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Violence In Election: Clerics Caution Perpetrators

17 January 2015   |   11:00 pm
With the orgy of violence — mass killings and attacks on individuals and property — witnessed in 2014, one would have thought the perpetrators had had enough and would sheathe their swords in the New Year. Alas, this was not the case, as Nigerians woke up on January 3, 2015 to the news of another…

Abiara-pictureWith the orgy of violence — mass killings and attacks on individuals and property — witnessed in 2014, one would have thought the perpetrators had had enough and would sheathe their swords in the New Year. Alas, this was not the case, as Nigerians woke up on January 3, 2015 to the news of another high-scale massacre in Baga in Borno State, an act that has been roundly condemned. Another act of violence also occurred in Rivers State, where unknown arsonists bombed the secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and residence of the national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun in Abuja. With less than 30 days to the general elections on February 14, the atmosphere is truly tensed and charged with uncertainties. And now that the presidential candidates of both APC and PDP have signed an accord of non-violence, it is hoped that harmony would be allowed to reign. This notwithstanding, religious leaders have a word of caution for those involved in this act of violence, as reported by CHRIS IREKAMBA.

‘Politicians Should Talk To Their Members Not To Create Chaos’

(Prince Fasasi Gbagba, President, Jamaat-Ul Islamiyya Of Nigeria and Overseas)

THIS time around, we need to be very careful in the sense that we are going into a new dispensation and we need to have peace everywhere. Candidates of both parties should exercise some restraints because they cause most of this violence. They should talk to their people not to create problem anywhere they go for campaign. They should have good mind towards their opponents and they should love others as themselves. 

  We have suffered a lot in this country and we cannot afford to continue like this. Many of our children, who graduated from tertiary institutions two to three years ago, are still jobless even with their Masters degree. So, any problem now will definitely aggravate the situation and affect everybody. Most of those sponsoring all this violence will flee from Nigeria the moment they succeed in setting it blaze, leaving the poor masses to bear the brunt. So, no Nigerian youth should allow himself/herself to be used by politicians for whatever price. It isn’t worth it at all. 

  I was in Ghana recently and there was a discussion centred on how they are going to tighten their borders more than ever before. What they are saying in other words is that they are not going to open their borders for any one to perpetrate evil. Nigerians should try to move this country forward. 

  The electorate should please preserve their PVCs and when the time comes, they should just go and cast their votes and return to their houses. The election should be free and fair with nobody causing any problem. This is my advice to everybody. Politicians should remember they are going to govern people and if they end up causing mayhem and killing that very people, whom are they going to govern? Everybody should allow peace to reign everywhere. 

  Now, they went to APC’s John Oyegun’s house and destroyed it. The same thing happened in Rivers State, as well as in Baga, Borno State, where lives and property were destroyed and nobody is addressing that. No country can grow in the midst of violence and wanton destruction of lives and property. 

  Politicians cannot be trusted. They can do all these things just to create fear in the hearts of people. They can sponsor people to go and destroy just to create fear. Politicians can do and undo. So, youths should be careful because if they get killed, their parents would be the worse for it. What is N5, 000 or N10, 000 compared to their lives? They should be contented with whatever they have. Before the politicians came, they have been managing with their parents and they should continue that way. But if they don’t value their lives, good luck to them.

‘Youths Must Not Allow Politicians To Use Them For Violence’

(Prophet (Dr.) S.K. Abiara, General Evangelist, Christ Apostolic Church (Worldwide), C.A.C Agbala-Itura (International Miracle Centre, Agege, Lagos)

AS I caution everyone, the same way I would like to appeal to those in authorities to be God-fearing. The people in power today and those coming tomorrow should know that no position is permanent. Absolute power belongs only to the Lord. Good leaders would seek the welfare of the people and not their own self-interest. This time around and in the history of our nation, everyone including political aspirants should be law abiding. Every Nigerian should pursue peace at all levels and politicians must eschew “politics with bitterness,” which only breeds thugs, chaos, death and destruction of lives and property. If you are aspiring to get to power, then get ready to do things that can positively affect the lives of Nigerians.  

  Security of lives and property of the citizens are so essential. Therefore, our political leaders must be concerned with the security situation of this country. I advise that Nigerians should support this nation with prayers and those in power as well. Nigerians should put their trust in God with regards to the forthcoming elections, as He owns this country. As good citizens, Nigerians also have their role to play in championing positive changes in our nation. They should cast their votes for credible leaders and what they stand for. They should be cautious about those using Nigerians as thugs to perpetuate arson, killing and public disturbances. Please avoid such leaders, as they are not worthy to lead us.

