‘Charter for Future Nigeria’ to the presidential candidates which outlined key areas of interest for the good of the common man. Adding that a holistic amendment of the 1999 Constitution was a necessity for justice, peace, unity, prosperity and progress of the nation.

At the interactive session were leaders of CAN and representatives of various Christian blocs; Atiku’s running mate, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; and the PDP National chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu.

Others include Governor of Taraba State, Dairus Ishaku; former Senate President, Bukola Saraki; former Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tom Ikimi; and Chairman Emeritus of Daar Communications Plc, Dr. Raymond Dokpesi.

Also present were a former governor of Cross River, Liyel Imoke; Senator Philip Aduda, Senator Dino Melaye, Timi Alaibe, Kenneth Imasuagbon, Dele Momodu, former Governor Boni Haruna of Adamawa State, and other PDP, LP, and SDP chieftains among others.

In the CAN President’s remark, he states that CAN is very careful not to be partisan, insisting that its position on same-faith ticket remains the same.

He said: “We have not changed our position (on same-faith ticket). If we want to change any position, we’ll let the Nigerian public know. And so, when people read insinuations in the social media, I will advise that people to come verify, and to be sure that what you see out there is truly the position of CAN.

“This year, CAN has decided to expand this interactive session to include the media and and other leaders so that the conversation will be seen to be as open as possible, and that the people will see that there is no secret. There are no secret meetings and there is nothing hidden at all in any conversation.

“We gave two dates and we wrote to all the 18 presidential candidates and we invited all to interactive session on November 15 and November 16.

“We are not going to endorse any political party. And we also want to let you know that Christian Association of Nigeria has taken the stand on a number of political issues in this country, not for the church alone, but for the well being of the people and future of our country. And we are not about to change those positions we have taken because it took us a long time to arrive at those positions and decisions.”

While addressing CAN, Atiku Abubakar assured the Christian leaders of devolving power to the component regions and states of the federation, noting that restructuring of the country is imperative for Nigeria to make progress in 2023 and beyond.

Broaching the issue which has been a sensitive and contentious subject between the Northern and Southern regions, the PDP flag bearer agreed with CAN that state police and fiscal restructuring are constitutional matters requiring the urgent attention of the country’s next president.

He said: “My brothers and sisters, I stand before you here not to campaign but to tell you the honest truth. What you have presented to us is what I have always believed in and if I have the opportunity. I swear to God I will do it.

“We cannot have state police without having a constitutional amendment, so we will go into constitution amendment where we will have different levels of police. These are our plans to tackle the security challenges facing the country.

“For sure, we need a judicial amendment, first of all, there are poor wages for Judges, very poor working conditions. Again, the judiciary has levels, federal judiciary, state, but we will attempt as much as possible to have a judicial reform where we will improve dispensation of justice and also the welfare of Judges.”

He vowed to expunge the sections of the 1999 Constitution that reinforced indigeneship at the expense of citizenship.

“I am a supporter of the removal of clause of definition of indigeneship in our constitution. Once you reside in any part of the country, and you pay your taxes, you should be entitled to indigeneship,” he noted.

Speaking during his interactive session with Christian leaders, the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, said he would rescue Nigeria from its status as a failed state if elected president in 2023.

Like Atiku, he reiterated that insecurity would be a thing of the past under his administration, declaring that he was committed to unlocking the greatness of the country and lifting her from a consuming country to a producing one.

Obi said Nigeria had met the qualifications to be characterized as a failed state, because the country is no longer in control of its territory and economy.

“All presidential candidates will tell you the same story, everybody’s story will be as sweet as the other ones. What you are going to do is to check the sincerity and the truth and the one you can trust.

“It is now who among these 18 presidential candidates can you trust, because there is no promise that we are going to make that has not been made in the past, that promise has always been there.

“What I want to do is to move the country from consumption to production, it is not a productive country, our priority is to secure and unite the country, it is the number one thing you need to do.

“Nigeria has hit the two most critical things that qualifies a country to a failed state, number one, when you are no longer in control of your territory, we are no longer in control of our territory, number two, is when you are no longer in control of your economy, nobody can tell you today how much they are going to sell a bag of rice tomorrow. No country can function like that.

