CAN To Buhari: Order Military To Rescue Pastor Abducted By Boko Haram

A photo combination of President Muhammadu Buhari and the CAN President, Samson Ayokunle.

 

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order the military to rescue Pastor Bulud Yakuru from the Boko Haram terrorists before it is too late.

Pastor Yakuru of EYN Church of the Brethren was reportedly abducted on December 24, 2020, when the terrorists attacked Pemi Village in Borno State and killed no fewer than seven people.

The Pastor who has been in the custody of the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of Boko Haram since last year was on Wednesday reportedly given a one-week ultimatum for their demands to be met by the government or Pastor Yakuru will be killed.

In a statement issued on Saturday, CAN President, Samson Ayokunle, said although the association is not aware of the demand, it, however, appealed to the Federal Government to secure the cleric’s release.

“Our appeal is to the President, the military and the Borno State government to ensure that Pastor Yakuru is not murdered like the district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) and CAN Chairman of Michika Local Government in Adamawa State, Rev Lawan Andimi,” the statement partly read.

“The leadership of CAN believes that the freedom of Pastor Yakuru is a litmus test for the new Service Chiefs and the whole world is watching whether they will live up to the expectations of or not.

“If the then American President,  Donald Trump could put his acts together from far away America and ordered his military to rescue one kidnapped American in Nigeria, then our President has no excuse or whatsoever not to act decisively and rescue Pastor Yakuru.

“Why should the government leave the citizens of this country at the mercy of insurgents, bandits and kidnappers? What then is the essence of having a government in place?”

CAN recalled that the recent abductions of schoolchildren, describing the most kidnap of over 300 schoolgirls in Zamfara State as shocking.

See statement here:

The most recent case of kidnapping is that of about three hundred school girls in Kangere, Zamfara State. This serial incident of mass abduction of our school children and citizens is shocking beyond words and must be stopped by this government immediately. The ease with which the bandits and insurgents are carrying out their nefarious activities is totally embarrassing and a cause for concern. When will this government give the citizens of this country cause to breathe a sigh of relief with assurance that their lives and property are safe and secured?

Mr. President, where shall we go from here? Have the criminals taken over where there is legitimate government? Though we are praying earnestly continuously, we know faith without hard work from the side of government is vain. While we are aware that you may be doing your best, your best is not the best yet going by the current negative outcomes. The bitter truth is that, no place is presently safe in this country.

We, once again, advise that all public secondary schools – boarding or otherwise – in the Northern part of the country should be closed henceforth until the security situation improves. The Police should be directed to recruit more personnel with a view to assigning effective and well armed standby force to every secondary school in the North and other parts of the country. From all indications, it is high time the government declared a state of emergency in the security sector of the country. We also call for adequate funding, training, equipping and morale boosting of our security forces in order to enhance their performances nationwide. It seems the banditry is more dangerous than COVID-19. While individuals can protect themselves from the pandemic, the same cannot be said of the security challenges. Let the government stop every frivolous spending and focus more on ending the menace of insecurity challenges.

May God intervene for us in this nation where human efforts have failed in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Signed

His Eminence

Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)

27 February, 2021

59-Year-Old Pastor Arrested For Raping Minor In Ogun

In this photo released by the Ogun State Police Command on July 14, 2020, Abiodun who was accused of raping a minor is detained at the police station in Odeda.

 

Police have arrested a 59-year-old suspect, Oketokun Abiodun, for raping a 10-year-old girl in Ogun State.

According to a statement from the state police command on Tuesday, Abiodun is the pastor of Light Christian Church in the Odeda area of the state.

He was said to have been arrested on July 10, 2020, by men of Ogun State Police Command for forcefully having unlawful carnal knowledge of the minor.

The suspect was arrested following a complaint by the father of the victim who reported at the police station in Odeda.

Abiodun, according to the girl’s father, saw the victim playing with other children and called her to fetch his key from his room.

A map of Ogun, a state in south-west Nigeria.

 

“While the innocent girl was going into the room, the pastor followed her behind, pushed her into the bed, covered her mouth with his hands, and forcefully had carnal knowledge of her.

