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Akwa Ibom Churches as Parastatals

Akwa Ibom Churches as Parastatals

By Reuben Abati

Religion was not quite a major divisive issue in the community in which we lived in the Old Cross River State in my days as a student there. On Sundays, students felt free to attend church service either within the campus or outside. I do not recall any major religious upheaval in the largely Christian community that the old Cross River was.

In those days, there was the Brotherhood of the Cross and Star (Olumba Olumba), the indigenous Qua Iboe church, the Presbyterian church, the Anglican Church, the African Church, the Apostolic Church, the Foursquare Church, the AME Zion and the Methodist. The Pentecostal Churches were beginning to spread and take root. On campus, there was the formidable, evangelical Scriptures Union.

So much has changed between then and now. The return to civilian rule has worsened the political exploitation of religion in Nigeria, and the old Cross River is not exempted. The politicians who took over from the soldiers after Nigeria’s second independence in 1999, have made it all the more tragic, as the lines between religion and politics have become blurred. No part of the country is exempted and many of our clerics are no better than government agents and spokespersons.

This is sad because Nigeria’s second independence was a long battle that was won with the support of the religious establishment. With the annulment of the June 12, 1993 Presidential election, many clerics became pro-democracy activists. These clerics found the courage to turn the pulpit and the prayer ground into platforms for opposing military despotism. The Nigerian church became the church of the poor, defending the people against their tormentors. Many religious leaders saw the need to speak the truth to power and they did.  But in the last 18 years, one of the most grievous outcomes of our democratic experience has been the manner in which religious platforms have become vehicles for opportunism, alimentary politics and sickening hypocrisy. The consequence could be as bizarre as the Boko Haram posing a threat to national sovereignty, and as treacherous as the clerics becoming government consultants and the churches no better than government parastatals.

I find the most pernicious devaluation of religion in this manner in the Old Cross River State, especially the part of it now known as Akwa Ibom State. Akwa Ibom is predominantly Christian and animist, with Christianity as the popularly advertised face of religion in the state. For some reason in that state, the churches and the state have closed ranks in the last 18 years to the clear disadvantage of the people.  Churches in Akwa Ibom operate more like government parastatals. Our investigation reveals that the best title for anyone to bear in any government establishment in the state is Elder, or Apostle, or Evangelist, Supreme Leader, Pastor, Deacon…that is – it is increasingly the norm for government officials to identify with a particular church and to use their  position to mobilize religious support for the government of the day. The state government also does not joke with the churches. It is a vicious and cynical mind-control game going on yonder. Akwa Ibom pastors and religious leaders have learnt to defer to the state government and they are well-patronized in return for their loyalty.

Our investigation, inspired by a recent scandalous incident, further shows that we are not generalizing when we say that in Akwa Ibom state, the biggest business is church business and sycophancy.  The church in that state is distancing itself from the poor and lending itself to the state as an instrument. In some of the churches, sermons are delivered and dedicated specially to the state Governor. When pastors begin to behave like praise-singers, the Church would need to take a second look at its men. The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) may soon find the need to intervene in Akwa Ibom state to remind the Pastors that their job is to provide leadership and succor for the people, and not to serve as an extension of the state government secretariat. In other states where the clerics have become partisan politicians, and I am sure if the Christian body looks closely enough, it will find other examples, there should be an internal crusade to rescue the Church and sanction erring pastors.

I am using Akwa Ibom as an example because of the aforementioned recent incident: In August, Inibehe Effiong was suspended from the African Church, St. Paul’s Parish, Uyo Central Diocese, Eket, along with other members of the church who participated in a protest in Uyo against the plan by the state Governor to build a second Governor’s lodge in Lagos.  In  a letter titled “Suspension of Bar. Inibehe Effiong and other protesters of government policies” signed and dated 16th August 2017, one Rev. Richard Peter, “Chairman in Council,” as he describes himself, ex-communicated Inibehe Effiong and other Christians from the African Church.

He says: “We write with total dissatisfaction over the ugly incident of protest carried out by Barr. Inibehe Effiong and other indigenes of Akwa Ibom State of which majority are Christians.”  Richard Peter may not be a lawyer, and he doesn’t have to be one, he only needs to be intelligent enough to know that the right to protest, differ, associate or express one’s opinions, is a constitutional right, and that there is nothing dissatisfactory in  a group of citizens whatever be their religious affiliation, expressing an opinion about government.

But he adds: “No sane individual can wake up and start protesting against the Government of Akwa Ibom State, owing to the fact that Akwa Ibom State is one of the Economy recovery/Investment Centre (sic) Globally.”  Richard Peter is obviously bored with his job as a cleric.  He should be advised to pull off his cassock and join the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Information.

Hear him: “Our Governor deserves respect, appreciation and maximum support, instead some evil minded/demonic sponsored persons disguise themselves in the name of protest to destroy the hard earned reputation/achievement of His Excellency the Governor. The relocation of Akwa Ibom State Governor’s Lodge at Lagos is not only timely but is also what the entire citizens are yearning for and our Dear Governor hearkened to the yearnings of his people. We commend the amiable Governor for his efforts so far in making our dear state the desire of many and we endorse him for 2019 and beyond.”      

On the basis of this gibberish, Richard Peter urges the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to set up a panel to investigate all the Christians who took part in the protest and suspend them, write to the law enforcement agencies and ask for the arrest of the protesters (Je-su-s Chri-st!), direct Inibehe Effiong and co to apologise to the Governor/Government of Akwa Ibom state, and that the pastors of the said protesters be suspended if they fail to “educate them on the dangers of standing against the “Divine Rule”.  Please, in what way is the Udom Emmanuel government divine?

Richard Peter further accuses Inibehe Effiong of “fraudulent activities” and concludes: “We urge all Akwa Ibom sons and daughters to DAKKADA and resist any attempt to bring down peace, progress and development in our loving state”. DAKKADA is a campaign slogan of the Udom Emmanuel administration in Akwa Ibom state, and obviously Reverend Richard Peter is already positioning himself as a campaign manager for the Governor’s second term ambition. 

Inibehe Effiong whose interventions in the public arena are usually informed, incisive and learned should sue Rev. Peter for his malicious and defamatory allegations. The only problem is that this Rev. Peter is not alone. He speaks the mind of a growing crowd of pastors in Akwa Ibom and elsewhere, and draws attention to the crisis within the Christian body in Nigeria. The church in Nigeria must beware of the creeping triumphalism of the politics of stomach infrastructure in the House of God. What else could ever motivate a man of the cloth to refer to a Governor’s rule as “Divine Rule”?  This Peter, like the Biblical Peter, obviously denied his calling, the moment the cock crowed.

