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: CAN Condemns Provocative, Insensitive Advertisement of Sterling Bank

The attention of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has been drawn to an ungodly, wicked, insensitive and deliberately provocative advertisement of the Sterling Bank comparing the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ to ‘Agege Bread’ amidst the Easter celebration.

In case the management of the Sterling Bank is not aware, the resurrection of Jesus witnesses to the immense power of God Himself. To believe in the resurrection is to believe in God. If God exists, and if He created the universe and has power over it, then He has power to raise the dead. If He does not have such power, He is not worthy of our faith and worship. Only He who created life can resurrect it after death, only He can reverse the mystery that is death itself, and only He can remove the sting and gain the victory over the grave (1 Corinthians 15:54–55). In resurrecting Jesus from the grave, God reminds us of His absolute sovereignty over life and death.

In the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, God put our punishment on Christ so that we could be justified before Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). The resurrection of Jesus confirms that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice for sin on the cross and gives us access to a right relationship with Him.

The Empty tomb shows the supremacy of Jesus. Go to the grave of any other religious founder and his carcasses are still there being worship, but where Jesus was buried, it is boldly written; “He is no longer here, He has Risen”! That is what we are celebrating at Easter and for Sterling Bank to compare it with a loaf of bread is blasphemous and insensitive to the religion embraced by billions of people globally. The advertisement was provocative but we will refused to be provoked simply not only because it is not in our characters but it came from an uninformed mind of neither of the two leading religions in the country.

In the words of Pastor Adrian Rogers, “The resurrection is not merely important to the historic Christian faith; without it, there would be no Christianity. It is the singular doctrine that elevates Christianity above all other world religions.”

The purported apology did not come from a penitent heart. How can someone in his right mind described the risen Christ as a loaf of bread. That is insulting, ridiculous and a mockery of Jesus Christ. We advised Christians to be wary of the banks and other financial institutions they are patronizing.

We learnt that the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) has reportedly intervened in the matter with a view to impose some sanctions against Sterling Bank. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is waiting for the decision of the organization.

However, in the interim, we call for the immediate removal of the Chief Executive of Sterling Bank; Mr. Abubakar Suleiman with his Management whose actions have clearly shown their hostility and hatred for the Christian faith.

We call on all Christians not to take the law into their hands in seeking redress, but to let the relevant authorities handle the matter.

Thank You.

Signed: Joseph Bade Daramola Esq. (General Secretary, CAN)

PRESS STATEMENT: CAN CONDEMNS THE DESECRATION OF THE HOUSE OF GOD BY THE POLICE IN IMO STATE

The National leadership  of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condemns in strong terms the arrest of one Mr. Uche Nwosu at St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral Umunwokwe village, in the Eziama-Obieri Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State.

We feel highly embarrassed by this ugly development and feel pained that the Nigeria Police had no respect even for the House of God. We cannot remember whether this act of disrespect for God ever happened before in our country.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has nothing to apologize for over what the police did because we were never and would never be party to their horrendous act. The Police that did the disgraceful thing should appropriately apologize without giving any excuse. We expect them to be more circumspect in the performance of their duties.

We are not asking the Police or the security agencies not to do their constitutional duties but the idea of desecrating the House of God in doing so is totally unacceptable, unfortunate and reprehensible. 

In view of the foregoing, we urge the Inspector General of Police to call his men to order and continue to respect all houses of worship, whether church or mosque. This type of act should never happen again in our country.

Thank You.

Signed
Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant (Media &Communications) to His Eminence, the CAN President.

PRESS STATEMENT: OUR CASE AGAINST CAMA IS ON GOING – CAN ASSURES MEMBERS

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has allayed fears of some Christians over the suit filed against the Corporate Affairs Commission and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment on the controversial Companies Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a judgment, dismissed the suit over the failure of the Association (the plaintiff) to comply with the law in the name used in filing the originating summons.

The Court held that the proper name of the Plaintiff is THE REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA, as stated on the Plaintiff’s Certificate of Incorporation as against THE INCORPORATED TRUSTEES OF CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA; and the Court is unable to allow the replacement of the name on the originating process.

At the sitting, the Court delivered the ruling on the Plaintiff’s Application for Amendment of Originating Summons. In the ruling, Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo stated that suing in the wrong name contrary to statutory provision is statutory non-compliance and is not a mere misnomer to be corrected by the Court, as the court cannot re-write statutory provisions. The suit was accordingly struck out.

The Court held that the proper name of the Plaintiff is THE REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA, as stated on the Plaintiff’s Certificate of Incorporation as against THE INCORPORATED TRUSTEES OF CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA; and the Court is unable to allow the replacement of the name on the originating process.

The new Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 states clearly under section 825(a) that registration of all ASSOCIATIONS must contain the words “INCORPORATED TRUSTEES of….”. This should have sustained our action before the court because the use of REGISTERED TRUSTEES is now being discarded. Our amendment ought to have been allowed. However, we will not like to join issues with the Court by going on appeal because it would further delay the case. Accordingly, we decided to choose the other option of refiling the case.

Our lawyers are currently preparing to institute a fresh suit using the proper name of the Plaintiff (CAN) as it is on the Certificate of Incorporation. This is the truth of the matter now. What happened in the court was just a temporary set back and by the grace of God, we have overcome it. Our prayers are for the unborn generations and nothing will discourage us from pursuing this case to the logical conclusion.

We want the court to determine “whether Section 839, subsections (1), (7) (a) and (10) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020, is 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 CFRN which guarantees the right to freedom of expression,” among others.

Part of the reliefs we are seeking include “a declaration that Section 839(1), (7) (a) and (10) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 40 of the CFRN 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 CFRN and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that Section 839(1) and (7) (a) of the CAMA are inconsistent with Section 36(1) of the CFRN and thus unconstitutional, null and void.

“A declaration that Section 839(1) and (7) (a) of the CAMA has a direct effect on the judicial power of the court under Section 6(6) (b) of the CFRN, and Is therefore void.

“An order striking down Sections 839(1), (7) (a) & (10), 842(1) and (2), 843, 851 and 854 of the CAMA for being unconstitutional.

“A declaration that Section 17(2) (a) & (d) of the CAMA demand an impossible and impracticable action; thus, void.

“An Order striking down Section 17 (2) (a) & (d) of the CAMA for being impracticable and unknown to Law.”

We call on well meaning Nigerians – Christians and non-Christians to continue praying for us, as we return to court, in our bid to ensure freedom of religion and worship to every Nigerian irrespective of their religious, political and ethnic affiliations.

Thank You.

 Signed

Barrister Joseph Bade Daramola

CAN’s General Secretary

5 December, 2021.

No Christian Should Be Killed in Zamfara – CAN Warns

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.

CPC List: We Are At a Loss On the Data the US Government Used for the Delisting of Nigeria – CAN

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.

Thank You 

Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle. President, CAN

Signed

His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle 

The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

20th November, 2021.