Religion

PFN Cautions Christians against Amplifying Nigeria’s Problems, Calls for Prayers

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) yesterday in Abuja cautioned Christians against amplifying the country’s problems and challenges but to pray ceaselessly for the nation and its leaders.

“Christians should not amplify the challenges or problems of the country, but pray and fill the vacuum of worries and anxieties with prayers.

“God is showing mercy to our country and we shall prevail if we the people do not relent in prayers or give excuses not to pray,’’ PFN president, Bishop Wale Oke, said while giving the charge.

It was at the end of a three-day Anchor Men’s conference of the PFN themed “In His Presence.’’

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the conference was part of an Anchor Business Breakfast Meeting organised annually by the Men’s Fellowship of Family Worship Centre (FWC) in Abuja.

Oke advised Christians, especially Christian men not to lose close contact and relationships with God, His words and His presence.

According to him, Christians, especially real Christian men should not lose their place in God’s presence, because it is in God’s presence that men will get clear directions for life.

“According to Philippians 4:6 in the Holy Bible, God says be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayerful and supplicate with thanksgiving; let your requests be made known to God.

`This is the will of God, so instead of worrying and amplifying the challenges, pray about everything and watch God intervene,’’ he said.

Oke said that it was only when men sought God’s guidance and directions to lead that they would be able to lead rightly and righteously.

He added that where kings could not do anything, where the military was paralysed, and the economy could not be sustained, it was only the Word of God through prayers that would make a difference in the country.

Pastor Oke prayed for peace and an ease of tension in all the regions of the country and in all spheres of governance.

At the conference were Mr. Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation who is also the Chairman of the Anchor Men’s Fellowship, branch pastors of FWC and other ministers of God.

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Nation

Osinbajo to Chair Pastor Kumuyi’s Book Launch

The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, (SAN) will chair the launch of the biography of the Founder and General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi, entitled, ‘Defender of the Faith’ on September 17, in Lagos.

Speaking during a media briefing in Lagos yesterday, the Chairman, Book Editorial Board, Mr. Philp Oluwi, said the biography provides the world with a rare glimpse of the untold remarkable stories of the uncommon man of God that time and space has enabled us “to compose and narrate.”

He revealed that the book provides a spherical and spicy narrative of a multifaceted and iconic cleric that many in Nigeria and around the world have always longed to know more closely, but who has always shied away from public acclaim.

Oluwi disclosed that the initiative to write the biography of Kumuyi was conceived and executed, adding that no full-length book has been put together on the life and works of the General Superintendent, because of the strict policy of Kumuyi.

The Editorial Board Chairman affirmed that in October, 2020, the editorial team decided to produce a biography to honour the God’s general to further the gospel under him, by documenting some of the remarkable landmark achievements God has provided through him for others to emulate.

“Our small team set to work immediately and we secured the support of some of our brethren in the church who volunteered to promote and sustain the initiative. By November 2020, we flagged off the project and rigorously pursued the dream of producing the first biography of our leader and mentor,” he said.

He further explained that the writing of the biography was not without its challenges, adding that having worked with the General Superintendent for more than four decades, “some of us were, at first apprehensive about his reaction to a project that would attract the attention of the world and the media on his personality rather on the Lord Jesus Christ and the ministry of evangelisation.”

Oluwi remarked that for the team, it was clear they were embarking on a project of faith and risk, noting that they were convinced that it was a legacy project that must be done, “we pressed on doggedly, without first seeking the initial approval of the General Superintendent.”

He added: “We were eventually extremely relieved when he gave his nod to the project. We give God all the glory for helping us to achieve our objective and putting together the first official biography of Pastor Kumuyi.”

Oluwi hinted that the foreword of the book was written by the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, while the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, would be the chief host.“A number of governors, dignitaries, church fathers and church leaders, among other assemblage of friends and admirers of Pastor Kumuyi and the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, are expected to grace the occasion.”

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Politics

2023: Vote APC out, Kukah urges Nigerians

Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese and Founder of the Kukah Centre, Most Revd  Matthew Kukah, has called on Nigerians to vote out the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 poll.

