TEXT OF A PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENT, EVANGELICAL CHURCH WINNING ALL (ECWA), ON THE STATE OF THE NATION ON 27tH OCTOBER, 2020.
1. I bring you Calvary greetings in the mighty name of Jesus. I thank God for His unending love for Nigeria. God has been gracious to Nigeria and we must not take His grace for granted.
2. Recent events have clearly shown that our God-given and beloved country, Nigeria, is gradually drifting into a state of anarchy, which if not properly handled, can lead to total collapse of the Nigerian state. Given the bitter experiences of the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970) and other violent conflicts, the consequences of war are better imagined than experienced. Nigeria, with a population of about 200 million, is politically and economically strategic to the West African sub-region, the African continent and the world at large. The peace, tranquility and stability of Nigeria is of utmost concern locally and internationally. We cannot afford to allow another civil war.
3. I wish to passionately appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari, political, religious, traditional and community leaders, elder statesmen and women, the intelligentsia and all Nigerians to come together and work assiduously for the peace, unity and stability of Nigeria. We must all resolve to rescue Nigeria from the precipice. No matter what anyone may think, Nigeria is God’s divine creation with a purpose and not an accident of history. Emphatically, it is providence and not accident that brought us together as a country. We are, therefore, stronger together than divided.
4. While we totally condemn the needless killings and wanton destruction of properties in some parts of the country, let me on behalf of ECWA condole the families of all those who lost their lives and pray for the healing of those injured. I appeal for restraint and calm in the face of provocation by the enemies of our country. The killings and destruction of properties witnessed were certainly at variance with the genuine intentions of the #EndSARS protests by our youths given their justified demands for police reforms, justice and restitution for victims of police brutality, and the peaceful nature in which the protests were conducted for almost two weeks.
5. The Youth uprising in respect of the #EndSARS protest has given this country a hope. The younger generation has shown us that it is possible to stand together for justice and fairness, irrespective of tribe, ethnicity or religion, and in a non-violent way.
6. It is very sad that this peaceful noble protest, was scuttled by satanic agents , and cabals with very selfish vested interest in the politics and governance of this nation, who sponsored thugs and spread propaganda and outright lies , in order to give it a religious coloration which the protest never had. The attack on peaceful protesters by hired thugs and eventual hijack of the peaceful protests for whatever reasons is condemnable and should be thoroughly investigated, including the Lekki killings of unarmed and peaceful youths by men believed to be soldiers of Nigerian army, in order to bring all culprits to justice. Very sadly, the sponsors of these thugs and merchants of violence did not envisage that the ultimate consequence would be the prevalent uncontrollable criminality of looting of public and private properties taking place now. This looting criminality is equally condemnable and we call on all and sundry to immediately put a stop to it.
7. Nevertheless, we salute the courage, patriotism and heroism of our youths for genuinely standing up to their constitutionally guaranteed rights and for demonstrating unflinching faith in Nigeria. It is our prayer that the struggle of these youths will bring forth the Nigeria of our dream. Indeed, from testimonies of some miraculous manifestations from the protests and especially the prayer walks, there is no doubt that God has answered the prayers of our Youths and the younger generation, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against our nation.
8. At this point, it is instructive to state that the #EndSARS protest has become a metaphorical expression of the current state of our nation, which is plagued with a gamut of endemic problems that continue to threaten our corporate existence. The Boko Haram insurgency, Fulani herdsmen killings especially in the Middle Belt, banditry, kidnappings, massive corruption, nepotism, injustice in appointments and distribution of national resources, poverty, hunger, youth unemployment and restiveness, religious bigotry and intolerance and ethnic tensions are deep seated challenges that must be addressed beyond the #EndSARS demands.
9. As a matter of fact, many Nigerians have lost faith in the ability of the Nigerian state to guarantee their rights, security and welfare as provided by the 1999 Constitution. Section 14, Subsection 2 (b) states that “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.” The increasing agitations for self-determination by different ethnic nationalities and the widespread demand for restructuring are indications that government is not meeting this obligation.
10. Consequently, while government is responding to the demands of Nigerian youths, it is our firm believe that lasting solutions can only be found in decisively resolving the challenges confronting the nation. Fortunately, the 2014 National Conference, which has over 600 resolutions, has substantially addressed these challenges. We therefore urge the Buhari administration to seize this historic opportunity provided by the #EndSARS demands to urgently put in place the necessary mechanisms for implementation of recommendations of the Conference Report. The Executive, Legislature and Judiciary and other stakeholders should work together to actualize this.
11. Let me at this point also remind President Muhammadu Buhari of his pledge to Nigerians during his inauguration as President on 29th May, 2015. The President assured Nigerians that “he belongs to everybody and belongs to nobody.” This statement, I believe, was meant to convey Mr. President’s desire and commitment to treat and serve the interests of Nigerians equally irrespective of ethnicity, religion or political persuasion. We appeal to Mr. President to ensure justice and fairness to all, not just in words but also in deeds. This is pertinent because justice is truly the foundation of peace.
12. The Bible enjoins believers to pray for leaders and all people in authority. “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour” (1 Tim. 2: 1-3). I therefore urge all Christians to pray for our leaders, particularly for President Muhammadu Buhari, that God will grant him wisdom, courage and will to do what is right and just in the sight of God. Let us pray in line with 2 Chronicles 7: 14 that God will forgive our sins and heal Nigeria and grant us peace, love and unity in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
13. God bless Nigeria.
Rev. Stephen Panya Baba
Rev. Stephen Baba Panya