According to the General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Musa Asake, Ph.D,: "the National Executive Committee (NEC) of CAN, the Association during its meeting in Abuja on Tuesday 28th. February, 2017, passed a resolution that the National Day of Christian Protest and Mourning which earlier took place on 8th., 2017, should be repeated on Sunday 19th. March, 2017."
In his notice passed to the Nigerian entire Christian Community, "the (NEC) of CAN took this decision when it was brought to its attention that many Christian assemblies were not able to participate due to lack of awareness about the program. In addition, the relentless attacks of Islamist Jihadists on Christian Communities and Christians in the Nation make it imperative that Christians should consistently speak out to condemn and expose these dastardly acts."
It was further agreed that "in view of the security situation in the country, NEC recommends that Christians should NOT engage in street protests on that day. Rather, each Congregation should gather in front of its place of worship with Placards, Banners and if possible, dress in Black, as symbolic mourning of the thousands of Christians killed by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria and discriminatory Security forces, particularly in the East."
Furthermore, the (NEC) of CAN also recommended that "each local assembly should ensure sufficient Media coverage of the Protest. In particular, arrangements should be made for TV coverage. All Christian assemblies in the Diaspora should endeavor to participate in order to draw International attention to the Genocide against Christians in Nigeria. It would be recalled that on 4th. February, 2017, the US Congress declared that "Nigeria is the most dangerous Nation on earth for anyone to be a Christian."
THE ISSUES OF CONCERN BY CAN:
The issues for concern were neatly spelt out:
Issues that should be highlighted during the National Day of Christian Mourning are as follows:
1. Murder of Christians by Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, Muslim assailants and discriminatory Security forces.
2. Violation of the Federal Character Principle in the 1999 Constitution in Federal Government Appointments, particularly in Security and Education.
3. Harassment and intimidation of Christian leaders by the SSS/DSS.
4. Failure of Security Forces to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the Genocide
5. Non implementation of the 2014 National Conference Report. (This Report, amongst others, recommends State Police.)
Thus, this information was published and circulated to All National Leaders, Bloc Leaders, Zonal Chairmen, States Chairmen of CAN and Christian Leaders and all Churches were notified and well prepared.
However, it was to the dismay of the entire Christian Community that further instruction and directives were given: "that Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) again wishes to inform all Christians, both at home and abroad, that based on credible reports of concern, it has decided to suspend the Christian Day of Mourning formerly scheduled to take place globally on Sunday 19th March, 2017."
It was further buttressed that, "The President of CAN took cognizance of the preparations that various Christian groups have made to participate in the program which was designed, in all honesty and sincerity, to mourn the death of thousands of Christians murdered by religious insurgents. Again, a Statement from the National Secretariat of CAN states that the suspension of the program was due to “misunderstanding, misinterpretation and subsequent Security concerns”.
Some pictures and videos on Social media even shows mobilization of Assailants into Southern Kaduna on the 16th. and 17th. of March against the Christian day of mourning which was supposed to be held on 19th. March, that could not be interpreted as coincidence.
Thus, "Nigerian Christian assemblies were urged to have a normal Sunday Worship on 19th. March, 2017, but should suspend any action on the Day of Mourning. Nevertheless, Christians should be careful and watchful, as further communication shall be issued by CAN in due course."
According to the source, "In the meantime, we are all urged to remain steadfast and resolute in the Grace of God that Nigeria shall overcome the present distress and Peace shall prevail all over the Nation."
Christians are also encouraged to keep praying steadfastly and always be evangelical, seizing every possible opportunity to share the Good News of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
However, while the "Nigerian Christian Mourning Project" which is supposed to be a continual event in the Nation in different phases, until the massive murder of Christians stops in the nation, is temporarily suspended, it is important to elucidate as reminder to the Christian Community the Communiqué of Parts 1, 2 & 3. These are very important because they reinstate the purposes of the suspended "Christian Black Sunday of 19th. March, 2017 and National Protest." (Available at www.csmnigeria.org)
It bewilders Nigerian Christians that Christianity has come under siege and Christians are being killed, massacred and slaughtered in total violation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
Section 38 (1) “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”
The responsibility of the Government is to uphold the sanctity of the Constitution and ensure the protection of all the citizens. Section 14 (1)b of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) states: “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government:”
No reasonable person would be satisfied with the present state of affairs of Nigeria. We therefore call upon those in Government to ensure that the Constitution of Nigeria remains sacrosanct.