“Upon the report, the DPO Odeda Division, CSP Ajayi Williams, detailed his detectives to the scene where the randy pastor was promptly arrested,” said the statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Abimbola Oyeyemi.

It added, “On interrogation, the pastor owned up to the commission of the crime and he is currently being detained at Odeda Police Station, while the victim has been taken to the General Hospital Odeda, for medical attention.”

In his reaction, the Commissioner of Police in Ogun, Kenneth Ebrimson, ordered the transfer of the suspect to the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, for further investigation and prosecution.

44-Year-Old Pastor Arrested For Raping Daughter

Photo of Pastor, Oluwafemi Oyebola who raped his daughter.

 

The Police in Ogun State says it has arrested a 44-year-old man, Oluwafemi Oyebola, for raping his biological daughter.

Oyebola who is said to be a pastor of the Christ Apostolic Church, Ogo Oluwa Parish in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of the state, was arrested following a complaint by the daughter who reported at Owode-Egbado divisional headquarters that her father had been forcefully having carnal knowledge of her since 2015.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said that the 19-year-old reported that shortly after the demise of her mother, she got pregnant for her father three times and he allegedly took her to a nurse where the pregnancies were aborted.

“After the third abortion, the suspect did family planning for her so as not to get pregnant any longer,” the PPRO said.

“Having realised that her father is all out to ruin her life, she ran away from the house and reported to an NGO – Advocacy For Children And Vulnerable Persons Network – consequent upon which she was taken to Owode-Egbado police station for complaint.

“Upon the report, the Divisional Police Officer, Owode-Egbado division, Superintendent of Police, Olabisi Elebute led her detectives to the pastor’s house where he was promptly arrested.

“On interrogation, the suspect made a confessional statement that all his daughter said is nothing but the whole truth,” the PPRO said.

The state Commissioner of Police, CP Kenneth Ebrimson, has now ordered the immediate transfer of the suspect to the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further investigation and prosecution.

Chinese Court Jails Pastor For Inciting Revolution

 

China on Monday jailed the leader of an unofficial Protestant church for nine years for “incitement to subvert state power”.

Pastor Wang Yi, whose Early Rain Covenant Church was the target of a government crackdown last year, was also found guilty of “illegal business operation” by a court in Chengdu, southwest China, according to an announcement on an official court website.

Wang was detained in December 2018 in a raid by authorities in which dozens of members of his “underground church” disappeared.

China’s officially atheist government is wary of any organised movements outside its own control, including religious ones.

Protestants in the country are split between unofficial “house” or “underground” churches like the Early Rain Covenant Church, and state-sanctioned ones where Communist Party songs also feature in the order of service.

Catholics are similarly divided between unofficial churches led by bishops recognised by the Vatican and those who follow official prelates.

Wang was convicted in an open trial by a court in Chengdu, where his Early Rain Covenant Church had been based, the city’s official court website said.

The charge of inciting subversion has often been used against dissidents as a way to silence criticism of the government and the Communist Party.

Shortly before being detained, Wang wrote a post on his church’s Facebook page criticising the Chinese government for repressing Christians, saying “the Party can flourish for a while, but it cannot last forever.”

“The Party can kill my body, but it cannot kill my soul,” Wang wrote.

 ‘Chilling effect’ 

Patrick Poon, a Hong Kong-based researcher with Amnesty International, said Wang’s sentence would “have a chilling effect on other house churches in China.”

“The message is very clear — you will be the next Wang Yi if you don’t register and follow the Communist Party’s line on religion,” Poon told AFP.

Wang’s church was among a number of prominent “underground” churches shut down by the government in 2018 as part of a crackdown on religion, especially on followers of Islam and Christianity.

Beijing-based Zion Church, one of China’s largest “underground” Protestant churches, was banned by city authorities in September 2018 for operating without a licence after dozens of officials stormed its premises.

Earlier that year, unauthorised versions of the Bible were pulled from Chinese online retailers.

In November, politburo standing committee member Wang Yang said at a forum that Beijing should even alter religious scripture to fix “contents not in line with the progress of the times.”

Reinterpreting religious doctrines would show “religious circles’ responsibility for their own beliefs” and was in line with the “Sinicisation and modernisation of religions,” Wang said.

