The National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace [NIFROP] has carpeted a group of Christians under the aegis of National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, championed by a former Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd.), and Solomon Asemota (SAN), who recently warned that Christianity in Nigeria may cease to exist in 25 years from now.
Danjuma’s group said that the present generation of Christians may be the last set in Nigeria.
With this, NCEF demanded the restructuring of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, before the 2019 general elections.
Reacting to the claim, NIFROP said it was worried by the abuse of religious groups that were now being deployed as canon fodder by political clerics.
The group said the claim was targeted at stirring the fire of hatred among Nigerians.
Bishop Chanami, national leader of the group, while addressing the media on Sunday in Abuja, noted that the claim was the handiwork of the devil and not deserving of being associated with any group that professes faith in God.
He warned the elders against beating war drum in an already-tensed nation.
He said, “There is none of the testaments in God’s name that promotes the kind of wicked lie contained in the misleading claim. We can only thank God that the sectarian crisis that those behind this lie hoped to trigger did not materialize while praying that Nigerians will continue to be discerning and not allow themselves to be deceived into engaging in self destruction.”
“It is also alarming to mention the activities of supposed elders either in the Church or any sane society led by Lt. Gen TY Danjuma [Rtd] and some other Christian folks perpetually stoking the embers of war in the country. Neither did our Lord Jesus Christ or Apostle Paul ever in the scripture embarked on this destructive path to defend the Church. Our weapons of warfare are not carnal and we demand that they review whatever scriptures they are reading as Christians before we destroy the country.”
The group also reacted to the recent claim by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Nigerian Army and the Police to recruit rehabilitated Boko Haram members into their ranks
Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant on media CAN President, Rev Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, said it had information that a number of ex-terrorists were allegedly being considered for recruitment into the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Army.
Bishop Chanami, while reacting, said, “Ordinarily, we had hoped that the era where CAN or any other religious organization was deployed as an attack dog for government or the opposition was over only for this to happen. Our concern over this matter is that the events that led to a CAN president being linked to gun running and money laundering began on similar notes. It started with the CAN leadership being used as an extension of a ruling party only for it to eventually become the errand boy for the importation of weapons of destruction.
“The ugly conduct of CAN in those nauseating years can be credited for provoking an explosion in the number of persons from across all faiths that have renounced belief in God. The gun running saga set off the chain reaction that have seen more young persons take to crime in order to make it like the flamboyant clergies that ran errands for politicians. This is a scenario that must not be allowed to repeat itself for we are yet to recover from the ravages caused to our collective psyche by CAN when its leaders acted without decorum.
“We are also speaking out because we have reliably gathered that the lie about recruiting Boko Haram members as soldiers and policemen is the first in the series of negative propaganda for which CAN has been recruited. It is similar to the brief it ran under the past administration. It must be noted that Nigeria cannot withstand another campaign of lies and hatred spewed from hallowed pulpits that should have been proclaiming the good tidings of God’s infinite love.
“It is equally pertinent that we prick the conscience of the clergy in Nigeria. Religious leaders critical stakeholders in the global drive to curtail the evil of fake news so where do we stand as a people if those who should condemn fake news have become its purveyors? On what basis should the faithful believe the admonitions of a clergy that lies for whatever reason? The days are indeed evil.
“May we however point out that we are not standing in judgement over those who decided to lie even as clergymen. We will rather that they repent and thread a new path of repentance; that they will act I’m accordance with the promptings of the song we shall be singing as we close this press conference. As leaders of faith we should continue to be instruments of peace and this should not be too difficult a task for those currently leading CAN.”