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“If they cannot bring us together, they should not interfere in our affairs” – CAN Blasts U.S & John Kerry for Fueling Ethnic and Religious Divisions in Nigeria

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John Kerry in Sokoto

John Kerry during his visit to the Palace of the Sultan of Sokoto

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has accused the U.S secretary of state of fueling ethnic and religious divisions during his recent visit to the country, PREMIUM TIMES reports.

CAN’s president, Reverend Supo Ayokunle, in an interview with journalists on Thursday, said that John Kerry had acted in a divisive and discriminatory way by visiting the Muslim north of the country, and meeting the Sultan of Sokoto and other Northern leaders.

Ayokunle said Kerry’s “lack of respect for the heterogeneous nature of Nigeria, amounted to favouring northern Nigeria and Muslims to the detriment of the Christian community”.

According to PREMIUM TIMES, Ayokunle said the disposition of the Secretary of States supported claims that the Barack Obama administration openly supported the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the 2015 general elections, which produced the current leadership of the country.

“Why did he meet with 19 states governors, without southern governors, is Nigeria the north alone, why did you go to the north alone?

There’s a siege on Christians. Kerry, his actions speak volume, his actions, body language were very divisive.

If US Secretary of States is coming for official visit, it’s understandable, but we demand explanation why he was selective. Has the sultan palace become another state house? Was Kerry invited by the Sultan?

We have 36 States in Nigeria; he only selected northern governors to meet with them. It was a visit to the north, not to Nigeria. It was surely a very divisive visit. With the visit to the north, Kerry’s visit has heightened fear and tension among Christians in Nigeria, if they cannot bring us together, they should not interfere in our affairs,” he said.

Ayokunle lamented what he called “the government’s selective persecution of Christians mostly by the Department of State Service (DSS) and the Nigerian Police. “It is obvious the administration is anti-Christians”.

“Have the DSS arrested the Muslim youths who burnt down a Catholic Church in Niger State because they were worshiping on Friday? What happened to the ECWA Pastor who was killed in his farm in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State? What have happened with Redeemed Preacher who was murdered in Kubwa, Abuja?

Look at the recent case in Zamfara State, Christians where burnt alive. What has happened? They will tell you, they are still investigating. Have they been arrested and charged them to court? If the government cannot sit up and protect Christians, tolerance is going to break down, they should do the right thing, they should not provoke Christians. Have we ever seen this government bring anybody to book?” he said.

He also decried the arrest of Joe Chinakwe, who was charged with engaging in conduct likely to cause breach of public peace after he named his dog “Buhari” and paraded it in a Muslim dominated area in Sango-Otta, Ogun state.

“The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) should take up that case and ascertain whether the man has the right to give any name to a dog. They should come and protect the man’s human rights and set the record why the case is not a criminal offence,” he said.

There has been no word so far from the U.S about the comments.

22 Comments

  1. Beard gang

    August 26, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    it is apparent nigeria can NEVER be one. nigeria is a failed state; religious and tribal tensions pervade it. the northerner is so different from the southerner, so why bother trying to make it work?
    the sooner we consider a divide the better. these attacks and hatred will NEVER stop! i strongly suggest a peaceful referendum on a split. let those with similar ideals and beliefs form their own enabling environment/country.

  2. The Real Oma

    August 26, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Well, he has not said anything that is not true, i also felt Kerry’s visit was needless, and full of negative, divisive vibes, not that it affects the cost of garri in the market. But i am happy to hear CAN talk about these issues, CAN needs to talk more. Christians need to be united now more than ever. Our belief in Christ should be enough to bind us, no other factors should matter.

    • Amaa

      August 28, 2016 at 4:02 am

      If only weNigerians will the USA as a country who only has their national interest at heart CAN wontbother making this statement . I repeat USA will never do anything that isn’t in their benefit and to hell with sensitive . The sonner we start being selfish with our foreign policy the better. China has found a balance and has called their bluff every time . Start

  3. wale

    August 26, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    It is about time someone tell america the truth, they r look for Hw to start a war in Nigeria, bcos the north is exploring for oil, they will b the one to benefit ahead of the british.

  4. Ethio

    August 26, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    since the advent of this administration it has been north north north, I’m beginning to review my stand on a united Nigeria. these northern fools are all out with every bit of nepotism, incompetence and backwardness they can come up with. just like u oma, i think that john kerry visit was as stupid as can be

  5. artklub

    August 26, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    thats right, preach! who kerry epp?

