Ikpa Isaac is the executive secretary of Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency, a civil society in Nigeria. He has written an open letter to Reverend Father Maka, TB Joshua and other Men of God
Ikpa in his letter called on men of God to caution their hate speeches in Nigeria.
Read letter below:
Open Letter to the Spiritual Director, Adoration Ministry, Enugu State, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka and the Founder, Synagogue Church Of All Nations, (SCOA) Pastor TB Joshua and other anointed men of God in Nigeria on the topic; “Hate sermons: Urgent need for prayers and understanding,” in the light of prevailing religious tensions In Nigeria.
My Dearest Lordships;
1. We send you fraternal and warm greetings from our secretariat in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and pray Almighty God to keep blessing you with strength and wisdom as you serve the quest of Nigerians and the rest of mankind for salvation.
2. By way of brief introduction, Center For Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJECT) is a Non-governmental, Non-Profit, Non-partisan and Non-religious organization based in Nigeria. We are basically concerned with advocacy for social justice, equity and fairness as well as monitor ethics of transparency in public governance.
3. We have observed with bewilderment recent events in our dear country, Nigeria and after a thorough analysis, we have come to the painful conclusion that current happenings in Nigeria are quite unpleasant. And there is the imperative for collective actions to nip in the bud, any possibility of potential mass conflicts and crisis likely to sprout from it.
4. My Lordships, you are already aware Nigeria is on the cliffhanger at the moment; burdened by agitations, mutual distrust and suspicions, viral criminality as well as crises of all dimensions, which in some cases, have mutated into violent conflicts.
5. The federal government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari has been strained and overstretched in its attempts to contain the crises in different parts of the country in the face of dwindling economic fortunes.
Therefore, we were perplexed to notice the infusion of a delicate and extremely sensitive issue like religion into the troubling afflictions of the country.
6. We consider it particularly very urgent to write you this open letter based on our understanding of your respectful status in Christendom in Nigeria.
We are equally encouraged by our implied assumption that you are aware of certain supposed “Men of God” who have stoke the fire of discord and overheated the polity with bile sermons, utterances and discussions from the pulpit which have a strong potency to spark religious crisis of genocidal magnitude in Nigeria.
7. Initially, this organization was not too worried with the divisions publicly manifest in the disorderliness, in-fighting and leadership tussles which have characterized the Body of Christ in Nigeria in recent times.
We had hoped the concerned leaders would devote time and energy to resolve these internal squabbles in the nearest future in the interest of Christianity.
8. But we cannot pretend not to know that this negative trend has not only spiraled outside of the Body of Christ in Nigeria, but pulling the strings very hard in attempts to destroy Nigeria by pitching members of one faith against another.
9. On the front burner of national issues today is the acerbic sermons and utterances credited to Apostle Johnson Suleiman of the Omega Ministries, which has generated very fearful and deadly interpretations between adherents of Christianity and Islam across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. He is not alone in these hate and inciting sermons from the altar.
10. But Apostle Suleiman’s inciting comments happen to be the trouble at the moment. Initially, he opposed the Bill on prohibiting extreme religious views or preachment sponsored in Kaduna state and placed a curse of death on Governor Nasir el-Rufai. But it never bothered anybody because it had personal effect.
But invoking the powers of God Almighty to herd Christians into killing and beheading all Fulani herdsmen at sight is not only ungodly, but mocks the thinking of orthodox Christianity and reflects more the thoughts and actions of Nigeria’s external enemies bent on destabilizing the country by causing crisis of genocidal proportion in Nigeria, worse than Somalia or Sudan. In his latest outing, we can see a nexus in his still opposition to the Bill.
11. Calling for the mass killings of members of an ethnic group- the Fulani herdsmen, who pasture their cattle because of the transgressions of a few criminals suspected to be their kinsmen, is tantamount to exterminating a whole race.
This action would also be interpreted in Christian ethos as battling against flesh and blood, which true servants of God, (including you) have repeatedly warned us that we cannot win any war against the spirit.
12. Similarly, we deem it extremely bad faith the tendency of some anointed and venerated clergy, who are advocating for the extra-judicial killing of Boko Haram terrorists in the presumption that they launched war against Christianity. But the same Boko Haram insurgents also killed fellow Muslims in their rage of raids.
The bickering in the aftermath of the split in Boko Haram leadership between Abubakar Shekau and Abu Musab Al Barnewi sufficiently placed this notion in public domain. But in all, does it not betray the essence of being a good brother's keeper, love of neighbor and respect for sanctity of human life as decreed by God Almighty for anointed men of God to mount the pulpit to preach internecine wars with the religious card?
13. We believe Apostle Suleiman is acting the script of external enemies by inciting Christians in Nigeria into a religious war. And he goes further to blackmail the federal government into shielding himself by instigating Christians to perceive his impending arrest and interrogation by security agents to unearth the masked forces behind his actions as persecution of the church and Christians in Nigeria.
14. My Lordships, may you understand that it is germane for Apostle Suleiman and all other such “Men of God” to know they are not above laws of Nigeria and should be humble enough to submit themselves to security scrutiny. His confessions would either enable security agencies investigate and track people who are destabilization agents in Nigeria for external forces or exonerate him.
15. We plead your understanding in using your respected positions and statuses in talking to your congregations, adherents and followers not to be hoodwinked by the likes of Apostle Suleiman and such “Men of God”into deploying the anger they have deliberately instigated in Nigerian Christians to shield themselves from probe of their suspicious and ungodly acts.
16. We feel compelled to write you because of the respect, honour, integrity and acceptance you have earned amongst Christians and Muslims alike, within and outside Nigeria. We perceive in you, anointed men of God with the best credentials and wisdom to save the body of Christ at this crucial time on this sensitive, but potentially explosive religious incitement.
We are further encouraged by your non- discriminatory roles as father to both the orphans, the vulnerable and the widows, much as banking on your vast knowledge of humanitarian complexities countries face when such religious matters are allowed to explode in violent clashes to promptly.
17. If you kindly devote attention to this cause, you would save Nigeria from a clearly masterminded plot to destroy our country by enemies waiting in the wings to fuel genocide in the country on the platform of religion.
Acting thus, you shall also save the entire body of Christ from disintegrating and embarrassing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who laid down His life for us.
18. My Lordships’ would wish to remember that the break-up of Nigeria was predicted for 2015, but the Almighty God saw us through the trying times, but the same forces have not relented. Having studied the sociological psychology of Nigerians on religion, they have realized sparking a religions crisis would instantly actualize this prophesied break-up.
The devil is surely at work and we must put on our shield of prayers and not guns to overcome this moment of torment to defeat the devil and his agents.
19. My Lordships, God Almighty has bestowed the onus of avoiding the looming calamity in the land in your hands, as His ordained servants.
Please, do not let His children down, to inspire the Western world to laugh and mock us, by allowing the crisis to erupt. Your congregations and Nigerians indeed, listen and heed your words and advice, which beckons to your immediate intervention to save your dear country from ruination.
It will be unfortunate if Christians allow themselves to be used as the vehicle for bloodshed that would lead to genocide, hunger and suffering of the ordinary masses of Nigeria who are already pauperized and burdened in several ways.
20. We appreciate you for the time you have spared in reading this open epistle and we pray that may Almighty God give you the wisdom, foresight and strength to keep serving him and humanity in His Grace to the best of your ability.
21. Thank you very much and May Almighty God continue to bless you, Christians and the Church in Nigeria.
Comrade Ikpa Isaac
Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET)