U.S.-based Nigerian Christians dismiss claims of alleged diversion of $50,000

NIGERIAN Christians in the United States (U.S.) under the aegis of Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans (CANAN) have dismissed the allegation by Borno-based Pastor and the Executive Director of the Voice of Northern Christian Movement, Mr. Musa Dikwa, that the $50,000 released by CANAN for victims of insurgency in the North-East was not disbursed to them but was diverted by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Dikwa had recently also alleged that President Goodluck Jonathan offered N7 billion to Christians to campaign for his re-election and that each state chapter of CAN got N3 million.

In a statement issued from New York yesterday, the Executive Director of CANAN, Laolu Akande, who described the allegation as untrue, stated that the organisation 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.

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 U.S. and from Nigeria on the matter. 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. We delivered the money to CAN in a couple of batches between late 2013 and early 2014. From time to time, the Secretary-General of CAN, Revd. Dr. Musa Asake (with whom our National Secretariat co-ordinated, himself a U.S. trained Ph.D holder from the prestigious Dallas Theological Seminary, here in the U.S.), gave us reports of how the money is being distributed to the victims.

According to Akande: “So far, for instance, no less than 1,000 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. Equally, a total of N1.5 million 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. There are also victims from Yobe, Kaduna, Kano and Nyanya blast victims who have been blessed through the donation from CANAN. We have details.

He pointed out that 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.

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.  

Akande said that CAN leadership played a significant role in our campaign here in the U.S. to get the American government to designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTO), especially at a time that several powerful interests in Nigeria and in the U.S., including the State Department, were strongly opposed to the idea.

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