Contemporary Christian Lifestyle Magazine on Wednesday 25th February at 6:30 pm through an email contacted the CANAN Secretariat in New York, to confirm if such donation was made. By 7:01 pm same day, a Pastor Laolu Akande, an Executive Director of CANAN, wrote back to confirm that indeed the $50,000 the donation was made “…to the glory of God.We should be issuing a statement soon”.
We have read several media reports raising questions regarding the contribution of $50,000 donated by us, the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, CANAN to victims of Boko Haram violence in Nigeria through CAN. There have also been a number of media inquiries both here in the US and from Nigeria on the matter.
CANAN therefore states as follows:
1. We certainly contributed the said sum to the victims and entrusted the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN with the distribution of the funds to the victims. There was no better means to distribute the money to the victims since CANAN is based in the US.
2. We delivered the money to CAN in a couple of batches between late 2013 and early 2014.
3. From time to time, the Secretary-General of CAN, Revd. Dr. Musa Asake, (with whom our National Secretariat coordinated, himself a US trained PhD holder from the prestigious Dallas Theological Seminary, here in the US), gave us reports of how the money is being distributed to the victims.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. CANAN welcomes further public inquiry on this matter and such can be directed to me at [email protected] or to the CAN Scribe, Dr. Asake at [email protected]. We shall be glad to give additional information and details.
9. CANAN warmly commends the honesty and professional approach of Dr. Musa Asake, the Secretary-General of CAN, especially in the way he has managed the deployment of the funds.
10. 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 this videos are a big hit on YouTube currently.
In conclusion, while we are not unaware of the public perception of the ongoing political undercurrents in which some in the CAN leadership are currently embroiled, CANAN wishes to state that CAN as a body and a platform for all Christians in Nigeria is greater than its leadership at any given time in its history and will 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 Presidency also ought to come out and categorically deny the allegations of the bribery that is now making national and international news. The Nigerian govt should not be silent in this matter and must come out clearly and promptly to deny the said allegations of bribery.
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.
Finally, CANAN must also put it on record that the same CAN leadership that is facing challenges today was very active and played a significant role in our campaign here 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.
Pastor Laolu Akande
CANAN Executive Director
February 26, 2015.