In an unsigned letter, the Management of the African Church, St. Paul’s Parish Eket, purportedly dismissed the letter by Richard Peter and promised to set up a disciplinary and investigative panel. Three weeks later, we have not heard anything. Peter is Chairman in Council of the same church management that is pretending to investigate him. I think the disclaimer is ineffectual and is probably of no consequence. The African Church Incorporated and the Christian Association of Nigeria to which the Rev. Peter letter was addressed should respond to the incident and publicly state their position.  Rev. Peter wants CAN not only to ex-communicate Effiong but also Christians of other faiths who may have queried Udom Emmanuel’s “divine mandate” in Akwa Ibom State.  He is wrong. It is a stinging shame that a Reverend of the African Church, founded in 1901 as a protest movement, with the motto: “heaven’s light our guide” and a Reverend Richard Peter, whose two names speak to courage and strength, is now the one championing the politics of cowardice and acquiescence in Akwa Ibom state.

The decision by the Akwa Ibom State Government to build a new Governor’s Lodge in Lagos, worth N9. 1 billion or N2.1 billion, in order to have a befitting, presentational house for receiving foreign investors and diplomats at the country’s commercial capital is of course wrong-headed and even if it can be justified, the public has a right to comment on it. Akwa Ibom has a liaison office in Lagos and other buildings.  Why not renovate one of those buildings? And why erect a special edifice in Lagos for meetings with foreign dignitaries when the embassies have their main offices in Abuja? If the Akwa Ibom state Governor needs to meet with investors, why should he meet them in Lagos? Akwa Ibom state has an airport and dignified places where important meetings can also be held. Is it not better to take potential investors to Akwa Ibom instead of giving them a treat in Lagos?

The problem with many of the Governors across Nigeria is the Lagos syndrome. They have lived in Lagos and worked all their lives in Lagos; when they go back home to become Governors or whatever, Lagos never leaves their system. They recruit their closest aides from Lagos, take Lagos ideas to the hinterland, and struggle to connect the future of their states to Lagos. In the process they create contradictions. It is a fact for example that many Akwa Ibomites want the headquarters of Mobil, a major oil and gas explorer in their state, relocated from Lagos to Eket. Why should Mobil go to Eket, if as Reverend Peter and the Udom Emmanuel administration tell us, Lagos is a better meeting venue than either Uyo or Eket? Since Lagos has become the front desk for Akwa Ibom state, all international companies doing business in Akwa Ibom should also have their front desks in Lagos.


Source :ThisDay 

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BREAKING: Gunmen attack another Anambra church, kill policeman, civilian

BREAKING: Gunmen attack another Anambra church, kill policeman, civilian


Gunmen on Sunday struck at the Assemblies of God Church on the Oguta road Onitsha, Anambra State killing one policeman and a civilian.

This is coming seven days after gunmen attacked St Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu and killed no fewer than 13 persons and injured 27.

An eyewitness account told our correspondent that the gunmen had momentarily  stopped at the Assemblies of God Church, but on sighting some policemen at the church, opened fire on them.

“When the firing became too hot, the policemen abandoned their patrol vehicle and ran away for safety.


“The gunmen moved to their patrol van and took a gun belonging to the policeman they killed.

“I saw two of the gunmen but I can’t say how many they are in number.

Another eyewitness said, “Gunmen on Okada (motorcycle) shot a policeman and collected his rifle. They also shot dead an Okada man while escaping, and the passenger he was carrying was injured. The policeman was the one armed among his colleagues; they were providing security while church service was going on at Assemblies of God Church, Oguta road Onitsha.

The Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Mr Garba Umar confirmed the incident to journalists.

He said it was not an attack on the church, adding “My men were on patrol near the church when they were attacked by some gunmen. It was not an attack on the church, in the real sense of it”.

The commissioner confirmed that the hoodlums took away a rifle belonging to the slain cop.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige had on Saturday said the Federal Government would work out modalities on how to secure places of worship in the country.

Leading a federal government delegation to commiserate with the people of Anambra State on the Ozubulu shooting, Ngige said that had become expedient following incessant attacks on places of worship.

Source : The Punch 

How three of my relations were gruesomely gunned down, victims of Ozubulu church attack recount tales of horror

Ozubulu horror attack: How gunmen killed my three relations

By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor, Vincent Ujumadu, Anayo Okoli, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Omeiza Ajayi, Nwabueze Okonkwo & Chimaobi Nwaiwu

Awka – SHOCK and grief still pervaded Amakwa village, Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, yesterday, as the residents narrated their experiences, during the attack at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in the area.

Just like Sunday, the vicinity of the church was still besieged by hundreds of people from various parts of the country, especially people from the village whose relations worship at the church regularly. They came to find out the situation in their village.

This came as Police authorities in Abuja, yesterday, confirmed that three persons had been arrested in connection with the attack, just as Governor Willie Obiano dismissed insinuations that it was a terror attack against the church.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, also said it was already linking up with international collaborators and respective countries, with a view to establishing the veracity of the drug activities related with the bloody massacre.

How I lost three relations

Among those who spoke with Vanguard, yesterday, was Joel Obunadike, who lost his uncle, his brother’s wife and a baby. He said they were facing the alter when the gunman shot them from behind and the bullet caught them where they were sitting.

According to him, the deceased sustained injuries and died later at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.

Obinadike added that his brother, whose wife and child were killed, had not even returned home.

It was gathered that the baby was taken to the theater for operation, yesterday, where she later died.

Joel said: “We were in the middle of the service when I noticed that a black jeep was parked outside. The car later moved from the spot and turned back a few minutes later and parked at the same spot.

“A young man came into the church through the back door of the church and started shooting, while backing the alter. Many people tried to escape through the two doors and to our surprise, the gunman started shooting at them on both doors. It was a terrible thing.

“I did not rush out like others immediately and it was most of the people who tried to escape that were either killed or wounded.”

Our ordeal— Victims

Two other victims, Samuel Ndulue and Chinasa Chukwueloka also gave a graphic description of what happened in the church.

Ndulue, who is heavily bandaged after undergoing an operation on his two legs said: “I was sitting on the third row from the front of the church when the shooting started and I got up to run away only for bullets to hit me on my two legs.

“I became unconscious and it was when I woke up that I discovered that I was in the hospital. I am happy to still be alive.’’

Miss Chukwueloka said it was a miracle that she was still alive, adding that she followed other people to run when the shooting started only to fall in the middle of the church when she was hit by bullets.

