Following recent attacks rising from the farmers-herders’ conflicts across Nigeria, leaders of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) have called for the collaboration of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in uniting the different religious groups in the country for peaceful resolutions.
The National Secretary of MACBAN, Baba Ngelzarma says the group is kicking off several stakeholder engagements to resolve the problem.
Speaking on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria in the nation’s capital, Abuja, the Miyetti Allah leader also re-affirmed the group’s commitment to supporting the police in prosecuting the killers of the daughter of the leader of Afenifere, Mrs Funke Olakunri.
Ngelzarma said that the cattle breeders association sought partnership with CAN to demonstrate its desire toward peace and mutual resolution of the lingering conflicts.
“MACBAN wishes to request the partnership of CAN in uniting the different religious groups in the country for peaceful resolution of the farmers-herders conflicts.
“We should unite against hatred and support all government initiatives toward solving the conflict.”
He said that Miyetti Allah acknowledged the increasing tension between farmers and its members in the last five years due to a scarcity of pasture overgrazing reserve as a result of climate change.
Ngelzarma said that the body was duly aware of the effort by the Federal Government in conjunction with state governors to address the farmers-herders conflicts through the 10-year National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) 2019 to 2028.
He said that the association had embraced the plan fully and had already trained her national and state executives on negotiation, peacebuilding and conflicts prevention in preparation for the plan.
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says it is seriously concerned about the allegation of rape involving the General Overseer of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo.
In a statement issued on Sunday by its Acting General Secretary, Joseph Bade Daramola, CAN said: “It is disheartening how some commentators and columnists have been insulting the Body of Christ in Nigeria as a result of this incident.
“Like we have earlier stated, it doesn’t matter who is involved, rape is ungodly and reprehensible.”
Noting that the matter is being investigated, the association appealed to parties involved to sheath their swords.
“As we seek the help of CAN Elders and the Holy Spirit in resolving the current problem, it is our prayer that both parties will sheath their swords and stop the media war in the interest of the Church and for the greater glory of God,” it said.
Read Full Statement below.
CAN Press Statement
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is seriously concerned about the disturbing situation concerning Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, the General Overseer of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), one of our leading Pastors in the country, on whom an allegations of rape has been levelled by one of our daughters, Mrs Timi Dakolo.
It is disheartening how some commentators and columnists have been insulting the Body of Christ in Nigeria as a result of this incident.
Like we have earlier stated, it doesn’t matter who is involved, rape is ungodly and reprehensible.
But we have resisted the temptation to jump into any conclusion since a body like ours will be expected to have uncovered the truth about any matter before making public statements and not base its position merely upon media reports.
Although we have disclosed that Pastor Fatoyinbo’s Church has not been an active member of CAN, that does not put the Church outside the spiritual watch-care of CAN.
CAN is the umbrella body for every Christian and Church in Nigeria.
Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church, does not turn back anyone that comes to Him and CAN also does not.
The Ministry of the Church, according to Jesus Christ, is the Ministry of Reconciliation, which is centered on true love and forgiveness of those who repent.
The Bible states it clearly that “God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Roman’s 5:8,11).
Having reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, God has committed to us the ministry of reconciling the world unto Himself and to one another. (2 Corinthians 5:19-21).
Since both Pastor Fatoyinbo and Mrs Timi Dakolo are Christians, the leadership of CAN is already seeking ways to address the issues in order to heal every wound already inflicted on the parties concerned and the body of Christ in general. It is our hope that steps which will exacerbate the current damages already done will be avoided.
As we seek the help of CAN Elders and the Holy Spirit in resolving the current problem, it is our prayer that both parties will sheath their swords and stop the media war in the interest of the Church and for the greater glory of God.
Signed Joseph Bade Daramola, Esq. Acting General Secretary, CAN
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the act of rape, saying it doesn’t matter who is involved.
“It is ungodly, wicked, and reprehensible”, a statement issued on Sunday by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant (Media & Communications) to the CAN President, His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, said.
It, however, stated that regarding the recent allegations against the Founder of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, it is yet to get details of the matter, other than news from social media.
According to organisation such information “is not reliable or credible evidence enough to jump into a conclusion”.
It further stated that the CAN Leadership has reached out to the leadership of the block which the Pastor in question belongs, with a view to getting to the root of the matter.
“This will help us to make the right decision on the issue,” the statement read.
Pastor Fatoyinbo recently came under fire following allegations of rape by Busola Dakolo, photographer and wife of talented Musician, Timi Dakolo – the most recent in series of allegations in the past.
In a recent interview, she accused the pastor of raping her when she was a teenager – a story that has resulted in several groups of supporters calling for him to step down and be investigated.
