ike never before, social media has proved to be more dreadful than Boko Haram insurgency, to preachers of peace and good neighbourliness.
A survey by Sunday Telegraph shows that clerics are indeed very concerned about the current trend which makes people in our clime getting more and more desensitised and unwilling to render help to people caught in hazardous incidents.
Some clerics have also attributed what they describe as “the craze and applause” that go to whoever gets to social media first with unfortunate happenings, as the drive many people today prefer to watch someone under attack or facing one hazardous situation or the other die, rather than lend a helping hand.
According to some of our respondents, the trend is a sad commentary and evidence that Nigerians have become more self-centered and less compassionate.
Vice Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Apostle Enyinnayan Okwuonu, observed that compassion is lacking in our world today. People have become dehumanise.
He said: “It is unfortunate that in situations where people need help, they don’t get it. When incidents take place, people are more concerned about being the first to report on social media. It is an act of selfishness and lack of compassion.”
The Apostle noted that scenes of accident, fire breaks, robbery attacks and any kind of hazardous situations that people come across should never be pleasant for people. “But rather than render be the Good Samaritan or the Good Nigerian, people want to be the first to post it on social media. They are more concerned about their ego, about what people think of them as being on the in thing rather compassion,” the cleric lamented.
Delving into the Scriptures to buttress his point, Apostle Okwuonu recalled that Jesus said that the Good Samaritan had compassion on him pointing out that compassion is an attribute of God.
“The Bible talks about Jesus Christ being compassionate; he comes across a blind man and he is compassionate; comes across a man; he was compassionate; sees people who are hungry and was moved with compassion and he helped them.”
Expressing his grouse with the level which humans have degenersted, Okwuonu said: “Because people in our society today have become so selfish, they are not thinking about the other person. If it doesn’t benefit me I don’t have any stake in it. They only think of what will benefit them.”
He further condemned the negative use that people now put cellphone camera to saying “it is because of one of the products of technology today that people are now tuned to the virtual world. They are now more in the cloud than in the reality.”
According to the cleric, “What is happening in the unreal world, what is the next thing in facebook, what is the next thing on tweeter is preferred than the virtue of helping persons who will help them later in life. Preference is given to watching people who are made in the image of God suffering and dying.
“Even some Christians lack compassion; they don’t feeling anymore for fellow human beings. It is very unfortunate.
Apostle Okwuonu finds a soulmate in the Minister in charge of Motailatu Church of God, Lagos Province, Rev. James Akinadewo. He said: “It is a sad commentary and signs of end time,” adding that Devil had taken over the world, no human feeling anymore.
Rev Akinadewo said: “This evil trend has crept to the church, making mockery of fellow Christians; little help we render to people we blow it on social media. No Good Samaritan spirit anymore. Jesus Christ said love your God and love your neighbour– it is the summary of the Ten Commandments …no love anymore.”
The cleric said that one way the ugly incidences could be corrected is by talking about it in the churches, to encourage people to be more concerned about helping people in precarious situations than the accolade one gets by posting things on facebook.
Okwonu said: “People should go back inward, the national orientation agency, should talk about having more compassion for one another than the applause for posting something.
“We should go back to having the mind of Christ, mind of God that had compassion on the less privileged, the suffering and having issues in their lives.
And then transfer their compassion into action because compassion leads to action.”
He said that until Nigerians come to that point where people are selfless, compassionate, they cannot take action. People should begin to be less selfish.
“My take on it is that compassion is key, it is critical. It should be the subject of many sermons and conference. It should be the high point of the national orientation agency. Families should teach, parents should teach it to their children and schools should teach it as part of their civic education. We should go back to that time where we are our brothers’ keepers. You can never tell what goes round comes around. Whatever thing you put here comes to meet you somewhere else,” he said.
PFN Rejects New Marriage Certificate Law
From Cajetan Mmuta BENIN
Leadership of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), on Sunday kicked against the newly introduced marriage certificate law by the Federal Government.