Mrs. Christiana Okafor, who hailed from the neighbouring Ihembosi community that worships at the church, said she had to return from Enugu to ascertain the situation, adding that though she did not lose anyone, she was sad that people had to lose their lives in such circumstance.

A nurse in charge of the Emergency Unit of NAUTH said, yesterday, that six of the injured persons admitted on Sunday had been transferred to the hospital’s outpost at Oba, while the remaining 22 were recuperating at Nnewi.

LG chairman reacts

Chairman of Ekwusigo Local Government, Mr. Ikenna Ofodeme, said he was compiling details of the casualties and wondered why someone should enter the church to kill innocent people.

According to him, it is possible that God wanted to use the incident to expose some bad people in the community and prayed that it will be the last time such an incident would happen in the local government.

He said of the 12 people confirmed dead, 10 were females, including a baby, while two were males, adding that 10 of the bodies had been deposited at New Haven Mortuary, Ozubulu.

He said: “Doctors who were not even on call, and some who were at church service came to join doctors on duty to save the lives of the victims, as I am talking with you now, the accurate number of people who died are 12, including 9 women, a baby girl, and two men, and they are already at New Heaven Mortuary, Joint Hospital Ozubulu, and the one at NAUTH Nnewi.”

Ofodeme clarified on the alleged involvement of a prominent son of Ozubulu who is alleged to be the target of the attack, saying he could not have been the target because he was not in the country when the incident happened.

“This young man, Aloysius Ikegwuonu, they are calling based on the police report has built more than three churches in Ekwusigo communities. He is currently building a new one in one of the communities. He left this country two days ago.

“If he was the target and he did a business transaction that resulted to this killing, those who are pursuing him would have killed him at the football pitch. He played inter-village match a week ago before he left the country for his base. Some are quoting the governor of the state.

‘’The governor was briefed by the police and whatever he said, he should not be blamed because it was security agents that briefed him, and he must tell the people of the state what he was briefed on.

“The shooting happened in the church. Why didn’t the people go to his house or his father’s house? What business has shooting people in the church got to do with business transaction between alleged drug pushers?

‘’This is purely a terrorist attack and nothing to do with a drug pusher’s disagreement in South Africa with our son.”

The council chairman said the attack may be politically motivated to give the impression that there is no security in the state, just to rubbish Governor Obiano’s stride in addressing security in the state.

“If it were a misunderstanding between Mr Aloysius Ikegwuonwu and his kinsman in South Africa, what has that got to do with innocent worshipers in the church,” he asked.

The state commissioner of police, Mr. Garba Umar, said, yesterday, that some arrests had been made, although he declined to say the number of people so far arrested.

“We don’t want to give figures now so as not to jeopardize the ongoing investigation,’’ the CP said in an interview.

Other victims react

Similarly, Charles Justice, who brought his wounded friends to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital in Nnewi, said the incident happened after the homily at 6 a.m. Mass.

“Those who died are mostly children and the elderly, I know about three children who were below five years that died in the shooting,” said Justice.

He said three of the victims had died at the hospital, a claim corroborated by a medical doctor who did not want to be named.

Nonso Nwakibe thanked God as his mother, Antonia, laid groaning from the pains of the bullet wounds on her arm.

Ogochukwu Maduka, a Lay Reader at the church, who sat in the front row at the time of the attack, said she had arrived for the Mass and found the church in darkness.

“After much effort to get the generator to work failed, they had resort to using candles and rechargeable lamps.

“The holy Mass had proceeded as usual, after the first, second and gospel reading, and then the priest’s homily, as we stood up for the proclamation of faith, there was a sound of gun like thunder from behind.

“There was chaos, panic and confusion. The priest ran away as the gunshots continued and I took cover under the seat.

“When people started running around, the man began shooting upwards. Those mostly affected were those at the back of the church.” Maduka added that she counted about 15 corpses afterward.

Another victim, Nnagolum Oramadike, a primary three pupil, who was shot in the leg, said he “bent down” while the shooting was going on.

His mother, Chioma, who also sustained bullet wounds, said she was worried the news would devastate her husband, who had just travelled abroad to seek greener pastures, but hoped he would find out they were alive.

“The shooting started around 7 a.m. and my father in law was not so lucky. I don’t know how to take care of my children now I’m incapacitated,” said Mrs. Oramadike, 32, whose daughter was hit by a motorcycle amid the chaos.

Ifeoma Onyeka sat beside her 14-year-old daughter who had just been operated upon. Her elder, foster daughter, Anwurika Mboje, did not survive the attack, as she had died right inside the church.

“I survived by hiding under the seat while the children must have ran because of lack of knowledge of what to do in such a circumstance,” she said.

We’ve made arrests, but… — Police

Meanwhile, Police authorities in Abuja, yesterday, confirmed that three persons have been arrested over last Sunday’s killing inside a church at Ozubulu, Anambra State.

Force Public Relations Officer, Moshood Jimoh, who disclosed this, said appreciable progress was being made over the ugly development but referred our reporter to Anambra State police command for more information on the arrests.

However, when contacted, Anambra State police spokeswoman, Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, Nkiruka Nwode, said: “Yes, we have made some arrests over the killings but we cannot tell you the number of suspects arrested or disclose their identities for now. You know this is a sensitive matter and we have to tread with caution.

‘’All I can tell you is that we are on top of the matter and we will not relent until the perpetrators of the heinous crime are brought to book.”

In the same vein, Vanguard reliably gathered that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, may direct a special tactical squad from Force Headquarters, Abuja, to wade into investigations over the killings.

The move, according to sources, followed insinuations that the state police command may have reached hasty conclusion by asserting that the massacre was drug related.

Vanguard learned that the police boss has been in constant touch with Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Garba Baba Umar, over the ugly development and has directed that perpetrators of the crime be fished out and dealt with accordingly.

The Principal Staff Officer, Public Affairs, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Jonah Achema, told Vanguard that the whole story was still at the level of speculation.

He said: “However, let me assure you that we are following the story of the so-called drug deals outside the shores of Nigeria. We are already linking up with our international collaborators and respective countries to establish the veracity of their drug activities.

“For now, that is the level we are. We are focusing our searchlight everywhere. It is regrettable that this measure of violence is happening in this part of the world.

‘’We assure Nigerians that if it is drug related, we will not spare any effort to see to the end and we will deal decisively with anybody involved, whether high or low. It is also a call to rekindle the drug efforts by all stakeholders in the country.”

