‘CAN Is Intact’: Northern CAN Leaders Disclaim Northern ‘Pullout’ Christian Groups

Reverend Samson Ayokunle
Reverend Samson Ayokunle

The Northern chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, on Monday, August 15, 2016, called on security agencies to arrest members of “two dissident groups” who have announced a pullout from CAN.

The two groups are identified as Concerned Christians of Nigeria, CCN, and Northern Nigerian Christians Association, NNCA.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja on behalf of other Northern states’ chairpersons of the umbrella Christian body, the Borno State chairperson of CAN, Bishop Mohammed Abubakar Naga, denied any division among the 19 Northern States and FCT.

“We don’t know them. It is not in the constitution, they are supposed to be apprehended by security agencies because they are just trying to foment trouble, misunderstanding and division in the country,” Bishop Naga  said on Monday, August 15, 2016.

“They should be arrested because they are building confusion in the country. Nigeria has had enough troubles, what is going on is enough for Nigerians.

“It is not true that Christians in Northern Nigeria have broken away from CAN. Those people who said they have pulled out from CAN are not representing anybody because they are not representing states or zones.

“All of us in the 19 states in Northern Nigeria and FCT were there during the election in Abuja where Dr. Supo Samson Ayokunle was elected as President of CAN.

“The 20 representatives of each state and FCT, 20 of us who constitute the chairmen of each state and FCT voted. All of us voted, we therefore wonder where they were. I mean those people who are saying they have broken away from CAN. They are on their own.

“They are saying what they feel they could say to bring confusion in the body of Christ. They are not representing Northern Nigeria, they are not representing zones and they are not representing states. In fact, in the constitution of CAN, there is nothing like Northern CAN or Southern CAN. We are one and CAN is CAN. There is no delegate to be produced by South or candidates to be produced by North.

“What we know is that there are five blocks in CAN and each block has to produce a candidate. That is all, they call themselves Concerned Christians of Nigeria (CCN)  and Northern Nigerian Christians (NNC). For us, there is nothing like that. That is our position and it has never changed.”

According to the bishop, those who were peddling such rumours and falsehood were agents of disunity who want to cause crisis in the body of Christ.

He said all the statutory leaders of CAN in Northern Nigeria, including the Zonal and State chairpersons were all present during the CAN election.

Naga said, “The election was peacefully conducted. It has been one of the peaceful elections conducted. So, the election was sincere and honest. Pulling out of CAN? There is nothing of that nature. Those who are saying this are just agents of division and disunity. We are their representatives and nobody speak on our behalf, except we sit there as executives of Northern CAN.”

He also commended the immediate-past administration of CAN led by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, for standing by the Northern Christians during the series of attacks carried out by members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect.

They called on the new president, Ayokunle, to emulate his predecessor.

Naga said, “The past administration was one of the most wonderful administration the country and Christian community had ever experienced. He (Oritsejafor) speaks on our behalf and was sincerely known in the interior of the North.

“In fact in the face of insurgency, he had visited us, sent materials and rightly there in the heart of deadly insurgency. So, it had been a wonderful administration and we are praying that Ayokunle’s will do more of what we have experienced.”



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