He said Beijing should “effectively resist the erosion by extremist thoughts and heresies” by making its own re-evaluation of religious texts.

China has faced international condemnation for rounding up an estimated one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic minorities in internment camps in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

An AFP investigation found in October that China’s efforts to erase minorities’ religious identity in Xinjiang have included the destruction of burial grounds where generations of Uighur families were laid to rest.

Beijing has sought to portray its crackdown in Xinjiang as a programme to combat extremism and terrorism.

AFP

Boko Haram Releases Pastor, Schoolgirl Abducted In Borno

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

A 58-year-old man, Moses Oyeleke, and a schoolgirl, Ndagiliya Ibrahim Umar, have been released from Boko Haram captivity and reunited with their families.

The release was facilitated by two local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Kalthum Foundation For Peace and Initiative for Peace Building Movement, after weeks of negotiation and dialogue with the duo’s abductors.

While Oyeleke has been in captivity for seven months, Ndagiliya said she was held for nine months.

Oyeleke, a pastor with the Living Faith Church, Maiduguri was kidnapped alongside a corps member Abraham Amuta in April 2019, on their way to Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State with charity materials donated by the church.

The corps member, however, is yet to be released.

Narrating his ordeal, the clergyman said, “We were on our way to Chibok when they caught us and took us to Yale; from there, they took a detour and finally took us to Sambisa because Yale is also their town.

“It was the two of us, myself and my brother, who is still there with them and was not released and they promised us that when they finish discussions, they’ll release them in December; himself and the elder sister of this girl I was released with”

On the other hand, Ndagiliya was abducted in a school in Askira Uba Local Government Area along with her sister and a few others still in captivity.

“Life in the bush, they marry off little girls; women do not talk to men, and movement is restricted,” Ndagiliya recounted her experience.

 

From Darkness To Light

Not much is known about the girl’s abduction, but the kidnappers had contacted the family of Pastor Oyeleke, as well as his resident pastor, Victor Samaila, a month after the incident demanding an undisclosed amount for ransom.

One of the negotiators, however, explained that the release was a result of negotiations and not a dime was paid to the abductors.

“I am very happy today that we have been rescued because where we are coming from, we have come from a place of darkness to light; that is why my heart is filled with joy because I have seen my family, friends, and associates,” Oyeleke told reporters at the office of the deputy governor of Borno State.

He added, “I stayed peacefully with them for up to seven months. Many times they have requested me to convert to Islam, their preachers had preached to me a lot of times but you know when you have wisdom, you relate with people in a way that would not lead to quarrels.

“When they come to preach, I pay attention to everything they have to say and when they ask me questions about things that I know will cause problems if I respond, I always tell them I don’t know so that I don’t say things that would offend them.”

The deputy governor, Usman Kadafur, received the freed abductees and handed them over to their families at the Government House.

He noted that the duo would be made to undergo medical examinations and all necessary procedures.

Kadafur thanked the local negotiators and all the security operatives that took part in the successful proceedings and assured them that the state government would continue to explore the path of dialogue with the insurgents.

Court Remands Pastor In Prison For Indecent Assault

Alleged $3.5m Fraud: Nine Nigerians Arrested In U.S.
File photo

 

 

A court in Lagos State has remanded on David Daniel in Kirikiri Prison for indecent assault.

The State Police Command confirmed this in a statement on Sunday by its spokesman, Mr Bala Elkana.

Daniel, 41, was arrested following a report by his victim, Joy Muriyaro, on Tuesday last week at the Police Station in the Ejigbo area of the state.

Muriyaro said Daniel came to her shop at Ailegun along Road Ejigbo under the guise of being a prophet sent to her by God.

According to her, the said prophet claimed that he saw in a vision that she is having spiritual problems and has foreseen her having fibroid growth in her womb in the future.

The suspect was said to have collected N3,050 from his victim and a bottle of perfume worth N1000 for spiritual cleansing.

Muriyaro narrated that the suspect followed her to her house and ordered her to remove her clothes for him to rob anointing oil on her buttocks.

She, however, became apprehensive when she noticed that the suspect was masturbating while robbing the anointing oil.