When it was his turn to speak, the SDP presidential candidate stated that it was wrong to separate the state from religion in the pursuit of common good for all.

According to him, both are like Siamese twins and mutually reinforcing each other for the peace and progress of nation, but regretted that unscrupulous politicians seek to break that bond between the two.

“That is why leaders when they are doing wrong, I mean political leaders, and religious leaders come out to talk, they will say, separate religion from state.

“But when the state is in trouble, we’ll call religious leaders to come and explain. When we have failed in our credibility, because we have no provided for the people, and they’re not listening to us. We go to religious leaders for help,” he explained.

Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Service

The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Most Rev. Dr. Daniel C. Okoh has called on all Nigerians to believe and constantly pray for the nation, as God is intentional about the all-round blessing and upliftment of Nigeria. This was part of his sermon delivered at the Inter-denominational Church Service to mark Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Anniversary, held yesterday at the National ecumenical Centre, Abuja.

Archbishop Okoh in his sermon titled: “The Righteous Shall Rule the Land”, urged Nigerians to understand that “all politicians are not the same”, thereby encouraging them to ensure they vote for quality leadership in the forthcoming elections.

He also emphasized that despite all the security, economic and social challenges being experienced by the country, there was so much to appreciate God for especially for the uninterrupted democracy since 1999.

(L-R) Most Rev. Dr. Daniel Okoh, CAN President, Mrs Daniel Okoh, Mrs Boss Mustapha, SGF Boss Mustapha, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, President of the Courts of Appeal, Monica Dongban-Mensem, Deputy Whip House of Rep Nkiru and HOS Dr Folashade Yemi Esan at the 62nd Nigerian Independence Day Interdenominational Service at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.

The CAN President called on all eligible voters to jealously guard their permanent voters’ cards and to those who were yet to receive theirs, he advised that they do so in order to be fit to exercise their civic responsibility at the polls in the 2023 general elections. He further called on the government to give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) all the necessary support  needed to conduct credible elections come 2023.

Also in attendance were the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folashade Yemi-Esan, Service Chiefs, Representatives from all arms of government and the diplomatic community.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh

In his address, Prof Osinbajo said a prayer for the peace and progress of the nation taking his reference from the book of the Bible, Deuteronomy 33:25, “as your days, so shall your strength be”, expressing hope that Nigeria will surmount all the challenges bedeviling her to become a prosperous nation.

CAN Congratulates Ositelu As WCC President For Africa

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.

Please accept our heartfelt Congratulations Sir!

National Prayer Network: Pray For Nigeria

Daily Prayer Guide For Nigeria: August 23, 2022

Thanksgiving
Give thanks to God for giving us hope, motivation & the courage to carry on in Nigeria despite the challenges of the moment.

Prayers:

THE NATION:
Ask The Lord to frustrate all moves by the Federal Government amongst others to stop Nigerians from telling the world the inhuman treatment being meted on them in their own land – John 8:32.

STATE:
Pray for a New beginning for Ogun State from this month of August 2022 – Isaiah 43:18-19.

UNREACHED:
Pray for the salvation of about 1,100 Bucuba People of Kebbi State: Ngaski LGA, Wara. 8 Villages.

THE CHURCH/REVIVAL:
Pray that The Church in Nigeria should be united now more than ever in order to win the battle for the soul of Nigeria – 1 Corinthians 1:10.

YOURSELF:
Ask God to bless those that bless you, and curse those that curse you: and equally bless humanity through you – Genesis 12:3
Any other Prayer Point(s)

Biography: Meet The 8th President Of CAN

The Most Rev. Daniel Chukwudumebi Okoh was born on November 12, 1963 in Kano to Christian parents. He is a native of Ndoni in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria. He is married to Ngozi and they are blessed with four children.

His Grace, Most Rev. Daniel C. Okoh – President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)

Archbishop Daniel Okoh is a product of the famous Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha. In 1988, he graduated from the University of Port Harcourt with a Second Class Upper Division in Political Science and Education. Thereafter, he attended Christ Holy Church Seminary, Onitsha and was awarded a diploma in Theology. He has undertaken many courses and participated in seminars that are relevant to his ministry work both in Nigeria and abroad. 

