CAN condemns attempt to arrest Apostle Suleiman
Vows To Resist Attempts To Turn Nigeria Into Refugee Camp For Christians
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the attempt by the operatives from the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest the Founder of Omega Fire Ministries, Apostle Johnson Suleiman, in Ekiti State during the week, warning that treating ministers of God and members of CAN as common criminals was unacceptable to the association.
CAN, which called on the acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, to intervene in the clampdown on the church in Nigeria, argued that Vice President is in the office primarily to represent the interest of the Christians, adding that his studied silence was no longer golden.
In a statement signed by the Special Assistant (Media and Communication) to the CAN President, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, the association warned security agencies to know that Nigeria remains a secular state and any attempt to turn the country into a refugee camp for Christians would not be acceptable and resisted with every lawful means.
Part of the statement read: “The last time we checked, Sections 38-41 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) states clearly that every Nigerian is ‘entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including 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 states unambiguously that ‘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. “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 …”
CAN wondered: “Why we are yet to recover from the genocide in Southern Kaduna by the murderous Fulani herdsmen and its attendant consequences, the Jigawa State government began the pulling down of our churches with impunity.
“As if that was not enough, some operatives from the Department of State Services (DSS) reportedly invaded a hotel in Ekiti State on Tuesday, where Apostle Johnson Suleiman and his team, who were in the state capital for a crusade, were lodging.”
The association alleged that Suleiman has become a refugee in Ekiti, as security operatives are said to be searching every nook and cranny of the state with a view to arresting him.
It argued that if there was an urgent need to interrogate Suleiman on any issue, it would only have been proper for the DSS to extend a formal or informal invitation to him, rather than the Gestapo approach used in the attempt to arrest him.
“It should be noted that under Nigerian laws, he is presumed innocent until a court of law proves otherwise.“Or have they extended the proposed obnoxious law that forbids religious preaching without the permission of the state governor down South too?
“Despite all the promises made by Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai, none of those responsible for the killings of our members in the Southern Kaduna has been brought to book.
“Instead, the Police have been releasing those arrested for the killing of our members in Kano and Kubwa (Abuja), while our leaders are being subjected to untold hardship for just no cause,” the statement added.