National President of the Fellowship, Rev.(Dr.) Felix Omobude, in a statement made available to newsmen in Benin the Edo State capital, chided the Ministry of Interior for imposing such anti-Christian law on the church in Nigeria.
It will be recalled that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Interior recently announced a compulsory N30,000 charge licence for Christian worship centres for the conduct of statutory marriages in churches and N21,000 for each marriage certificate.
But the PFN leader in his reaction, described the policy as exploitative and an attempt to commercialize Christian marriages in the country.
Omobude said: “This is very unfair and to the best of our understanding, the new law is targeted against the church because the Traditional and Islamic weddings are exempted from paying the new marriage certificate fees.
“PFN is at a loss as to why church marriages should be in the exclusive list of the nation’s constitution.
“The PFN, therefore calls on the Federal Government to immediately shelve the unpopular policy targeted against Christian marriages in the country.
“If the Ministry of Interior is in dire need of funds, it should look elsewhere and resist the temptation of placing extra financial burden on the Christians and their churches.”
Archbishop Martins: Don’t underrate dangers of environmental degradation
he Metropolitan Archbishop of Lagos, His Eminence, Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins, has identified degradation of our physical environment as a more pressing problem that corruption and other societal ills.
Hence, the Archbishop asked all people and relevant governmental and none governmental organisations to give efforts towards preservation of the physical environment a pride of place, pointing out that human race would be in jeopardy if the degradation of our environment is ignored or allowed to continue.
The Archbishop made the observation while inauguration Network of Young Catholic Carers for the Environment in Nigeria, Friday, in Lagos.
He said: “Considering our country as a whole and the many challenges that confront us at present, one might wonder, why are we here today/ why are we doing this? Is this the most pressing issue before us now? How is this going to put food on people’s tables?”
He continued: “In a country where by some rustled up laws, N40billion is made available for serving the pensions of former governors, some of whom are currently serving Senators and Ministers while at the same time salaries of the common Nigerians remain unpaid and the workers’ minimum wage of N30,000 is yet to be implemented. Yet here we are gathered to chart a path for the preservation of our physical environment. Does this even make any sense? You have a legitimate reason to wonder.”
The Archbishop, however, noted that preserving the environment remains most relevant to sustaining human life adding that God’s first instruction and most basic charge to man was to take care of the environment.
“This my brothers and sisters is why we are here. To take care of our homes; and thought it seems not to be one of the more present and urgent dangers bedeviling our nation, the need to take care of our environment for the sake of ourselves and our children to come is the most urgent challenge,” he said.
Obi, Akinyemi, others bemoan corruption among public officers in Nigeria
Charge churches to speak truth to power
he Vice Presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, Dr Peter Obi, has decried what he described as unprecedented corruption of political officer holders in Nigeria saying that it is the reason the Nigerian nation is presently adrift.
Obi, who defined bad governance as the worst form of corruption, added that cumulative years of bad governance is the reason Nigerians are going thought very difficult times today.
The high profile Nigerian spoke at the Centenary Lecture organised by the Lord Bishop of Lagos Anglican Diocese, at the All Souls Church, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos recently.
Obi, who spoke on the topic ‘Church as Vanguard of Good Governance, took a swipe at political office holders accusing them of continually encouraging what he described as channels and agents of corruption in the polity.
He said: “The worst form of corruption is bad governance. If you get everything right and your polite is wrong everything is wrong. What we see today in Nigeria is cumulative effects of years of leadership failure.”
The former governor charged the church in Nigeria to look into the process through which political office holders are chosen pointing out that men and women who should be in position of governance were rather outside while those ought not find a place in public service were the ones who gain access to power
“The church must not fail to speak truth to power, ensure that right people are in government and work hard to stop the rascality in the polity,” Obi added.
Speaking on ‘The Role of The Church in Combating Corruption in Nigeria” Prof Itse Sagay, however, said that a lot of progress was being recorded in the present dispensation’s fight against corruption but he quickly added that the impact on the people appears not felt.
