The internal crises rocking the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, over alleged stealing of money by its President, Sampson Ayokunle, thickened on Sunday with its Vice President, Prof. Joseph Otubu, challenging him to give account of the funds to save the church from ridicule.
Mr Otubu, University of Ibadan-trained Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, also demanded that the CAN President should account for the N4 million given by governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, during a courtesy call on him for which he (Otubu) rejected.
Others included the N25 million received from President Muhammadu Buhari on behalf of CAN, out of which the acting General Secretary of CAN, Joseph Daramola admitted that he received N500,000.00 and the various sums of money running into millions of Naira Mr Ayokunle received from the Governors Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom and Nyesom Wike of Rivers.
When contacted, an Aide to Mr Ayokunle who did not want to be mentioned because of its sensitive nature said, “the matter is being handled by higher authorities in CAN. It is an internal issue and will be settled amicably.”
Mr Otubu in a letter to Ayokunle dated December 12, entitled: “Corruption in CAN – A Final Advice”, obtained by newsmen in Abuja threatened to “allow the law to take its full course”, if the CAN President refuses to take immediate and necessary steps to account for and refund to CAN all the funds, including the Cotonou car purchase scandal without receipt.
Part of the letter reads: “Permit me also to remind you that I was present when the Benue State Governor gave money reported to be N4,000,000.00 (four million naira only) to CAN during our courtesy call on him.
“You handed the money over to a non-official of CAN and later declared that it was N1,000,000.00 (one million naira only) out of which you apportioned N200,000.00 (two hundred thousand naira only) as my own share which I promptly and flatly rejected, insisting that the money belongs to CAN and should be paid into CAN account. The money is yet to be paid into CAN account.
“May I remind you further that the N25,000,000.00 (twenty-five million naira only) which you received from His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari on behalf of CAN, out of which Mr Daramola admitted that he received N500,000.00 (five hundred thousand naira only) and others including your good self, received various sums of money is yet to be accounted for by you.
“It does appear, Mr. President that you have forgotten that Article 5(i) & (iv) of the CAN Constitution provide that the CAN Treasurer shall be the KEEPER of the Association’s funds and that he shall receive and pay into the bank within 48 hours of working days all monies received by the Association.
“Permit me, therefore, to warn that if you do not take immediate and necessary steps to account for and refund to CAN all the funds which you and your collaborators have converted, the subject of my complaint, and at the same time address the issues raised therein, we shall be compelled to allow the law to take its full course. LET US endeavor to save the Church for the present and the future.”