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‘I suspect there’s a war between the owners of 5G technology and owners of some other technology that want to bring it down’

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Ighodalo

Pastor Ituah Ighodalo is the Pastor-in-Charge, Trinity House and is also an accountant, thinker, social reformer and writer. The Guardian caught up with him in Lagos where he bared his mind on raging issues like the 5G/Coronavirus controversy, Nigerian pastors not coming forward to heal sick people, how churches can support the government during this period, using his birthday to help needy citizens amongst other issues.

Some Nigerians are saying that Covid-19 is a sign of the end times, what would you say to this?
Well, it could have been the end of the world in 1918 when there was a pandemic like this and it could have been a sign of the end-time in 1820 when there was a pandemic like this. This is part of the evolution of the life of man; nobody really knows when the end of the world will come and there have been many similar signs over time and many more would still come. All I know is that God is not happy with man; God is not happy with the state of things and has permitted this pandemic to happen to tell us a few things. I think the nearest thing to it that people have been talking about is this issue of vaccination and the ingratiation of man with chips and all that. I could have told you many years ago that life was moving towards that line. In some countries, it’s normal for people to have chips implanted. If it doesn’t happen for vaccination, it can happen for currency, travel, identification or communication. People are saying it’s the sign of 666, it’s the mark of the beast, it’s this and that, but we’re here waiting to see how it pans out.

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Some religious leaders have advised Christians not to take this vaccine, that it’s a way of being marked with the sign of the antichrist…
(Cuts in) A lot of evil has been happening in the world for years and a lot of evil people have been in charge of the world, but we live with and cope with them. However, we must find a spiritual alternative and a basis of making sure we do not cooperate with evil forces. And this is not just about rejecting the microchip; it’s about refusal to properly pursue God. So, I don’t think the chip itself is evil if we need it to move about; it is what it represents that we must be careful about. It is what comes with it that we must be careful about. The other time, it was former president Obama who offered Nigeria aids, if we could change our laws to accept gay rights. That was totally unacceptable for us, as we will not sell our birthright for a morsel of bread. So if this chip is going to come with certain conditions that will negate the worship of God, then we reject it. We need to be careful and not be too parochial about the way we Christians view things.

So are you saying development is not antithetical to God’s wishes?
Honestly, I do not think so. I don’t think technology and the advancement of technology is antithetical to God’s wishes. Part of why we are having coronavirus in the world today is because of the various leadership mistakes that we’ve been committing and sins that we have all been committing. We’ve seen all this before. The Babylonians came and left; the Romans came and left; the Egyptians came and left; same for the Greek, the British; the Americans came and they’re on their way out because each one of them rejected the principles of God. The principles of God cannot change. People should know that if there is a God, God has principles and we must obey them.

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There is a raging ongoing 5G/Covid-19 controversy, with some claiming that the 5G technology is causing these deaths; what do you say to this claim?
I don’t know those really against the 5G technology and where the propaganda is coming from but it is not 5G causing coronavirus, although technology and radiation has its own effect on human health. That is why when you want to do X-ray, there is a lot of protection; don’t put your phones too near your ear and so on. But I do not think that 5G on its own has such a dastardly and immediate effect on human beings. I, however, know that if you don’t manage radioactive ingredients properly, it may damage human health, but not in the manner we are currently witnessing. Covid-19 is a virus, a biological virus that is being transmitted from person to person. Radioactivity may affect the immune system of man and make your system weak, but you cannot transmit it to another person like in the case of this virus. The world is being controlled by some powerful, rich people, throwing all manners of information to control people’s mind. I suspect there is a war between the owners of the technology of 5G and the owners of some other technology that want to bring it down. They control the world in terms of drug, arms and ammunition. People start wars, not because there is a need for war but because they want to sell their ammunition and make a lot of money. It is no different with this virus in my opinion.

You think America is coming up with this 5G/Covid-19 tale to wage a war against China?
I know America well enough now to know that there is nothing they cannot do. When they want to sell arms, they make countries fight against one another. Their own love is money and control of the world. What right do they have to possess nuclear weapons and tell North Korea, China and Russia not to have it? The whole world is not about America and that’s why I’m not happy with us Africans, because we refuse to think, to cooperate, unite and face the world together. We allow them bribe some of us and we sell our souls in return.