It’s gang war, not terror attack, Obiano insists

Also, yesterday, Governor Willie Obiano said the attack on St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Amakwa Ozubulu was neither a terror attack nor by members of some groups of agitators in the country.

In a special broadcast in Awka, Obiano said it was a gang war that had spilled over to the state from another African country, assuring that it would be the last time such a thing would happen in the state.

The address read: “With a sorrowful heart, I stand before you today to brief you on the tragic killing of 12 people at St Philips Catholic Church, Amakwa, Ozubulu on Sunday.

“First, I want to assure you all that what happened in Ozubulu was a tragic dimension of a long battle between two business partners who are from the same town. I have been fully informed that this dangerous conflict has been going on for a while in the country where they both live outside Nigeria before they decided to bring the conflict home. But let me assure you that Anambra is too hot for them to operate, going forward.

“This explanation, I believe, has erased the fears that the incident may have been caused by either some terrorist organizations or some members of some groups of agitators in the country.

“What happened in Ozubulu was neither a terror attack as we know it, nor a violent action by some agitators. We are dealing with a dangerous Gang War that has spilled over to Anambra State from another African country. But this is the last time it will happen under my watch!

“I want to assure you that we are on top of this situation. We are completely in charge here. The people directly and remotely involved in this crime are known to the law enforcement agencies. But no suspect, no matter how highly placed, is above the law. So, we have taken bold steps to bring them to book and restore the peace and tranquility that Anambra State has enjoyed since the past three years.

No cause for alarm

“Sincerely, there is no cause for fear or alarm here. Anambra State is safe. Our churches and places of worship are safe. So, our people should not be discouraged from going to church to serve their God because what happened in Amakwa, Ozubulu is an isolated case.

“It will not happen again! Ndi Anambra should continue to sleep with both eyes closed because we are staying awake for them. In the words of Wendell Philips, the American abolitionist and liberal activist, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” We have chosen to stay awake that Anambra may find sleep! I repeat, never again will this type of bloodshed happen in Anambra State under me!

“In all our 25-year history, never has a single act of senseless violence consumed so many lives. I strongly condemn this wanton killing of our fellow citizens who left their loved ones in the early hours of Sunday morning to worship their God.

‘’I condemn the senseless violation of sacred places of worship by people to whom neither man nor God is worthy of respect or honour. I condemn these people who did not think twice before placing such a heavy burden on our humanity!

“All the shadowy characters behind this crime shall account for it. This is the first and the last of this appalling crime!

“I call on you today, to join hands with me to rid our society of all vestiges of crime and criminality. Nothing else can stand in the way of accelerated development as crime does. We are familiar with this fact in Anambra State. That is why we have fought tooth and nail to usher in the long period of peace we have enjoyed in Anambra State.

“To our numerous friends and partners, I want to assure you that Anambra is still Nigeria’s safest state. Indeed, the Ozubulu killings have only strengthened our commitment to create a safer, business-friendly and prosperous state. We remain focused on our Vision and Mission to this great state. No amount of threats or wholesale destruction can shake our commitment to these ideals.

“I have declared today (Monday) a day of mourning in honour of our brothers and sisters that were slain yesterday (Sunday). We shall observe a minute of silence in their honour at 12 noon today (Monday) and special prayers shall be offered for them in churches and prayer houses across Nigeria and in the Diaspora. We have also opened a condolence register for them at Government House.

“Finally, for the 18 survivors of this carnage, who are nursing different injuries in the hospital, my administration shall pick up all their medical bills. I have visited them at the hospital to ascertain their recovery rate. I have also dispatched 50 additional medical doctors to the hospital to ensure that they have access to the best medical care possible. Indeed, all hands must be on deck to save more lives.

Buhari called

“At this juncture, I want to thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, who called me last night from London to commiserate with Ndi Anambra on this tragic incident.

‘’I must also thank the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who also called last night to condole with us. My gratitude goes to everyone who has called my team and I to say a soothing word since this incident happened.

‘’Your calls have re-affirmed my belief that we are one people under God! It has strengthened my faith in the unity of this country. Anambra State has survived incredible odds in our modest history. This too shall pass!”

Meanwhile, more reactions trailed the attack, yesterday, as the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, described the early morning massacre as animalistic, bizarre, reprehensible and shocking.

It’s animalistic, bizarre says NLC

NLC in a statement personally signed by its National President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in Abuja yesterday, said: “What makes this attack more confounding is the fact that Ozubulu is far removed from any known theatre of conflict at the moment and has had little or no history of violent conflict.

“Whatever may have been the situation, this attack represents a descent into the pit of hell. It is animalistic, cowardly and shameful and all necessary steps should immediately be taken by security forces to bring the perpetrators to book.

“Our heartfelt condolences go to the families of the victims, the Catholic Church, Governor Willie Obiano and the people of Anambra State.

“We urge our security agencies to step up security in and around places of worship. We similarly urge worshippers to take the initiative of securing their premises.”

Kanu chides police for quick conclusion

Reacting to the Ozubulu carnage, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, called for forensic examination of the bullets used by the gun men so as to trace the killers.

Reacting to the barbaric incident, Kanu said he suspected some foul play and cover-up in the haste by the police to attribute the “heinous crime” to alleged feud between two indigenes of the community based outside the country.

The IPOB leader faulted the police for their quick conclusion on the cause of the attack or the identity of the assailants without conducting thorough investigations, saying the police should not have quickly ruled out terrorists from the attack without proper investigations.

According to him, there was nothing to suggest that the attack was not an act of terrorism.

Kanu noted that Ndigbo do not have the culture of carrying out mass killing for whatever reason let alone carrying such attack in a place of worship, insisting that it could be from terrorist act and called for thorough investigation.

“ We are asking for a forensic examination to be conducted to ascertain the type of bullet used in the attack. It makes a mockery of the entire security system that people can work into a town and massacre innocent civilians and walk away. Where are the security agencies?

“ All options should remain open because our people are not known for gang killings. It is alien to us.

“ Such atrocious crime has never ever been committed anywhere in Biafra land before. We are not known for mass executions. It was the same thing that happened at Uzo Uwani in Enugu State, the same scenario.

“ I wonder why the narratives coming out is that it is two brothers who are feuding in far away South Africa. Is that possible? Does that make sense?”, Kanu queried.

He lashed out at the security agencies for the level of insecurity in the country, saying that they only show strength when it comes to combating peaceful agitators.

Obi of Ozubulu condenms killing

Also, yesterday, the traditional ruler of Ozubulu, Obi Fidelix Nnandi Oruche, condemned the attack of his subjects who went to worship at St Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, describing it as callous, wicked, inhuman and cowardly, saying the perpetrators must not go unpunished.