  6. nnenne

    August 26, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Nigerians need to come together and talk now and forever keep talking.We need to remodel the country. The unilateral system is not working.
    Good relationships are nurtured.
    We want one Nigeria and rightly so but our actions ooze several Nigeria. Our actions ooze disunity.
    To build one country, we need to come together and hear each other. Make amendments and take it from there.

    Nigeria should be built by Nigerians, make no mistake about it. Stop looking for a messiah from outside!

  7. CovertNigerian

    August 26, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    Why is this an issue? John Kerry didn’t visit to massage anyone’s ego. This strikes me as the so-called leader of Christians in Nigeria complaining that he didn’t get the same attention his Muslim counterpart got. John Kerry met with people most directly relevant to his mission to the country. SIMPLE.

    Q1: Why did he meet with 19 states governors, without southern governors?

    A1: Could it be something to do with the theme of his visit? Boko Haram. If you come to Nigeria to discuss Niger Delta militancy, do you need to invite the Zamfara state governor?

    Q2: Has the sultan palace become another state house?

    A2: Again, what was the purpose of Kerry’s visit? With that answer in mind, is there anything unusual with meeting the Sultan of Sokoto? Visiting the Sultan at his palace is respectful and I personally see nothing wrong with it. >>contrary opinions are welcome<<

    ____________________________________________________________________________________

    Q3: Have the DSS arrested the Muslim youths who burnt down a Catholic Church in Niger State because they were worshiping on Friday? What happened to the ECWA Pastor who was killed in his farm in Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State? What have happened with Redeemed Preacher who was murdered in Kubwa, Abuja?

    A3: These are mostly valid but totally unrelated with John Kerry's visit. It is not his responsibility to address every single issue of religious flavour in Nigeria. These are strictly internal issues with no established link to international terrorism.
    Thankfully as far as I can tell, Rev. Ayokunle didn't try to blame Kerry for ignoring these issues.

    • Anon

      August 27, 2016 at 12:49 am

      These are why it is an issue.
      1) This was an official visit to Nigeria. Then why are you visiting the seat of the caliphate instead of the seat of power. Would America, on an official visit to the UK, visit Scotland before visiting the PM or the Queen? That would be an insult.
      2) In a country where there is religious and ethnic divide already and you pull this kind of stunt. In my opinion you are just looking to start something. This is common sense 101. If you are no there to help then GET OUT.
      3) That meeting shows that America has aligned itself to, not just Northern Nigeria alone, but to the Muslim North.
      My dear, your President was insulted and the rest of the country was told to fuck off. And you are happy with that. No country would ever try such rubbish with America.
      Well just my opinion.

    • CovertNigerian

      August 27, 2016 at 2:22 am

      @anon:

      First, President Xi of China was in the US early this year or late last year on a much hyped visit and if I remember correctly he flew into Seattle first for meetings with some tech company executives before he saw flew over to meet Obama. Guess what? The roof of the White House didn’t cave in.
      Second, John Kerry is a foreign minister, not a visiting head of state. As far as I’m concerned, it is totally fine if he flies into Nigeria and doesn’t meet with our president at all. In fact he has done so in other countries. You’re free to conclude that the president was insulted and the rest of the country ignored, but I disagree completely.
      The US embassy has responded and stated that John Kerry met with Christians. Like I said, the problem here appears to be that the ego of some person in CAN who feels like they as an organization as opposed to some ‘common Christian’ deserve to have been met with. Maybe it would have been better to include CAN in the meeting given the myopia and selfishness of Nigerian leaders, but this whole reaction from CAN is irresponsible.

      As per the US aligning itself with the north, it is your right to jump to whatever conclusions make you feel better but there’s a reason people say assumptions are the mother of all f**k ups. Come back when you have something more substantial.

    • Ethio

      August 27, 2016 at 11:16 am

      @covertmumu in your hapless mind you just made “substantial ” points, i wont humiliate my thumbs arguing with you

    • CovertNigerian

      August 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

      @Ethio:

      LOL…there are already more than enough examples of inferior minds resorting quickly to insults rather than addressing issues raised. Further contributions from you are not required. Thank you.

  8. nene+

    August 27, 2016 at 12:28 am

    I warned and many others did warn Nigerians that Buhari represent extremism! He is the voice fanatics obey. Nigeria had other Northern muslim leaders but Buhari stands out. He is here not for one Nigeria but Northern Nigeria!

    Why is CAN complaining? Right here is Lagos and South West, people who did not support his Buhari’s candidacy were almost lynched.

