Christian Leaders in Nigerian State Caution Security Agents against Undue Interference

Logo of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)/ Credit: Courtesy Photo

Christian leaders in Nigeria’s Gombe State under the auspices of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have cautioned security agents against undue interference in their activities.

In a statement issued Tuesday, February 1, CAN leadership in the Nigerian State makes reference to a January 30 incident when a grand reception for newly elected leaders was cancelled by security agents allegedly on the pretense of “averting a crisis.”

“On the 30th day of January 2022, a grand reception of our elected CAN leaders should have been held but it was rudely suspended with less than 12hours to the event due to reasons that we are still shocked at,” CAN officials say.

They add, “Plans were made, monies were spent, a lot were put together for the same event that went with the wasted hours of yesterday.”

“It is becoming more official that the Christian religion in Gombe state has been manipulated and kept under multiple attacks over and over, most likely for the reason to start a war between ourselves,” the official of the Christian entity that includes representatives of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) says.


In the statement signed by Gombe CAN Chairman, Fr. Joseph Shinga, the Christian leaders say, “We have been confronted with this from a very long time and it is playing out more significantly at the watch of this administration.”

“Fired by the sense of history, from 2019 (to be specific) a thicker margin line has been drawn against the Church in Gombe state for the simple reason that an enforcement of oppressive structures against the Church are strategically set in motion and this statement will correct a certain impression that we cannot live in Gombe as citizens of Nigeria with the freedom of our faith not respected,” they explain.

CAN officials bemoan police summons saying, “Our rightfully elected leadership of CAN Gombe State, have been persistently distracted with consistent invitations to appear before the police unduly and till this moment, reasons are yet to be officially handed to the leadership of CAN at any level as to why these invitations have become a recurring decimal.”

They invite the people of God in Gombe State and beyond “to remain calm until tomorrow, when we shall further appear before the police on another invitation which will determine our clearance to fix a new date for the grand reception of our Gombe State CAN Execute.” 

“We call on His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Gombe State, Alh. Inuwa Yahaya, being the chief security officer, to immediately investigate and intervene on the so-called faction of the CAN leadership in the state, impersonating and parading as CAN leaders,” the representatives of Christian leaders in the Nigerian State say. 

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They further call on all Christians “to pray for the unity of the church and the peace of Gombe State.”

Meanwhile, CAN leadership in the Northern region of Nigeria has denied endorsing Governor Yahaya Bello for the office of Nigeria’s President in 2023.

In a Tuesday, February 1 report, CAN leadership describes the allegations as “a fabrication in an online report on the issue.”

“Northern CAN, from history, has NEVER adopted any individual for any elective position in the history of elections in Nigeria and neither will it do so this time,” the Public Relations Officer of Northern CAN, Chaplain Jechonia Gilbert, has been quoted as saying.

He adds, “Our duty to the Nigerian nation as a religious body, is to pray for the peace of the nation and encourage our members to participate in every constitutional process towards nation building.”


“As an organization with large followership and its members belonging to different political persuasions, it is unthinkable to assume that we have adopted a particular individual who is not even a flag bearer of any political party as our candidate for the 2023 presidential elections,” Mr. Jechonia further says in the report.

He invites the public to “disregard such reportage as it is never the thought or imagination of Northern CAN.”

“There has NEVER been any meeting of the leadership of Northern CAN where such a decision was ever taken,” Mr. Jechonia further says.

According to the CAN official, “The strategy meeting is to collate reports from the various zones concerning the security situation in various States that make up the zone with the aim of helping the leadership of Northern CAN in making a bold statement to the nation concerning the worrisome security challenges in the North.”

“We pray for Nigerians to close ranks for the purpose of defeating the enemies of Nigerians, especially those killing in the name of religion, those kidnapping for ransom and those raping our women across the country. We must unite and stand together to stamp out this evil from our nation,” he says in the February 1 report.

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Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.