President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will ensure that the allocation of political appointments is done based on merit.
He said this when he received the leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) led by Reverend Samson Ayokunle on Friday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
“In the area of allocation of political offices, our focus will be on merit and national spread such that every part of Nigeria will have a sense of belonging,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.
He assured Christian leaders in the country of his commitment to leaving Nigeria better than he met it in 2015.
The President affirmed that his administration would continue to address important national challenges which include security, economy, and corruption.
He informed the CAN leaders who were at the State House to congratulate him on his re-election that the outcome of the just concluded polls underscored the trust Nigerians have in the present leadership in the country.
“We will continue to strive for peaceful co-existence among all Nigerians irrespective of their religious beliefs,” he said.
President Buhari added, “We remain resolute in the fight against terrorism and insurgency, and efforts to bring back all those in captivity and other victims of kidnappings will be intensified,” the President said.
He further commended the important roles religious bodies have played in the last four years of his administration.
The President, therefore, pledged to continue supporting several programmes anchored by the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC), geared towards peace, tolerance, unity and harmony in the country.
In his congratulatory message, the CAN president prayed God to grant President Buhari “everything it takes to perform a hundred times better than” his first term.
He welcomed the President’s pledge to run an inclusive government in a speech shortly after his re-election, noting that the gesture would give all in the country a sense of belonging.
Reverend Ayokunle also called for ethnic and religious balance in the selection of leadership of the ninth National Assembly.
He, however, appealed to the President to challenge the security agencies to be more proactive in their duties.
The CAN leader made a passionate request for deliberate and relentless efforts to free Leah Sharibu, the remaining Chibok girls, as well as other Nigerians still in Boko Haram captivity.
The CAN chairman claimed that some youths with dangerous weapons would be stationed in the strategic areas to carry out the mayhem.
He said the second phase was to be executed at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on March 11, when the collation of results would be ongoing.
Reverend Solomon alleged that the plan was to manipulate the governorship result in favour of a particular political party and should the INEC officials fail to comply, their office would be destroyed.
He, therefore, called on all political actors to allow the people of Taraba to freely choose their leaders without intimidation and coercion.
According to the clergyman, Taraba belongs to all the people and they will do everything to bequeath a state of their dreams to the young generation.
He said, “CAN hereby calls on the security agencies in the state to carefully interrogate this plan towards disrupting the peace of Taraba in respect of the forthcoming governorship and state house of assembly elections in the state.
“This is in view of averting or preventing the looming danger ahead since it is their statutory responsibility to protect lives and property.”
The leadership of the Christian Association Of Nigeria (CAN), has appealed to all Christians in the country and those in the Diaspora to pray for Nigeria ahead of Saturday’s rescheduled general elections.
In a statement by its President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, CAN directed its members to begin a Prayer Programme from Tuesday, February 19, 2019, and end on Sunday, February 24, 2019, for the success of the rescheduled elections.
He described the current political scene in the country as not being ordinary, adding that there was the need for the Church to intercede for the country.
“I want you to pray very well this week against some evil forces that are plotting against the election. If it’s about the things we see in the spirit, I am not sure that elections will hold at all.
“We should rise up and ask for a transparent, free, fair and credible election that will even be better than those of 2015,” the CAN president pleaded.
He urged Christians to prevail on God not to allow the elections to result in war or bring hardship and suffering unto the citizens, and there would not be a further postponement of the polls.
“It is our prayers that this will be the last time INEC will toy with any postponement again. It is reprehensible, unacceptable, condemnable, ungodly and a national embarrassment and never again will Nigeria be subjected to this kind of rude shock of international proportion.
Among other prayer points, the CAN president also asked that prayers be offered for the deliverance of Leah Sharibu, who was kidnapped by terrorists from her school, Government Girls Science and Technical Secondary School in Dapchi, Adamawa State on the night of February 19, 2018.
“It was never this bad for us before,” CAN said, adding ”It is most embarrassing and shameful that a nation as big as Nigeria with many highly qualified professionals to organise elections will be postponing elections in the early morning of that election.”
The Christian body also said, “This unexplainable postponement is reprehensible, condemnable and unacceptable when smaller nations are doing better.
“With the 2015 elections, the whole world is expecting a better electoral process but it seems the INEC is not ready to build on the 2015 foundation. What a pity!”
Economically, CAN decried that the postponement has led to the loss of billions of naira, in terms of movement of election materials nationwide and the closure of the nation’s borders, seaports, and airports.
It noted that many local and international observers had already come and would either be forced to go back and return next week or stay for one week at extra cost.
The group also pointed out the case of the electorate who travelled to their hometowns to vote and would have to go back to their places of work and return in a week’s time.
