Kaduna Religious Regulation Bill, An Attempt To Bully Christian Faith – CAN

CAN Leaders during a press briefing in Kaduna on Monday, June 24, 2019.

 

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna State has kicked against the Religious Preaching Regulation Bill being proposed by the state government.

Chairman of CAN in Kaduna State, Reverend Joseph Hayab said that the proposed religious preaching regulation bill is designed to bully Christian faith.

He also commended the recent State High Court judgment which declared the issuance and licensing of religious leaders as unconstitutional. He then appealed to Governor Nasir El-Rufai to obey the judgment by not signing the bill.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Journalist Facing Terror Charges Granted Bail

“The judgment is a huge relieve to all peace-loving people in the state, both Christians and lovers of peace from other faith.

“For we the Christians suspect that the bill could have been an attempt to bully the different faith we profess and illegally aimed at obstructing religious preaching, especially the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Hayab said on Monday while addressing a news conference in the state capital.

Hayab stressed that CAN is behind the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN)  that dragged the state government to court over the matter, and is also ready to pursue the case even to the Supreme Court should the governor decides to go against the ruling of the state high court.

In a swift reaction, the state government through its spokesman, Samuel Arwuan maintained that the bill is not in any way designed to muzzle any religious group, but is aimed at creating religious harmony in the state.

The Kaduna Religious Regulation Bill which has been passed by the immediate past House of Assembly on June 8, is yet to be signed into law by the state governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

PFN had in 2016 approached a Kaduna State high court to challenge the constitutionality of the proposed religious preaching regulation bill, describing it is an infringement on fundamental human right.

PFN among other prayers asked the court for a declaration that setting up a committee for the screening and licensing preachers, as provided in the bill, is a violation of their rights.

Three years after, the court presided over by Justice Hajaratu Gwadah in a ruling, last week, maintained that the state government has the rights to regulate religious activities in the state. She, however, ruled that screening and issuing licenses to religious preachers as unconstitutional.

‘The Battle Is Not Yet Won’, CAN President Reacts to Killings

Presidential Election: We Have No Preferred Candidate – CAN
CAN President Samson Ayokunle (file)

 

President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Samson Ayokunle, has said that the killings in the North show that the battle is ‘not yet won’.

The Christian leader, who was in Maiduguri to assess the devastation caused by the insurgents in the North-East, insisted that the country needs help to come out of the conflict.

He also stated that people deserve to return to their place of habitat, instead of being Internally Displaced Persons.

“There is no reason to deceive ourselves, it is not over yet, the battle is not won yet and we need to know that the end is in sight if we don’t give up.

“As long as you continue to see IDPs it means that we have not reached the end of the matter, people ought to go back to their places of residence where they were born where they have their means of living.”

READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill 15, Injure 11 In Nasarawa Village Attack

The CAN President revealed that the body has embarked on several advocacy meetings to seek support and collaborations from the international community to end insurgency in the country.

“We have been speaking, making advocacy and we have taken our advocacy beyond the shores of Nigeria. I’ve gone to Washington DC, met the House of Reps Committee Chairman, Chris Meat, on the problems of insurgency and the devastation it had caused in Nigeria and the world should come to our aid.”

He also alleged complicity on the part of community leaders and government for allowing the killings in Zamfara to last this long.

“To me, to some extent, the government allowed it; How can I be the leader of a community and unwanted elements are rising up. Will I not quickly nip it in the bud?

“I am advocating that the leaders of the communities and the agents of the government be sincere enough and be patriotic beyond economic returns to expose the unscrupulous elements within the community so that the rest might be able to live their lives, fulfill their dreams because they don’t have two lives to live.”

Northern Christian, Muslim Leaders Call For Release Of Leah Sharibu, Others

 

Christian and Muslim leaders in the North on Friday appealed to Boko Haram terrorists to release Leah Sharibu and other schoolgirls in their captivity.

Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Northern Chapter, Reverend Yakubu Pam told journalists in Abuja on Friday that the abduction has caused untold hardships on the families of the victims.

“We find it very important to address this boiling issue that has been disturbing the peace of this country. The issue of the adoption of some of our innocent teenage girls, particularly Leah Sharibu and others.

“We have heard what the adopters have said. We are here together as religious leaders and traditional rulers to appeal to the conscience of the adopters of these innocent girls.

“The mothers and families have cried for their release. Citizens of Nigeria have also cried out. We are also appealing to them (the terrorists) to please for the sake of God, release these girls,” he said.