But the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof Itse Sagay said: “We are making a lot of progress with the fight against corruption. in this country in terms of looted properties which is about a trillion so far and in terms of convictions fraudulent, embezzlers 419 and all the others which about 1600 or soon the last four years.”
Invariably, the presidential adviser added: “But my concern is that Nigerians don’t seem to be sufficiently impacted by the war against corruption. People are still corrupted shamelessly and many Nigerians behave as if they are not aware that they even corrupt.
“And that we tend to come to church on Sundays like we are all here now and we are very pious but the minute we get home we remove the toga of the church and go back to our own habits. And the question now is how to make that church spirit consistent throughout the week so that we may be good citizens and good Nigerians.”
Obi found a soul mate in Prof Bolaji Akinyemi, who chaired the occasion, He urged the church to continue to preach against the evil that people in office do’ that they also need to preach to the ordinary people.
“Bread of N50 a meal for your vote you will consume in just one breakfast and then what happens to the rest four years?
“If people don’t follow corrupt politicians corruption will be tackled. That’s number one, The church has to preach against it,” he warned.
Prof Akinyemi also charged the church to stop showing favouritsm towards rich people who have no source of their wealth.
“The church should stop worshipping them. You go to churches where it is money money money. Well Jesus himself has to cleanse his temple when he found the kind of things that were going on in the church during his time on earth. So churches in Nigeria have to stop worshipping money. And finally has to continue to tell government, have the courage to confront government. We must do that,” the former External Affairs Minister added.
For his own part, the Lord Bishop, Dr Humphrey Bamushebi Olumakaiye explained that the Anglican church chose the theme of the centenary lecture “The Church And Good Governance in Nigeria” as a way of making sure that the church played its “godly role in teaching the Christian virtues of transparency, of honesty, of righteousness in government, of dignity of labour, of true obedience of the word of God, a life of selfless service and making sure that this life is worth living for people around us.”
He added that above all, it is for all to know that “we are on a journey, we are all on a borrowed seat,this world is not our own and that a day of reckoning is coming when we all will give account of our stewardship on earth.”
“We should not be too active, involved and attached with the things of thus world. We should live a godly lives and that is the message we are passing across to people in government, to church leaders and the generality of the people; we believe that we gotten the message right that God will help us,” the Lord Bishop said.
Why CAN wants immediate reversal of marriage registry levies
he leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the new policy, which requires churches to pay N30, 000 for licensing worship center for the conduct of statutory marriages, describing as unacceptable, reprehensible and unprecedented.
The Special Assistant to the CAN President, Pastor Bayo Oladeji, confirmed the rejection during an exclusive interview with Sunday Telegraph recently.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Interior, Georgina Ehuriah, had recently announced a new regime of marriage regulations which also include N21, 000 for each marriage certificates payable couples.
Reacting to the development, Pastor Oladeji said: “We are against the new policy. It is burdensome and we demand the reversal of the levies.”
According to the Special Assistant Media and Publicity “CAN wonders wonder why the Federal Ministry of Interiors did not involve the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) while the preparation was being done.”
He further observed that some of the demands contained in the marriage registry policy were not realistic.
“Imagine asking churches to present the Certificate of Ownership?” he asked; pointing out that all over the North few states give churches Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)
He also wondered what the Ministry of Interior actually wants, noting that the policy demands that churches should have a permanent structure.
“The government should stop sending wrong signals to the public that it is out to stop the Church,” he stressed.
Earlier, the President of The Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Rev. Dr. Dachollom Datiri, had described the marriage registry licensing law as an outright robbery.
He urged government to rather support citizens and organisations concerned with their physical and moral wellbeing and not place unnecessary demands on them
Peace Ambassador, The Reverend Para-Mallam advised government not to close its minds to superior arguments that will come out of the current conversations.
“Therefore, I will encourage a deeper interaction and interrogation of what has now been put out into the public domain,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chairman of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) Lagos State Chapter, Apostle Enyinnaya Okwuonu, said that the PFN had already constituted special committee to look into the new marriage registry policy, adding that the PFN would soon take a stand on the issues at stake.
