CAN: Aggrieved Bishops Threaten To Drag Oritsejafor To Court

BEVERLY HILLS, CA, December 11, (THEWILL) -  A group of Bishops under the auspices of Bishop and Clerics Forum of Nigeria (BAFCON) from the Niger Delta recently suspended by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) have threatened to drag the CAN President, ArchBishop Ayo Oritsejafor,  to court. The Bishops who are from the South South chapter of CAN were allegedly suspended by CAN leadership for trying  to broker peace among feuding parties in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The clerics, led by its President, Prophet Jones Ode Erue, had embarked on what they called a  Global Peace Relief Initiative, and had visited former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and the Adamawa State Governor, Alhaji Murtala Nyako, with the intention of  brokering  peace between the G7 governors and the presidency. But impeccable sources said their peace mission did not go down well with Oritsejafor, an  associate of President Goodluck Jonathan, who  felt insulted that the clerics  had initiated the peace move when he had failed to do so because of his purported romance with the presidency. Oritsejafor is alleged to be bent on  protecting  the interest of the President because of the patronage he allegedly gets and as such sees the visit by the group of clerics as plans to fight against the interest of  President Jonathan. 'It's no longer a secret that Ayo (Oritsejafor) is a card carrying member of PDP and he sees everyone who fraternizes with former vice president Atiku and the G-7 governors as enemies of his president friend . "While should the CAN president be angry because some bishops visited Atiku and Adamawa governor when he moves around with President Jonathan and romances with state governors," a source close to the CAN leadership alleged. Sources said that Oritsejafor had allegedly ganged up with one of his right-hand men, Archbishop, God-Dowell Avwomakpa, an  ally of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, to suspend the Bishops who had initiated the peace move. The suspension  was contained in a statement signed by Avwomakpa, who is CAN's South-South Chairman . 'There is nothing wrong with clergymen initiating or brokering peace process between two factions but for some bishops to do so in the name of a body that I head and the other executives are not consulted gives a wrong signal and suggests a dangerous trend in the body of Christ.  It means there are people with political interest or ambition in   our fold," the statement said. The bishops purportedly suspended, according to the source, are Prophet Jones Erue, Bishop Julius Ediwe, Bishop Bob Manuel, Bishop Abhulemen Josiah, Bishop Konel Offiong, Bishop Innocent Chiedozie, Bishop Alex Okubo, Bishop Felix Ezebunwo, Bishop Charles Okoh, Bishop Peter Abingon and Archbishop Eddy Ogbonda. It was gathered that Oritsejafor has officially disowned the  clerics, saying CAN has no hand in the visit . In defence of the actions of CAN, a group which styled itself as Christian Youth Movement for Emancipation and Justice, (CYMEJ) has reportedly castigated and condemned the Bishops. But  the clerics  led by Prophet Jones Ode Erue have threatened to institute a legal action against Avwomakpa and CAN for daring to suspend them. Prophet Erue told THEWILL at the weekend  that the Archbishop had no moral capacity to suspend them. 'Avwomakpa has no capacity to suspend us. He is not our member. We only invited him to join us when our delegation visited Governor Rotimi Amaechi. We give him 48 hours to retract the announcement of our suspension and all the bad things he said about us on Delta Television or else we will institute legal action against him and CAN,' he said. Prophet Erue said that with the development, everyone now knows the enemies of the country  "and we would not allow them to sleep." "Everyone must take issues of national interest seriously. The picture of our visit as being painted by these people is cosmetics, fake. The true picture is that this country is in a big mess because of the leadership crisis at hand . "How can you go to the pages of newspapers to suspend people without calling to hear from them first. On what ground is the man doing the suspension? Are we members of your association, is CAN compulsory for every Christian, must you be a member of CAN before you can be a pastor? I am not a member of CAN, my church is registered with CAC and I don't need permission from CAN of PFN to operate ' he said. He said that they might not own private jets but they are people of unquestionable characters, dependable leaders and steward of peace. "We are disappointed that a leader could sit and watch his two children fight while the rest of us suffer only to come and blackmail those who take their time to seek solutions to the crisis," he added. Erue said that no amount of blackmail or intimidation would deter them from the noble mission to rescue the country from imminent collapse. He commended the fight against impunity, injustice, and lawlessness embarked upon by Nyako and other governors within the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and for their resilience against all odds and persecution. 'We are bishops, the highest body in the Christiandom which comprises about 500 bishops; we are troubled with the situation in the country.   Our traditional rulers have failed; we clergy men must wake up to our calling and join forces with those who are fighting impunity in the nation's interest,'he said.