The Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) has announced its return to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) after about five years’ of absence due to alleged misunderstanding that was later described as “political.”
The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) had in a letter dated September 24, 2012 which was signed by their President, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, and addressed to the then CAN President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, announced the withdrawal of the Catholic church from the organisation.
However, in 2017, the current president of CAN, Samson Olasupo Ayokunle initiated moves to ensure the return of the Bishops to the fold.
About a few weeks ago, Kaigama led the leadership of CBNC to the CAN national secretariat, where he and Ayokunle’s team addressed grey areas that were identified.
Consequently, a CSN delegation led by Rev Fr. Prof Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua who represented Kagama, during the weekend, attended the expanded CAN National Executive Committee meeting for the amendment of the body’s constitution.
The President of CAN, according to a statement issued on Sunday by his Special Assistant (Media & Communications), Adebayo Oladeji, expressed delights about the new development.
He said, “Their return is one of the best things that have been happening since I was given the mandate to become the President of CAN.
“One of my visions for CAN is to bring our Catholic brothers and sisters back to the fold; and I must acknowledge the support and understanding of my brother in Christ, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria and his team.
“I give kudos to all the principal officers, the directors and some Christian leaders in the country for their support and understanding while the dialogue lasted.
“My joy knows no bound with the presence of the CSN at the constitution amendment meeting of CAN held on Thursday and at the NEC meeting on Friday.
“It is our prayers that the Body of Christ in the country will remain one forever in Jesus’ name.
“At a time like this when Christians are almost becoming endangered species in Nigeria, when churches are being denied the Certificate of Occupancy especially in the core North, when Christians are being denied key public offices and when the Church is expected to speak for the voiceless, especially over the economic and social hardship in our country, we cannot afford to be at war with one another.
“CAN is united in diversity. Jesus Christ prayed for the Church shortly before He returned to heaven in John chapter 17.”