  It is sad that at a time like this, we are still experiencing senseless killings in some parts of Nigeria; this is very unfortunate. Nobody should allow any politician to use him or her to destroy this country because it is bigger than one individual. We must come together to pray and resist the devil, because that is the only weapon potent enough to stop terrorism.

  The success of 2015 general elections is truly in the hands of God, but the federal government also has a role to play. They should find lasting solution to the problem of insecurity, especially Boko Haram. As a church, we are deeply concerned over the continuous killing of innocent Nigerians. The land is polluted with innocent blood and this is a big challenge for all our past, present and future leaders.

  The federal and state governments cannot afford to expose the citizens to premature and horrible death as is being recorded.  

  The youths must be very careful not to allow politicians to use them for violence no matter the amount to disturb the peace of the people. Politicians must avoid rigging. If you rig to get to power, you will never enjoy the backing of the Almighty. Do you know what that means? All politicians must watch their utterances during campaign and after election because whatever they say will be on record. 

  For instance, someone once said if he was not voted in, he would make the country ungovernable. This statement is still fresh in people’s mind and is sometimes quoted by Nigerians. Adequate securities must be provided for Nigerians as they go out to vote. Everybody must be law-abiding during and after the election. God will cause the election to be free and fair in Jesus name.

‘Perpetrators Of This Violence Should Have The Fear Of God’

(Rev. (Dr.) Sam Ogedengbe, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Fashola on Christian Matters/General Overseer of Overcomers Pentecostal Prayer Ministry, Lagos) 

MY advise to the perpetrators of all this violence is that they should allow peace to reign and have the fear of God, Who has said that the election is going to be peaceful. Anybody trying to work against it would have himself/herself to blame. Therefore, my advice to Nigerians is to keep calm and allow God to take charge of the elections. 

  I don’t believe the perpetrators are being used by religious leaders to create havoc. My belief is that both Muslim and Christian leaders should continue to preach peace in our various churches or mosques because all these politicians we are talking about belong either to a mosque or a church. So, we should continue to preach to them to allow peace to reign in their communities. They should not use anybody to heat up the polity and if they have such plan they should drop it. 

  The problem we have is bad leadership, but we have prayed that God should give us a good leader to lead this country. When someone is gainfully employed, nobody would be able to use him/her for nefarious activities. Part of the problem is joblessness among youths. But if they are positively engaged, this issue of violence will stop. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop. 

  My advice is that our leaders should create more jobs so that university graduates can have something to do instead of roaming the streets aimlessly. You don’t expect all to be fine, when they are roaming the streets.

‘Any Politician Involved In Violence Should Be Voted Out’

(Pastor Peter Yakubu, Senior Pastor and General Overseer of Prevailing Life Ministries, Ikeja, Lagos)

Basically, we look at it this way: wherever there is violence, the foundation is already faulty. When people begin to fight and clamour for anything no matter how great or good it is, this already shows selfishness. Who are the perpetrators of all the violence? They are only showing they are not going there to represent the populace. When violence is involved, it shows there is an ulterior motive and not to serve the public. So, my conclusion is that violence is anti-progress. When anyone adopts violence and wants to forcefully take something, then it is not for the people’s interest but for selfish purpose. So, we should write such people off.  

  My advice to everyone, especially those involved in violence, is to put a stop to it and allow the elections to hold peacefully. How wonderful and peaceful the nation and the community would be, if after an election the person that lost congratulates the one that won? This would bring peace, progress and prosperity to everyone. Violence is bad and it doesn’t matter whether it is ethnic, religious or politically motivated. It is unnecessary. 

  Politicians are the ones behind violence because they always feel threatened, when the opposition is doing something they think is not in their interest or that will affect their chances of winning. The next thing is to destroy the whole thing. When two parties are contesting and then there is violence and we know which party is perpetrating it, then we should that very party out. This sort of thing has been recurring over the years. 

  Boko Haram is too broad. It is not just the Boko Haram as we see it, there is more to it. It is also politically motivated, but is now deeper than being politically motivated. Every drop of innocent blood that is being shed is servicing the interest of some dark cohorts and it is not for the good of our nation. Some politicians are benefitting from it because of their hidden and diabolic agenda. It might not be Christianity or Islam; it is more of occult in nature.  

  My advice is that Nigerians should shun violence, as anyone perpetrating violence is not fighting for the interest of the nation and so, should be voted out. 

