The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF) has accused the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) of collecting “transportation money” from President Mujhammadu Buhari during a visit to the Presidential Villa last year.
According to a report by Vanguard, the NCEF is taking CAN’s leadership to task for corruption and gross abuse of office, citing other issues of mismanagement by the organisation.
In a memo signed by NCEF’s Chairman, Elder Solomon Asemota, he called on CAN’s National Executive Council (NEC) to investigate alleged abuse of power on the part of CAN president, Rev. (Dr) Samson Olasupo Ayokunle.
According to the memo titled, “NCEF Protests: Is NEC of CAN Guilty of Negligence?”, the NCEF alleged that when Ayokunle led a delegation to meet President Buhari in 2017, he received ‘transportation money’ which CAN said amounts to N25 million but “informed sources” claim is actually N40 million.
While showing displeasure with how the money was shared, the NCEF also criticised the receipt of the money as “unethical and very insensitive”.
The memo partly read, “On the 10th of November, 2017, a delegation of CAN, led by the President of CAN, Rev. Dr. Ayokunle, met with President Muhammadu Buhari and, after the visit, collected ‘transportation’ money.
“While informed sources claim it was N40 million, CAN officials insist it was N25 million and it was alleged to have been shared by somebody who is not an official of the National Secretariat of CAN.
“NCEF insists on proper investigation of how the money was shared and how much each person received.
“In addition, NCEF insists on proper sanction of every Christian leader that took part in sharing money from President Buhari. It is unethical and very insensitive for Christian leaders to collect money from the man every Christian is aware has compromised security to the detriment of the Church.”
The forum further accused the CAN leadership of buying official vehicles at questionable prices as a total of N43 million was spent to purchase four second-hand vehicles in Cotonou when they were allegedly sold for cheaper prices in Nigeria. They further alleged that the auditor that presented a financial report to CAN did not include the N43 million spent on the vehicles, calling the process of procurement into further question.
The forum further alleged that there has been a tribal shift in appointments in the national offices and in the secretariat under CAN’s current leadership.
They urged NEC to immediately convene an emergency meeting to consider the issues raised in the memo and conduct an investigation of Ayokunle as well as other CAN officials accused of misconduct.CAN president dismisses allegations
CAN President, Rev. Ayokunle, has denied the allegations of misconduct from the NCEF, saying it’s an attempt to tarnish his reputation.
He told Vanguard, “There is no truth in what they are alleging. No truth at all in all the allegations. If they are after sanity in CAN, is it on the pages of newspaper that they intend to settle any dispute? Do Muslims behave like that about their leaders?.
“You know if these people are allowed to smear my reputation on the pages of the media, they have successfully finished the Church in Nigeria. They have already written that I should be removed because they did a kangaroo investigation which did not involve me.”
Rev. Ayokunle urged the aggrieved party to allow CAN’s NEC resolve the conflict amicably without doing any public damage to the institution.