Pam added that the release of the teenage girls by Boko Haram will make not only the parents but Nigerians heave a sigh of relief.

Also at the event, the Imam, Apo legislative quarters mosque, Sheik Mohammed Khalid said it is worrisome that Sharibu is being held on account of her faith. He described the situation as unfortunate.

“We are appealing to them to release those in their captivity especially, Leah Sharibu, We are worried about her in particular because she was abducted with other children, but why should she be left behind, that’s our problem,” he said.

Plateau Attack: CAN Demands Review Of Nigeria’s Security Architecture

Plateau Attack: CAN Demands Review Of Nigeria’s Security Architecture
File photo: CAN President Samson Ayokunle

 

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked the Federal Government to review Nigeria’s security architecture in a bid to stem the rate of killings in the country.

CAN made the demand on Monday in a statement by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the special assistant on media and communication to the group’s president, Reverend Samson Ayokunle.

They condemned the weekend attack which claimed scores of lives and destroyed several properties in some villages in Plateau State.

CAN lamented that despite assurances and promises by President Muhammadu Buhari that his government was committed to the safety of lives and property of Nigerians, “coordinated and premeditated” attacks have continued in Plateau and other states.

The association further called on the Federal Government not to rest on its oars until the perpetrators of the attacks are brought to book.

Read the full statement below;

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is disappointed and shocked at the spate of killings that was unleashed on three local government areas of Plateau State by herdsmen. 

We noted that the affected communities are yet to come out with the exact figure of the death toll, we are alarmed that no fewer than 86 lives, as confirmed by the police, have been lost, including defenceless women and children. 

We are sad that despite assurances and promises by President Muhammadu Buhari that his government is committed to the safety of lives and property, these coordinated and premeditated attacks on Plateau towns were not only horrendous but also unprecedented. 

CAN is at a loss how scores of people can be killed without any form of resistance by soldiers deployed to contain the security challenge. How could dare-devil criminals assault communities without resistance by security agencies to stop these killings? Are these herdsmen in bed with soldiers to unleash mayhem on these peaceful communities? 

Of what relevance is the intelligence gathering by the Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies? If communities can be attacked and hundreds slaughtered without security organisations providing rescue efforts, then, it becomes obvious that Nigeria’s security system has been compromised. From all indications, these attacks on the Plateau clearly show that the Federal Government needs to review its security machinery in a bid to make it effective. 

Considering the level of the human carnage of these attacks, we once again call on government not to rest on its oars until these criminals are brought to book as promised. 

CAN and relations of victims of these attacks need more than assurances and promises of tracking down these criminals by the President. Much as these assurances are needed; they have become irrelevant in the face of incessant attacks that have claimed the lives of thousands of Christians. 

Against the backdrop of the wave of attacks on innocent citizens, CAN has come to the conclusion that the Federal Government has been overwhelmed by the current security challenges. We once again call on the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations and the African Union, among others, to assist the Nigerian government to protect us against these criminals.

Meanwhile, following media reports of a secret ongoing recruitment of former members of Boko Haram into some military and paramilitary formations by the Federal Government, CAN is concerned over the security implications of such recruitment that pose security to our nation if the report turns out to be true. 

In authenticating the veracity of the report, CAN had called the attention of the Federal Government to the disturbing media report and sought responses from Nigeria Army, Nigeria Police, with other relevant security organisations, to either deny or confirm the report. 

Sadly, after two weeks of CAN’s request on relevant security organisations to speak on the matter, we are shocked that silence has been the answer. While we insist that silence, on this matter, can never be golden, we call on the Nigerian Army and other relevant security organisations alleged to have been involved in the recruitment of the former members of the militant Islamic sect to speak out. 

While we continue to pray for the peace of our nation, we are, however, constrained to call on the Federal Government to respond to our fears over the alleged recruitment of former members of Boko Haram into the nation’s military and paramilitary formations. 

CAN is particularly worried about the report that the Federal Government allegedly recruited former members of Boko Haram group into security agencies. If the report is true, we are at a loss on how the former terrorists could be so trusted with the protection of people they once killed with reckless abandon. 

Unlike the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua that offered amnesty to former members of Niger Delta militants, none of them was recruited into any of the nation’s security agencies. 

While CAN commends the Federal Government in embarking on the de-radicalisation programme for the former Boko Haram fighters, we are quick to advise that they should not be recruited into any of the nation’s military and paramilitary organisations. 

Ondo CAN Protest Christians Abduction, Killings In Northeast

Christians in Ondo State under on Sunday trooped to the streets of Akure, the state capital in protest.

