A mild drama ensued yesterday at the Government House, Alagbaka, Akure, Ondo State when Christians under the aegis of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) unanimously turned down attempt by the Deputy Governor of the state, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, to address them during a protest.
The protesters who closed early from different churches for the nationwide protest ordered by CAN,Â insisted that it was only the governor that could address them on the issue at hand.
Christians all over the country protested what was described as senseless and indiscriminate killings of priests and worshippers in some parts of the country.
The protesters accused the Ondo State Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) of avoiding the leadership of CAN since he assumed office.
The placard carrying protesters in their thousands moved from Adesida /Oyemekun Road to the Government House thus causing traffic snarl on the road.
Some inscriptions on the placards read:Â â€˜CAN Rejects Poor Handling of Securityâ€™;Â â€˜Did Cows Vote You into Power?â€™; â€˜President, Save Christians from Killings.â€™ among others.
Speaking during the protest, the CAN Chairman in the state, ReverendÂ John Ayo Oladapo, said the protest across the country became necessary following the incessant killings of innocent Christians across the country
Oladapo condemned what he called the lopsidedness in theÂ appointment of security chiefs, calling on the president to address it.
â€œWe are here today to register our displeasure to the on going killings across the country. We want to say Christians in the country are not second class citizens. We will not allow these killings.
â€œWhy is it that all our security chiefs are from the same region. We condemn this appointment. Our government must listen to us.
â€œLet Buhari forget 2019 for now and face security issues in the country. This is not time for electioneering.
â€œWe sent our letter to the governor of our coming today and the letter was duly received by the office of the governor and since his inception he has been repeatedly ignoring us CAN.
â€œFinally, I want to tell our people to go out there and register and also get your PVCs for you to do the needful come 2019. We are waiting for them.
â€œMy people and the whole Christians in Ondo State have unanimously said that only the governor can address us,Â he has not deemed it fit to address us since he took over the mantle of leadership in the state.
â€œWe have duly informed the governor about this protest and ourÂ intension to bring the protest to him to table our grievances on the killings of Christians in our country. And if the governor did not deem it fit to see us, we will go home silently,â€ CAN chairman said.
One of the leaders of the CAN in the state also condemned the governorâ€™s attitude while addressing the protesters saying: â€œHe who honours God will be honoured,Â and he who dishonours God will be dishonoured.
â€œWe are here because we love this government and it is left for the governor to decide if he will see us or not and if he refuses to give us audience, we will go away but to every action, there is a reaction.â€
After several minutes, the deputy governor was chased away from addressing them by the angry protesting Christians who maintained that â€œIt is the governor or nobody.
â€œWe voted for him and we expect him to take our issues serious. The deputy governor should go back, we donâ€™t want him,â€ the protesters chorus.
Also speaking, the Anglican Bishop of Akure Diocese, BishopÂ Simeon Borokini, saidÂ Christians would not allowed cattle rearing in the state.
He called on Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu to as a matter of urgency ensure security in Akoko area of the state, saying â€œthe Akoko region is now the new Sambisa forest in Nigeria.â€
Benue CAN Demands Buhariâ€™s Resignation
The Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over his inability to tackle the ceaseless herdsmen killings and security challenges confronting the country.
Speaking at a peaceful procession organised by the Benue State chapter of CAN, Chairman of the chapter, Rev. Akpen Leva, who led the procession which had participants bearing placards with several inscriptions including, â€˜President Buhari resign nowâ€™, â€˜enough of the genocide in Benueâ€™, â€˜arrest the leadership of Miyetti Allah and, Benue Stateâ€™ and â€˜self defence is the answer,â€™ noted that killings had become a source of physical and mental agony for the people on the state.
He said CAN wrote to the federal government on the matter.
â€œIt is a fact that the silence and the indecision of the federal government is rather an encouragement to the militant herdsmen to perpetrate all these evil upon the people of Benue State.â€
He accused the federal government for acting the script of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breedersâ€™ Association.
Stop Bloodshed in the Country, Says Kwara CAN
Kwara State Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Professor Timothy Popoola, has urgedÂ President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency stopÂ the immediate shedding of innocent blood of the people of the country.
PopoolaÂ disclosed this in Ilorin yesterday shortly after the mass rally organised by the members of the CAN in the state to join their counterparts across the nation toÂ express their dissatisfaction with the mass killing of Christians in their various churches in Benue, Plateau, Taraba States among others in the country.
According to him, â€œIt is too much and it has become too much. Many people have lost their fathers, their wives, and children.â€
He said: â€œMany have been displacedÂ for no reason by the Fulani herdsmen and we are calling on our president of this great nation to do everything to stop the calling of Nigerians particularly the Christian because when Fulani herdsmen enter into churches, killing priests and worshippers, what are they looking for? Is it grass they are looking for inside the churches? Definitely it is not.
