The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) has condemned the visit of the Christian Association of Nigeria to the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In a statement on Monday, NCEF described the visit as evidence that the Christian Association has unholy ties with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The NCEF has had a long-standing dispute with the CAN, which resulted in the Christian association denouncing the forum and severing ties with it last December.
In its statement on Monday, NCEF accused CAN of partisan politics. It said CAN was treading a path that would destroy the future of Christianity in Nigeria.
The statement was published by The Nation newspaper online.
“NCEF wishes to state that the congratulatory visit to Aso Villa by CAN could not be in the interest of Nigerian Christians who daily bear the agony of thousands of their brethren being killed, maimed, displaced and marginalised in the Jihad launched in the northern parts of the country. It is well known the indifference of the Buhari Administration to the murder of Christians all over the country. This indifference has led many, including foreign observers, to conclude that the Buhari Administration is complicit in the genocide that is taking place in Nigeria,” the paper said in its report.
“With this ill-advised congratulatory visit to President Buhari, it should be clear to every Christian of good conscience that Rev. Ayokunle is running CAN as an appendage of APC which has proven by its religiously biased appointments and policies that it is primarily a religious party that is to the disadvantage of Christians whom Rev. Ayokunle claims to be representing,” the forum said.
NCEF said CAN has no constitutional rights to participate in politics as it alleged the umbrella body of Nigerian Christian associations did in the recent elections.
“It would be recalled that during the elections, Rev. Ayokunle presumptuously deployed a 1,000-man CAN Election Observers team to monitor the elections nationwide. The action was presumptuous since CAN does not have the constitutional responsibility of engaging in politics. Christian leaders deliberately established the Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) for this purpose in 2001 as the socio-political arm of the Church.
“Nonetheless, after observing the elections, the 1,000-man CAN Election Observers is yet to release its report before CAN rushed to congratulate one of the contestants. Since all the other observers have since released their reports, where is the report of the CAN Observers Team?”
NCEF accused CAN of condoning the killings across the country and alleged that the ruling APC connived with INEC to rig the general elections.
“Presently, Christians are mourning over 200 people murdered in Kajuru and Adara in southern Kaduna. There are increasing reports of Clergy routinely kidnapped and murdered in Middle Belt and parts of the North. These are in addition to genocide in Benue, Taraba, Plateau, and other parts of southern Kaduna. So far, no arrest has been made and no one has been prosecuted. Therefore, for any Christian leader to go and shake the hand of the man who has done nothing to stop the genocide is morally and spiritually reprehensible.
“In addition to the concerns expressed above, it should be remembered that we all witnessed the debacles during the campaigns for the 2019 Elections as well as the violent conduct of the elections. We witnessed the widespread application of ‘inconclusive’ elections where the opposition party had upper hand. We saw with regret the way Kano, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Lagos, Taraba, Bayelsa, and Plateau states election, amongst others, were handled.
“The campaign debate and presidential interview exposed the competence and capability of the candidates and Nigerians spoke through their votes and expressed their preference. Therefore, the will of the people must not be subverted. It is wrong for anyone, or any group of people, to seek to use CAN to legitimise illegality. That congratulatory visit, we insist, was not on behalf of Nigerian Christians.”