As the General Superintendent of Christ Holy Church International – an African Independent Church – he leads his denomination in ecumenical relations with other denominations in the body of Christ and engages with people of other religions in dialogue for peaceful co-existence and sustainable development. 

His Grace, Most Rev. Daniel C. Okoh – President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)

For more than 20 years, Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, has been actively involved in ecumenical relations and inter-faith dialogue in and outside Nigeria through the following positions:

  • International Chairman of the Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC)
  • National President of OAIC – Nigeria Region (2005 – 2014)
  • National Vice-President of Christian Association of Nigeria (2007 – 2013)
  • Former member, Board of Directors of Inter-Faith HIV/AIDS Coalition of Nigeria
  • Member, Governing Council of Good News Theological College and Seminary Accra, Ghana
  • Member, Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC)
  • Member of the Board of African Council of Religious Leaders – Religions for Peace

He is also a board member of Christian Solidarity Worldwide (Nigeria). Between 2000 and 2003 he was the only African representative in the Steering Committee of the International Forum on Multi-cultural Ministry, which was initiated and sponsored by the Mission and Evangelism Team of the World Council of Churches. 

His Grace, Most Rev. Daniel C. Okoh – President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), with the Immediate Past CAN President, His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle

In the area of Politics and Governance, Archbishop Daniel Okoh was one of the six delegates that represented Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the National Political Reform Conference of 2005 organized by the Federal Government of Nigeria. From 2009 to 2011, Most Rev. Daniel Okoh served on the board of National Orientation Agency (NOA) as an Institutional representative of Christian Association of Nigeria. 

His Grace, Most Rev. Daniel C. Okoh – President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), with the General Secretary of CAN, Barr. Daramola Joseph Bade

Over the years, Daniel Okoh, a de-tribalized Nigerian, has built friendship across religious and ethnic lines around the globe. He welcomes and participates in conversations and programmes that would bring about peaceful co-existence among the peoples of the world and sustainable development. 

He is a charismatic leader and bridge-builder within the Christian faith, social sphere and in all human endeavours.

His Grace, Most Rev. Daniel C. Okoh – President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), with the Immediate Past CAN President, His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, and the new CAN Vice President, Rev. Dr. Stephen Panya Baba

Now the 8th President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Most Rev. Daniel Okoh is set to practically illustrate and impact the Christian community and the nation at large with his vast experience he has accumulated all through the years as a husband, father, clergyman, mediator, mentor, peace-builder, church-leader, inter-faith advocate and all-round,

PRESS STATMENT: “No CAN Official Attended Shettima’s Unveiling” – CAN

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) dissociates itself from the unveiling of the Vice Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Kashim Shettima; as those who were presented as church leaders are unknown clerics who are not part of the association.

We are shocked, disappointed and worried about the desperation of some politicians who once claimed Christians do not matter in governance and politics who went to hire some unknown ‘Bishops, Pastors and Priests’ to impersonate the leadership of CAN in their political meeting.

This is totally unacceptable, reprehensible, unprecedented and ungodly. If they are saying Christians have no electoral values why impersonating them in their meetings?

We are throwing  their principals and sponsors  into the court of conscience. These actions  of theirs have shown who they are to the public and what they are capable of doing to us all.

We are asking political parties not to ignore religious sensibilities and sensibilities of the people especially in today’s Nigeria when Christians are becoming endangered species daily. Our quest is within the constitutional requirements and ignoring it is akin to trampling on the Constitution especially the Federal Character Act.

At the fullness of time, we will direct our members nationwide on how to use their PVCs come 2023.

Signed: Barrister Joseph Bade Daramola (General Secretary, CAN)

PRESS RELEASE: The Gruesome Murder of CAN Chairman is Highly Condemned – CAN

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned in strong terms the gruesome murder of Rev. Fr. John Cheitnum Four days after his abduction and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the masterminds are arrested and prosecuted.

Cheitnum was the Chairman of CAN in Jema’a local government area and the Coordinating Chairman of the body for Southern Kaduna until his demise. He was kidnapped with Rev. Fr. Donatus Cleophas (who later escaped) on July 15, from the Rectory of Christ the King Parish, Yadin Garu in Lere local government area of Kaduna State.