Following his arrest, Daniel was charged to court and remanded in prison.

Pastor, Four Others Killed In Burkina Faso Church Attack

Burkina Faso on the map.

 

Five people including a pastor died in an attack on a church in Burkina Faso, security and local sources said Monday in a country which has seen a surge in killings blamed on jihadists.

Sunday’s assault in the small northern town of Silgadji was the first on a church in the impoverished west African nation.

READ ALSO: Four Dead In Suspected Boko Haram Attack In Cameroon

“Unidentified armed individuals have attacked the Protestant church in Silgadji killing four members of the congregation and the pastor. At least two other people are missing,” a security source told AFP.

AFP

US Rejects Turkey’s Offer To Release Pastor – Report

Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson (R), escorted by Turkish plain clothes police officers as he arrives at his house on July 25, 2018 in Izmir. STRINGER / AFP

 

President Donald Trump’s administration has rejected Turkey’s offer to condition the release of an American pastor on clearing a top Turkish bank of billions of dollars in US fines, media reported Monday.

Washington and Ankara are locked in a bitter feud over the nearly two-year jailing of Andrew Brunson over disputed terror charges, which has triggered a trade row and sent the lira into a tailspin.

In exchange for Brunson’s release, and that of other US citizens as well as three Turkish nationals working for the US government, Turkey asked Washington to drop a probe into Halkbank, which is facing possible fines for helping Iran evade US sanctions.

But the US said that discussions regarding the fines and other areas of dispute between the two countries were off the table until Brunson was released, a White House official told the Wall Street Journal.

“A real NATO ally wouldn’t have arrested Brunson in the first place,” the unnamed official said.

Trump has said he had doubled the tariffs on aluminum and steel tariffs from Turkey, prompting Ankara to sharply hike tariffs on several US products.

A court has rejected another appeal to free Brunson and Turkey has threatened to respond in kind if Washington imposed further sanctions.

AFP

South African Pastor Sentenced Over Gay Slurs

South African Pastor Sentenced Over Gay Slurs
File Photo

 

A South African Pentecostal pastor was handed a 30-day suspended jail term on Friday for repeatedly making homophobic comments, including a suggestion that gays be locked in cages like animals.

Oscar Bougardt was found guilty by a Cape Town court of making statements that discriminate and incite hatred against homosexuals.

He was also ruled in breach of an earlier court order that barred him in 2014 from verbally attacking homosexuals.

Judge Lee Bozalek sentenced Bougardt to a 30-day jail term, suspended for five years provided he makes no further anti-gay comments.

Bougardt is a pastor at Calvary H.O.P.E Ministries in Cape Town.

In 2016 he described homosexuals as “criminal” and said, “99 percent of paedophiles have (a) homosexual background”.

In 2015, he said, “To hell with homosexuals, …their lifestyle is an abomination to God, but Christians in South Africa are too scared to speak out against (it)”.

“If I was the president of my country I would lock them in cages where they belong. They don’t even deserve a prison cell,” according to a transcript of his remarks, read out in court.

The judge said the pastor’s statement “advocates the criminalisation of gay sex, including by implication punishment by death through stoning”.

“Not only do such statements dehumanise gays and lesbian people, they advocate hatred towards them,” Bozalek said.

South Africa is one of the few countries in Africa that recognises gay rights and the only one that allows same-sex marriages.

In September 2016, South Africa banned an anti-gay American pastor Steven Anderson from entering the country, after an outcry from rights groups over his characterisation of gays as “sodomites” and “paedophiles”.

AFP

Controversy Trails Trump’s Invitee Pastor At US Embassy Opening

US President Donald Trump                                                                                        Nicholas Kamm / AFP

 

A Christian minister who has disparaged Jews, Muslims and gays faced criticism as US President Donald Trump’s administration invited him to lead a prayer Monday at the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.

Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist preacher in Dallas, Texas, has been a staunch Trump supporter since the billionaire businessman’s 2016 campaign.

But his past comments, in which he has said Jews will suffer for eternity in hell, were being seen as a rather extraordinary position for someone offering such a public prayer in the Jewish state.

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who is Mormon, expressed his opposition to Jeffress addressing the embassy ceremony.

