By Chukwunyere Nwosu (INN), Abuja
DeafCAN, the umbrella organization for all Deaf Christians in Nigeria, paid a courtesy visit to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Headquarters in Abuja, on March 13, 2023.
The General Secretary of DeafCAN, Mr. Beyioku-Alase Ayoade expressed gratitude to the CAN President, His Eminence Revd Dr. Daniel Okoh for taking time out of his very busy schedule to meet with them for the first time to introduce the association which he described as practical demonstration of fatherly love for the group.
According to Mr. Ayoade, DeafCAN’s primary objective is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to Deaf persons across Nigeria. “We are also committed to pastoral and ministerial training for Deaf ministers, economic empowerment for the deaf, and vocational skill training and employment for the deaf.”
The DeafCAN also organizes National Conventions, fasting and prayer meetings, and evangelistic outreaches. The Association has been able to carry out these activities with the financial support of its parents, the Christian Association of Nigeria headquarters in Abuja and some of the state’s branches of CAN and local churches.
He praised Most Revd Dr. Daniel Okoh for the great wisdom, grace and courage he has demonstrated in piloting the affairs of the Body of Christ in Nigeria since assuming office, in a time when the church is facing turbulence in the country.
“We pray that our heavenly Father will continue to strengthen you with grace, inner strength, protection, discretion, sound mind and courage to defend the church in the face of adversity and persecution in Nigeria.
The DeafCAN General Secretary craved the indulgence to present some of the pressing and urgent needs of their association, which include, the need for a motor vehicle – a bus to facilitate mobility and outreach work, financial support to host annual conventions, retreat outreaches and economic empowerment programs for struggling indigenous deaf individuals.
He also appealed for the renewal of a memo sent to all CAN states branches In 2013 by Reverend Dr. Musa Asake, directing them to give DeafCAN necessary support.
“we would appreciate sponsorship from some of our leaders to participate in Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem this year. This will strengthen the hands of our leaders as the labour in the Lord’s vineyard.
“We humbly request that one of the workers in the office of CAN President or general secretary should be designated as a desk officer for DEAF CAN, whose duty is to keep DeafCAN abreast of CAN programs, such as national prayer program and other activities. This will enable DeafCAN as a special arm of CAN that is ministering to Deaf brethren to participate fully.
The CAN President in his welcoming remarks said the visit gives him the opportunity to reach out to a particular community which is of great concern to him as a good shepherd who values everyone, including Persons with Disability (PWDs).
Members of DeafCAN were assured by Dr. Okoh that his office is a welcoming space for them to share their concerns and challenges. He emphasized that solutions are possible with God, as the Bible states.
Regarding the request for a motor vehicle to aid in their outreach work, Dr. Okoh acknowledged the need and promised to look into it. However, funding has been difficult for CAN. The organization is exploring ways to generate more income and create additional opportunities.
During his speech, the CAN President pledged to discover a means of generating financial aid for DeafCAN. Additionally, he pledged to renew the letter (memo) that was requested and dispatch it to the states’ branches.
Notwithstanding, he aims to go beyond merely writing letters but to make a more substantial impact. According to him, CAN is currently working on establishing a relationship with the Nigerian Christian Pilgrimage Commission. It is possible that when a new government takes over, we can explore options for Deaf Christians to participate.
The efforts of DeafCAN members to educate Dr. Okoh about the often-neglected struggles faced by the Deaf Christian community were greatly appreciated, with a better understanding of their needs and desires for his support, counsel, and spiritual guidance.
Dr Okon made a commitment to pay a visit to the School of the Deaf Kuje, and guaranteed the group that he would attend any programs they invited him to and to integrate Deaf Christians more in the activities of CAN when rolling out programs. They also confirmed that they would contact CAN if they required any assistance.
Esteemed Officials held in high regard from the Christian Association of Nigeria, along with members of DeafCAN consisting of Abba Abdulkerim in the position of DeafCAN National Financial Secretary, Alphonsus Ikwueze serving as the National Public Relations Officer, Enuiyin Bose O. and Anthonin Adamu, were in attendance for the courtesy visit. During the event, DeafCAN presented an award of Excellence to Most Revd Dr. Okoh.