‘If You Perpetrate Violence Today, You Will Reap Violence Tomorrow’

(Bishop (Dr.) Wale Oke, General Overseer, Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Ibadan)

My advice to the perpetrators of violence is that they should stop it because violence in whatever form is evil. Violence is wickedness. The Bible says ‘do unto others as you want them to do unto you.’ If you do not want anybody to violate you, then don’t violate anybody. And you that perpetrate violence today will reap violence tomorrow except you repent and turn back. 

  Let there be no violence before, during and after the election. Let’s all give peace a change in Nigeria. The leaders that are behind violence should stop it because it’s evil. And the youths should not allow themselves to be used to perpetrate evil, because they are so precious and their future is very important. 

‘All This Violence Is Being Perpetrated By Leaders’

(Lukman Folorunsho, immediate past General Secretary of NASFAT)

FROM all indications, I think there is a problem at the top. The leaders in some instances are perpetrating all this violence we are talking about. There is a leader somewhere controlling all these hoodlums. So, the first thing is for us to get hold of the leaders to do the right thing because if they are disciplined and have the fear of God, I think they will not be so disposed to violence, which has never yielded any good result. Everybody is talking about peace, but to get to the root of the matter, there is need to get in touch with the leaders, wherever they are whether hidden or in the open. Therefore, there are lots of efforts to be made by our religious leaders and the government to ensure that people are well educated on the need to have peace. Even from what we are reading and experiencing, you find that these hoodlums are just being used and they are not the real perpetrators, who are hiding somewhere. This one was brought about because government has not even perfected its own side of the policy. If there is employment and the economy is good, I don’t think anybody would have the time to go into violence because when you are busy, you don’t have time for unnecessary things. But because the youths are idle and there is need for them to live and with youthful exuberance and little reward, they are ready to go haywire. So, we should caution the leaders.

  The problem at hand is multidimensional because these people don’t listen to radio or read newspapers and so, any advice to them, won’t reach them. They are ready to take advise or instruction only from their leaders. Whatever advise you have can only get to them through these same leaders. The insinuation everywhere is that some people are sponsoring and backing Boko Haram. So, how can you take the advice to the hoodlums? You can only get them through these leaders. 

  For instance, we have some religious leaders that are not doing what they are supposed to do in terms of preaching. Some of them are preaching violence, an eye for an eye but that is not the counsel of the scriptures. You are supposed to forget and forgive anyone that offends you because we all offend the Lord and ask Him to forgive us our sins. So, why can’t we forgive and forget sins committed by somebody against us too? 

  My belief is that you have to get to those leaders to be able to reach the hoodlums. And so, there is a lot of work to be done because they are being paid and as the saying goes, ‘he who pays the piper dictates the tune.’ This, to me, is where the problem lies. The supportive elite, the so-called imam and pastors are the ones preaching violence and these are their disciples. Nobody can stop them because they take order from these so-called leaders, who are like semi-gods to them. I think the focus has been on the wrong side.

‘Deal With Perpetrators Of Violence No Matter How Highly Or Lowly Placed’

(His Eminence Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche, Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria (MCN) 

If you listen to my sermon delivered on Sunday at the Ecumenical Centre in Abuja, during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day service, I advised those that have embarked on violence to lay down their swords. 

  I advise all the law enforcement agencies to revoke existing laws and deal with the perpetrators of violence no matter how highly or lowly placed because nobody is above the law of this country. On the whole, I advise that it is better that we live together in peace. Let us not see politics as a do-or-die affair. We should embrace the spirit of sportsmanship provided our aim is to serve the people and not to loot the treasury. I don’t see the reason we should destroy lives and property or kill the opponent in order to clinch power; it is unnecessary. 

  So, I advise that those perpetrating violence should stop it because it is childish and the hired boys and girls are forever lost, if they should die in the process because nobody is paying their families any compensation and again they are destroying their future. The best way to be in government is through the ballot paper. Everybody should have his or her PVC and then vote wisely. INEC should also ensure that those votes count. 

  Anybody saying that religious leaders are encouraging violence should clarify the religion they are talking about. No Christian leaders would send anybody to go and kill. I never preach such in the church, as we abhor violence, killing and shedding of blood. So, I don’t know the type of religion they are talking about unless the person is worshipping Lucifer, who together with the demons is the architect of violence. But anybody that worships God Whom I serve can never associate with violence. God abhors it and He said the golden rule is to love your neighbour as yourself.