Kukah, who is currently in Washington, U.S, spoke during a conference on ‘Civic Space: The Pathway to Social Cohesion and Integration in Nigeria’ organised by the Kukah Centre.

The former Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria lamented that the civil society, which paraded personalities like Olisa Agbakoba, the late Beko Ransome-Kuti, Clement Nwankwo, Chidi Odinkalu and others, went to bed after it succeeded in ushering the country into democratic rule.

The cleric said the situation resulted in the confusion in the  country where members of the National Assembly are working to see that the civic space is closed instead of opening up.

He said the situation was not unconnected with the fact that the nation currently parades  people who are in politics with no track records nor antecedents of engagement with public life.

He said  a close look at the profile of those who are currently in power from top to bottom would show why the system is literally crumbling and why the struggle for human rights is now being renewed.

Kukah further lamented what he termed a very dangerous path that the nation is threading, whereby the young people were feeling totally disempowered, even as he said Nigerians were faced with a nation that consumed its own children.

He added that Nigerians were also faced with the prospects of an uncertain future.

Democracy, Kukah said, was not an exercise undertaken by good men and women which was really what Nigerians had always fallen victim to

While saying that Nigerians assumed that somehow, managing a diverse country did not require some level of deep intellectual reflection and understanding of the complexity of managing a diverse society such as Nigeria. He said  now that the barbarians are at the door, how to fight back was the challenge facing the nation.

“Going forward, the tragedy that has now afflicted our country and where we find ourselves, is no excuse for us to become despondent. In 2023, whether it happens or whatever the case may be, we prayerfully hope it happens, but it gives us another opportunity to ask ourselves and think about the mistake that we made because we are not innocent in the choices that we made. Most of us are complicit despite the fact that of course, using the agencies and agents of state, those in power always continue to seek to close the space.

“The challenge for us therefore, is to understand that democracy is a work in progress. All of us engage in democracy and opening up the civic space must realise this is a journey, it is a long journey, we must wear the shoes of the long distance runner and every generation face its own challenges and pass the challenges up to the next generation. But whatever we pass to the next generation must be a light of hope,” Kukah said.

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Covid-19

Eid el-Kabir: Kwara Govt suspends 2021 llorin durbar

The Kwara Government has suspended those year’s annual Eid durbar earlier scheduled for Wednesday (July 21) on security grounds.

The cancellation is contained in a statement issued by the Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Communications, Hajia Rabiat Abdulrahman, in Ilorin on Tuesday night.

“The suspension, painful as it is given our people’s attachment to it and government’s investments to promote this colourful cultural heritage,

“follows a police intelligence report which indicated that some forces plan to use the boisterous nature of the cultural event to instigate a breakdown of law and order in the state, thereby complicating national security challenges,” the statement said.

“Government reiterates its commitment to the protection of lives and property of all residents of the state, as that is its primary obligation.

“We urge all residents of the state to continue to cooperate with the law enforcement agencies.

“The government once again congratulates Kwarans on the Eid-ul-Kabir celebrations and bids everyone many blessed Eid in the coming years,” the statement read in part.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that all activities towards the successful hosting of the annual event had been perfected.

Tents, banners and identification tags of officials for the event had been fixed in readiness for the durbar.

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Nation

Eid-el-Kabir: IG Orders Police Chiefs to Beef up Security Nationwide

Ahead of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration scheduled for tomorrow and Wednesday, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Usman Baba, yesterday ordered Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) in charge of zonal police commands and the Commissioners of Police (CPs) in the 36 states to beef up security in their various commands.

A statement by Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, a Commissioner of Police, said the IG ordered the CPs in all the states of the federation, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and their supervisory AIGs to prevent any incident in their areas of responsibility that could mar the celebration of the Islamic festival.

In compliance with the directive, the Federal Capital Territory Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bala Ciroma, has ordered uninterrupted patrols, stop-and-search operations and coordinated intelligence-based crime fighting strategies within the FCT during the celebration.

The IG assured the nation of sustained efforts by the police in fighting crimes and improving public safety and security nationwide.

The IG directed the zonal AIGs and state command CPs to take measures to ensure a secure, peaceful and incident-free celebration.

