3 Reverends abducted in Kaduna • As CAN calls emergency meeting


From: http://odili.net/news/source/2016/mar/23/602.html

Written by: Isaac Shobayo And Adetola Bademosi
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Worried by the kidnap of the President of Tarayyar Ekklesiyoyin Kristi A Nijerriya (TEKAN), Reverend Emmanuel Dziggau and two other clerics on Monday, in Kaduna, members of the religious organisation have called on the Nigerian government and security operatives to rescue the clerics.

Nigerian Tribune learnt that the three clerics, Reverend Dziggau of TEKAN, the Vice President of HEKAN, Reverend Iliya Anto and Reverend Yakubu Zarma, and having their denominations’ headquarters in Jos, Plateau State, were in Kaduna, for a religious programme, when they were abducted at gunpoint and taken to unknown destination.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, in Jos, TEKAN General-Secretary, Reverend Moses Ebuga, said the entire followership of the Church of Christ in Nigeria, received with shock the sudden kidnap of the TEKAN president and the TEKAN/ECWA bloc leader of the Christian Association of Nigeria ( CAN) Reverend Illiya Anto, HEKAN Vice President and Reverend Yakubu Dzarma (retd) on March 21, 2016 in Kaduna State.

“We are not ignorant of the recent scheming against the Nigerian church regarding the upcoming CAN National election where the leaders have become the subject of attack, particularly the leadership of TEKAN/ECWA bloc in CAN,” he said.

The General-Secretary, Reverend Ebuga called on the government to do everything possible to ensure the safety of the leaders and unearth the whereabouts of the clergymen and to fish out the perpetrators as well.

He called on TEKAN churches and the Nigerian Churches to rise up in prayer against the ugly development that has extended to the church, saying God would expose the sponsors and perpetrators of this dastardly inhuman act.

Meanwhile, in an effort to unravel the mystery behind the abduction of the President of TEKAN/ECWA, one of its Blocs, Reverend Dr Emmanuel Dziggau, by gunmen in Kaduna, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has summoned an emergency meeting.

The General Secretary of CAN, Dr Musa Asake, said the meeting would take place on Thursday, in Abuja, to ensure that “all hands remain on deck to make sure that those who do not wish the Church well do not succeed.”

When contacted, the spokesperson of the Kaduna State Police Command, Mr Abdullahi Zubairu, could not confirm the incident.

Wife of the abducted cleric, Helen Dziggau, who confirmed the abduction in an interview with journalists from Abuja, however, said no ransom had been demanded.

The Secretary of CAN (19 Northern States and Abuja), Yerima Danladi, also told journalists in Abuja, that Dziggau was kidnapped on Monday evening “on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway in Dutse, a few kilometres from Kaduna town, at a site where he was constructing the building of a branch of his church.”

A source in CAN said, “It is believed that the kidnap is not unconnected with subterranean moves being made by some forces in the country to influence the election of the next President of CAN because the incumbent President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, is expected to leave office in July 2016.

“Dziggau has consistently resisted pressures to support undue interference in the election process to produce the next President of CAN, a stand which has drawn the anger of some influential Christians in government. He has been heard to express his neutrality openly. Please, pray for the safety and release of reverend Dr Dzzigau. The Church is facing perilous times.”

It was reported that with few months to its forthcoming election, tension is mounting within CAN, following alleged plots by President Muhammadu Buhari to install a successor to its current President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, whose tenure expires in July 2016.

A group of Christians under the aegis of Christ Redeemers Union, had claimed that the Presidency was interested in CAN election for some selfish reasons.

The National Director of Christ Redeemers Union , Dr Abednego Olusola, had told journalists that Christians would resist any plan by the Presidency to instal a puppet in CAN Presidency

He had said, “A top official in the Presidency, who is spearheading the campaign, has started deploying resources for logistics towards ensuring the emergence of a church leader in the Northern part of the country believed to be friendly to Buhari.

“The government official funding some religious leaders in the North who have been recruited as foot soldiers to perfect the strategy. There is tension now in CAN and the action of the Presidency has polarised the association along North – South dichotomy as Northern religious are being lobbied to support the plot.”

Olusola explained that the APC government was desperate to ensure the emergence of its candidate in CAN who would lead the Nigerian Christians community.

“We have it on good authority that any leader being installed by the Presidency in CAN would avoid any virulent criticism of the Buhari government and this has informed their desperate to install a leadership that will not be critical.

“But we are vehemently opposed to government meddling in a purely religious affairs, and should the Presidency succeed in installing an All Progressives Congress Buhari stooge in CAN, we will pull out,” he stated.

But when contacted, the Special Adviser to the President (Media and Communications), Mr Femi Adesina, had dismissed the allegation, saying that Buhari does not interfere in the internal affairs of any organisation.

“It means that some Nigerians don’t know their President; Your President, Muhammadu Buhari does not interfere in things like that; so they need to know the person who is their President.

“The people making the allegation can’t insist that they are correct because that is the man for you and Buhari doesn’t interfere in anything. If he doesn’t interfere in State elections where his own party, APC is having candidates, how will he interfere in CAN elections? They don’t know their President,” he said.