Abuja – The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has called on the Federal Government to intervene on all the clampdown on the Church in Nigeria,
Pastor Bayo Oladeji, Special Assistant on Media and Communication, CAN, made the call in a statement made available to newsmen on Friday in Abuja.
“We call on the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, to intervene in all the clampdown on the Church in Nigeria after all, he is in the office primarily to represent the interest of the Christians.’’
The association had quoted Sections 38 to 41 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and states clearly that every Nigerian is “entitled to freedom of thought, association, and religion.
“Freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
“The Constitution also states unambiguously every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.
“Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests:
“Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit there.’’
Rev. Samson Ayokunle, CAN President, said while Christians were yet to recover from the genocide in Southern Kaduna by the Fulani Herdsmen, Jigawa State Government began to pull down Churches with impunity.
He said that some operatives from the Department of State Security (DSS) reportedly invaded a hotel in Ekiti on Tuesday where Apostle Johnson Suleiman and his team who were in the state capital for a crusade were lodging.
According Ayokunle, the association heard that the operatives insisted on remaining in the hotel until Apostle Johnson Suleiman surrendered himself for arrest.
“But for the timely intervention of the management of the hotel and other well-meaning Nigerians around, the invasion could have resulted into bloodshed as Suleiman was there with some MOPOL men and military officers.’’
He further said that Apostle Suleiman had become a refugee in Ekiti state as security operatives were said to search every nook and cranny of the state with a view to arresting him.
“If there is an urgent need to interrogate him on any issue, it will be proper to extend a formal or informal invitation to him from the DSS rather than Gestapo approach.
“It should be noted that under Nigerian Laws, he is presumed innocent until a court of law proves otherwise.
“Have they extended the proposed obnoxious law that forbids religious preaching without the permission of the state governor down south too?“
CAN President informed that it was unacceptable to treat Ministers of God and Christians as common criminals in the society.
He also noted that in spite of all the promises made by Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, none of those who were responsible for the killings in the state were brought to book.
CAN President, said that the Police had released those who were arrested for the killing of Christians in Kano and Kubwa (Abuja) while our leaders were subjected to untold hardship for no cause.
“It is high time the overzealous security agencies knew that Nigeria remained a secular state.
“Any attempt to turn the country into a refugee camp for Christians will not be acceptable and will be resisted with every lawful means.