The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has said the approach by the federal and state governments to tackle insecurity in the country indicates that they do not know what to do again.
Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, President of CAN, said this at a thanksgiving service in honour of Bishop Wale Oke, the newly elected president of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, on Sunday.
According to Ayokunle, the insecurity situation has degenerated to the extent that people are afraid of holding events in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
He added that the association had to convince Christians not to fight back in spite of increasing attacks on them.
Speaking to Oke, Ayokunle said: “This is an intimidating assignment but the Lord will help you. When I was elected the President of Baptist, I went to Baba Obasanjo. He said: ‘My President, I hope you have not come here to ask me to carry your burden. Everybody will bear his burden. All of us here can only share the burden by praying with you. He said the problem that you may face don’t take it to Obasanjo but to God. He is the burden bearer.’
“You have to constantly speak against and proffer solutions to the insecurity in Nigeria.
“The way the issue of insecurity is being handled in Nigeria suggests that those in power don’t know what to do again. They give assurances, but it seems they don’t have the things to bring the assurances to pass. It is only God. One time, we were to have our convention in Abuja and some people suggested that I should contact the chief security officer whether it was safe to have our convention in Abuja. The chief security officer said, ‘My Lord spiritual, it is you we are looking up to.’ I felt ashamed of myself. The security agents don’t have the power of revelation that you have.”
The CAN President also faulted Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq, Governor of Kwara State, over his stance on the use of Hijab in the state’s grant-aided mission schools.
According to him, the governor’s comments and actions is fuelling tension and acrimony, noting that it could result in bloodshed between Christians and Muslims in Kwara State.
He said: “You have to speak against insecurity and as you speak against it, people would hate you. Especially the leaders that are struggling and don’t know the way out again. They will take you as an enemy. You will be faced with difficulty of religious tension.
“Like what happened in Kwara State, I have been privileged to have a private meeting with the governor of Kwara State in the presence of the Vice President and the CAN chairman in Kwara State. I told the governor ‘that anyone who does not want bloodshed of anybody – either Christians or Muslims – would not make the kind of pronouncement that you made.’ We are to respect constituted authority but we are not to shy away from the truth.
“There is madness in Christians as well. It took me time for us to convince the people against fighting back. Those in authority should be very careful. Skewed appointments are polarising us as a people. Nigeria is a plural society and everybody has a right that should be respected. Our democracy should be a homegrown democracy that would recognise diversity. I once challenged the National Judicial Commission on the appointment of judges. You appointed 13 judges from the north and seven from the south. That is an insult. We cannot continue like this.
“Everybody must be given a sense of belonging if we must continue to do pilgrimage together. As a Christian leader, you need to speak truth to power. Every day I wake up, I say God you have deducted one day from my leadership assignment. It is very challenging.”
Responding, Oke said: “I felt grateful to God. There are thousands who are very competent to lead that fellowship. Who am I? What do I have? The Pentecostals are over a 65million in this nation. One of our denominations is of 12 million. I don’t know what God found in me to ask me to lead at a time like this.
“I will give it my best shot and in the fear of God. I have seven-point agenda. The challenges of Nigeria are multifaceted. It is a very difficult time. Can anybody be oblivious of the challenges by the herdsmen when people can no longer sleep with their eyes closed? Farmers can no longer farm. It has been an increasing burden. The challenges of Nigeria are multi-faceted and every segment must play its roles well.
“We want to appeal to those who are in power; do your job and deliver justice. A good government will not negotiate with bandits. You are in power to provide security. Those that should be jailed should be jailed. Those that should be killed should be killed. That is the responsibility of government. Those who are in power are not there to negotiate with killers. Bring the full weight of the law on the criminals. Don’t expect us to kill the killers, to kill the rapist. No, that is what we elected you to do. Protection of lives and property is what we elected you for.”
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