A coalition of 25 Christian non-governmental organisations has berated presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, for attacking the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in a recent article.
Adesina had accused CAN of promoting sentiments capable of breeding hatred and malice among the citizens after the Christian body criticised President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to secure the release of its official, Reverend Lawan Andimi, who was recently kidnapped and killed by Boko Haram insurgents.
CAN had said kidnappings and killings should be shameful to a government that boasts that it has conquered insurgency, but Adesina in response said the Christian body was “sounding too long as a political party.”
Adesina said, “Rather than cast the government as omnipotent, it is God that has all powers. And some things are never resolved spiritually except through prayer and fasting. It is not me that said so. Jesus did. So, let the Church be fully involved in supplication for divine intervention in the country, rather than playing subtle politics and unwittingly generating hate in the land.”
But responding in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Isaac Okonkwo, and National Secretary, Garba Yohanna, the coalition cautioned Adesina against using his office to attack the leadership of CAN “if he cannot join them in condemning the ongoing Christian persecutions in the country.”
In the statement on Saturday, the group described Adesina as a disgrace to Christianity and the Four Square Church where he is an elder.
The statement reads in full:
“Our attention has been drawn to an opinion written by Adesina, titled, “BEHEADED ADAMAWA PASTOR: CAN GOT IT MIXED UP” where Adesina thoughtlessly and gleefully spared no words in lashing out at the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which, technically speaking, he is a member as an elder in the Four Square Church.
“While we will not speak for CAN, we as concerned citizens in the Body of Christ in Nigeria view his uncouth and untamed attacks as reminiscent of the counsel of the wisest man of all centuries, King Solomon, who says “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit” (Proverbs 26:4-5). The latter wisdom is applicable here.
“We note with great sadness that Femi Adesina, a Christian elder in the Body of Christ, and a presidential aide, a journalist of no mean reputation is now wearing the infamous crown as one of the staunchest defenders of the atrocious killings and maiming of Nigerians, especially Christians under the present administration.
“Ordinarily, Adesina should not deserve a rejoinder because he has chosen lucre over the sincere burden of the agony of antagonized and killed Christians which CAN bear in defending and justifying the daily slaughtering and dehumanisation of Christians in Nigeria, especially in the Northern part of the country. But he should be rebuked for his pretension and mediocrity which betray genuine Christ-like character.
“It is unfortunate for the presidential spokesperson to make himself the stumbling stone each time CAN raise and re-echoes godly concerns of Nigerian Christians over the obvious strategic state policy of persecution. Why? Adesina is not a lone ranger among the handful Christians who are appointed by the President. We are not unaware of the spoilers and betrayal roles some of them are playing in the corridors of power.
“It is an open knowledge that terrorists and their kinsmen, Fulani herdsmen have turned many predominantly Christian communities into killing fields. This is too obvious to be disputed except to the insincere and mischievous minds like Adesina. While the genocide in Southern Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and Taraba States was at the peak, which had led to mass burials of the victims, Adesina was too busy travelling from Europe to America to say a word in defence of the victims and to sympathise with the bereaved. Instead, he was mandated to change the narrative from the Fulani herdsmen killings to Farmers-Herders clashes as if those people who were being killed were as armed as their attackers.
“As an elder of his church, do we need to remind him and his co-travellers that when Mordecai foresaw the genocidal plan of Hamaan against the people of God, he did not turn a blind eye to it or pretend as if all his well but instead alerted his niece, the Queen, Esther, who today would have been called the First Lady. The duo not only rose up against the plot but ensured the ungodly verdict was reversed but the mastermind was made to face the consequences. But Adesina does not have time to study the book of Esther otherwise we would have advised him to learn from Mordecai.
“So to Femi Adesina, the Christian persecutions in the country are figments imagination of the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria? And for CAN to cry out is akin to acting the opposition script?
“Femi Adesina is a big disgrace to Christianity and especially his Denomination Four Square Church. It’s high time his GO and church leaders call him to order
“If CAN has become an opposition to the government that turns a deaf ear to their SOS because “The insecurity in the country is not about any religion. It is pure evil, from the pit of hell”, are the EU Parliament and the US Government playing the opposition also?
“Those who have been killed by the terrorists were killed because they were Christians and they refused to be converted. So, it is not true that Andini’s death should be seen as any other human being. Yes, it is true that Andini is a human being and no human being should be so treated. Yet, Andini’s murder was because of his faith. CAN was correct in making that allegation.
“According to the information available to us, the killer of Rev Andimi had begged him (Rev Andini) in vain to be converted to Islam before slaughtering him. These murderers always recite some portions of the Quran before killing their victims. Whether they are misrepresenting Islam or not, is another thing but claiming that the menace of terrorism has nothing to do with religion is the only narrative acceptable to the Nigerian government.
“CAN’s demand for the overhauling of the security agencies with a view to balancing the religious factor of their heads is a noble course and it is justifiable. Those who are slaughtering our members and those who are managing our security apparatus share same faith. We are aware that General Abayomi Olonisakin, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ekwe-Ibas are good Christians but they are the minority at the Security Council of the country.
“So, it is true that we have two Christians among the service chiefs but the Chief of Defence Staff has no troop while the Chief of Naval Staff does not command the soldiers fighting the terrorists. All the security agencies like the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Air Force, the State Security Services, the National Intelligence Agency, the Defence Intelligence Agency who are deeply involved in the war against the Islamic extremists are all headed by Muslims. Is Adesina ignorant of this truth or playing ostrich?
“What CAN is asking the President to do is not new at all. We remember President Issoufou Mahamadou of Niger Republic, who sacked his security chiefs after 89 soldiers were killed by terrorists in January 2020 but to the likes of Adesina, it is not a big deal. The fact that CAN is even calling for a total overhauling of the security architecture despite the fact that two Christians are among should not attract condemnation of a sane mind but applause.
“Once again, we dare the Federal Government to publish names of all the security agencies including their religions. This will expose who is not sincere between the Federal Government and the leadership of CAN. Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah has said it all about the common denominator between the government and the Boko Haram terrorists. Let those who have ears hear. The reasons why the likes of Adesina will continue to attack the highest Christian body is because they are government appointees and also because none of their relations has a victim of terror attacks.
“But for Brother Femi Adesina, power is transient; so is life here on earth. He should beware of his words and actions because every careless word we speak in this life shall be accountable one day. If he is shy, afraid or too ignorant to defend or sympathies with Christian brethren whose blood flows in the North-east, Middle Belt and Southern Kaduna, he should keep quiet. He should not allow the lucre of office to becloud his sense of godly judgement.
“The gate of hell shall not prevail against the Church of God in Jesus Name.”