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NIGERIA: Boko Haram beheads Rev. Andimi Branch Chairman of (CAN)

Rev. Andimi pleads for help on video released by the Boko Haram

Nigerian Christians are reeling from shock after learning Rev Lawan Andimi was executed on Jan. 20 by the Boko Haram. He was an ordained minister of EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, served as EYN district secretary for the Michika area and was a branch chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for the Michika area. The state CAN chairman, Bishop Dami Mamza, disclosed on Tuesday that Boko Haram insurgents had demanded for £200million ransom and rejected the N50million offer before executing Andimi. He said the captors threatened to kill him on Saturday but did not carry out the execution until Monday.

Part of a message Voice of the Persecuted received this morning from one of our sources on the ground said, “Having sleepless nights with the executions of Boko Haram and especially the killing of the pastor in December and Rev. Andimi. Although, there are many cases of such nature. It is very disturbing.”

Ahmed Salkida, a journalist known to have access to Boko Haram and release information for them, shared the horrific news on Twitter.

Later, he also shared, “Reverend Lawan Andimi was beheaded yesterday afternoon, the video of the appalling executions with that of a soldier was obtained at 2:42pm. I made sure that the family, the authorities and the church were duly informed before the news was put out to the public this morning.”

Reports claim the Boko Haram terrorists rejected a N50m ransom offer that fell short of their steep demand and went ahead to behead Rev. Lawan Andimi on Monday. The insurgents had demanded for N946m but was only offered N50m, infuriating the terrorists.

Morning Star News reported that Rev. Lawan Andimi had a treasured life – loving family, an affectionate congregation and respect from his colleagues.

The kidnapped district chairman of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN) in Michika County, in northeast Nigeria’s Adamawa state, had stated in a video that he trusted in God should he lose his life to Islamic terrorists of Boko Haram.

CAN President Samson Ayokunle confirmed in a comment to the Nigerian newspaper the Daily Post that Pastor Andimi had been executed.

Pastor Andimi had said in a Boko Haram video released by Salkida on Jan. 5 that he hoped to be reunited with his wife, children and colleagues.

“If the opportunity has not been granted, maybe it is the will of God,” he said. “I want all people close and far, colleagues, to be patient. Don’t cry, don’t worry, but thank God for everything.”

Pastor Andimi, who also served as chairman of CAN’s local chapter, was kidnapped on Jan. 2 when Boko Haram attacked two Christian communities in the area.

In the video released on Jan. 5, the pastor called on church leaders to speak out for him and urge Adamawa Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri to intervene to secure his release.

“I have never been discouraged, because all conditions that one finds himself is in the hand of God,” Pastor Andimi said in the video.

Strongly Worded Statement

CAN President Ayokunle said in a press statement that the execution of Pastor Andimi was “gruesome, unfortunate and a shame on the federal government,” according to Nigerian newspaper The Nation.

“What has become of intelligence-gathering of our security agencies?” Ayokunle said in the statement. “Is this government and the security agencies still claiming that the war against these criminals in religious garments has been won despite all the killings? Is the government sincere in fighting these terrorists or merely paying lip service to the war against the insurgency? Is there any hope that our security is guaranteed under this government?”

CAN’s director of legal and public affairs, Kwamkur Vondip, reportedly said in a statement that the church did “everything within her reach to secure the safe release of this pastor gentleman but it was not possible because they didn’t have the military power to do so,” according to The Nation.

“Just last Sunday, a clergyman, Rev. Denis Bagauri, was murdered by unknown gunmen in his residence at Mayo Belwa of Adamawa state,” Vondip reportedly said. “The church views the unabated kidnappings, extortions and killings of Christians and innocent Nigerians as shameful to the government that each time boasts that it has conquered insurgency.”

In the strongly worded statement, Vondip said it was reprehensible and saddening that each time the government claims the defeat of Boko Haram, more killings are committed.