“They are to amongst other things, deploy human and other operational assets to carry out confidence building and crime prevention patrols on major highways, residential and industrial areas, vulnerable points, places of worship, other places of public resort and around all critical national infrastructure,” the statement said.

The IG also warned that personnel deployed must be professional and mindful of the fundamental rights of the citizens, and discharge their responsibilities with all sense of decorum and alertness.

The IG, while congratulating Muslims on the occasion of the year 2021 Eid-el-Kabir celebration, reiterated that the police would continue to improve on the recent gains achieved in stabilising security order in parts of the country, protecting lives and property of citizens, and denying space for crimes and criminality to thrive.

He urged citizens to celebrate and enjoy the beauty of the Eid-el-Kabir while remaining security conscious and compliant with the COVID-19 prevention protocols.

Meanwhile, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr. Bala Ciroma, weekend ordered uninterrupted patrols, stop-and-search operations and coordinated intelligence-based crime fighting strategies within the FCT during the celebration.

A statement by the spokesperson of the FCT Police Command, Mariam Yusuf, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), said in view of the upcoming Sallah celebration, the FCT Police Command had taken steps to provide security within the city, especially at strategic places such as recreational parks/centres, worship centres and major highways, among others to ensure that residents enjoyed a hitch-free celebration.

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Religion

Kukah Writes US House, Alleges Persecution of Christians Based on Faith

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, has written to the United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Religious Freedom and alleged the persecution of Christians in Nigeria based on their faith and not crimes.

Kukah said the faith-based harassment of Christians posed one of the greatest threats to the country’s existence and common humanity. He said the challenge of rebuilding the country and moving it away from the brink required the collective effort of all Nigerians.

The Catholic priest has come under threat and verbal attack from Muslims and other non-Christians lately for his views on the state of the nation.

In the statement to the US House Committee, Kukah urged International Aid Organisations to reset the templates of their engagements with countries in conflict. He stated that Nigeria currently needed support for education, orphans, widows, and other victims of violence.
Speaking to the conscience of Muslims, Kukah said good Muslims must rise in defence of their religion by reversing the rising perception of Islam as inhuman.

He said Nigeria had remained volatile since independence, stressing that with over 500 languages, the country is one of the most perplexing works of Creation.

Kukah accused President Muhammadu Buhari of running a nepotic administration, saying, “The challenge of rebuilding our country, moving it away from the brink requires collective efforts on our part. However, the policy choices of this government have reversed the gains we made in the area of peaceful coexistence and dialogue. We cannot give up. We must renew our commitment to creating a just society.”

Kukah alleged the stifling of religious freedoms under the Buhari government. He said the experience of the Christian community in Nigeria had been that of a tragic culture of persecution and death, recounting an incident in January last year, when four Seminarians were kidnapped inside the Good Shepherd Major Seminary, Kaduna.

According to Kukah, “After prolonged negotiations and the payment of ransom, three of them were released while one, Michael Nnadi, from the Diocese of Sokoto, was brutally murdered.

“There have been dastardly actions directed at Christians, because of their faith. We have cases of Pastoral agents, such as Priests and Nuns, who have been kidnapped, released after the payment of ransom or brutally murdered. Churches, medical facilities, presbyteries have been razed to the ground with no provocations from the communities.”

He urged the international community to rise in defence of the freedom of Christians everywhere in the world to live and practise their faith without persecution.

The priest lamented the inability of the government to harness and maximise the rich diversity of the country for national progress.

He said, “With over 500 tongues, Nigeria remains one of the most enigmatic pieces of God’s real estate on earth. Running, stumbling but never fatally falling, except for a brief civil war. She is home to one out of five black people on earth.

“Highly resourced, but endemically corrupt, a combination of serious governance missteps, series of military coups, years of maladministration, a culture of violence have seriously slowed down what should have been one of the greatest nations on earth. It has left its people vulnerable to poverty, disease, violence and death.”

Kukah further told the public hearing that the most critical needs of many Nigerian victims of violence were education for orphans as well as support for widows and other victims of violence. He said bringing succour to these suffering citizens required not only huge financing but also a better approach to meeting such needs.

