Nigerian Christians in the United States under the aegis of Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, challenged self-acclaimed Pastor and controversial Executive Director of the Voice of Northern Christian Movement, one Mr. Musa Dikwa, to substantiate his allegation that the $50,000 it donated to victims of Boko Haram Islamic sect in the North East were allegedly “diverted and hijacked by the Vhristian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
While describing the allegation as untrue, the organization said it had documents which showed that the money which was delivered to the national secretariat of CAN “in a couple of batches between late 2013 and early 2014”, got to the victims.
Dikwa, the self-acclaimed Pastor had alleged that out of the N7 billion which, he said, was offered by President Goodluck Jonathan to Christians to campaign for his re-election, each State chapter of CAN got N3 million, while the $50,000 released by CANAN for victims of insurgency in the North East were not disbursed to them by CAN.
A statement issued from New York on Wednesday by the Executive Director of CANAN, Pastor Laolu Akande, entitled: “Our $50,000 donation to terror victims in Nigeria and other adjoining issues”, therefore challenged Dikwa to “be prepared to provide solid proof of such claims, without which he should not be taken seriously both by the media and the society at large.”
The statement reads..,
We have read with shock and surprise the 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.
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. These reports include names, signatures and telephone numbers of all the beneficiaries.
5. Equally, 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. We have written testimonials from the Gwoza Christian refugee community.
6. There are also victims from Yobe, Kaduna, Kano and Nyanya blast victims who have been blessed through the donation from CANAN. 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 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.
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. Finally, CANAN must also put it on record that the CAN leadership 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 Nigeria and in the US, including the State Department were strongly opposed to the idea.