“In the light of the current developments and the circumstantial facts surrounding the prevailing upsurge of attacks against the church, it will be difficult for us to believe that the federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari is not colluding with the insurgents to exterminate Christians in Nigeria, bearing in mind the very questionable leadership of the security sector that has been skewed towards a religion and region!

“Is that lopsidedness not a cover-up for the operation of the insurgency? If not, why couldn’t the well-equipped security agents of Nigeria get this man killed rescued?”

Vondip urged the government to ensure the release of Leah Sharibu, kidnapped from a high school in Dapchi, Yobe state in February 2018, and hundreds of other victims of Boko Haram and splinter group the Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP).

“A government that cannot protect the governed is a failed government,” Vondip said. “Can the government tell us what they did since Rev. Andimì cried out to them for help?…If the security agencies claim the terrorists are operating outside the country, why is it possible for these hoodlums to invade the country, kill, maim, burn and kidnap without any convincing checks on the part of the security agencies?

“Since the government and its apologists are claiming the killings have no religious undertones, why are the terrorists and herdsmen targeting the predominantly Christian communities and Christian leaders?

“If the security agencies are not living up to the expectations of the government, why hasn’t it overhauled them with a view of injecting new visionary ones into the security system?”

He said that as long as the government refuses to act, the crimes will continue.

“We are almost losing hope in government’s ability to protect Nigerians, especially Christians who have become endangered species under its watch,” he said.

Ayokunle called on the international community to come to the aid of Nigeria, “especially, the Nigerian church, so that we might not be eliminated one by one.”

President Buhari, in a statement to the Daily Post, said security forces were working continuously to secure the release of hostages and appealed for Nigerians not to see terrorist attacks and plans as a religious fight or persecution of Christians.

“Not seeing terrorists as they should be is exactly what they wish to divide Nigerians,” Buhari said in the statement. “Nigerians must continue to be united in ensuring that they do not subscribe to the terrorists’ message of division. Unfortunately, some leaders and politicians seek to make political capital from our religious differences.

“As we fight Boko Haram on the ground, so too must we tackle their beliefs: stability and unity in face of their hatred is itself a rejection of their worldview. This government shall never tolerate religious intolerance. We clearly and unambiguously restate our support for the freedom to practice whichever belief you wish. The politicization of religion – as forbidden by the constitution – has no place in Nigeria.”

Nigeria ranked 12th on Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution but second in the number of Christians killed for their faith, behind Pakistan.

Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured” (Hebrews 13:3).

Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. You can also join the Persecution Watch prayer conference call tonight and pray united for them. Call details below

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Nigeria’s Anglican Leader Kidnapped by Gunmen

Akinola

Rev. Peter Jasper Akinola

The Most Rev. Peter Jasper Akinola, a former primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, is reported to have been kidnapped by some gunmen at around 3 p.m. (local time) Tuesday.

Akinola, who is also a former president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), was reported to have been kidnapped alongside his driver in front of his office in the town of Abeokuta in the southwest Nigerian state of Ogun.

Akinola heads a foundation he established to minister to the unemployed youths and was in the offices of the foundation when he was kidnapped at gunpoint.

Yusuph Olaniyonu, a government official in Ogun, broke the news of the kidnap of the Anglican leader in a press statement he issued Tuesday on behalf of the government of Ogun State.

Olaniyonu, who is the commissioner of Information of Ogun State, disclosed that the Anglican leader has been rescued unhurt. According to Olaniyun, the Christian leader was rescued by government officials of Ogun state led by Gov. Ibikunle Amosun and security agents.

The government spokesman said: “Dr. Akinola and his driver were kidnapped in front of the main entrance of the Peter Akinola Foundation’s Centre for Youth Industrial Training, located along the Abeokuta-Lagos expressway on Tuesday about 3 p.m.,” (9 a.m. EST).

Akinola is an outspoken leader of the Anglican Communion not only in Africa, but also seen as a voice for the Anglican communion in the Southern Hemisphere.

He led a strong protest against same-sex marriage in the Anglican Communion and successfully established some diocese for some Episcopal members in North America who subscribed to the position that same-sex marriage was unbiblical.