The visibly worried and angry traditional ruler said government and the security agencies must fish out those behind it for punishment, adding that it was a sacrilege for anybody, no matter the provocation, to go into a church and attack innocent worshippers who went to pray to their God.

On alleged business disagreement involving their sons living in South Africa that may have led to the incident, he said there was no connection between the killings in the church and business transaction. Obi Oruche totally dismissed the claim, adding that those saying so want to destroy the name of Ozubulu.

“How can anybody be talking about business transaction disagreement when people were shot and killed while worshiping in the church, there is no relationship between shooting people in the church and business transaction by anybody, we are not aware of such disagreement.”

Uwazuruike gives BIM leaders 7 days to fish out suspects

Meanwhile the founder of Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has given seven days ultimatum to three zonal leaders of BIM in Anambra State- Chief Arinze Igbani, Anambra South; Chief Vincent Ilo, Anambra North and Emmanuel Omenka, Anambra Central, to fish out the perpetrators of Ozubulu killings.

Uwazuritke, who condemned the killings, said it would not be encouraged in any part of Biafra land, and sympathized with the bereaved families.
Source: Vanguard

How three of my relations were gruesomely gunned down, victims of Ozubulu church attack recount tales of horror

Ozubulu horror attack: How gunmen killed my three relations

By Emma Nnadozie, Crime Editor, Vincent Ujumadu, Anayo Okoli, Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Omeiza Ajayi, Nwabueze Okonkwo & Chimaobi Nwaiwu

Awka – SHOCK and grief still pervaded Amakwa village, Ozubulu in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State, yesterday, as the residents narrated their experiences, during the attack at St. Philip’s Catholic Church in the area.

Just like Sunday, the vicinity of the church was still besieged by hundreds of people from various parts of the country, especially people from the village whose relations worship at the church regularly. They came to find out the situation in their village.

This came as Police authorities in Abuja, yesterday, confirmed that three persons had been arrested in connection with the attack, just as Governor Willie Obiano dismissed insinuations that it was a terror attack against the church.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, also said it was already linking up with international collaborators and respective countries, with a view to establishing the veracity of the drug activities related with the bloody massacre.

How I lost three relations

Among those who spoke with Vanguard, yesterday, was Joel Obunadike, who lost his uncle, his brother’s wife and a baby. He said they were facing the alter when the gunman shot them from behind and the bullet caught them where they were sitting.

According to him, the deceased sustained injuries and died later at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi.

Obinadike added that his brother, whose wife and child were killed, had not even returned home.

It was gathered that the baby was taken to the theater for operation, yesterday, where she later died.

Joel said: “We were in the middle of the service when I noticed that a black jeep was parked outside. The car later moved from the spot and turned back a few minutes later and parked at the same spot.

“A young man came into the church through the back door of the church and started shooting, while backing the alter. Many people tried to escape through the two doors and to our surprise, the gunman started shooting at them on both doors. It was a terrible thing.

“I did not rush out like others immediately and it was most of the people who tried to escape that were either killed or wounded.”

Our ordeal— Victims

Two other victims, Samuel Ndulue and Chinasa Chukwueloka also gave a graphic description of what happened in the church.

Ndulue, who is heavily bandaged after undergoing an operation on his two legs said: “I was sitting on the third row from the front of the church when the shooting started and I got up to run away only for bullets to hit me on my two legs.

“I became unconscious and it was when I woke up that I discovered that I was in the hospital. I am happy to still be alive.’’

Miss Chukwueloka said it was a miracle that she was still alive, adding that she followed other people to run when the shooting started only to fall in the middle of the church when she was hit by bullets.

Mrs. Christiana Okafor, who hailed from the neighbouring Ihembosi community that worships at the church, said she had to return from Enugu to ascertain the situation, adding that though she did not lose anyone, she was sad that people had to lose their lives in such circumstance.

A nurse in charge of the Emergency Unit of NAUTH said, yesterday, that six of the injured persons admitted on Sunday had been transferred to the hospital’s outpost at Oba, while the remaining 22 were recuperating at Nnewi.

LG chairman reacts

Chairman of Ekwusigo Local Government, Mr. Ikenna Ofodeme, said he was compiling details of the casualties and wondered why someone should enter the church to kill innocent people.

According to him, it is possible that God wanted to use the incident to expose some bad people in the community and prayed that it will be the last time such an incident would happen in the local government.

He said of the 12 people confirmed dead, 10 were females, including a baby, while two were males, adding that 10 of the bodies had been deposited at New Haven Mortuary, Ozubulu.

He said: “Doctors who were not even on call, and some who were at church service came to join doctors on duty to save the lives of the victims, as I am talking with you now, the accurate number of people who died are 12, including 9 women, a baby girl, and two men, and they are already at New Heaven Mortuary, Joint Hospital Ozubulu, and the one at NAUTH Nnewi.”

Ofodeme clarified on the alleged involvement of a prominent son of Ozubulu who is alleged to be the target of the attack, saying he could not have been the target because he was not in the country when the incident happened.

“This young man, Aloysius Ikegwuonu, they are calling based on the police report has built more than three churches in Ekwusigo communities. He is currently building a new one in one of the communities. He left this country two days ago.

“If he was the target and he did a business transaction that resulted to this killing, those who are pursuing him would have killed him at the football pitch. He played inter-village match a week ago before he left the country for his base. Some are quoting the governor of the state.

‘’The governor was briefed by the police and whatever he said, he should not be blamed because it was security agents that briefed him, and he must tell the people of the state what he was briefed on.

“The shooting happened in the church. Why didn’t the people go to his house or his father’s house? What business has shooting people in the church got to do with business transaction between alleged drug pushers?

‘’This is purely a terrorist attack and nothing to do with a drug pusher’s disagreement in South Africa with our son.”

The council chairman said the attack may be politically motivated to give the impression that there is no security in the state, just to rubbish Governor Obiano’s stride in addressing security in the state.

“If it were a misunderstanding between Mr Aloysius Ikegwuonwu and his kinsman in South Africa, what has that got to do with innocent worshipers in the church,” he asked.

The state commissioner of police, Mr. Garba Umar, said, yesterday, that some arrests had been made, although he declined to say the number of people so far arrested.

“We don’t want to give figures now so as not to jeopardize the ongoing investigation,’’ the CP said in an interview.

Other victims react

Similarly, Charles Justice, who brought his wounded friends to the Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital in Nnewi, said the incident happened after the homily at 6 a.m. Mass.

