“Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Is. 58: 1
In view of the mixed reactions to the report of misconducts in CAN, the National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) deems it necessary to highlight crucial issues at stake so that emotional outbursts do not becloud facts. It is clear there are visible attempts to utilize emotional manipulations to distort and distract from the real issues at stake.
The NCEF wishes to clarify as follows:
- Nigerian Christians should understand that JIHAD has been launched in the country with the objective of “eradicating in all its forms and ramifications” Christianity. This Jihad works in two ways: Conventional (Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen) and Stealth (Deception, compromise, inducement etc). Both forms of Jihad are dangerous but the most dangerous one is the stealth jihad which works subtly to undermine the internal fortifications and cohesion of the Church so that the Conventional Jihad can destroy visible structures without much resistance. If CAN has come under the influence of stealth jihad, then the leadership of CAN must be delivered and non-compromising actors must be put in place to represent and defend Nigerian Church.
- When NCEF sought to convene a meeting of Christian leaders on 10th May, 2018, to harmonize them to form a common front against Jihad, and the current President of CAN, under outright false pretences, cancelled the meeting and instructed that the National Christian Center should be locked so that the meeting would not hold, does that not constitute stealth jihad against the Church?
- When the current Federal Administration that has manifested so much hostility and partiality towards Christians gives leaders of CAN money and they accept and share it as individual booty, would such leaders possess moral authority to withstand such a hostile government? Does not such financial inducement constitute stealth jihad? If collecting such money was appropriate, why would the President of CAN come out publicly to deny it in a publication on Sunday 20th May, when he was fully aware that this issue was discussed at the meeting of NEC in February 2018 and the individual who “shared” the money admitted collecting and sharing it to CAN leaders. What is the object of the denial by the President of CAN that the money was collected if it was not stealth jihad?
- When the leadership of CAN is indicted of fraud and there is outright attempt to cover it up in display of espirit d’corps by NEC, does that constitute righteousness in the Church? Can a Christian leadership that is fraudulent and covetous resist financial inducement that comes with stealth jihad?
- When the CAN President, in an attempt to cover up the fraud, violated the Constitution of CAN by illegally appointing an Auditor (which is the exclusive preserve of NEC) and the Auditor presented a flawed report that covered the fraud, can Christians rely on such leadership to defend them against Jihadists? With such criminal mindset, is Christianity safe in the hands of such individual(s)?
- When SSS/DSS arrested Laity Trustees of the CAN Trust Fund and NCEF met with the President of CAN to discuss the issue, it was agreed that a letter of protest shall be written by the NCEF and the President of CAN, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Trustees of CAN Trust Fund shall sign the letter. Suddenly, without any notification or explanation, the President of CAN informed NEC on 28th February, 2017 that he would not sign the letter. He delegated the signing to the Legal Adviser of CAN who signed after significant portions of the protest letter have been removed. A lot of questions that arise include: Why did the President of CAN refuse to sign? Who is the President of CAN working for? Who authorized the deletion of significant portions of the document such that a watery and diluted protest was sent to SSS/DSS? Does this not constitute stealth/jihad against the Church? Are we to conclude that the President of CAN is an operative of the Intelligence Services?
NCEF is aware that it is part of stealth jihad that Islamists do not want CAN to be financially independent to defend Christianity. They do not even want us to have funds to bury our people that they killed or take care of those they have rendered homeless and destitute. In addition, a pauperized CAN would make Church leaders easily susceptible to financial inducements and easy to compromise. Evidences of these compromises abound.
NCEF noted that in February 2018, the Coordinator of CAN Trust Fund wrote a petition to NEC listing nine acts of deliberate sabotage by this President of CAN, who is also the Chairman of the Trustees. The Coordinator lamented that the performance of the CAN Trust Fund in 2017 was 0.019% as a result of sabotage. All these are stealth Jihad against the Church.
NCEF is using this medium to call on Nigerian Christians to contribute N500 monthly to CAN Trust Fund to enable the Church break the yoke of financial strangulation on the apex body of Christianity in Nigeria.
- Why has NEC consistently refused to properly investigate all issues of misconduct in CAN? Is it to be concluded that substantial number of Church leaders are under the influence of stealth jihad through financial inducement? Could this be responsible for the inability of most Christian leaders to speak out against persecution of Christians until lately that the Clergy is now targeted by the Islamists?
NIGERIAN CHRISTIANS, you can no longer claim ignorance of the issues unfolding in Nigeria. The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) has consistently raised these issues in dialogue with CAN leaders. However, when it was clear that CAN leaders are determined to sweep these issues permanently under the carpet, NCEF issued a protest letter which it circulated far and wide to Christians. Ultimately it got to the media. NCEF wishes to clarify that it did not sponsor the newspaper coverage.
These issues are now in the open for Christians to engage and demand righteousness from leaders of CAN. On its part, NCEF plans to participate in an Emergency Meeting of NEC which has been slated for 1st June, 2018. NCEF had made this request in its petition that NEC should convene an Emergency meeting to consider the issues raised in the petition. These are critical issues that NCEF as members of CAN and stakeholders in the Association has to engage in the interest of coming generations.
NCEF also wishes to draw the attention of Nigerian Christians to deliberate mischief by some CAN Officials that since NCEF is not mentioned in the Constitution of CAN, it has no right to comment on issues in CAN. This is a rather absurd mentality. What would happen if President Buhari should say CAN has no right to make comments on National Issues because CAN is not mentioned in the Constitution of Nigeria? The mentality of some of the current leaders of CAN is pathetic.
NCEF wishes to state that it has no intention to run CAN, control CAN, or impose any candidate on CAN. NCEF remains a subset of CAN and is concerned that CAN should be built into a respectable and formidable institution capable of defending and protecting Christianity in Nigeria.
Fortunately due to the various interventions of NCEF and other Nigerians of goodwill, the spate of killings has reduced and Government is now on the defensive trying to explain that there is no Jihad going on and laboriously seeking to justify the need for grazing field. All along, NCEF has maintained that the search for grazing field does not justify killing of Nigerians. It was Jihad. Christians should however not get carried away by the rebranding attempts of this Government as it could also be political calculation for 2019 Elections.
The NCEF has also noted the unfortunate high spirited attempt to change the narrative in this case and employ emotional manipulations that the dirty linen of the Church is being washed in public. Are those who say this just noticing that the Nigerian Church has been wearing filthy garments for years? All the disunity, rancor, immorality, greed and covetousness that characterized the Church in recent years, are they not filthy garments? Is it not better now that the dirty linen is being washed so that the world will see that the Nigerian Church is finally calling itself to order? “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged”. 1 Cor. 11: 31
Finally, NCEF wishes to state clearly that our only aspiration is to facilitate a better future for our children and for generations yet unborn. As Christian Elders, we cannot see something and say nothing and do nothing.
National Christian Elders Forum
21st May, 2018
PS: The full petition of NCEF to NEC can be accessed at www.csmnigeria.org