“There is a great question on the credibility of the elections now because of the doubt on safe-keeping of these election materials where they were sent to. How are we sure the ballot papers, card readers and other materials will not get into wrong hands for election manipulation?” it queried.
CAN stated, “No excuse is strong and good enough to justify its postponement in the early morning of an election. This development has led us almost losing confidence in INEC and its chairman.
“INEC has disappointed Nigerians and the international community. We hope we would not hear of another postponement again after this.”
The Christian body further criticised INEC for ‘unilaterally’ postponing the elections without any input from other stakeholders such as the leading presidential candidates and their parties, as well as the National Council of States among others.
“How can you justify the ‘logistics issues’ excuse that came when all stakeholders were already in the fields,” it questioned.
CAN said, “This kind of disappointment can cause voters apathy for so many reasons because it has raised a serious question on the credibility and integrity of the Commission.
“In his address to the nation, the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, even failed to tender unreserved apology to the nation for failing at the most crucial hour, taking the entire nation for granted! This is unacceptable, to say the least.”
The group, however, urged Nigerians to remain prayerful and focused, adding that they should remain calm and maintain peace.
It asked them not to be discouraged but be determined to decide who presides over the affairs of the nation on the rescheduled dates of the polls.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to ensure they do not support any political party or candidate in the coming elections.
The Christian leaders made the call in a communique issued at the end of their first quarter meeting held on Thursday at CAN National Headquarters in Abuja.
“No voter or election observer must be intimidated or harassed throughout the period of the election,” the group said in a statement by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the media aide to CAN President, Dr Samson Ayokunle.
It added, “The association calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the police and other security agents not to make themselves available to be used for rigging or any form of electoral malpractice by the politicians.”
The religious group also warned those seeking election into public offices against inducing electoral and security officials during the polls.
It asked politicians to run away from vote buying and asked the electorates not allow anybody to buy their votes.
“If you sell your vote, you sell your future,” CAN said.
It said it welcomed the promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari to Nigerians that he would ensure the polls were free and fair.
The group, however, asked the President to ensure he puts his words into action by ensuring that adequate measures were put in place to prevent any form of violence before, during and after the elections.
It said, “The association commends President Muhammadu Buhari for the continuous reassurance that all will be done by the government to make the forthcoming general elections free, fair and credible.
“We at the same time implore Mr President to make sure that all these promises are transformed into reality through concrete efforts that would prevent violence and other electoral malpractices.”
CAN, thereafter, urged Nigerians to be vigilant and continue praying fervently for peaceful and credible elections in the country.
It prayed that God would hear the cries of the people and lead the nation to a more glorious future.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has decried the spate of criminal activities in some parts of the country.
The Christian leaders who met in Abuja on Thursday noted the efforts of the Federal Government in securing the lives and property of the people.
They, however, condemned the killing of innocent people by Boko Haram terrorists in the North-east, stressing the need for government to step up its effort.
”Boko Haram appeared to have resurrected again, decimating communities in Borno and Yobe states, in particular, not sparing soldiers,” the group said in a statement by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the media aide to CAN President, Dr Samson Ayokunle.
It added, “The Christian Association of Nigeria acknowledged the efforts of the Federal Government, military and other security agencies in fighting insurgency and all criminal activities in the country including kidnapping and armed robbery among others.
“The association, however, observes that the present effort of the government in providing security is not yielding the needed results as wanton killings have continued, especially in some states in the northern part of the country.”
CAN informed the government that the “resurgence” of insecurity in the North-east portends danger for the coming general elections.
It stressed further that if efforts at curtailing such were not increased, many residents might be disenfranchised from voting.
The group also warned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies against supporting any political party or candidate in the coming elections.
It called on those seeking election into public offices to shun inducement of electoral and security officials during the polls and urged the electorates not allow anybody to buy their votes.
CAN welcomed the anti-corruption war of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, but insisted that due process must be followed.
It said, “We reaffirm our support for all efforts of government geared towards stamping out corruption from our country.
“We, however, caution that efforts geared towards stamping out corruption from Nigeria must follow due process of the law while the independence of each arm of government for peace and harmony in the society must be well maintained.”
“Wisdom and caution should be applied by those in government and other Nigerians in all that we do so that our actions and speeches might not set our nation on fire at this crucial period of election,” the group advised.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) says it has no preferred candidate in the presidential election scheduled to hold in February.
CAN said this in a statement on Tuesday by its acting General Secretary, Daramola Bade, in reaction to speculations that it has endorsed a candidate.
“The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has disclosed that it has not endorsed and will never endorse any of the candidates eyeing the Number One Seat or any elective post,” it stated.