Intensify prayer for Nigeria –Prophet Arabambi
he presiding minister of The Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Reformation Land District Headquarters, Ibadan, Prophet Timothy Arabambi, has called on Nigerians to step up fervent prayers for the country.
He also said that prayers should be made for political leaders in the land, that they may know God truly and serve him diligently.
The Prophet, who made the call recently ahead of the church’s annual convention themed ‘The Holy Ghost Shall Come Upon Thee’, explained that the prayers are need so that God would bless the country.
According to the Prophet, the convention begins with a general vigil on Monday and ends on Sunday 15. “It will start at 5:00pm daily at the church auditorium, featuring salvation, breakthrough, healing, blessings, song ministration and lots more,” he said.
The Prophet assured that all who will attend the spiritual event will receive will receive salvation
from sins, solution to sickness, security for the season, showers of supernatural and a lot more.
“God will break yokes, lift burdens, prospers destines and enlivens the spirit, soul and body of all those that attend the programme, as Bible says the prayer of Faith makes tremendous power available to those who believe,” Prophet Arabambi added.
The Apostolic Church choir orchestra set to trill Christians
t is another Christmas season, when Christian faithful in Nigeria and outside the country’s shores keep date, to savour the Apostolic Faith Church choir orchestra which is arguably described as the largest and best choir in Africa.
Already, the church’s Deputy Director (Admin), Kayoed Adeleye, has assurd that this year’s Christmas season would be celebrated in a special way through many exciting activities lined up to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Activities marking the church’s festivies would kick off with a Christmas Retreat which will be held across the four districts of the church in Lagos State.
“The four districts are the Anthony District, the WECA Headquarters, located at Anthony Village, off Ikorodu Road, Lagos; Folasade Campbell Street, Oke Aro; Moloney Street, Ebute-Meta; Greenland LSPDC Estate, Abesan; Faith City in Lusada, Igbesa Ogun State and Akiode branch Church located at Maota Sky Close, Akiode, Ojodu, Lagos,” Adeleye explained.
According to the Deputy Director, though the retreat is a one-day programme; it is packed full of soul-inspiring activities expected to be a blessing to all attendees.
“Christmas is purposely meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, regarded among Christians as the saviour of the world.”
He added: “It is also a time for Christian faithful all over the world to celebrate in remembrance of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ and to give thanks to the Almighty God for gifting the World His only begotten son.
Precisely, “The Christmas concert in the four districts will come up on December 8 at 5a.m. There will be two Christmas concerts; the first which will be holding in the four districts, namely Abesan, Ebute Metta, Oke Aro and Igbesa church, while the other would take place at its headquarters.
“The concerts which will be held simultaneously will feature Symphony Orchestra, classical and sacred music from the masters.
“Also the children will have the opportunity to tell the Christmas story on December 15 at the church headquarters in Anthony Village.
“The first of the activities lined up for Christmas is a retreat with the theme Jesus the Best Gift, which is expected to attract those that were seeking the face of God for blessings.
“The 2019 Christmas Retreat tagged Jesus the Best Gift will feature Christmas carols, Bible teachings, questions and answers film show and other side attractions.
“The activities for the year will be climaxed with the International Youths Camp expected to take place between December 26 and December 29 at Faith City, Igbesa, Ogun State.
“There will be lunch provided for all the retreaters at the WECA headquarters and in all our branch churches.
“Also, other activities lined up for the festivity are the Children Programme, Christmas Concert and other services,” Adeleye said.
Sunday Telegraph learnt that the annual concert has attracted many important dignitaries including past heads of state.
“The grand finale of the Christmas activities will have the members of the Apostolic Faith Church Choir and Orchestra excites the congregation with a Christmas Concert which will be held on December 22 at the WECA headquarters.
People living with disabilities excel on halleluiah day
t was a unique day of worship as the blind, deaf, dumb, albinos, dwarfs and other people living with one form of disabilities stood out at the 11th year anniversary of Soul Winning Evangelism, which held at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere.
