Christian Association of Nigeria

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is an umbrella organization containing numerous Christian denominations in Nigeria.


Ayo Oritsejafor, Senior Pastor of Word of Life Bible Church,is the President and Archbishop Daniel Okoh, President of the Organisation of African Instituted Churches, is Vice President.

Former presidents include Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Akinola, Cardinal Archbishop of Lagos Anthony Olubumni Okogie, and Sunday Mbang, Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria.[1]


The organization is made up of five blocs; they are the Christian Council of Nigeria, the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, the aforementioned Organisation of African Instituted Churches, and the Evangelical Fellowship of West Africa.[2]

The CAN has Women and Youth Wings, a National Executive Council consisting of 105 members (which elects the President), and a General Assembly of 304 members (which ratifies the President's election).[2]


The Christian Association of Nigeria was founded in 1976, and originally only contained the Catholic Church and mainline Protestant groups. However, it later expanded to include Pentecostal churches as well.[3]

In 2000, the CAN protested the adoption of Sharia law in northern states.[4] In February 2006, while President of the organization, Akinola issued a statement in response to Muslim violence against Christians, telling Muslims that they did not have a "monopoly on violence". The following day, Christians rioted in retaliation against Muslims, leading to more than 70 deaths.[5][6] Akinola later claimed his statements had been misinterpreted in the western media. He even threatened to resign in case the riots should continue.[7]

On May 2, 2004, more than 630 Muslims were killed in Yelwa, Nigeria. The dead were pinned white name tags identifying them as members of the CAN.[8] The massacre is known as the Yelwa massacre.

In September 2007, the organization endorsed a social security plan put forth by Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido.[9]


  1. ^ "Pentecostalism in Nigeria". Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Archived from the original on 2008-03-06. Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
  2. ^ a b "Onaiyekan is new CAN president". (Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria). 2007-06-19. Archived from the original on 2007-07-20. Retrieved 2007-09-16. 
  3. ^ "Pentecostalism in Nigeria". Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Archived from the original on 2008-03-06. Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
  4. ^ Minchakpu, Obed (2000). "Nigerian Churches will Challenge Islamic Law". Compass (Compass Direct News Service). Archived from the original on 2007-09-11. Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
  5. ^ "Christians kill Muslims following warning by Nigerian Archbishop". (Ekklesia). 2006-02-23. Retrieved 2007-09-13. 
  6. ^ "God's Country". The Atlantic. 2008-03-01. Retrieved 2009-09-19. 
  7. ^ Reactions to violence in Nigeria: Archbishop Peter Akinola explains, Christianity Today
  8. ^ Eyewitness: Nigeria's 'town of death'
  9. ^ Olawale, Taiwo (2007-09-09). "Sultan, CAN Laud Govt Over Security Policy". This Day via (Leaders & Company Limited). Retrieved 2007-09-13. 

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