To say the least, this is cruel, inhuman, deliberately provocative, barbarism and condemnable. Unfortunately, we  have a government that has failed to protect the lives and property of citizens and yet it will not ensure that these terrorists pay a heavy price for their evil actions. Ours is a government that lacks political will to put these criminals where they rightly believe. Instead, they are being recycled in the pretext of de-radicalising programme.

We recall with sadness and a sense of despair how terrorists murdered  Lawan Andimi, the chairman of CAN in Michika, Adamawa State. Till today, no one has been brought to justice for his gruesome murder. Instead, many Christians, including the clerics, are being abducted and killed while our security agencies look helpless.

This is unprecedented anywhere in the world. We don’t know when an end will come to these wicked acts and to worsen the situation, the same government that cannot protect us has failed to establish state police to compliment the obviously overstretched Federal Police. This is why many well meaning Nigerians, including some governors, are calling for self-defence to reduce the menace of insecurity challenges.

Late Rev. Fr. John Cheitnum, Chairman of CAN in Jema’a Local Government Area, Kaduna State; and the Coordinating Chairman of the body for Southern Kaduna

CAN commiserates with the immediate family of the slain Cheitnum, the Chancellor of the Diocese, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Okolo, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria and pray for divine consolation and comfort. It is our prayers that never again will Nigeria be governed by a government that will be treating criminals with kid gloves.

Signed: Barrister Joseph Bade Daramola (General Secretary, CAN)

Press Statement: The Brutal Murder Of Madam Fatima, Children Unacceptable – CAN

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned, in strong terms, the gruesome murder of Lady Fatima and her Four innocent children by some “unknown gunmen”, and demands for justice as it calls on security agencies to fish out those responsible for the wicked act in order to stop the senseless killings in the country. 

This criminality is totally unacceptable, unjustifiable and reprehensible to CAN and all right thinking people. We call on the security operatives to wake up to their responsibilities. The criminals are now operating with impunity while those who are expected to stop or apprehend them appear powerless. This cannot be the dream country of those who fought for her independence from the colonial masters. 

It is disheartening and unfortunate that nowhere is safe again in the country as killers, bandits, terrorists and kidnappers are on rampage in every nook and cranny of the country and all the government is able to do is to issue periodic statements condemning them without any decisive action to bring culprits to book. 

CAN calls on the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOBs) to stop these  criminalities in the pretext of fighting for independence. Are they fighting for a country for the dead or the living? They should know that their criminalities are not helping the case of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu. They should not turn the Southeast to a ‘No Man’s Land’ in the interest of the founding Fathers of this country who hailed from the zone. Their actions are not only giving the Ndigbo bad name but they are creating an atmosphere for Ethno-religious wars. Will a reasonable group be committing crimes like this?

We call on the political elites, religious  leaders and the traditional rulers of Ndigbo extraction to prevail on the violent groups in the Eastern part of the country to stop needless bloodshed and tension they are causing for economic prosperity and well-being of the region.

CAN commiserates with all the bereaved of the senseless killings especially the immediate family of lady Fatima and the recently murdered Honourable Member of Anambra State House to Assembly, Okechukwu Okoye. May God console and comfort them as He pours healing balm on their wounds in Jesus Christ name.

Signed

Pastor  Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant to the President of CAN, His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle – 25 May, 2022.

PRESS STATEMENT: DEBORAH’S KILLERS MUST BE BROUGHT TO BOOK

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condemns in strong terms the gruesome murder of a Christian, 200 Level student of Shehu Shagari College of Education,  Sokoto, Deborah Samuel by some extremist fellow students on alleged blasphemy.

The unlawful and dastardly action of the perpetrators must not only be condemned by all right thinking people but the security operatives must fish them out, prosecute them as it is expected of them. It is the failure of the security agencies and the government to rise up to such criminalities in the past that gave birth to terrorists and bandits. And as long as the State fails to bring these beasts and criminals amidst us to book, so also the society will continue to be their killing fields
We acknowledge the swift reaction of His Eminence, Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar 111 who not only condemned the criminal and religious intolerant action but called on the security agencies to bring the perpetrators to justice. It is our expectation that the State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, would ensure that the matter is not swept under the carpet, as it was before.

We also call on all teachers and preachers of religious intolerance, extremism and terrorism to repent before the wrath of God descends on them if the State failed to bring them to book. They are agents of death amidst us.