Put together by the convener of the Holy Spirit Buffet Outreach (HOSBO) Evangelist Kemi Sarumi, the event was celebrated with the theme “What Are Your Excuses for Not Serving God?”
Seeing featured seven distinct clusters of people with disabilities – the blind, the deaf, the dumb, albinos, dwarfs amongst others, taking full charge as they created a paradise of worship; and celebrated Jesus in the life of people in spite of their disabilities aptly challenged their able-bodied counter parts who cannot praise God zealously.
It was a uniquely joyous day for the Mrs Sarumi, who captured her amazement in her following words: “Yes, there is ability in disability, God has a Purpose for creating us the way we are. I am happy because the soul winning evangelism today is a success.
“It is first of its kind in Lagos State. We are here just to praise God. We believe grace found us, grace keeps us, grace will see us through, every set back in life is set up by God to take us to our destiny.”
She added: “We shall always continue to campaign in making the people with disabilities useful asset, not to be abuse, nor seen as liabilities to the society.”
The convener, herself, had her legs amputated due to diabetes. Reflecting on her life after the amputation she said: “When I look back and I see what the Lord has done to all of us, it is worth it, to praise Him.
“He has a reason for all our disabilities. He has a purpose, so when we come together and start praising Him, He will do more than we expected.”
Mrs. Sarumi insisted that to be physically challenged is not an excuse for not serving God. “That is why we titled our anniversary, ‘What Are Your excuses for Not Serving God,” she explained; pointing that any one with disability has no excuse.
“So far you are still breathing and live on earth, we must serve God. When you come across some people with disabilities, you will be compelled to praise God,” she further said.
Among the people who graced the event include people with disabilities from Osun and Oyo States.
The All Progressives Congress (APC), Special Physically Challenged Leader in Lagos State, Honourable Israel Akiode, a dwarf, was among the dignitaries in attendance.
He said: “We have seven clusters, people with disabilities that are here today, I am representing the Dwarf Association of Nigerian (DAN), APC Lagos State physically challenged, Visually Impaired, Deaf and Dumb, Albino, gathered to praise and worship God.
“God has reason to have created every one of us, in my family I am the only dwarf. But God has a purpose in creating each one of us. We have to be grateful to God by praising Him for what He has done for us.”
Hon Akiode recounted some of the challenges people with disability face in society. “We have lots of challenges, if I want to talk, somebody will say ‘you short man sit down’. It is embarrassing and you are not the one that created me.
“Like the blind man, they will not allow him to go where he wants to go. And the deaf, they will say what he is talking about. What we are saying is that they should encourage us and carry us along,” Akiode noted.
“They should always include us in the programme, they are not the one that created us, is God that created us and there is a purpose for creating us,” he lamented.
Akode, however, pointed out that “in disability there is ability, you can see how the blind entertained us how they handled all the musical instrumentals and they are all blind, did we not enjoy their music, we are all gifted by God.”
He expressed appreciation to the APC for the recognition given to him irrespective of his deformity. “The party has done a lot for the physically challenged, there is programmed called Sanwo Cares, it is all about empowerment. Other successive governors of Lagos State in the persons of Babatunde Raji Fashola and Akinwunmi Ambode empowered the group.
“They empowered them with a little amount of money just to upgrade their businesses. Last year they gave them, N1million, N1.5million, N500,000 naira that is to each cluster.
“And they are still going to give them this year… the Sanwolu Cares, they have submitted forms and I aware of it and they will receive the money.”
A cousin to Mrs. Sarumi, Alhaja Omoyele Akinwunmi who is passionate with the people with disabilities said that she has been attending their events over the years, “I have been attending their events and I have a passion for the disabled people.”
The APC chief of disabled persons explained that the convener is of the unique day of halleluiah was his cousin adding that in the society the special people faced great challenge because they are on their own; nobody is willing to help them.
“You can see them struggling to perform to get to the limelight. Kemi is very active, presently, she is making Hat, Cap for the churches, but she has nobody to help her only few people in the family oftentimes come to help.