The members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) said they are protesting the killing and kidnapping of Christians in some states in the northern region of the country.

Carrying placards with various inscriptions, the protesters trekked from the city centre to the Government House.

READ ALSO: ‘These Killings Must Stop!’ Osun CAN Protest Killings, Attacks In Northeast, Benue

They sang solidarity songs and lamented over alleged murder of Christians in the northern part of the country by suspected herdsmen and Boko Haram terrorists.

The group called on the Federal Government to shift its focus from the 2019 elections and address the incessant killing of Christians in Benue State and some other states in the north region of the country.

Enugu Govt Commends CAN For Donations To Victims Of Herdsmen Attack

The Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has commended the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for its donations to victims of Nimbo and Atakwu herdsmen attack.

The team led by the CAN President Rev. Supo Ayokunle was commended when they paid a courtesy call on the Governor to make its intention known to him.

Governor Ugwuanyi who was elated at the gesture assured the group of his commitment to pursue peace and continually boost security in the state.

“We are happy that you are here in Enugu to visit and offer sympathy to the victims of herdsmen attack in Nimbo and Atakwa communities. We feel deeply touched by this gesture. We pray the good Lord to reward you.”

While meeting with the victims and members of the communities, Rev Ayokunle urged them to remain loving and  peaceful.

Arrested Nigerian Pastor Denied Bail In South Africa

Arrested Nigerian Pastor Denied Bail In South AfricaSouth Africa’s branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has called for due course to be followed in the case of a Nigerian pastor who was arrested on Thursday in the country.

Pastor Timothy Omotoso, who appeared in a Port Elizabeth Court on Friday over alleged assault and human trafficking, was denied bail.

He is to remain behind bars until the case resumes on May 3, 2017.

The CAN representatives who spoke to Channels Television correspondent in South Africa expressed worry that the development may trigger more anti-Nigerian sentiments in the country, if not properly handled.

The 58-year-old televangelist of the Jesus Dominion International Ministries was arrested by operatives of the Priority Crimes Unit of the South African Police Service (The Hawks).

He was picked up over allegations of sex crimes and human trafficking involving about 30 female congregants, after some young members of his congregation alleged that the clergyman had sexually molested them for years.

An investigative feature on South Africa’s national broadcaster last Monday showed three girls who claimed to have been his victims.

One of them who is now 25, claimed that the alleged molestation began when she was 14 years old.

In a statement, The Hawks said the pastor reportedly trafficked the young women from various branches of his church to a house in Umhlanga, KwaZulu-Natal where he allegedly exploited them sexually.

Elder Statesman, Samuel Ogbemudia Laid To Rest

ogbemudia3The remains of late elder statesman and two-time Governor of Mid-Western State and later Bendel State, Brigadier General Samuel Ogbemudia (rtd), has been laid to rest.

Dr. Ogbemudia was buried at his residence in Ihaya Street, Benin City, following an interdenominational service held at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium in the Edo State capital.

A combined team of clergymen from the Christian Association of Nigeria, Edo and Delta chapters took charge of proceedings at the venue.

Family, friends, close associates, past and serving Governors of Edo and Delta states, as well as members of National Assembly and their state counterparts also witnessed the ceremony where they paid their last respects to the two-time Governor.

In a sermon titled “the man and his works”, Bishop Oyonude Kure said the late Ogbemudia by his laudable achievements as an administrator lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation.

Shortly after the sermon there were tributes from former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and Deputy Governor of Delta State, Kingsley Otuaro among others.

ogbemudia2

Dr. Ogbemudia died on Thursday, March 9 at the age of 84 at a private hospital in Lagos.

While serving as Governor of the old Bendel State, Dr. Ogbemudia initiated improvements in the areas of sports, urban development, education, public transportation, housing, commerce and agriculture.

No Discrimination In Appointments – Gov. Ahmed

No Discrimination In Appointments – Gov. AhmedThe Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed has assured Christians in the state that he did not influence or impose appointees during the process of selecting members of his cabinet and other aides.

The Governor gave the assurance while receiving the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson ‘Supo Ayokunle.

He explained that the appointments were made at the local government level and each of the 16 local government areas in the state was given free hand to choose those who would represent them in his cabinet.

According to the Governor, “some politicians even came to me to influence their appointments and I asked them to go back to their local government”.

Ahmed, however, told his guests that the only appointments he made were those of his personal aides, adding that “as a government, we ensure that we are being guided by our avowed principle of transparency, equity, fairness and justice”.