On May 13, 2011, in the city of Jos in central Nigeria, Akinola said in a speech at the Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN), that humanity is today living, “helplessly in an age of lawlessness and overt permissiveness, including theological and religious permissiveness,” all because theologians are no longer concerned with doing theology and teaching it in order to, “help Christians understand the Triune God from the perspective of Jesus the Christ; build up faith in Christ for the purpose of eternal salvation; equip Christians in order to facilitate their spiritual growth; and, present the church at the Parousia, blameless.”

He added: “Theologians and ordained ministers of the church in the west encourage and in fact promote relativism, they doubt established truths about God and in doubting eternal truths, they lose all reason to pursue revealed biblical truth.”

As a consequence, Akinola says, the minds of these theologians and ordained ministers, “have stopped working the way of God,” thereby, leading them into “vile and ungodly thinking.”

Akinola laments that: “The ultra liberal theologians in our time deny the validity of the sections of scripture which do not agree with their lopsided thinking. For example, they’ll readily claim that scriptural rejection of human sexual aberrations is incompatible with modern and ‘continuing revelation’. In other words, modern cultural trappings are to be upheld and valued over and against the biblical provisions.”

The Anlgican in stressing his position cites as an example of how some western theologians misuse the scriptures, the Anglican leader says, “In point of fact an American bishop in the Episcopal Church, Charles Benison, who in my opinion has no business being a bishop in the church of God in the first place; he is better off as a humanist and human rights campaigner, once asserted “we wrote the bible, and we can rewrite it.”

Akinola says this method of doing theology has adversely affected the church in the west and is gradually drifting into the church in Africa and in other developing nations.

“My worry is that this situation does not start and stop in the west. It filters in to our setting. It’s everywhere,” he says.

The cleric says this development is not new as even in the era of the Apostles such misguided theological minds were in existence.

“In the church at Ephesus Paul found that there were teachers of all sorts whose teaching ministry could only mislead the faithful, cause divisions and even destroy the faith,” he says.

From the Nigerian experience, the Anglican leader says the relativism theological virus has become so endemic that most church leaders have gone astray.

“Like in our country today, there are people who major in speculative and eccentric theology rather than Christocentric theology. They manifest clear signs of immaturity which we may describe using Paul’s ideas as gullible and vulnerable infants tossed about helplessly by the turbulent waves and cunning of deceitful schemes,” Akinola says.

In view of the prevailing challenges of “severe disasters and afflictions of unimaginable proportions like earthquakes, tsunamis, devastating floods, resurgent Islam sponsored terrorist attacks, wars and famines,” confronting humanity, theologians and ordained ministers who ought to have served as catalysts to providing sound and empirical biblical solutions to these challenges have themselves compounded the problem by their inadequacies, Akinola said.

“The point must be made that in our time, there is a yawning gap (ever widening, ever deepening) between theological formation and service delivery by those supposedly trained in theology. Consequently, postulants and other students of theology who are ordained to serve the church of Christ almost always find themselves unable to meet critical personal life situations such as bereavements, troubled marriage, disobedient and outright rebellious children, teenage pregnancy, abortion and economic calamity,” Akinola also said.

He also stresses that, “Even in the more general areas of political upheavals, religious and communal clashes, bad governance, unbridled corruption in high and low places our men with all their theological education are often at sea not knowing what to do.”

By these acts, Akinola says, theologians have, “thus inadvertently create a religious and spiritual vacuum which commercial prophets and fake pastors quick seize and manipulate the people for selfish financial gains.”

Akinola concludes his treatise by asking the question, “Where then is God and all our theological enterprise in all of this? I think there is a huge challenge before us.”
As a way forward, the Anglican leader says, there is the urgent need for church leaders, “to pay particular attention to current theological aberrations, revisionist agenda, promotion and equation of shadow and social gospel with authentic gospel of salvation.”

by Obed Minchakpu  Charisma News

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