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TUTU: CAN mourns, commiserates with South Africa over ‘great oracle of God’s’ passing

*Condemns 'desecration of the House of God by the police in Imo State'

By IHECHUKWU SUNDAY

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condoled with the government and people of South Africa over the passing of ‘a great Oracle of God’, Bishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu.

In a statement by its President, Rev (Dr.) Samson Ayokunle, CAN expressed gratitude to God for what the group described as “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,” CAN said in the statement by Ayokunle.

“We recall 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 introduced 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 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.”

Extending its condolences to the late Tutu’s immediate family, the South African Churches and the common man of that country who saw him as their advocate and protector, CAN prayed God to console and comfort them all “in Jesus’ Name.”

CAN condemns ‘desecration of the House of God by the police in Imo State’

Dr. Samson Ayokunle, President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)

Meanwhile the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the reported arrest of Mr. Uche Nwosu, former governorship candidate of the Action Alliance (AA) in Imo State, at St. Peter’s Anglican Cathedral Umunwokwe village, in the Eziama-Obieri Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State, during service, describing it as a desecration of the House of God by officers of the Nigeria police.

“We feel highly embarrassed by this ugly development and 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,” CAN regretted in a statement issued on behalf of CAN President, Dr. Samson Ayokunle, by Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant (Media &Communications) to the President .

“The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has nothing to apologize for over what the police did because we were never and would never be party to their horrendous act. The Police that did the disgraceful thing should appropriately apologize 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.”

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