By Ralph Madugu
President of the Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN), Rev. Dr. Dachollom Datiri, has stated that the #ENDSARS protests were a symptom of a terrible disease threatening the very existence of Nigeria.
The cleric said that although the protests “may have had good intentions that were hijacked, turned ugly and evil,” they were warning signals that the Nigerian governments should not ignore.
Addressing the opening session of the 98th General Church Council meeting of the church at its headquarters in Jos, Plateau State, however pointed out that “It is absolutely un-Christian to loot, destroy and burnt properties. It is unchristian and we frown at it.”
On the Islamist insurgency that has continued to wreak havoc in Borno and other parts of the country, the cleric argued that it is becoming clearer that the Nigerian Army had failed to deal with the problem and called on government to stop playing politics with the lives of Nigerians.
He expressed sadness that Rev. Polycarp Zongo, who was abducted by terrorists about two months ago, was still in captivity, a development that was causing so much trauma and stress to his immediate family and COCIN as a whole.
Rev. Datiri revealed that the abductors had demanded a huge ransom that the church could not raise even in a whole year and appealed to government to step in as “the protection of lives is the responsibility of government.”
He added: “If the United State forces can come into the shores of this country, rescue their citizen, kill six of the captors and left one alive as exhibit, then something is really wrong with the Nigerian government and troops.”
He stressed that it was unacceptable that attacks had continued unabated in Plateau, Kaduna, Taraba, Zamfara and several other states despite the deployment of the military even as the Federal Government had refused to replace service chiefs despite repeated calls by Nigerians.
The COCIN helmsman lamented that IDPs were still languishing in their camps as, according to him, governments at all levels had failed to show concern for these “unfortunate victims of man’s inhumanity to fellow man” and tasked government to have a change of heart.
He noted that corruption had become endemic in the country under the watch of the current government and alleged that even the anti-corruption agencies were also being infested with corruption.
Said he: “Is our situation gone beyond redemption? Government must sit up before this monster consumes us. Christians must lead the fight against this devil that is determined to destroy our country.”
Earlier in a goodwill message, Governor Simon Bako Lalong of Plateau State, represented by his deputy, Prof. Sonni Tyoden, noted that the 98th GCC was unique because it was being held at a time Nigeria and the Church were passing through hard times and the hearts of the COCIN leadership and members were heavy because one of their pastors was in captivity.
Gov. Lalong said, “We are affected because all of us are a family. If we have been praying, let us pray harder. Our God is a listening God. Government feels the pains of the Church because both government and the church represent the people. We are all witnesses of recent happenings in the country.”
However, he tasked the church leadership thus: “I urge you as the highest policy making body of the church to ponder on why is it that our youths went on rampage while those in the far north did not go on rampage? The church should seriously think about this.”