“Those who died are mostly children and the elderly, I know about three children who were below five years that died in the shooting,” said Justice.

He said three of the victims had died at the hospital, a claim corroborated by a medical doctor who did not want to be named.

Nonso Nwakibe thanked God as his mother, Antonia, laid groaning from the pains of the bullet wounds on her arm.

Ogochukwu Maduka, a Lay Reader at the church, who sat in the front row at the time of the attack, said she had arrived for the Mass and found the church in darkness.

“After much effort to get the generator to work failed, they had resort to using candles and rechargeable lamps.

“The holy Mass had proceeded as usual, after the first, second and gospel reading, and then the priest’s homily, as we stood up for the proclamation of faith, there was a sound of gun like thunder from behind.

“There was chaos, panic and confusion. The priest ran away as the gunshots continued and I took cover under the seat.

“When people started running around, the man began shooting upwards. Those mostly affected were those at the back of the church.” Maduka added that she counted about 15 corpses afterward.

Another victim, Nnagolum Oramadike, a primary three pupil, who was shot in the leg, said he “bent down” while the shooting was going on.

His mother, Chioma, who also sustained bullet wounds, said she was worried the news would devastate her husband, who had just travelled abroad to seek greener pastures, but hoped he would find out they were alive.

“The shooting started around 7 a.m. and my father in law was not so lucky. I don’t know how to take care of my children now I’m incapacitated,” said Mrs. Oramadike, 32, whose daughter was hit by a motorcycle amid the chaos.

Ifeoma Onyeka sat beside her 14-year-old daughter who had just been operated upon. Her elder, foster daughter, Anwurika Mboje, did not survive the attack, as she had died right inside the church.

“I survived by hiding under the seat while the children must have ran because of lack of knowledge of what to do in such a circumstance,” she said.

We’ve made arrests, but… — Police

Meanwhile, Police authorities in Abuja, yesterday, confirmed that three persons have been arrested over last Sunday’s killing inside a church at Ozubulu, Anambra State.

Force Public Relations Officer, Moshood Jimoh, who disclosed this, said appreciable progress was being made over the ugly development but referred our reporter to Anambra State police command for more information on the arrests.

However, when contacted, Anambra State police spokeswoman, Assistant Superintendent of Police, ASP, Nkiruka Nwode, said: “Yes, we have made some arrests over the killings but we cannot tell you the number of suspects arrested or disclose their identities for now. You know this is a sensitive matter and we have to tread with caution.

‘’All I can tell you is that we are on top of the matter and we will not relent until the perpetrators of the heinous crime are brought to book.”

In the same vein, Vanguard reliably gathered that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, may direct a special tactical squad from Force Headquarters, Abuja, to wade into investigations over the killings.

The move, according to sources, followed insinuations that the state police command may have reached hasty conclusion by asserting that the massacre was drug related.

Vanguard learned that the police boss has been in constant touch with Anambra State Commissioner of Police, Garba Baba Umar, over the ugly development and has directed that perpetrators of the crime be fished out and dealt with accordingly.

The Principal Staff Officer, Public Affairs, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Jonah Achema, told Vanguard that the whole story was still at the level of speculation.

He said: “However, let me assure you that we are following the story of the so-called drug deals outside the shores of Nigeria. We are already linking up with our international collaborators and respective countries to establish the veracity of their drug activities.

“For now, that is the level we are. We are focusing our searchlight everywhere. It is regrettable that this measure of violence is happening in this part of the world.

‘’We assure Nigerians that if it is drug related, we will not spare any effort to see to the end and we will deal decisively with anybody involved, whether high or low. It is also a call to rekindle the drug efforts by all stakeholders in the country.”

It’s gang war, not terror attack, Obiano insists

Also, yesterday, Governor Willie Obiano said the attack on St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Amakwa Ozubulu was neither a terror attack nor by members of some groups of agitators in the country.

In a special broadcast in Awka, Obiano said it was a gang war that had spilled over to the state from another African country, assuring that it would be the last time such a thing would happen in the state.

The address read: “With a sorrowful heart, I stand before you today to brief you on the tragic killing of 12 people at St Philips Catholic Church, Amakwa, Ozubulu on Sunday.

“First, I want to assure you all that what happened in Ozubulu was a tragic dimension of a long battle between two business partners who are from the same town. I have been fully informed that this dangerous conflict has been going on for a while in the country where they both live outside Nigeria before they decided to bring the conflict home. But let me assure you that Anambra is too hot for them to operate, going forward.

“This explanation, I believe, has erased the fears that the incident may have been caused by either some terrorist organizations or some members of some groups of agitators in the country.

“What happened in Ozubulu was neither a terror attack as we know it, nor a violent action by some agitators. We are dealing with a dangerous Gang War that has spilled over to Anambra State from another African country. But this is the last time it will happen under my watch!

“I want to assure you that we are on top of this situation. We are completely in charge here. The people directly and remotely involved in this crime are known to the law enforcement agencies. But no suspect, no matter how highly placed, is above the law. So, we have taken bold steps to bring them to book and restore the peace and tranquility that Anambra State has enjoyed since the past three years.

No cause for alarm

“Sincerely, there is no cause for fear or alarm here. Anambra State is safe. Our churches and places of worship are safe. So, our people should not be discouraged from going to church to serve their God because what happened in Amakwa, Ozubulu is an isolated case.

“It will not happen again! Ndi Anambra should continue to sleep with both eyes closed because we are staying awake for them. In the words of Wendell Philips, the American abolitionist and liberal activist, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” We have chosen to stay awake that Anambra may find sleep! I repeat, never again will this type of bloodshed happen in Anambra State under me!

“In all our 25-year history, never has a single act of senseless violence consumed so many lives. I strongly condemn this wanton killing of our fellow citizens who left their loved ones in the early hours of Sunday morning to worship their God.

‘’I condemn the senseless violation of sacred places of worship by people to whom neither man nor God is worthy of respect or honour. I condemn these people who did not think twice before placing such a heavy burden on our humanity!

“All the shadowy characters behind this crime shall account for it. This is the first and the last of this appalling crime!

“I call on you today, to join hands with me to rid our society of all vestiges of crime and criminality. Nothing else can stand in the way of accelerated development as crime does. We are familiar with this fact in Anambra State. That is why we have fought tooth and nail to usher in the long period of peace we have enjoyed in Anambra State.

“To our numerous friends and partners, I want to assure you that Anambra is still Nigeria’s safest state. Indeed, the Ozubulu killings have only strengthened our commitment to create a safer, business-friendly and prosperous state. We remain focused on our Vision and Mission to this great state. No amount of threats or wholesale destruction can shake our commitment to these ideals.