“The challenge is that the government should assist them, you can see the people singing, despite their disabilities; you can see that they cannot walk, but they performed very well.
“What can we do to people like that than to help them, the govt. has many ways that they can help them; I appreciate if the govt. can come to their aids,” he said.
Bible Society holds Bible quiz for the deaf
ll is set for the maiden edition of the Bible quiz for the Deaf organised by The Bible Society of Nigeria [BSN]
BSN’s Media Manager, Benjamin Mordi, said that the quiz would be conducted in Nigerian Sign Language, at the Christian Mission for the Deaf, Shomolu, Lagos on December 5.
“This quiz is being organised in fulfillment of the Society’s mission to meet the scriptural needs of every Nigerian, including the Deaf, and to help people interact with Word of God,” Mordi further disclosed.
He added: “The contestants are expected to answer questions from the 32 out of the 110 Chronological Bible Stories translated for the Deaf in Nigerian Sign Language by The Bible Society of Nigeria.”
He explained that the BSN has a Deaf Translation Centre in Ibadan, Oyo State where the Bible is being translated into Nigerian Sign Language for the Deaf.
“The Bible Society of Nigeria is a not-for-profit interdenominational Christian organisation that translates the Bible into local languages, publishes, distributes and raises funds for the Bible work. It also organises life-transforming programmes that help people engage with Word of God. So far, we have complete Bible in 26 Nigerian Languages and 110 Chronological Bible Stories in Nigerian Sign Language for the Deaf,” Mordi further explained.
Archbishop commends Kyari for bursting high profile criminal cases
he President of the Pentecostal Ministers Forum, Archbishop Chidi Anthony, has called on Christian leaders/ministers to pray for the Commander, Inspector General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team (IGPSIRT), Deputy Commissioner Abba Kyari, for what he described as the DC’s unique contribution in checking crime rate in the country.
The Archbishop observed that patriotic zeal of the Police boss was worthy of commendation; adding that D C Abba Kyari was indeed outstanding in the area of bursting high profile criminal cases; not minding the origin or religious inclination of a crime suspects.
The PMF President, who is also the presiding minister of Kings in Christ ministries, made the observations during a courtesy visit to the Office of the Commander (IGPSIRT).
He explained that DC Abba Kyari’s unique fit at busting high profile criminal cases in the country at a time when crime and criminality was wide spread is worthy of commendation.
His words: “For your information, he is the one who arrested the millionaire kidnapper Evans and also Wadume.
“I wanted to visit him in Abuja, to congratulate him for allowing God to use him, to check crime rate in Nigeria.
“He is a very good man and an officer that anybody would like to relate with.
“I have known him since 2012 when he was Officer-in-Charge of SARS. When he learnt that I wanted to see him, he was on special assignment covering the just concluded Kogi State governorship elections. But he told me that he would be coming to Lagos and asked me to see him in Lagos.
The Archbishop added: “He received me very warmly and I congratulated him for all his patriotic zeal and efforts at combating crimes. Also we discussion one or two issues concerning the welfare of church and he listened to me attentively.”
According to the Archbishop: “D C Abba Kyari’s unbiased disposition speaks eloquently to the world that Nigerians are not embroiled in any religious war.
“You know that he is core Muslim but he wanted know certain things that are not clear to him about Christianity. In fact, we spent about 20 minutes discussing the scripture and I used that opportunity to clarify some of those gray areas. We relate very well; he is very good man that you need relate with.”
The PMF President stressed that it is very important for people to get close to one another, understand themselves rather than brand one another as bad.
“You need to come very close to a person to be able to appreciate the person’s side of the story.
“I am a pastor and I shepherd over a very big church. I can tell you that not everyone that comes here is born again. That’s the truth but you cannot just see one of my members and say that all of them are not born again. That is a lie from the pit of hell. If there is original there must be fake,” he said.
The Archbishop insisted that he owes DC Abba Kyari prayers. “I have also told all the members of PMF to always pray for him, Take his name to the altar and pray to God to protect him.