“CAN is apolitical, non-partisan and impartial but we are for God and His people. Our members cut across all political divides and some of them are even contesting for one post or the other including the Presidential.”
The religious group, however, asked its members to vote according to the leading of the Holy Spirit and their consciences.
It insisted that the idea of endorsing any candidate as favourite does not arise, stressing that it would never endorse any candidate for any elective office in the country.
CAN noted that after a meeting with some leading presidential candidates in Abuja recently, it acknowledged the nation’s multi-religious and multicultural composition and was not in denial of the realities.
It added that it was crucial for all constituents to commit to respect of the fundamental human rights of other groups as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution as amended.
“It is against this background that CAN raised serious concerns with the candidates over the sustained violent attacks on, and persecution of the Church in Nigeria today,” the association said.
“CAN understands that if the principle of good governance (transparency, accountability, equity, inclusiveness and consensus building) are the hallmarks of governance, it would lead to accelerated development and prosperity for the people of Nigeria. This is our sincere desire, hope, and prayer.”
CAN explained that its expectation was that whoever emerges as president and vice-president would address the myriad of critical national issues.
It decried what it described as the misfortunes that have befallen the Nigerian state in recent years, saying they must never be “swept under the carpet”.
The group advised Christians in the country to use sound judgment in voting and ensure that they eschew sentiments and apply wisdom in making the decision on the ballot paper.
“Let us be circumspect and discretional. Above all. Let the Holy Spirit of God direct you in the voting. Think about the greater good of Nigeria, and not primordial sentiments,” it said.
CAN insisted that it stands for a credible, fair and violence-free election and urged all the candidates to show maturity, leadership, sportsmanship and eschew electoral malpractice and violence in whatever form.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has declared January 10 as a day of national prayers for the general elections to be peaceful, free, fair and credible.
According to a statement on Saturday, the day was also fixed to pray for the freedom of Leah Sharibu and others still held captive by Boko Haram terrorists.
CAN asked churches across the nation to pray against violence, manipulation, intimidation of voters and other electoral crimes between 11am and 2pm on Thursday next week.
It also urged politicians, especially Christians participating in the elections as well as Christian groups to participate in the programme.
The Christian body encouraged the groups and CAN block leaders or their representatives to assemble at the National Christian Centre in Abuja on Thursday next week for the prayer meeting.
State chairmen and all denominational leaders of CAN were asked to organise similar programme in their various.
They were directed to pray for all Christians contesting one post or the other for the will of God to be done concerning their ambition.
The Christian body asked the faithful to also pray that God should stop all the people or groups behind the killings in the country and their financiers.
The statement was signed by the acting General Secretary of CAN, Joseph Daramola.
Read the full statement below;
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) under the leadership of His Eminence, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle has declared 10 January 2019 as a National Day of Prayers for peaceful, free, fair and credible election and freedom for Leah Sharibu and others in the captivity of the Boko Haram terrorists.
The prayer meeting is to be organized in Abuja and all the State capitals nationwide between 11:00am and 2:00pm prompt with a view to asking God to prevent violence, manipulation, intimidation of voters and other electoral crimes with a view to having credible elections.
Christian politicians especially those contesting for any of the elections, all Christian groups or organisations and all stakeholders are invited to participate in the programme.
CAN urges all Christian Groups, denominational, church and block leaders of CAN or their representatives to assemble at the National Christian Centre, Abuja on 10th January for this all-important prayer meeting.
All Christian candidates for all the elective offices or their representatives are also invited as they will be prayed for to be good Ambassadors of Christ before, during and after the election.
CAN asks all State Chairmen and all denominational leaders to organize similar programme and Christian candidates who could not make it to Abuja, especially those who are contesting for State Assembly or positions of Governor to attend the one being organised at the State level.
We are to pray for all Christians contesting for one post or the other for the will of God to be done concerning their ambition. That the powerful in our nation will not be able to manipulate the election and edge them out.
We will also pray for the following:
1. That all captives in the den of the terrorists like Leah Sharibu, the Chibok girls should be set free immediately.
2. That the general election should be free, fair and credible.
3. That it should be violence – free and without any bloodshed.
4. That God should use the process to give the country good and godly leaders at all levels.
5. That every evil plan against Nigeria be frustrated.
6. That 2019 should be a New Dawn for Nigeria.
7. That God should stop all groups behind the killings in Nigeria and their financiers.
All churches and all Christians in the country are urged to participate in the programme to usher in the country into a new era of peace, unity, safety and all round prosperity.
We urge you to please attach utmost importance to this prayer program for 2019 elections.
Thank You Signed Joseph Daramola, Esq. Acting General Secretary