THE Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) yesterday threw its weight behind the Lagos State government’s decision to sack its Chaplain, Ven. Femi Taiwo.
The government has the power to hire and fire any chaplain appointed to manage its chapel, Lagos chapter CAN Chairman Apostle Alexander Bamgbola, told reporters.
He addressed a news conference to clarify the position of the body on the controversy which trailed the sack of the clergyman.
Bamgbola decried the twisting of the events that led to the decision to separate Ven. Taiwo as chaplain of Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa, the state government’s Christian worship centre.
There were reports that the clergyman was relieved of his duties because of an alleged disrespect for Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s wife, Bolanle.
But CAN said its investigation did not suggest what was being peddled.
Bamgbola cleared the governor’s wife of any wrongdoing, saying reports linking her to the matter were blown out of proportion.
He said the church was built by the Lagos State government for itself and for the public.
The CAN chairman said it was the state government that created the anointing service and instituted a Governing Council to run the affairs of the church and report to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“The Governing Council has the constitutional responsibility to recruit and terminate the appointment of officers to run the chapel. Two officers run the affairs of the chapel – the presiding chaplain and the chaplain. They are officers of the government, they are strictly employee of the state government and subject to terms and conditions of the government,” he explained.
Bamgbola said the Governing Council acted within its constitutional authority in terminating the appointment of the presiding chaplain.
“Having investigated the matter carefully and objectively, we wish to state that the Governing Council that recruited Ven. Taiwo acted within its constitutional authority to terminate his appointment.”
He said it was wrong for the social media and a section of the print media to criticise the government for sacking one of its employees as it deemed fit.
The CAN chairman said: ”Mrs Ambode is a true woman of God who fears God and lives a godly life. God raised her at this time.” He said the dust generated by what occurred was unfair to her.
”The social media should desist from circulating unfounded reports. The Bible said judge not that you should not be judged. This matter should be closed and be left for the church to handle. We are more than able to handle all matters,” he said.
The CAN Secretary, Israel Akinadewo, said CAN had taken over the matter, as Christians in the state come under the umbrella of the body.
He urged the media to allow the church authority handle the matter, saying the church would not discuss its matter on the pages of newspapers.
The Bishop of the African Church (Ifako Diocese), Rt. Rev. Michael Adeyemi, said the matter was being managed by CAN and that the church trusted the judgment of CAN to resolve it. Ven Taiwo is of the African Church.
He said: “The matter is already under control and if we are here to attend this briefing, it is because we are in agreement with CAN. We respect our governor and what he is doing. That was why we transferred the matter to CAN and we are happy with everything CAN is doing.”