By Ikeugonna Eleke
An Onitsha rights group, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety), has called for the disbandment of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), for failing Christians in the country.
The group which was reacting to the proposed peaceful protest by the Christians over the recent wave of massacre of its members in some parts of the country, said CAN leadership had shown traits of compromise, especially after visiting President Muhammadu Buhari.
Intersociety called for the disbandment of the association, saying that it had long outlived its usefulness.
The message which was conveyed in a press statement signed by the chairman, board of trustees of the group, Mr Emeka Umeagbalasi, read, ‘Christian Association of Nigeria formed in 1976 has outlived its usefulness, especially since ”traders in the house of God” penetrated its ranks or leadership.
‘The leadership of CAN has continuously been running from pillar to post in recent times in the midst of yearly butchering of thousands of its defenceless members and burning of hundreds of churches and Christian schools.
‘The national leadership of CAN has also become a lobbying platform to secure a juicy visit to Aso Rock and participate in the sharing of “transport fare” bounties as recently disclosed by the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF).’
The group further said that the recent somersault by the CAN President, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle, during which he reversed himself by, according to Umeagbalasi, hurriedly and suspiciously cancelling the national anti-Christian violence processions originally fixed for 11th July 2018, which he hinged on forces or circumstances beyond his control, was a clear case in point.
‘This comes few days after the same CAN President issued a statement informing Nigerians that CAN leaders in the 19 Northern States and the FCT (Abuja) met with President Muhammadu Buhari.
It expressed shock over the cancellation, while also demanding to know what CAN’s sectional leaders’ meeting with the Presidency had to do with normal activities of the body, such as national anti-Christian violence processions.
It said, ‘This means that one day very soon, if CAN is not disbanded, a national directive shall be given to all churches to suspend their normal church services and other activities as a fallout of a meeting with the Nigeria presidency or for the purpose of meeting the President of Nigeria.
‘This is not the first time CAN’s national or zonal leaders have visited the Presidency and spoken from both sides of their mouth. Same was not only the case in their last visit to Aso Rock before the latest one, but also the Christian body was heavily indicted and accused by eminently peopled National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) of collecting and sharing between N25m and N40m given and collected as “presidential “transport fare” envelopes.’
He warned that Christians in Nigeria would no longer have or allow a set of leaders under the umbrella of CAN to smile to the bank at the cost of the blood of thousands of their faithful massacred in broad day light and at hours of what he called the blue law or late night.
‘For admitting being overwhelmed by “forces or circumstances beyond his control”, the CAN President, Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, and members of his national executive are unfit to remain in their respective national positions as leaders of CAN in Nigeria,’ the statement read.
It therefore called for the immediate disbandment of CAN and dissolution or scrapping of all its national, zonal, state and local government executives.
This is even as Intersociety advocated the formation of a new central umbrella Christian body for all Nigerian Christians with strong constitution and ethical codes to sanitize the body and persons manning all its structures and leaderships.