The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has been asked to sanction its members fueling insecurity through hate speeches and unguarded comments in the country.
Christians Without Border, a religious group, which made the call on Tuesday, said the idea of promoting hate speeches from the pulpit was fast becoming a normal trend among ordained Messengers of God these days, a development it said was now worrisome.
CWB also chided the leadership of CAN for maintaining undignified silence; by failing to caution its members and Pastors who are in the habit of promoting hate speeches and making provocative statements from sacred altars.
“Not even an ordinary condemnatory statement has been issued by CAN to denounce such hate sermons,” Elder Simon Ainoko, the President lamented at a press conference on Tuesday.
Elder Ainoko said the group was also uncomfortable with the recent demand for the removal of service chiefs by the leadership of CAN led by its National President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle during a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He bemoaned that the current leadership of the Christian body was gradually deviating from the dream of the founding fathers of the association who were apolitical.
It, therefore, charged the body to sanction any member of pastor caught making inflammatory comments that could unsettle the peace of the nation.
His words, “The Concerned Christian Forum is uncomfortable with some of the issues raised with Mr. President at the visit by the CAN leadership. By our interpretation, some of the views canvassed by CAN have partisan flavour, which we have reason to believe is unhealthy for the Body of Christ.
“CAN is expected to be neutral and impartial on the affairs of Nigeria, especially sensitive issues. We suffered greatly in recent history, when the immediate past leadership of CAN dragged the Body of Christ into partisan politics. One of the repercussions was that the Roman Catholic Church, one of the major blocs, suspended its membership of CAN because of the apparent embarrassment the partisan indulgence caused Christians in Nigeria. We cannot afford a relapse into this era of disunity and lack of cohesion within the Body of Christ, hence the need for caution.
“We do not think, it is appropriate for CAN to dabble into how Mr. President should appoint his security chiefs or how long they should serve in that capacity. It appreciated the efforts of the Security Chiefs in curtailing the menace of Boko Haram terrorism and other insurgencies.
“For CAN to posture in a manner indicative of indicting the Presidency on such crisis especially in states like Adamawa, Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Kaduna and Zamfara states depreciates the dignity they ought to embody. CAN’s utterances and comments on such sensitive issues should be more of supporting government to enthrone peace and unity.
“In the year 2017 alone some Pastors and CAN members stood on the sacred altars of their churches and spewed hate speeches’, directing their members to go out and kill Fulani herdsmen at sight. A few examples will illustrate us better and how CAN is failing us.
“Apostle Johnson Suleiman of Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, boasted of directing his congregants during the service of Sunday, January 15th, 2017 that “I have told them in the church here, that any Fulani herdsman that just entered by mistake, Kill him, Kill Him. Cut his head. If they are busy killing Christians and nothing is happening, we will kill them and nothing will happen,” and the video went viral on social media.
“And also last year, a Senior pastor with Mountain of Liberation and Miracle Ministries, Mr. Chris Okafor, said this during a church service, “Enough is enough, no Christian must be killed anymore, if you want to kill one Christian, we are going to reply, we will defend ourselves”
“So, we advise the Body of Christ to be more circumspect in their utterances, least, they be misconstrued as extending support to forces against the progress of Nigeria.”