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CANAN Asks Presidency, State CANs To Speak Out On $7bn Bribery Allegation

CAN President, Bishop Ayo Oritsejafor

*Confirms Donation of $50,000 To Victims of Insurgency

By Niyi Adeyi – The Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, (CANAN) has confirmed donating the sum of $50,000 to victims of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria through the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), as well as called on the Presidency to make a categorical statement, over the controversial N7 billion financial inducement allegedly gave to some Clerics to drum support for President Goodluck Jonathan re-election bid.

CANAN in a statement issued in New York by its Executive Director, Pastor Laolu Akande, reasoned that Presidency ought to come out and “categorically deny the allegations that is now making national and international news.

Pastor Akande stressed that the Nigerian government should not be silent in the matter, hence “must come out clearly and promptly to deny the said allegations.

“In the same vein, CAN local chapters in the states must also not keep silent in this matter, each of the states alleged to have received part of the “bribe,” also ought to speak out and promptly too” CANAN emphasized.

On its donation to victims of insurgency, the CANAN Director said the sum donated was entrusted to the CAN, which was also in charge of distribution of the funds to the victims, noting there was no better channel to be saddled with such responsibilities, especially as CANAN is US based.

Pastor Akande who specified that the body delivered the money to CAN in a couple of batches “between late 2013 and early 2014” indicated that CANAN was regularly in touch with the CAN Secretary-General, Revd. Dr. Musa Asake, with whom the body National Secretariat is coordinated, gave update reports on how the money was being distributed to the victims.

“So far, for instance, no less than 1000 victims-widows and their children in Borno State alone received N10, 000 each-per widow-from the donation according to detailed reports we got from CAN.

“Equally, we were informed that a total of N1.5m was released to the Gwoza Christian Community to help refugees from over 60 villages driven out of their homes by the terrorist activities.

“There are also victims in Yobe, Kaduna, Kano and Nyanya blast victims who have been blessed through the donation from CANAN. And we have details.

“CANAN is in possession of signed documents by the victims, local Christian leaders and pastors who played one role or the other in the deployment of these funds. All these people are still alive and can be asked by whoever still has any doubts about how this fund is being spent” Pastor Akande explained.

The organization, he clarified was open to further public inquiry on the matter and such could be directed to him (Pastor Akande) via: laolu@cananusa.org or the CAN Scribe, Dr. Asake through: cangensec@yahoo.com, promising to oblige additional information and details.

CANAN, Pastor Akande stated commended the “honesty and professional approach” of Dr. Musa Asake, especially in the way he has managed the deployment of the funds.

“CANAN leadership has also physically met some of the victims who benefitted from the donation. Besides, we have actually in the last two years produced video testimonials from some of the victims by sending our own videographers to conduct on the spot interviews including at some of the refugee camps. Some of these videos are a big hit on YouTube currently” the group confirmed.

The association however added that while its members were not unaware of the public perception of the ongoing political undercurrents in which some CAN leadership were currently embroiled, it stated that CAN as a body and a platform for all Christians in Nigeria was greater than its leadership at any given time in its history and would always be.

“We believe that the airing of public questions of an association like CAN is not undesirable. But whoever makes allegations publicly must be prepared to provide solid proof of such claims, without which such persons should not be taken seriously both by the media and the society at large.

“No one in their right senses will condone bribery as has been alleged if find to be true. CANAN as an independent organization will not. But the onus is now on the claimant to show irrefutable proof of the allegations since CAN has denied them outrightly” the group contends.

CANAN recalled that the CAN leadership that currently facing challenges was very active and played a significant role in its campaign in the US to get the American government to designate Boko Haram, a Foreign Terrorist Organization, (FTO), especially at a time that several powerful interests in the US, including the State Department were strongly opposed to the idea.

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