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Social media users are taking a dig at pastors who claim to have healing powers but are suddenly nowhere to be found now that the world needs healing. How would you react to this?
When people criticise you, it is an opportunity for you to look inwards and search yourself. I think the image that we (pastors) have portrayed to the world is the problem. When pastors are riding all over the place in expensive cars, begging for tithes and offerings, flying around in private jets when we don’t really care about the poor people, you think people don’t notice? You know there are some pastors that say, “I’m not called to the poor,” and chase poor people away. The church must begin to look inwards; all this “I must associate with big people, I must have governors at my function, wear big robes” must stop, we must go back to the old time simple religion that Jesus gave us, where he fed the poor. The church must go back to true, Christian teaching and stop empire building. Some of us simply want our churches to be full, so that we can have huge tithe offering and live large. I’m not talking about owning universities; nothing is wrong with that; but I don’t see why a church cannot own a farm where lots of people are employed and the poor benefit. This is not to say that the church is not praying against this pandemic, we’re ready to go out, feed the poor and truly heal the sick.

Kindly respond to that part about pastors who claim to have healing powers not healing the sick?
I don’t know why they are not coming forth but nobody should be afraid to pray for people; healing comes from God. Any pastor who ascribes to himself the power to heal is telling a lie. My job as a pastor is to pray as God leads me and it is God’s grace to respond to my prayer. In our church, we pray and people are healed; we pray and miracles and signs and wonders happen. We hold some services specifically for these things and I am prepared to go to those centres to pray along with my colleagues, but I leave the healing to God.

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About palliatives, the government seems to be doing its bit, although some people are not satisfied with what they are handing out and the mode of distribution. What is the church doing to cushion the effect of this lockdown to their members who are not well-off to withstand it?
Different churches are trying their best and I know that quite a lot of churches are preparing food packs and giving to the needy; our church is one of them. The problem with Nigeria is that it is a day-to-day economy for about 80 percent of the people. For most people, if they don’t go out in a day to labour, they cannot feed that day. This shows the soft underbelly of our economy and we’re trying to prepare food to feed these people. The number of phone calls I receive from people who tell me they have not eaten has tripled since this lockdown began. It’s my birthday tomorrow and we have this plan to, as a church, support the government and the various isolation centres with medical supplies. Finally, the church is praying. These are the three things I think the church should do. But one thing I’m advocating as a leader and a man of God is that whatever the government has asked us to do; we should follow it. A lot of people are confused about this stay-at- home directive and I don’t think the government has communicated properly enough why people need to stay at home. It is not punishment; it is a preventive measure. The more people that contract this virus, the more difficult it would be for the government to control and the more it spreads. So it is better for people to stay within the confines of a certain zone, so they don’t spread it. God forbid, I get the virus, everybody I come in contact with in one day will get it, and everybody they come in contact with will contract the virus; but if I remain in my house and I don’t come in contact with anybody, I am unable to spread the virus. So I am appealing to Nigerians, I know it is unusual, I know it is hard, I know most of us live day-to-day, but let us stay within the confines of our homes at this time, and if we need to go anywhere, let us keep our distance. I’m also appealing to the government that wherever we can, we should take food to the people. We need to bear it at least for the next 14 days, to flatten the curve and ensure it does not spread. We need stricter border control, stricter medical examination at entry points and stricter health regulations. But most importantly, we all need to begin to fear God again, worship God and begin to rid our land of evil.

Do you see an end to this pandemic soon enough, globally?
Everything that has a beginning has an end. In 1820, it started it ended, in 1920, it started, it ended. The plague in the UK started, it ended. I think in about six months time, this thing will be history, probably through medication. It will be like any common flu that we all vaccinate against. There was a time that flu was a problem, yellow fever was a problem, cholera was a problem but with the help of God and science, we overcame these things and they became part of our lives. So in six months, maximum nine months, this thing will be history. There was a time people were afraid of HIV and it was regarded as a death sentence, but today, if you have HIV, you will live a normal life with medication.

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You said it’s your birthday tomorrow, what are your plans for it?
I’m not a young man anymore and what this means is that whatever I need to do, I need to do very quickly. My commitment going forward is- God help us raise a good set of leaders in Nigeria. If we can have a good set of leaders, Nigeria will change. Personally, I’m working very hard to make sure that we have good leadership in Nigeria at all level. If you’re going to be president of Nigeria, you must be exposed, liberated, detribalised, well educated, far-thinking, passionate about Nigeria, a team player and you must have wisdom. If you don’t have these things, don’t even bother. We must educate Nigerians, it’s not about somebody giving you N2, 000 and you sell your birthright. We must educate Nigerians because our politicians have deliberately destroyed education and kept the people in ignorance so that they can take advantage of them.

Would you say the Lagos State government has handled this crisis well?
To a large extent, with the resources available to the governor, yes, and he is helped by the fact that he has a brilliant commissioner of health who’s also a professor of virology. It also helps that he knows the whole world is watching him and he is under scrutiny. He has kept us abreast of ongoing activities, taken the right decisions, painful and hard as they are.

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