The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the invasion of a church by men of the Nigeria Police Force to arrest Uche Nwosu, son-in-law of a former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, during a church service at Eziama Obieri in the Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State.
According to the religious body, the move by the officers desecrated the house of God.
This was included in a statement issued on Thursday by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant (Media &Communications) to the CAN President.
The association said it is embarrassed by this act by men of the police force as it cannot remember whether such had ever happened before in our country.
CAN said it was not asking the police or the security agencies not to do their constitutional duties but urged officials to be more circumspect in carrying out their duties.
A statement from the body reads, “The National leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) condemns in strong terms the arrest of one Mr. Uche Nwosu at St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral Umunwokwe village, in the Eziama-Obieri Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State.
“We feel highly embarrassed by this ugly development and feel pained that the Nigeria Police had no respect even for the House of God. We cannot remember whether this act of disrespect for God ever happened before in our country.
“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has nothing to apologise for over what the police did because we were never and would never be a party to their horrendous act. The police that did the disgraceful thing should appropriately apologise without giving any excuse. We expect them to be more circumspect in the performance of their duties.
"We are not asking the police or the security agencies not to do their constitutional duties but the idea of desecrating the House of God in doing so is totally unacceptable, unfortunate and reprehensible.
“In view of the foregoing, we urge the Inspector General of Police to call his men to order and continue to respect all houses of worship, whether church or mosque. This type of act should never happen again in our country.”
The body also commiserated with the South African government over the death of the late Nobel Peace Laureate and anti-apartheid hero, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Tutu battled prostate cancer for a decade but lived to celebrate 90 years on earth before he died in a care facility at Cape Town on Boxing Day.
CAN said, “The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has commiserated with the government and the people of South Africa on the Home Call of a great Oracle of God, Bishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu.
“We thank God for a life well spent by His great Servant who used every given opportunity to speak a potent voice against the defunct apartheid system of racial segregation and white minority rule in South Africa.
“The revered Bishop was a South African Anglican bishop and theologian, known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. He was also the first African Bishop of Johannesburg from 1985 to 1986 and then Archbishop of Cape Town from 1986 to 1996. He was also known as a theologian who sought to fuse the Black Theology with African Theology.
“We recalled with nostalgia when from 1978 to 1985, Tutu was the General -Secretary of the South African Council of Churches. That was when he emerged as one of the most prominent opponents of South Africa's apartheid system of racial segregation and white minority rule.
“Although an activist yet he was an advocate of non-violent protest and foreign economic pressure to bring about universal suffrage. In 1985, he became Bishop of Johannesburg and in 1986 the Archbishop of Cape Town, the most senior position in southern Africa's Anglican hierarchy. In this position, he emphasised a consensus-building model of leadership and oversaw the introduction of female priests.
“Tutu played prominent roles that led to the release of the foremost anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990 and they both led the negotiations that ended apartheid and introduce multi-racial democracy.
“After the 1994 general election resulted in a coalition government headed by Mandela, Tutu was appointed the chairman of the historic Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses committed by both pro and anti-apartheid groups.
“This Commission was used to heal all the wounds of apartheid inflicted on both the Whites and the Blacks. Tutu will always be remembered for his strong support of Palestinians in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict especially his strong belief in Israel's right to exist. His strong criticism against the perceived anti-people policies under the South African Presidents of Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma further made him a respected voice of the voiceless.
“Our hearts go to his immediate family, the South African Churches and the common man of that country who saw him as their advocate and protector. May God console and comfort them all in Jesus’ Name.”