Bishop Goddy Okafor is the Chairman of South East branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and General Overseer of Glorious Life Gospel Centre, (a.k.a. Peculiar Peoples’ Ministries Int’l), Aba. He speaks on the security situation in the country and other national matters in this interview with EMMANUEL IFEANYI
What is your view on FG’s handling of the nation’s security challenges?
One of the responsibilities of the Federal Government is to secure the nation. Inability to secure this country on government’s part amounts to failure. And where there is lack of peace or insecurity government programmes and objective will be crippled. In Nigeria today, people go to bed with fear, wake up afraid, move out of their homes scared of what may befall them. News of assassinations, murders, killings of innocent Nigerians have persisted. So, I don’t think government is taking security with the seriousness it requires.
How has FG done in the area of tackle terrorism/Boko Haram insurgents?
The Federal Government will tell you they are doing their best. The police will always say they are on top of the situation; but they will not apprehend the culprits. This is unacceptable. Every year, very large chunk of tax payers’ money is allocated to the military and other security agencies. Yet Nigerians are left to provide security for themselves. Honestly, I’m yet to see seriousness in the fight against terrorism.
What is your reaction to the killing of Rev. Andimi, CAN Chairman in Michika Local Government, Adamawa State?
What happened in Adamawa is very absurd. To abduct a man of God and paint the picture that he will be released only to kill him later is criminal and condemnable. From what we saw on Social Media, the man said they were treating him very well; perhaps he was forced to say that. The man of God was killed in cold blood. It’s very absurd. Nigeria is not Saudi Arabia. Is this the way Muslims are also killed? We have many Islamic nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Senegal and other countries that are more than 90% Muslims. Is this the way they kill their own people? Why must Christians be slaughtered incessantly. Again, if there is crisis, demonstration and killing will take place; government will say this is bad; this is condemnable at the end of the day nothing will happens to the culprits.
What do you think Christians should to in situations like this?
Christians should rise and defend themselves. If government cannot defend you, don’t allow yourself to be slaughtered like a goat. Don’t die like a pig. You are valuable in the sight of God. Churches, pastors, members of the clergy should think security. We now live in a war zone and we should not leave security to government alone. Secure your family and your environment.
What is your message to Nigerians regarding this matter?
I want to use this opportunity to call on every Nigerian to stand and speak against the murder of Rev. Andimi. I call on Christians in Nigeria to speak with one voice. Our Muslims brothers should also know that this country belongs to all of us. If they want a country where they will practice Sharia, where Boko Haram will be instrument of maintaining Islamic principles in the land, then they should have a rethink because this country belongs to all of us and nobody will chase us out of this country.
FG and Muslims should always bear in mind that there is no human being who cannot kill. That Christians are keeping quiet do not mean that they’re cowards. You cannot look at millions of Christians in this country and you think that they are all cowards. Terrorists are getting away with their atrocities because Christianity is a religion of peace and Christians love peace. People claim that Islam is also a religion of peace, but we haven’t seen it in Nigeria. We’ve never seen much of it in the world either. Iran, Iraq, Libya and different parts of the world, we haven’t seen that peace. If Islam is a religion of peace we haven’t seen it. What did the innocent man of God do to warrant this gruesome killing?
What is your message to FG in this regard?
Federal Government should, with immediate effect, stop massaging our wounds. They should stop treating our wounds superficially. Let them do something because this madness has to stop. The President and members of his cabinet should take the fight against terrorism seriously.
This country is tearing apart. Is this the kind of country we want to hand over to our children? If the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is for all of us, if he claims he loves this country and wants to take this country to next level, he should pursue justice.
Do you buy the idea that the security architecture of the current administration is contributing to the security problems in Nigeria?
When 98% of our service chiefs are Muslims, there’s no balance. If FG is truly waging war against terrorism, if it is sincere and committed to the fight, Mr. President should sack all his service chiefs and appoint people from different religious affiliations who can work together to defend this country.
He should appoint people from all zones of this country. We don’t have best hands from one side only. There are people who can handle this situation better. There are people who can handle Boko Haram better. But I think our government enjoys mediocrity.
Do you subscribe to the idea that there’s an agenda to Islamize Nigeria?
If they claim there’s no agenda to Islamize this country and that this country truly belongs to all of us, then they should show it. Presently, the body language shows that a hidden agenda to Islamise Nigeria is real. Year after year, month after month, week after week, day after day, it’s all about one thing. I want to say that our journalists should report everything that’s happening because I’m convinced that it’s not every killing that are going on in this country that is reported.
Rev. Andimi’s killing was reported because of the individual involved. From this moment onward, we want F G to give Nigerians good leadership. Nigerians are good people. When they go out of here, they excel. When they come back here the system antagonizes creativity, antagonizes everything. Let the Federal Government show Nigerians that they are truly honest. Christians in government should know that they are there to defend the course of the less privileged, voiceless Nigerians and of course the church. They should always speak truth to whosoever it is.
How do you feel about the formation of Western Nigeria Security Network, Amotekun?
Every geopolitical zone is free to organise its own vigilante. What the Federal Government should do is to provide guidelines for each zone to operate. You must allow people the freedom to watch over their communities, towns and states. I believe that our governors in the West came together to establish common security outfit for the entire South West to beat down cost of each states handling it separately.
If Ondo should do it alone, it will be very difficult; likewise Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti and Osun states. They have boundaries with each other and that was why they came together. They’re even helping the Federal Government. So, if the Federal Government is against it, that tells us that something is fishy. Every geopolitical zone should form their own security outfit to help secure all parts of this country