Strength In Diversity

The Governor also called on Nigerians to stop politicizing serious national issues and dividing the country along religious lines.

He stressed the need for all citizens to be patriotic and stop heating up the polity unnecessarily.

“We have to see strength in our diversity by de-emphasising things that will divide us as a country but promote those things that unite us”.

On the issue of land, the Governor emphasized that land management process was critical to the development of any nation. He therefore, tasked government at all levels to create platform of accessing land in order to unlock hidden potentials and create wealth for the people.

He also informed the CAN leaders about his government’s programmes and policies, saying that the government was working round clock to optimally harness the state’s resources without bias or favour.

The CAN President had, earlier in his remarks, drawn the Governor’s attention to what he described as lopsidedness in some political appointments, claiming that Christians were not represented.

Rev. Ayokunle, however, also praised the state governor for his giant stride in the state.

He highlighted, particularly, the sustenance of peace and tranquility in the state, explaining that peaceful co-existence is critical to the development of any nation.

He advised governments at all levels to imbibe the principle of equity, justice and fairness in order to give everyone the sense of belonging.

Touching Lives

The CAN President, who is also the president of Nigeria Baptist Convention, told the Governor a bit about the Baptist Church in Nigeria.

According to him, the church had 15,000 churches across the country with about eight million members.

He added that he considered the Emmanuel Baptist Church, Ilorin to be among the 20 best churches in Nigeria.

Also speaking, the Pastor In Charge of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Sabo-Oke, Ilorin, Pastor Solomon Olawuyi James, said that they were at the government house to inform the Governor about the 50th anniversary of the church.

He told the Governor that the church had for five decades been committed to “preparing men for eternity with Christ and touching lives for global impact”.

He also enumerated some achievements of the church in the last 50 years, saying that the church also focuses on ministering to the total man by impacting their spirit, soul and body.

“By God’s grace we are touching lives, changing lives and raising champions to change the world”, he said.

CAN Executives Pay Sympathy Visit To GOC 7 Division

CAN Executive Pay Sympathy Visit To GOC 7 DivisionThe Borno State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Friday paid a sympathy visit to the Acting General Officer Commanding, 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Victor Ezuwgu in his office at Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri.

The State Chairman of the Christian body, Bishop Abubakar Naga, led other executive members of the chapter to sympathize with the General on the inferno that engulfed his official residence recently.

Bishop Naga, who is also the presiding pastor of Pentecostal Believers Covenant Church (PBCC), was thankful to God for sparing the General’s life.

“We thank God for saving your life and your men especially during the fire inferno,” he said.

He also promised to support and pray for troops fighting insurgency in North East region of Nigeria.

General Victor Ezuwgu who was full of praise to the association, thanked them for their visit, support and prayers in combating the now depleted Boko Haram Terrorists.

The terrorists have been on the run after their safe haven – Sambisa forest was taken over by the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole.

He used the medium to charge the association to sensitize their members on the need to report any suspected terrorist seen within their vicinity to security agents without delay.

Present at the visit were some commanders and principal staff officers of the division.

Yobe Government Reaches Out To Displaced Christians At Christmas

Yobe, christian, christmasThe Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Yobe state chapter, has taken delivery of some food and non-food items presented to its displaced members by the state Government.

The materials are to be shared to its members located in four Local Government Areas of the state, considered worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgents.

Presenting the materials to the Christian community, the Commissioner of Home Affairs, Aji Bularafa, said Governor Gaidam’s administration is demonstrating the spirit of togetherness by extending hands of friendship to the Christians community “at this festive period”.

He said the materials should only go to the displaced Christians living in Damaturu, the state capital as well as those in Gujba, Gulani and Potiskum Local Government Areas, believed to be worst affected by the Boko Haram insurgency.

“The Christians in these Local Government Areas lost their valuables such as; foods stuff, cloths, churches among several other materials, and like their Muslim counterparts, government thought it wise to assist them particularly at this festive period so that they will celebrate without any hitch.

“This symbolizes spirit of oneness irrespective of any difference and the governor expect CAN leadership to share these items to the traumatized Christians to enable them celebrate the birth of Christ like any other Christian” Aji Bularafa said.

The commissioner prayed for harmonious coexistence among the diverse cultures, religions and tribes in the state, the country and the world as a whole.

The CAN secretary Mr Emmanuel Yilar Apagu, also expressed his appreciation to the Yobe state Government for the gesture describing it as “very timely by putting a smile in the faces of Christians at this festive period”.

While assuring to share the items truthfully, the reverend said the materials would go a long way in alleviating the sufferings of the Christian community, who he believes have been traumatized for a very long time.