“Robert Jeffress says ‘you can’t be saved by being a Jew,’ and ‘Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.’ He’s said the same about Islam,” Romney, who is currently a candidate for US Senate, said late Sunday on Twitter.

“Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.”

Jeffress responded with a tweet of his own, saying “historic Christianity has taught for 2,000 years that salvation is through faith in Christ alone,” and that such a position, embraced by millions of evangelical Christians, “is neither bigoted nor newsworthy.”

The White House on Monday sought to distance itself from the pastor, with spokesman Raj Shah saying he did not know who invited Jeffress to give an embassy blessing.

Asked directly about Jeffress’s past statements, Shah said “I haven’t seen those remarks, but obviously those aren’t remarks that the president agrees with.”

Jeffress campaigned with Trump in 2016 and his influence was key to Trump winning an overwhelming majority of the evangelical vote. Last October the president called Jeffress a “wonderful man.”

Several offending Jeffress comments — including his declaration that homosexuality is a “perversion” — come from a 2010 interview to a religious broadcaster.

On Monday Jeffress steered clear of such language, but he offered full-throated praise of Trump.

“We thank you every day that you have given us a president who boldly stands on the right side of history, but more importantly stands on the right side of you, O God, when it comes to Israel.”

Jeffress was not the only controversial figure to address the embassy event.

Another pastor who offered prayers was John Hagee, a mega-church leader who once said Adolf Hitler was sent by God to hasten the desire of Jews to return to Israel.

AFP

Zimbabwean Pastor Arrested During Church Service

Rivers Police Arrests Second Suspect Linked To Eight-Year-Old Murder
File Photo

Zimbabwean activist pastor Evan Mawarire was on Sunday arrested during a church service after he posted a video bemoaning the country’s worsening economic troubles, his lawyer said.

The charismatic pastor who has been arrested several times for his dissenting views informed the congregation about his imminent arrest in a video streamed live on Facebook.

The video showed him being led away to an unmarked car.

His lawyer, Harrison Nkomo confirmed the arrest, saying “he has been charged with subverting a constitutional government”.

“He is detained at Harare central police station and we are preparing for his appearance in court,” said Nkomo.

In the video, Mawarire interrupted the service to tell the church about the presence of the police.

“I am told that the police are outside waiting for me,” he said.

On Saturday, Mawarire posted a video on social media showing long queues at fuel stations with petrol and diesel supplies scarce across Zimbabwe as the economy buckles under a foreign currency shortage.

Zimbabwe adopted the US dollar and other foreign currencies to stem galloping inflation which peaked at 231 million percent officially, and resorted to introducing bond notes a surrogate currency last year as banks ran short of foreign currency but the bond notes have not eased the country’s currency woes.

Mawarire is currently facing charges of misconduct and inciting violence after he addressed university students striking over fee hikes in February.

He is also due in court on Monday for a separate charge of trying to remove the government.

The charges stem from his involvement in organising a crippling strike in July last year that shut down major cities and paralysed public transport, prompting the government to ban public protests.

After his release he fled to South Africa and then to the United States.

Upon his return on February 1, police arrested him at the airport in Harare and charged him with attempting to sabotage the government.

AFP

Police Arrest Suspects Involved In Car Theft

Police, Nyesom Wike, RiversThe New Commissioner of Police in Abia State, Leye Oyebade, on Wednesday said that the command would maintain zero tolerance to all forms of criminality as it is ready to flush out hoodlums and those involved in hideous crime.

He made this known at a media briefing in Umuahia where he also paraded two suspects involved in car theft.

According to the Police Commissioner, ignorance to a crime is not an excuse, as he reminded the public that those involved in selling and buying of stolen goods would also be prosecuted.

He urged all citizens to verify the authenticity of goods before purchase.

Mr Leye hinted that any officer involved in any culpable act would face the music, as he would only condole professionalism. He also urged them to shun corruption.

The suspects, Prince Will Ezekiel, 40 and Chibunna Onyenwaku, 33, a pastor presently with Redeemed Assembly at Elu Ohafia from Mbaise in Imo State specialised in stealing Toyota vehicles using a molded key.  The duo, however, regretted committing the crime.