“I have declared today (Monday) a day of mourning in honour of our brothers and sisters that were slain yesterday (Sunday). We shall observe a minute of silence in their honour at 12 noon today (Monday) and special prayers shall be offered for them in churches and prayer houses across Nigeria and in the Diaspora. We have also opened a condolence register for them at Government House.

“Finally, for the 18 survivors of this carnage, who are nursing different injuries in the hospital, my administration shall pick up all their medical bills. I have visited them at the hospital to ascertain their recovery rate. I have also dispatched 50 additional medical doctors to the hospital to ensure that they have access to the best medical care possible. Indeed, all hands must be on deck to save more lives.

Buhari called

“At this juncture, I want to thank the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, who called me last night from London to commiserate with Ndi Anambra on this tragic incident.

‘’I must also thank the Acting President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, who also called last night to condole with us. My gratitude goes to everyone who has called my team and I to say a soothing word since this incident happened.

‘’Your calls have re-affirmed my belief that we are one people under God! It has strengthened my faith in the unity of this country. Anambra State has survived incredible odds in our modest history. This too shall pass!”

Meanwhile, more reactions trailed the attack, yesterday, as the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, described the early morning massacre as animalistic, bizarre, reprehensible and shocking.

It’s animalistic, bizarre says NLC

NLC in a statement personally signed by its National President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, in Abuja yesterday, said: “What makes this attack more confounding is the fact that Ozubulu is far removed from any known theatre of conflict at the moment and has had little or no history of violent conflict.

“Whatever may have been the situation, this attack represents a descent into the pit of hell. It is animalistic, cowardly and shameful and all necessary steps should immediately be taken by security forces to bring the perpetrators to book.

“Our heartfelt condolences go to the families of the victims, the Catholic Church, Governor Willie Obiano and the people of Anambra State.

“We urge our security agencies to step up security in and around places of worship. We similarly urge worshippers to take the initiative of securing their premises.”

Kanu chides police for quick conclusion

Reacting to the Ozubulu carnage, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, called for forensic examination of the bullets used by the gun men so as to trace the killers.

Reacting to the barbaric incident, Kanu said he suspected some foul play and cover-up in the haste by the police to attribute the “heinous crime” to alleged feud between two indigenes of the community based outside the country.

The IPOB leader faulted the police for their quick conclusion on the cause of the attack or the identity of the assailants without conducting thorough investigations, saying the police should not have quickly ruled out terrorists from the attack without proper investigations.

According to him, there was nothing to suggest that the attack was not an act of terrorism.

Kanu noted that Ndigbo do not have the culture of carrying out mass killing for whatever reason let alone carrying such attack in a place of worship, insisting that it could be from terrorist act and called for thorough investigation.

“ We are asking for a forensic examination to be conducted to ascertain the type of bullet used in the attack. It makes a mockery of the entire security system that people can work into a town and massacre innocent civilians and walk away. Where are the security agencies?

“ All options should remain open because our people are not known for gang killings. It is alien to us.

“ Such atrocious crime has never ever been committed anywhere in Biafra land before. We are not known for mass executions. It was the same thing that happened at Uzo Uwani in Enugu State, the same scenario.

“ I wonder why the narratives coming out is that it is two brothers who are feuding in far away South Africa. Is that possible? Does that make sense?”, Kanu queried.

He lashed out at the security agencies for the level of insecurity in the country, saying that they only show strength when it comes to combating peaceful agitators.

Obi of Ozubulu condenms killing

Also, yesterday, the traditional ruler of Ozubulu, Obi Fidelix Nnandi Oruche, condemned the attack of his subjects who went to worship at St Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, describing it as callous, wicked, inhuman and cowardly, saying the perpetrators must not go unpunished.

The visibly worried and angry traditional ruler said government and the security agencies must fish out those behind it for punishment, adding that it was a sacrilege for anybody, no matter the provocation, to go into a church and attack innocent worshippers who went to pray to their God.

On alleged business disagreement involving their sons living in South Africa that may have led to the incident, he said there was no connection between the killings in the church and business transaction. Obi Oruche totally dismissed the claim, adding that those saying so want to destroy the name of Ozubulu.

“How can anybody be talking about business transaction disagreement when people were shot and killed while worshiping in the church, there is no relationship between shooting people in the church and business transaction by anybody, we are not aware of such disagreement.”

Uwazuruike gives BIM leaders 7 days to fish out suspects

Meanwhile the founder of Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, has given seven days ultimatum to three zonal leaders of BIM in Anambra State- Chief Arinze Igbani, Anambra South; Chief Vincent Ilo, Anambra North and Emmanuel Omenka, Anambra Central, to fish out the perpetrators of Ozubulu killings.

Uwazuritke, who condemned the killings, said it would not be encouraged in any part of Biafra land, and sympathized with the bereaved families.
Source: Vanguard

Horror as gunman attacks worshippers in church, kills eight, wounds 18

Gunman kills eight church worshippers, injures 18 – Police
St Philip Catholic Church Ozubulu, scene of the attack. Photo: Anambra Police Command.

The police in Anambra on Sunday confirmed that a gunman killed eight worshippers and injured 18 others in an early morning attack on St . Philip Catholic Church , Ozubulu , Ekwusigo Local Government Area .

The Commissioner of Police , Mr Garba Umar , said in Awka that the remains of the dead had been deposited at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi .

Umar also said that the injured were taken to the hospital .

He said that preliminary investigations by the police revealed that the attack was carried out by a native of the area.

“ From our findings , it is very clear that the person who carried the attack must be an indigene of the area .

“ We gathered that worshippers for 6 o ’ clock Sunday mass at St . Philip Ozobulu were in the service when a gunman dressed in black attire covering his face with a cap entered the church and moved straight to a particular direction and opened fire .

“ The man after shooting at his targeted victims still went on a shooting spree , killing and wounding other worshippers , ’’ he said .

The commissioner said information available to police showed that the attacker was speaking Igbo at the time he was firing at worshippers .

Umar said though no arrest had been made , the police already learnt that the attack followed a quarrel between two natives of Ozubulu residing overseas .

Describing the act as sacrilegious , the commissioner of police said it was wrong for the perpetrators of the act to extend their quarrel into the church .

He added : “ Such conduct shows the people behind the act do not fear God . ’’

He said the police had launched a manhunt on those behind the act and gave an assurance that everybody behind the act would be brought to justice.