“A man who can burst crimes at such high level is the type of man that this nation will pray not lose.
“He will not die in active service, he will live to eat the fruit of his labour, another will not take his place.
“I will live to see D C Abba Kyari become Inspector General of Police of this country before he retires,” the Archbishop prophesied.
N30,000 marriage registry license shouldn’t give room for govt control, manipulation, say Para-Mallam
eace Ambassador, The Reverend Gideon Para-Mallam, has warned that the policy, which requires churches to pay N30,000 for licensing worship center for the conduct of statutory marriages, may abused.
He warning came on the heels of the recent proclamation by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Interior, Georgina Ehuriah, a new regime of marriage regulations which also include a N21,000 fee for each marriage certificate payable couples.
Para-Mallam said: “The worship center regulation should not become a license for over-centralized control and manipulation by government officials.”
Transparency and openness is an antidote against suspicion and dictatorship.
According to the Peace Ambassador: “Asking a Church to pay N30,000 is too high. If it has to be paid by a denomination, it will make more sense. But for each individual church to register with N30,000 makes no real sense.”
He pointed out that the Evamngelical Church Winning All (ECWA), for instance, has 4,000 local churches. “Would government expect each of the local church branches to pay N30,000, he asked.
Earlier, the President of The Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Rev. Dr. Dachollom Datiri had described the marriage registry licensing law as an outright robbery while urging government to rather support citizens and organizations concerned with their physical and moral wellbeing and not place unnecessary demands on them.
Invariably, Para-Mallam encouraged government to listen and not close its minds to superior arguments that will come out of the current conversations.
“Therefore, I will encourage a deeper interaction and interrogation of what has now been put out into the public domain,” he added.
Para-Mallam further explained that marriage is a spiritual and legal covenant adding “God takes the marriage institution seriously.”
On that premise, the Peace Ambassador contended that whatever government policy that will support a decent conduct of marriages in consonance with the constitutional provisions of our country should be supported by all irrespective of religious affiliation.
According to him: “The marriage act has been with us for over 100 years now – going back to 1914 when Nigeria was amalgamated during the colonial era. This was later refined into the Matrimonial Cause Act in 1970, 1990 and 2004. The marriage act covers three categories:
Customary (the Christian marriage is covered under this), Islamic and Statutory.”
He finds a soul mate in the Prelate, of the Methodist Church Nigerian, Dr. Kanu Uche, who rather explained that the marriage registry license is not a new thing.
“Only the upcoming denominations will oppose the law. The traditional churches like the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian churches have been doing this.
“When I served in Enugu and every other mission posting, I obtained worship center license which was renewable annually. All my churches still obtain the license and renew it yearly,” he further explained.
However, Para-Mallam said his struggle with the regulation which appears to be receiving sharper age remains that the regulation is multifaceted.
“Many Nigerians are groaning under the yoke of excruciating poverty. Just think of the many rural dwellers in this nation and millions of unemployed youths.
“Can you imagine asking a village guy getting married to cough out 20K? Someone without a job coughing out 20K in addition to marriage expenses,” he further asked.
Para-Mallam stressed that government needs to allow issues of immense public interest to be discussed before major policies are announced.
“When such is done it reduces speculation and suspicion. Transparency and openness is an antidote against suspicion and dictatorship,” he added.
On the other hand, the Peace Ambassador hinted that the regulation has its good side saying: “What if marriages collapse and divorce becomes an issue of legal challenge? Where do you start without a valid government recognized marriage certificate?”
He observed that in a way government’s action should help to provide legality to church marriages based on the marriage act.
“A situation in which people can marry and unmarry at will without recourse to the laws of the land is not to be encouraged. “Such a registration would definitely protect the woman in the case of abuse and divorce.”
He noted that our present traditional arrangement hardly supports the woman. “Ours is a male dominated and chauvinistic society unfortunately women aren’t as protected as they should. Having some measure of what I will describe as positive regulation will serve to make society a better place for couples including the children,” he said.
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