“We are seriously surprised by these gifts of food and non-food items because it’s the first of its kind in the history of the state and none of us expected it.

“We wish the government more strength, wisdom and good leadership in piloting the affairs of the state believing that with this, government will continue to carry everyone along regardless of any difference. We quite appreciate” Mr Apagu said.

Ondo Election: APC Candidate, Christian Association Hold Talks

Akeredolu, Ondo Election, Ondo APCThe governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, believes his party is the only party capable of satisfying the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the state if given the mandate.

Mr Akeredolu also claimed that that the state had no other place than the APC to run to for succour in order to take the advantage of the government at the centre.

The APC flagbearer spoke on Monday during an interactive session with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Ondo state as part of preparations for the November 26 governorship election.

Fielding questions from Clerics at the session, the APC governorship assured them that he was poised to take the state to an enviable height.

On the issues of the economy and industrialisation in the state, Mr Akeredolu said if elected, new industries would be established in the state.

According to him, industries that had existed in the state were not just moribund but dead.

He said it would be impossible to wake the dead industries back to life.

“New industries will be established from the old ones.

“One of the problems we have in Ondo State is that our economic activities are in zero level.

“We have no industries. Oluwa glass is dead, there is no way we can resuscitate a dead person. The only way is to give new life. We must create a new glass industry there

“We do not plan to limit ourselves to all these industries that had existed.

“The Chinese has money and they want to spend. They are ready to come. We will have industries in this state by the time we come in

“You must understand that the future impact of industries is huge. Ranging from tax to employment provisions. We are bringing a lot of people down to Ondo state to create industries,” he told the Christian association.

‘Burden Of Debt’

The governorship candidate of the APC also said that his administration, if elected, would give individuals an opportunity to establish ports.

“They won’t carry the port away. Oil industries are ready to come to Ondo state and operate. We have been talking to some of them while some have come to meet us on their own. The important thing is that a government must be focused and be prepared to allow economy activities

“Investors will only come where they know the environment is accommodating. They will only come when they know the energy is stable,” he pointed out.

Mr Akeredolu, who said he was not unaware of the huge debt his government would inherit if elected, noted that he was optimistic that the economy of the country would get a boost in the first quarter of next year.

“On the issue of the economy, I am not unaware of the burden of debt that we will inherit when we come into government. It is going to be heavy. I am also not unaware that it is not only in Ondo State

“I am also aware that the economy of the country is in a bad shape right now but there are measures being taken by the Federal Government to ease the burden on ground,” he said.

On Education, Mr Akeredolu assured CAN that he would pursue a functional educational system which would be well funded.

He promised to employ young graduates and also train them to be teachers.

The APC candidate, who lamented the fall in the standard of education in the state, blamed the situation on unqualified personnel in the teaching profession.

He said: “Teaching service commission today are populated with people who have no job being in the teaching service commission

“We need to employ and train people. By the time we come in, we are going to employ young graduates and train them to become teachers. For about four years now, teachers are retired but the government has not employed new ones

“This is part of the reason for the fall in the standard of education. They are only toying with the lives of the students

“The way the past governor, Agagu, built his own school was reasonable. It is a pity that those buildings now have been abandoned for the mega schools

“But how many students can access the mega schools today. We must upgrade the facilities in these schools, so that everybody has a conducive atmosphere where you want to learn”.

Mr Akeredolu, who was a former President of Nigeria Bar Association, reiterated the need for accessible and affordable healthcare.

He stressed that basic health care must be given attention.

Baring his mind on security, Akeredolu identified that there was a big challenge on the issue of security.

“We do have challenges on the issue of security. There is also an overview of the cause of this challenges. Security is not fully under the state government.

“I am one of those saying that the central command cannot be ensuring effective policing in the states.

“State policing will solve part of the problems of insecurity. In those days when we were growing up, we had customary police. Central command in Abuja cannot handle the issues of state policing any longer.

“The only way to improve on our security now is to involve people in the locality in the security. I have said it that our traditional rulers should be part of security and part of their concerns should be security of their people,” he explained.

In his response, the Chairman of the CAN in the state, Reverend Ayo Oladapo, said the Christian community in the state was serious with the issue of ensuring good governance.

Reverend Oladapo, who said it was unfortunate that the previous leadership of CAN was not up to the task expected of them in the past, stressed that the Christian association would be fully involved in the next government in the state.

The cleric also warned against post-election violence, saying the association has been holding series of prayer for peaceful post-election experience.