CAN is not to be confused with the Consumers Association of Nigeria. The CAN under reference is the popular acronym for Christian Association of Nigeria. It is the umbrella body of all Christian organisations in Nigeria. All denominations belong to it. Even the Roman Catholic Mission (RCM) that rebelled against the body ostensibly because of the way the system was being run has returned to the fold. I don’t know whether CAN went for confession before it was pardoned to pave the way for the Catholic return. The CAN also has a money-making arm known as the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN).
The CAN has been in the eye of the storm lately following its perceived pacifism during the travail and slaughter of one of its local chairmen in Adamawa state, Rev. Lawan Andimi, who was abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents. A negotiation was entered into after the abductors named their price of two million Euros. The Adamawa government offered N50m. But the CAN was known to have failed to rally round the government to free one of their own who had been in captivity for about three weeks. They offered nothing! Theirs is to receive. So, whither their mantra, “It is more blessed to give than to receive?” Why did they not give something in return for Andimi’s freedom? It is not that I endorse ransom payment for kidnap victims.
But that is the reality of the day. Aside from the insurgents raising cash to prosecute their nefarious activities, kidnapping has become the most lucrative industry in Nigeria today, next to pen robbery. With a stroke of the pen, you could steal several millions or billions of naira from government’s coffers!
A kidnapper could rake in millions of naira as ransom through mere phone calls without breaking much sweat. Armed robbery is no longer lucrative. That trade is considered anachronistic in this digital age. It also has a higher risk factor. Those who still keep faith with the trade still rely on digitalisation to carry out operations mostly targeting the banks where billions are stored.
Travellers no longer carry heavy cash on themselves for business transactions with the introduction of cashless economy. Highway robbers know this. So, they have converted to kidnapping. They abduct passengers on the highway, ferry them into the jungle and then negotiate for cash they no longer carry on them while going on business trips. Simple!
When Pastor Lawan Andime was captured and taken into captivity, all the church in Nigeria could do was to offer prayers. But there is a time for prayer and a time for action. That is where the Christendom has missed it! A deacon in one of the Pentecostal churches in Jos where I was the president of the Men’s Fellowship could not come for a Sunday service. It was not that he was ill. No. He was flat broke and had virtually nothing to feed his family.
A word was passed to the pastor and all the pastor could do was to ask the congregation to pray for him and his famishing family. I expected that the pastor would go a step further by raising some cash via offerings for onward transmission to his hungry deacon. No! Pastors hardly raise cash for members in distress.
They fear that once such a precedent is set, other members would queue up and the flow of free cash to them (pastors) would begin to ebb! They believe that the licence to receive belong to them only. Most of them hardly give. Even if it is your transport fare or last kobo, they will cajole you to part with it as a seed, saying that the Lord would give you the strength to leg it back home.
As the CAN was being dragged to Golgotha for crucifixion for the way its leadership was passive before and after the gruesome killing of one of their own, the news broke last Sunday that a bomber was arrested at one of the Living Faith Church chapels located at Sabon Tasha in Kaduna during the Sunday service. Interestingly, a highly influential member of CAN and General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye of “Let someone shout Halleluiah fame”, led a massive protest in Lagos against the current state of insecurity the day before the bomber’s near misadventure.
After the initial identity controversy, the suspect named Nathaniel Samuel turned out to be a graduate of the Word of Faith Bible Institute (WOFBI) run by the church.
Nathaniel’s mission, though aborted, became a direct embarrassment to the Winners Chapel and the CAN. He confessed that he wanted to become a pastor in the church but I think the devil beat the church to it and turned him against the system. The Church failed him. Nathaniel was not the first Christian to have turned against the church. A handful of others had been used to play Judas successfully. There is no space to list them here. These apostasies were the fallouts of the system that has failed its followers. The church does not help their members.
Most of them exist as business centres. Ask Femi Falana. There was a guy in the estate where I reside in Kubwa, Abuja. He went by the name Moses and all he was doing were menial jobs for survival with no roof over his head. One day, Moses became Musa. To cut a long story short, a Muslim family in the estate offered him succour. The reward was the conversion of Moses to Islam. No one could judge him. He has since graduated to car wash business around Dutse Alhaji Market which is a walking distance from the estate. The church abandoned Nathaniel as it failed Moses now called Musa.
Many Christians are poor and hungry while their pastors are wallowing in affluence. The church, especially the money-making arm, should change its perception on the RECEIVING mentality before more and more apostates like Nathaniel turn against the system.
A whiff of Ogbole’s life story
Foremost technocrat, a reservoir of wisdom and knowledge, Mr. Jonah Ogbole, is warming up to release his autobiography. He was the Secretary to the Government and Head of Service in the old Plateau state during the administration of Col. Mohammed Mana between 1994 and 1997.
Entitled “Reminiscences of Jonah Ogbole – Life and Times in Public Service”, the book is loaded and masterfully crafted to enrich your library and serve as a rear-view mirror as you journey through life. It is going to be a must read, I assure you.