â€œThis is a clear indication that this is Jihad that is being lunched by these Fulani herdsmen and our prayers today will stop them. Jesus will build His church.â€
Most Kaduna Churches Fail to Comply with Protest Directive
With the exception of the First Baptist Church in the heart of the city, many churches in Kaduna did not comply with the directives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
President of the association, Rev. Olasupo Ayokunle, had directed Christians to embark on a nationwide protest and prayers over the killings in Benue State, especially the recent murder of two Catholic priests and 17 others in a church.
Members ofÂ the First Baptist Church located along Ibrahim Taiwo Street, by Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna staged a peaceful protest within the church premises.
They carried placards, demanding an end to the killings in parts of the country and the immediate release of Leah Shuaibu, the Dapchi schoolgirl who is still being held in captivity by the Boko Haram insurgents for refusing to denounce her Christian faith.
Pastor of the church, Rev. Banjo Ajao, said the protest became necessary to draw the attention of policymakers to the unnecessary killings and abductions ravaging the country in recent times.
Kogi CAN Joins National ProtestÂ
The Kogi State chapter of Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday joined other states to observe the day of prayer and protest declared by the national body of the association.Â Â
The protest was carried out by the Chapel of Freedom in LokojaÂ where members displayed placards to express their displeasure with the ongoing killings across the country.Â
The Kogi State Chairman of CAN, Bishop John Ibenu, while speaking with journalists after the protest, said it was peaceful in the state.
He, however, said there was the need for the federal government to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission over the menace of herdsmen attacks in the country.Â
Ibenu said: â€œIt is a national day of prayer and protest; Christians donâ€™t protest, if we have to that means the issues have reached the peak, we spent time to pray for the nation and Kogi State and also for the future, Kogi State CAN in obedience to the directive of national CAN observed the day in our church premisesâ€
Obi Consoles Bishops, Ortom, Others over Church Killings
Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, hasÂ consoled the Catholic Bishopsâ€™ Conference of Nigeria; the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, and the entire people of the state as well the families of the priests and other faithful killed in the attack on the church.
The former governor lamented that the spate of killings was a classical case of theÂ desecration of the human life and very bad narrative about Nigeria.
Condemning the killings, which he observed appeared to be going out of control, the former governor called on the government to act quickly and seriously to stop it.
He noted that the killings would be scary toÂ even local investors and injurious to Nigerianâ€™s economy.
Ekiti CAN Slams Buhari, Says Christians No Longer Safe Under Him
Following invasion of churches leading to killingsÂ of Christian faithful allegedlyÂ by suspected herdsmen in some sections of the country, scores of Christians of various denominations yesterday abandoned normal church services in Ekiti StateÂ and stormed streets in protest.
The placard-carryingÂ protesters who trooped out in their numbers converged on Ado Ekiti capital city, under the aegisÂ of Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), condemning the killingsÂ in churches bythis dreaded group.
The religious body maintained thatÂ they were tired of incessant killings of fellow Christians in the Middle Belt ofÂ Benue and North-eastern part of the country.
CANÂ warned that allowing Christians to be freely killed without response from the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari could cause total collapse of the country if not nipped in the bud early enough.Â The Chairman of CAN in Ekiti, Rev. Joshua OrikogbeÂ led other top church leaders, Christian faithful and hordes of the associationâ€™s chairmen and top officersÂ in all the16 local government areas of the state to Governor Ayodele Fayose to register their disapproval over the wanton killings in the affected states. OrikogbeÂ called onÂ Buhari to act swiftly by stopping the menaceÂ and bring the culprits to book.
ESOCS Church Protests Bloodshed Across Nigeria
The members of the Eternal Sacred Order of the Cherubim and Seraphim (ESOCS), Yewa Provincial Headquarters, Ilaro, Ogun State yesterday staged a protest against killings across Nigeria.Â Â
This is in response to the latest bloody incidents in Benue State. Elder Biodun Sanyaolu who is the National Treasurer of OAIC and the National Director of CAN while addressing the gathering yesterday,Â vehemently rejected the violent activities of the Islamist terrorist group, Boko Haram and the marauding Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria.
Sanyaolu in a statement by the Provincial Secretary, Apostle Gbenga Ekunola, demanded the release of Leah Sharibu, the young schoolgirl abducted by Boko Haram terrorists from the Government Girls Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State.
He also demanded for the release of the rending Chibok schoolgirls as well as all other Nigerians in captivity.
The National Director of CAN,Â called on federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to act swiftly to put an end to the killings.
Kano Christuans Shelve Protest
The Kano State chapterÂ of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday resolved to shelve the planned demonstration against the recurrent killings of Christians in different states as earlier announced.
The state Chairman of the association, Reverend Adeolu Sam Adeyemo, told journalists yesterday at the CAN secretariat in Kano, that the association had resolved that Christians should gather and hold a prayer session at the headquarters of the association.
Adeyemo said Christians would gather for prayer to appeal to the Lord to intervene in the affairs of the country and to bring peace to its people.
According to him, the decision to shelve the protest was not forced on them from any quarters or by any external body, adding that it was agreed by the executive based on a number of cogent reasons.