    Too late to cry when the head is off.

    Welcome to Buhari’s Nigeria.

  9. fashy me

    August 27, 2016 at 4:10 am

    Is Pastor/Politician Ayo Oritsejafor no longer CAN president

  10. Too Hot.

    August 27, 2016 at 7:34 am

    The usa wants Nigeria to break up. They have tried all sorts to make it happen. They tried prophesying that Nigeria would disintegrate by 2015, the psychological warfare did not work. They tried denying arms to GEJ’s government to fight boko haram and blocking every attempt by that government to buy from other countries. They filled their western media with all manner of misinformation, lies, and heavily one-sided reporting. The american government is evil. They want another Libya or Kuwait where they can manipulate and orchestrate the destruction and ride in with a garb of piety and their saviour complex and divide the spoils with their western allies. Also, it is an open secret, if it is any kind of secret, that Obama is a closet muslim, or, a friend of islam and enemy of Christianity.

    Divide and rule. This is what the british colonialists practised as their administrative policy and their american allies are just picking up the baton.

    They have picked up more than they can handle and it will turn around and bite them in their soft underbelly.

  11. Bimbo

    August 27, 2016 at 8:02 am

    The CAN crybabies are back!

  12. Winnie

    August 27, 2016 at 8:32 am

    It’s a pity that mr. pity died on a pity day. Smh

  13. tobi

    August 27, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Kerry went to were he was directed to by the nigerian government. Nigeria is becoming a Caliphate so he was sent to meet with what would become the recognised seat of religion in nigeria. CAN yall need to stsrt asking yourselves some hard qwestion? Whilst yall were eating Saleh meats they were busy converting nigeria to caliphate now like a drunk waking up the next day yall be asking stupid qwestion. Yeye dey smell.

  14. Xoxo

    August 27, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    All these CAN people are not trustworthy but this Reverend has a point. The way America is inserting herself into this country is becoming something else. They may say they are here to help but we all know how they eventually wreck African countries. Its high time our leaders sit up and do their damn jobs instead of trusting “America.” Those guys always have a trick up their sleeves.

  15. justpassinthru

    August 27, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Like many of my fellow country’s citizens…I am fed up…However, despite what I was taught and seen, including the fact that I harbor some stereotypes..I believe in One Nigeria….Call me crazy but our future lies with us…it is time for the youth to come into power no longer used as cannon fodder…we must seize what is ours before these Old heads mess up our country.. for good….Since we are practicing “democracy”, I don’t know anything about politics but I bleed green and white, I would (wishful thinking) like to start a political party with like minded educated individuals who care about the nation and not their pockets…..

  16. good girl

    August 27, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    .. love the way some mature minds discuss issues on this thread…every point was valid and noted except that one @ Ethio..who instead of begging to differ..resorted to insults as all people with little understanding do most times..you didn’t have the intellectual capacity simple …nothing to do with your thumbs…hissss..i agree that we the youths should no longer accept to be used by our political elites to continue the division in this country or we will lose this country forever….

  17. Ajala & Foodie

    August 27, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Why are we so childish in all our dealings??? It is this silly mindset we see our children exhibiting in schools, yet only in our society we never seem to outgrow this none sense, and we wonder why we can never move ahead. This whole if you do for my neighbor you must do for me too needs to stop!!!!

    When did it become the responsibility of the US or any country to unite us ? In the same statement we totally claim we do not want the west getting involved in our business. They come and focus on their own business and we still complain, Can we make up our minds already??? John Kerry came visiting for reasons best known to him but I want to believe it was on State business, that is, business that is of benefit to his country, not yours (you all I made it clear you don’t want them interfering in yours remember???) but even that too is an issue. He did not come to massage egos or indulge in lame eye service that we indulge in (ain’t nobody got time for that) so CAN better get over themselves and yes I say this as a westerner and a christian.

    Should the west mention our country we claim they are trying to cause war, they totally ignore us or not mention our country, “it is because they think they are better than us”. There is really no winning with us now is there??? This is just a clear indication of the problem with our leadership, we can’t seem to get it together or make up our minds, like our leadership, the average Nigerian is all over the place and not certain as to a way forward so instead we keep looking for who to blame for our problems, in this case it is John Kerry’s visit that will escalate the divisive issues in our country. Not BH or the senseless killings of Christians in the North that is becoming a new norm, that CAN has done nothing about, but a dang gone visit. Ye ye dey smell!!!! You had better all get serious

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