We recall the provocative and demeaning advertisement of the Sterling Bank where the bank compared the Resurrection of Jesus Christ to “Agege bread”, up till now, nobody was attacked and even the CAN leadership has accepted the apology tendered by its Chief Executive, Abubakar Suleiman. Killing for any God in the name of blasphemy is ungodly, satanic, foolish, reprehensible and totally unacceptable. This is not a Stone Age and Nigeria is not a Banana Republic. Nigeria remains a non-religious State where no religion is supreme to the other.

We acknowledge and commend the restraint of the Christian students of the College who refused to embrace self-help and reprisal attacks on those who murdered their colleague. It is our prayers that those vampires in religious garments will not push the country to a religious war
This is why both the government and the security agencies must stop treating them with kid gloves. Enough is enough.
CAN commiserates with the family of Deborah and other bereaved. May God console and comfort them in Jesus Name.
 


Thanks to many other Nigerians who condemned this heinous crime. It was quite an unfortunate development in 21st century Nigeria.
Signed
 Joseph Bade Daramola, Esq
CAN’s General Secretary
13 May, 2022.

PRESS STATEMENT: CAN On The Visit Of The Prosecutor Of The International Criminal Court To Nigeria

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has released a Press Statement on the recent visit of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr Karim Khan to Nigeria.

In the statement signed by the CAN President, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle; The General Secretary, Barr. Joseph Bade Daramola, and the National Director (Legal & Public Affairs), Barr. Mrs. Comfort Otera Chigbue; pressing issues were raised in respect to Christian victims of religious violence in Nigeria, expressed concerns about the proceedings to date, and engagement with the Prosecutor.

Find full text of the PRESS STATEMENT here:

PRESS STATEMENT: Christian Association Of Nigeria (CAN) On The Visit Of The Prosecutor Of The International Criminal Court to Nigeria

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is profoundly disturbed about the recent visit of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Mr Karim Khan QC, to Nigeria last week. We wrote to Mr Khan twice last year, attempting to engage with his office on behalf of Christian victims of religious violence in Nigeria and expressing concerns about the proceedings to date. To this day, we have not had any response. Mr Khan failed to make any contact with us before, during or after his visit to Abuja. To our consternation, we found out about his visit in the media. It appears that this Prosecutor engages in political games and is unwilling to engage with victims of atrocity, let alone Christian ones. He has disrespected victims, and we are obliged to speak out about this.

The Government of Nigeria has not issued a formal statement about the visit but Mr Khan issued a statement about his visit on 22 April 2022  (//www.icc-cpi.int/news/icc-prosecutor-mr-karim-aa-khan-qc-concludes-first-official-visit-nigeria) We therefore address ourselves to this, and will make seven brief observations.

  1. At the International Criminal Court, the situation of Nigeria has since 11 December 2020 been in limbo between the closing of the Preliminary Examination stage and the making of a request for leave to open an investigation. There is a great deal of explaining to be done for this state of affairs. Yet, Mr Khan only met with members of the government of Nigeria, and seems not to have discussed this. We note that at least one of the individuals that he met has been identified to the Prosecutor’s office as a potential candidate for prosecution. Mr Khan is clearly playing a political game, and is prioritizing relations with the government of Nigeria. CAN is dismayed that the word ‘victim’ only appeared twice in his statement, and both times they were in bland stock-phrases. This is no accident, it reveals that this Prosecutor is not interested in standing up for victims of atrocity, but is trying to unburden himself of the Nigeria situation. We note the peculiarity of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court declaring, in the Nigerian context, that ‘As I have repeatedly stated, the meaningful realization of the vision set out in the Statute can only be achieved by deepening cooperation and by finding common ground wherever possible, even in difficult circumstances’.
  • Mr Khan’s predecessor took ten years (November 2010 – December 2020) to decide that she should seek leave from the Pre Trial-Chamber to open an investigation into Nigeria. The excuse she gave for this long delay was that this was due to ‘the priority given by my Office in supporting the Nigerian authorities in investigating and prosecuting these crimes domestically’. In the final months of her tenure, the-then Prosecutor finally gave up and determined that the Nigerian authorities had been ‘inactive’ in relation to their Complementarity responsibilities and she was forced to seek leave to open an investigation: ‘because of the absence of relevant proceedings or, where proceedings are asserted to have been conducted, the information available did not demonstrate any tangible, concrete, and progressive steps by the authorities to address allegations against members of the NSF’. This was on 11 December 2020. On 20 April 2022, nearly a year after his appointment, we have the spectacle of Mr Khan showing up in Nigeria trying to revive his predecessor’s failed attempts to get Nigeria to meet its Complementarity obligations. Two Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court have now been colluding with the government of Nigeria to use the principle of Complementarity to evade their own responsibilities in the face of international crimes, and to deny justice to the victims of religious and other violence in Nigeria.
  • Mr Khan’s statement tells us nothing about what he and his Office have done on Nigeria since December 2020, possibly because they have done absolutely nothing. Where is the application to the Pre Trial Chamber to open an investigation? How is it that Mr Khan has been willing to leap-frog the situations of the Philippines and Venezuela over Nigeria, applying for leave to the Court’s judges to open investigations? These situations came under the Prosecutor’s radar years after Nigeria went into Preliminary Examination. How it is that Ukraine has jumped the queue too? Why is the matter of ‘capacity constraints’ and ‘operational capacity due to overextended resources’ (referred to in the Prosecutor’s statement of 11 December 2020) only applicable to Nigeria, and not the Philippines, Venezuela and Ukraine? What is going on here?

