The Catholic Church has denied condemning the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor over the 9.3million arms deal in South Africa.
Some Nigerian Newspapers had on Thursday 25th September 2014, and suggesting that Most Rev. Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) accused Pastor Ayo Ortistejafor of denting the image of the Christian Association of Nigeria over the case of the jet that was found with $9.3milion allegedly owned by the CAN President.
“While we disassociate ourselves from the newspaper reports, it is important to put the records in the right perspective.Reacting to this in a statement in Abuja, the Director (Social Communications Directorate), Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria Rev. Fr. Chris Anyanwu said “the report is not only false and malicious but a calculated attempt to further sow the seed of disharmony between Catholics and the leadership of CAN.
The statement said that Rev Kaigama only condemned money laundering generally and that it did not specifically refer to the CAN President.
According to Anyanwu, “Reporters who monitored the said interview in Hausa BBC Service totally misrepresented the Archbishop by misquoting him.
” Knowing the person of Archbishop Kaigama as a man who is committed to ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, there is no way he can make such an inflammatory statement against the leadership of CAN which is capable of causing dissections among the CAN family.
“It was amazing to read such sensational headlines as ‘Ayo Oritsejafor is disgracing CAN’ – Catholic Bishops of Nigeria’, ‘Oritsejafor has dragged Christianity to the mud – Bishop Kaigama’, ‘Bishop blasts Oritsejafor for playing politics with CAN’.
The statement explained that “This is unfortunate, inciteful, unpatriotic and uncharitable. It looks like some people have problems with the person of Pastor Oritsejafor and wanted as the saying goes ‘to borrow the mouth of Archbishop Kaigama to chop their onions’.
“It appears that some people are hell-bent on setting the Catholic Church against the rest of CAN. Some want to use unfortunate situations to promote their fortunes.
“Yes the Catholic Bishops did in the past make their observations about how CAN could be run better not with the intention to discredit the body but so that things could be corrected fraternally, but there were screaming headlines which tended to put the Catholic Church in negative light. This is happening again.
“We are indeed embarrassed at the monumental scale of misrepresentations in the said newspaper reports. What we expect from Journalists is genuine reports based on truth and facts, which ought to promote public trust and confidence.
“A hall mark of responsible journalism is that reporters ought to cross-check their facts before publishing them whereas reports based on falsehood, rumours and preconceived ideas such as this, are not only malicious but a calculated attempt to strain the good relationship between the Catholic Church and the leadership of CAN.
“There is a poison of deliberate misinformation in the air, more deadly than the Ebola virus disease. This may be a symptom of how forthcoming political events may be handled in the media. Some persons want to at all cost see the North and the South, Christians and Muslims fight.
“In God’s name it shall not come to be. Our prayer is that our nation shall remain one and indivisible. No matter how hard our detractors may try, they will not succeed.
“As leaders of the Catholic Church we shall continue to be objective in our assessment of the situation in the country and endeavour to edify by our comments and actions and not to destroy. This is because we believe that we are one people and one nation. God bless our beloved country Nigeria.”