“My appeal, therefore, is that Aid Agencies consider more practical ways of engaging Church structures to alleviate the sufferings of the victims of persecution by way of granting scholarships to vulnerable children,” Kukah stated.

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Nation

Adeboye consoles Prophet TB Joshua’s wife

General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Pastor Enoch Adeboye has condoled with  family of late founder of Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), Prophet T.B Joshua.

Adeboye’s condolence was contained in a letter he personally signed to wife of the late popular televangelist, Evelyn, dated July 6, 2021.

T.B Joshua died on June 12, 2021 and was buried on July 9, 2021.

He said: “We want to join million of people across the globe to register our condolence with you on the passing of your husband, Temitope Joshua.

“We take solace in the lord, believing that we shall meet again at the feet of our Lord Jesus, on the resurrection morning.”

He prayed for the family that Prophet T B Joshua left behind.

Adeboye said “We therefore pray for you, your children and the entire church that, the Lord will uphold all of you and such untimely death shall cease in our midst  in Jesus Mighty name.”

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Insecurity

Baptist Convention: We Will Not Pay Ransom to Bandits

The President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Israel Akanji, has declared that no ransom would be paid for the release of the 121 students of the Bethel Baptist High School, Damishi, Kaduna.

The students were abducted on Monday at about 11p.m. when bandits invaded the school.

Speaking in an interview with journalists yesterday shortly after a special prayer session for the abducted students at the school premises, Akanji said the church did not believe in paying ransom to bandits.

He also said the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El- Rufai had assured him that everything would be done to ensure the return of the students.

Akanji said, “As a church we do not believe that people who are free should be taken and then we should go and pay for them.

“That is the position, we do not believe in that, we do not practice it, we have not been doing that.”

He said for the past 166 years, Baptist Church had operated secondary schools in Nigeria, and “it has never happened that our children would be taken away.”

The clergyman said, “now that they have been taken away, we have called upon God for intervention and we believe our God is sufficient.” Akanji also called on those in authority to do something about the security situation.

“We do not have security in our hands and therefore we have called on the governor of Kaduna State to ensure that these children are released and when I spoke with him, he made a promise that he will do his best.

“I am trusting that he will make good his words as a governor and as one who is in charge of the security of the state.

“That is what we are trusting God to do for us. We are looking up to God to touch the governor and use the security agencies to bring our children.

“We are not looking at paying ransom as the way for the release of the children,” Akanji said.

Speaking further, he said the federal and the Kaduna State governments may think they are doing their best to tackle the security challenges, stressing however that their best is not enough.

“I tell you the truth, the federal government and the Kaduna State, may be saying that they are doing their best, but my assessment is that their best is not enough. “Whatever their best is, it could be their best but their best is not enough,” he said.

He noted that a lot of times, the bandits overpowered the security personnel.

“Whether it is because we have inadequate weapons or that the adequate weapons are not in the hands of our security personnel at the right time, I believe that something is wrong somewhere.

“But I believe that the Nigerian army is a strong army. Nigerian army has gone to other parts of Africa and has ensured that there was peace there”, Akanji said.

He said the Nigerian army was known to be strong, having performed excellently during peace missions abroad.

Akanji said Nigerian army “are valiant men, so if they are not doing the right thing in the country, then something is going wrong and something must be done”.

Speaking earlier during the prayer session, the Chairman of Kaduna State chapter of the Christian Association (CAN), Rev. Joseph Hayab, lamented the trauma the school children are going through in the hands of the bandits.

“Every right thinking human being would be worried when innocent children go through this trauma”, he said.

He alleged that Governor El-Rufai, has been governing the state with propaganda.

Hayab said, “In Kaduna State you all know, our governor has been governing us with propaganda.

“He says what he cannot do, he intimidates our pastors. Some of our pastors are afraid to tell him the truth. If they speak, they go to their homes in the morning to tell them don’t be like Hayab. “Today we have 121 children in the hands of criminals.”

Hayab said, “one of the reasons why we have not overcome insecurity in Kaduna State is because there is too much lies.”