Umar described any insinuation that the attack was carried out by Boko Haram elements as false and urged the people to go about their normal businesses .

He said the police were on top of the situation. ’’

( NAN)

Reject treasury loots,  Osinbajo charges church 

Osinbajo Tells Church to Reject Treasury Looters

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo

The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said people who loot the public treasury or their organisations are doing so out of greed, and not because of any political objective of keeping a war chest for the future.

Osinbajo made the remark yesterday at the celebration of Father’s Day at Aso Villa Chapel, during which he also challenged the church to teach the lessons of honesty and integrity.

”Many would say the reason why they steal is because they want to have an arsenal for future political exploits. It is a lie. It is greed. In any case, even if you want to do that, you have no right to do it,” he said.

His message from the pulpit certainly strikes a chord against the backdrop of the avalanche of corruption cases the Muhammadu Buhari administration has been pursuing.

The campaign had suffered some setbacks of late, with controversial verdicts by the court that tend to let go the accused.

Osinbajo, a professor of law and also a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, felt the church has a role to play.

“If the church says we will not accept you here or that we will expose you if you are stealing the resources of the country or stealing the resources of a private company or other establishment where you work, we would not have the type of problem that we have in this country.”

“In Genesis 18:19. God was speaking about Abraham. And God said he had known him or called him in order that he may command his children and his household after him that they keep the way of the Lord with righteousness and justice that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He had spoken to him.

“In other words, God was saying that He called Abraham, in particular, because he realises that Abraham will command his household, will command his children to do righteousness and justice and to fear God. And if you back this up with Genesis 12:2, God has spoken concerning Abraham, that He will make Abraham a great nation. Genesis 12:3 says, God said, I will make you a great nation.

“In other words, the role of the father is supposed to be that of building nations, building generations. And Abraham is the example God set for us; of a man who God wanted to be the exemplar of the type of conduct that God expects of fatherhood; a man who will teach his children and children thereafter the way of righteousness and justice and the way of fear of God.

“When I listened to His Eminence, the Prelate of the Methodist Church a few minutes ago, talking about the importance of the type of training that he received as a child in his family. I’m sure many of us here are reminded of that type of training. A type of training where you are taught and reminded about integrity, primarily as the first order of business; that you must be a person of integrity. You must be truthful, you must be trustworthy, you must be honest, you must be forthright. That is the foundation. And in the days he referred to, Catechism was an important part of our lives. Even just knowing the 10 commandments was enough to teach you about righteousness, teach you about the way of truth and I think that is very important, especially for us today as Christians.

“Christian fatherhood in particular is a position that God has placed us as exemplar to our nation. The Christian father is the one referred to in Genesis 18:19; the one who will teach the way of righteousness and justice to his children and would teach the fear of the Lord. And I just want to say to all of our leaders (and I was speaking with few of our Christian leaders just last week, both of the PFN and CAN just last week on various occasions) that it is the role of the church to build this nation. And the church has that role because God has said concerning us that we are the light of the world and we are the salt of the earth. That role is a very, very difficult role.

“We are not to teach the world how to be like the world but to teach the world how to be like the one who saved the world, how to be like Jesus. It is not easy.

“Every time that we come to church, we are told about giving. But we need to talk more about honesty. We need to talk far more about honesty. In the same way we talk about giving, we need to talk more about honesty because just like His Eminence said, Nigeria’s great problem is not the absence of prosperity. It is as he so eloquently put it, that we have enough for our needs but we don’t have enough for our greed. The greed of many is what has landed this country where it is today. It is the greed of so many; many who have been placed in position of authority. It is their greed that has landed us where we are, where it is difficult to do the sorts of things His Eminence saw in Washington and so many other places. You cannot steal half of the resources of the country and expect to build the sort of things you see in other places.

“And if the church says you are not allowed to steal and we will ostracize you in our midst if you did. If what a man has does not measure up to what he has, if we found that a man has more money than he should have, if a man is earning a salary of a civil servant or a public servant and he has houses everywhere, we have to hold him to account. But he must be held to account in the church. He must be told first in the church we will not allow you here. If the church says we will not accept you here or that we will expose you if you are stealing the resources of the country or stealing the resources of a private company or other establishment where you work, then we would not have the type of problem that we have in this country. If only the church does so. Just the church.

“Just as Christian fathers today, it is our duty as God spoke concerning Abraham in Genesis 18:19, it is our duty to build up a generation of righteous men and women, a nation of just men and women who fear God and puts God above everything else. And I believe that the Almighty God will help us. I just pray that the Father of fathers, the One who has called us, one who has saved us will bless each and every father here today in the mighty name of Jesus. The Almighty God who is the great Father of all fathers will ensure that we get everything we need to make our families, to make communities truly great and to make our nation great.”
Source: ThisDay 

​Pastor sacked for investing in MMM with church’s account

​Pastor sacked for investing in MMM with church’s account

Anxiety as scheme again freezes out Mavrodians

The leadership of Omega Fire Ministries, led by fiery Apostle Johnson Suleiman, has sacked one of its pastors, Joseph Aiyedun. The cleric was relieved of his duties after it was revealed that he used the ministry’s name and bank account to register for the popular money-doubling scheme, Mavrodi Mundial Movement (MMM).

The church’s head of administration, David Apelorioye, made this known in a statement. The controversial cleric, Apostle Suleiman, is best remembered for the infamous ‘death sentence’ he pronounced on the Kaduna State governor last year.

Speaking during a service in 2016, Suleiman condemned the MMM scheme, describing it as demonic and satanic. He also said participants needed prayers.

The statement from the church reads: “The management of Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide is using this medium to react to a news making the rounds on the social media regarding one of the pastors, who used the ministry’s name to register for the MMM scheme. Ordinarily, the church would not have reacted to the story because of falsehoods being published regularly by some blogs and news websites, whose credibility are questionable.

“But after a thorough investigation by the church authority, it was established that one of our branch pastors in Aba, Pastor Joseph Aiyedun, indeed, participated in the scheme. The church authority decided to expel Pastor Aiyedun not because he registered for the ponzi scheme but because he involved the ministry’s name in the satanic adventure.

“And we discovered that he was able to use the ministry’s name because he had access to the account of his branch, which itself is against the church’s guidelines and a fraud likely to have been carried out in connivance with the branch’s account department. We are still investigating further to unravel the whole activities.”

Mavrodians, the name of account holders in MMM Nigeria, are still unable to get paid a return on their investment more than 96 hours after the Ponzi scheme returned. Some MMM participants said although they were able to request for their money, they have not been paid as the system is still frozen, just as it was in December 2016.