For years now, our Christian community has borne the brunt of the religious violence in this country. We have, in a communication that was ignored by the Prosecutor, pointed out flaws in the approach taken by his predecessor in relation to Nigeria. These flaws are the result of profound misunderstanding of the role of religion in the violence that has engulfed this country. In the time that the two Prosecutors of the International Criminal Court have been leisurely considering the Nigeria situation (November 2010 to the present), a conservative assessment of the number of Christians who have lost their lives because of their religious identity would be more than 25,000. [The number of Christians killed for their faith recorded by World Watch Research in 2013 was 612, in 2014 it was 2484, in 2015 it jumped to 4028, in 2016 it dropped to 695, in 2017 it rose to 2000, in 2018 it rose again to 3731, in 2019 it was 1350, in 2020 it jumped again to 3910 and then again in 2021 to 4650.] There is no way to count the numbers of Nigerian Christians who have been wounded, abused and traumatized, let alone the massive property destruction and forced displacement of Christians from their homelands. Of course Muslims and other communities have been affected too, and they also must not be ignored in the Prosecutor’s apparent attempt to wash his hands of Nigeria. But CAN is an umbrella organization representing all the Christian denominations in this country; we are only mandated to address the disproportionately victimized and persecuted Christians of this country. Mr Khan’s statement indicates that like his predecessor, he will not take with any seriousness the matter of the persecution of Nigerian Christians. We will continue to challenge vigorously.

  • Mr Khan’s statement indicates a willingness to consider the Sahel-wide problem of Islamist terrorism. We have seen that the Islamist violence in Nigeria is indeed linked to what is going on in other countries, and there is a snowball effect going on. Our beloved country really is on the precipice. However, Mr Khan cannot suggest that the wider Sahel situation be referred to the Court by the Security Council when in Nigeria he and his Office ignore the religious mayhem being unleashed by armed Fulani herdsmen and Islamist bandits, and minimize the nature and scale of the religious persecution of Christians committed by Boko Haram. And of course, it is ironic that Mr Khan and his Office appear to have resources for a Security Council referral of the Sahel situation, but not for Nigeria.
  • The statement makes vague references to a formal agreement that the government of Nigeria and the Office of the Prosecutor are discussing. What is this about? Why are they not being open and transparent?
  • With all due respect to Mr Khan, his statement and conduct since coming to office present him as a Prosecutor seeking to shirk his responsibilities for investigating and prosecuting international crimes in Nigeria. He comes across as trying to avoid providing a modicum of satisfaction to the thousands upon thousands of victims in our country’s long running tragedy of murder and mayhem, exacerbated by governmental indifference, negligence and possibly even complicity.

In spite of our deep disappointment, CAN is committed to the search for justice and redress for the persecuted and brutalized Christians of Nigeria. We continue to be willing to engage with Mr Khan and his Office.