He said, “If our governor and his team will just own up and say he is overwhelmed and needs help.

“I said this on the television and I want to repeat. If our governor was putting these bandits on the run, they will not ask us to give them food. But because they are having a free day, they have the audacity to ask us to give them food.

Where are they cooking that the security will not see them? Where are the bags of rice we gave to them and the security cannot see them? Are they spirit? Enough is enough.”

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Covid-19

COVID-19: Lagos inspects Synagogue church ahead of TB Joshua’s burial

The Lagos State Government has inspected facilities at the Synagogue Church of All Nations for COVID safety and prevention protocols compliance in preparation for the funeral of its late founder, Prophet Temitope Joshua.

The delegation from the Lagos State Government was led by the Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, and the Director-General of the Lagos State Safety Commission, Lanre Mojola.

Speaking after the inspection of the church facilities and meeting with the church officials, Abayomi said the inspection was in line with the third wave mitigation strategy of the Lagos State Government to prevent the importation and spread of new deadly strains of COVID into Lagos and Nigeria.

Abayomi added that the inspection and meeting with officials of SCOAN was to limit any possibilities of the introduction of foreign COVID variants among the congregation and by extension to the community.

He said, “On behalf of the Lagos State Government we want to offer our deep condolences to the family of the prophet and members of the congregation. In these very precarious times that we are in, with a global pandemic that is evolving dynamically; what we now know is that there are different strains of the virus circulating around the world, and Lagos State has a very strong third wave prevention strategy.

“The likely cause of a third wave is going to be an importation from visitors who are infected with the virus, so we are particularly careful about working with the Synagogue to make sure that we have a collaboration that will reduce the opportunity to zero of us either importing a virus or even allowing someone who is positive to interact with the community.

“So we have had series of engagements with the officials and executive of SCOAN, we are also in touch with the Federal Government; the Presidential Steering Committee, and the Federal Ministry of Health.

“And the Incident Commander, Governor has said that this a priority event and we have to ensure that we give SCOAN all the support it requires to make sure that the series of planned events for the funeral scheduled between the 5th of July to the 11th of July are performed under the strictness guidelines to limit any possibilities of introduction of foreign COVID variants amongst the congregation or the movement of the virus in such an environment that would make transmission easier.

“So, we’ve engaged with several stakeholders, we are looking at the airport, we are looking at the land borders, we are looking at event preceding the five or seven days of the funeral, we are looking at the funeral activities itself, we have a detailed account of the programme, we are putting some guidelines in place.

“Any visitor coming into the country has to go through the mandatory seven days of isolation plus testing before they can participate in any of the activities. We’ve inspected all the accommodation, we’ve looked at the auditorium and we’ve calculated how to completely eliminate the chance and the risk of infectious transmission.”

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Nation

Twitter ban violation: CAN warns as AGF vows to try Adeboye, VIP offenders

The Federal Government on Tuesday insisted that all those violating the suspension order it placed on the operations of the micro-blogging and social media platform, Twitter would be prosecuted.

The Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Umar  Gwandu,  stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents.

But the Christian Association of Nigeria warned government against arresting and prosecuting  Twitter ban violators, particularly clerics whose tweets were meant for their church members worldwide.

Recall that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had in statement on Friday by his spokesman, Segun Adeyemi, announced the suspension.

Amidst the public outcry and criticism that followed the government’s decision, the AGF, Abubakar Malami, on Saturday directed the Director of Public Prosecution in his office to begin the process of prosecuting violators of the government’s suspension order.

Many senior lawyers have faulted Malami’s position, saying Nigerians cannot be prosecuted for an offence that is not known to the nation’s law.

Despite the prosecution order, many prominent Nigerians have continued using Twitter openly, daring the police to arrest them and the Office of the AGF to prosecute them.

Among those who have been using the platform despite the suspension order are the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye; the General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi; the Senior Pastor of the Daystar Christian Centre, Lagos, Nigeria, Pastor Sam Adeyemi; the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries International, Apostle Johnson Suleiman; Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde; former Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose; former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili; and the representative of Kogi West Senatorial District in the Eighth National Assembly, Senator Dino Melaye,  among others.

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