The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has distanced itself from a group of clergymen under the aegis of Arewa Pastors Peace Initiative, Nigeria, APPIN, who visited President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday to pledge their support to him and his administration.
Speaking shortly after they met with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, John Abu Richard, who claimed to represent 45,000 pastors in the 19 northern states, said they have resolved to counter those deceiving and poisoning Nigerians with fake news to destroy the President’s good intentions for the country especially those giving the impression that he (Buhari) is anti-Christians and some ethnic groups in Nigeria.
He said, “We the 19 Northern States pastors under the New platform called the Arewa pastors Non-Denominational initiative for peace in Nigeria believe in your leadership and we are here to let you know that we are fully standing by you and your government to ensure that you succeed and peace is restored to every and corners of the country.
“And to counter those deceiving and poisoning Nigerians with fake news to destroy your good intentions for the country especially those giving the impression that you are against Christians and some ethnic groups in Nigeria which is a big lie for instance: Some Pastors using places of worship to preach hate. People using Church to preach violence. (If you preach war and war broke out who will go to Church for worship).
“We believed that the Mr. President has no lslamization agenda in Nigeria, because if he cannot do it as Military Head of State with a Muslim Deputy Head of State, how can it be done under Democratic government.
“This is just an opposition propaganda, about the killings around the Country, we observed that it is not only Christian that are the victims, both Muslims and Christians are affected, and the Government is doing everything possible to solve the problem.”
Reacting in a statement issued by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, media aide to the CAN President, Rev’d. Dr. Samson Ayokunle, the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria stated that for the pastors to claim that islamisation agenda is the idea of the opposition is the least expected of those who claim to be Christians in the country where Christians are daily becoming endangered species.
While expressing delight that the Northern Christian Association of Nigeria (Northern CAN) has also disowned those who paraded themselves as APPIN members, CAN stressed that it does not know any of them and their organisation is even alien to the Association. It said it was fortunate enough that they did not claim to be part of CAN.
The statement read, “We are totally disappointed that a group of people who claimed to be Pastors will be visiting the President without asking for the freedom of Leah Sharibu and over 100 Chibok girls who are languishing in the captivity of the Boko Haram terrorists, whose only crime is their religion.
“We wonder why these supporters of our President, who claimed to be Servants of God, would not ask him to stop the unending killings going on under his watch in the Christian predominant communities in the North Central and some states in the South. They were so concern with the 2019 election that they forgot to tell the President that the primary duty of any serious government is to provide security to the governed irrespective of their religious and ethnic affiliations.
“Telling President Buhari that the opposition had hired some pastors against his government speaks volume of where they are coming from and who they are in the body of Christ. We are waiting for the list of the pastors whom they know that are on the pay roll list of the opposition who are allegedly guilty of hate speech. We all know how those who engaged in such an ungodly exercise in the Bible ended up.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria will not be discouraged by the activities of those whose agenda include but not limited to polarisation of the Association and blackmailing its leadership. We cannot turn the blind eye to the ordeal of our brothers and sisters anywhere in the country. Those who are not concerned about the violence in the country are also free to associate and express their views while Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church is on the throne to reward loyalty and judge the betrayals sooner or later.
“CAN as an organisation is apolitical and we always ask our members to pray for President Buhari and other political office holders in the country to rule with the fear of God.”