Christian Association of Nigeria

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

The official logo of the Association


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.[1]

In 2000, the CAN protested the adoption of Sharia law in northern states.[2] In February 2006, while President of the organisation, 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.[3][4] Akinola later claimed his statements had been misinterpreted in the western media. He even threatened to resign in case the riots should continue.[5]

On 2 May 2004, more than 630 Muslims were killed in Yelwa, Nigeria. The dead were pinned white name tags identifying them as members of the CAN.[6] The massacre is known as the Yelwa massacre.

In September 2007, the organisation endorsed a social security plan put forth by Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido.[7]


The organisation is made up of five blocs; they are the Christian Council of Nigeria, the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Organisation of African Instituted Churches, and the Evangelical Church Winning All/Fellowship of Churches of Christ in Nigeria.[8]

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).[8]


In 2016, Supo Ayokunle, President (and Chief Executive Officer) of The Nigerian Baptist Convention, was elected as president and Prof. Joseph Otubu, of the Motailatu Church Cherubim and Seraphim Movement, the Vice President.

Ayokunle was re-elected for second term and inaugurated in July 2019 alongside his Vice President Rev Dr. Caleb Ahima.[9]

Order Term of Office Tenure Served Name Place of Birth Denomination Notes
1 November 1988 - November 1995 2 re-elected 1992 Anthony Cardinal Okogie Lagos, Nigeria Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lagos
2 November 1995 - November 2003 2 re-elected 1999 Sunday C. Mbang Akwa Ibom, Nigeria Methodist Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria
3 November 2003 - June 2007 1 Peter Akinola Ogun, Nigeria Anglican Prelate, Anglican Church of Nigeria
4 June 2007 - July 2010 1 Archbishop John Onaiyekan Kabba, Nigeria Roman Catholic Archbishop of Abuja
5 July 2010 - July 2016 2 re-elected 2013[10][11] Ayo Oritsejafor Warri, Nigeria Pentecostal Pastor, Word of Life Bible Church
6 July 2016 – Present re-elected


Supo Ayokunle Oyo, Nigeria Baptist President, Nigerian Baptist Convention


  1. ^ "Pentecostalism in Nigeria". Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Archived from the original on 6 March 2008. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  2. ^ Minchakpu, Obed (2000). "Nigerian Churches will Challenge Islamic Law". Compass. Compass Direct News Service. Archived from the original on 11 September 2007. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  3. ^ "Christians kill Muslims following warning by Nigerian Archbishop". Ekklesia. 23 February 2006. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  4. ^ "God's Country". The Atlantic. 1 March 2008. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
  5. ^ Reactions to violence in Nigeria: Archbishop Peter Akinola explains, Christianity Today
  6. ^ Eyewitness: Nigeria's 'town of death'
  7. ^ Olawale, Taiwo (9 September 2007). "Sultan, CAN Laud Govt Over Security Policy". This Day via Leaders & Company Limited. Retrieved 13 September 2007.
  8. ^ a b "Onaiyekan is new CAN president". Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria. 19 June 2007. Archived from the original on 20 July 2007. Retrieved 19 June 2007.
  9. ^ Adeniyi, Olakunle (19 July 2019). "CAN inaugurates Ayokunle for second term presidency". Nigeria news. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  10. ^ "'CAN Officers'". Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  11. ^ "CAN re-elects Oritsejafor as president. On July 10, 2013. He was first elected into the position in May 2010'". Vanguard News. 28 October 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  12. ^ Press, Fellow (19 June 2019). "Ayokunle retains seat as CAN president". Nigeria news. Retrieved 19 July 2019.

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