THE Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC) has revealed that it spent ₦250 million to secure the release of its students kidnapped last year from Bethel Baptist College in Kaduna.
Given the number of innocent Nigerian lives lost as a result of various acts of banditry and insurgency, it rated President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s fight against insecurity below expectations.
This was disclosed by NBC’s president, Reverend Israel Akanji, in an exclusive interview with the Saturday Tribune on the sidelines of the 2022 International General Workers Conference for the Northeast, which was held at the First Baptist Church in Gombe on Friday.
At first, “we didn’t want to spend money,” Akanji explained. We were adamant about not spending any money. That’s how we got started. I even stated openly that we would not spend money, but now that we have had to spend money, I am also stating openly that we have spent money. We had no choice but to spend the money.
“When our children went missing for a month and these bandits told us they were going to start killing our children one by one, we had to choose between having our money in our pockets and our children dying or having our children released to us. We would have rathered to lose the money. We had no choice but to self-help because the government refused to assist us. That’s what happened, and we had to spend a lot of money as a result.”
“No one can convince many of us that this administration has done enough on security,” the NBC president said of Nigerian insecurity. We aren’t implying that they haven’t taken any action. They claim to be doing their best, but we believe that their best falls far short of our expectations.
“Whoever becomes Nigeria’s next president must be prepared to deal with the country’s insecurity.” There will be a problem of injustice in the land as long as some people are free to carry guns and kill people while others are arrested for doing the same.
“Arrest is a form of discrimination. You don’t need to be told that someone like me will continue to hide and not tell the truth in Nigeria. It is a national embarrassment. At this level, we must tell ourselves the truth. The country’s insecurity has been fueled by a high level of impunity.
“People are breaking the law and going unpunished. They are not confronted in any way. Take, for example, what is happening in Kaduna State, where bandits have been destroying lives. Check out what’s going on in Plateau, Benue, Borno, Katsina, and Jigawa. Even the states of Sokoto and Kebbi have not been completely free.
“What I’m trying to say is that whoever takes over as our nation’s leader must be prepared to stand firm and defend our country.” I’m surprised because I’m aware of the Nigerian Army’s strength. We have gone to other countries to keep the peace by helping them solve their problems, but when we treat serious issues with kid gloves, this is what we get.
“I believe we did not give it our all, and we could have.” If we can’t do it alone, collaboration with other countries will undoubtedly improve things. If we were really serious about getting this thing done, there could have been other hands to help us.”
“The first assignment of the Christian community towards the coming elections is to pray,” Akanji said, referring to the Bible’s statement that “unless the Lord builds a house, the builders labor in vain.”
“When it comes to our leaders, we need people who will be appointed by God. We always say that God appoints all leaders after we have made our mistakes. And if we fail to pray and participate in our roles, we will find ourselves without the right candidates, and we will continue to blame it on God. It’s sometimes the result of our own carelessness, our spiritual carelessness.
“I believe that if we truly pray, God will help us; however, we must not simply leave everything in God’s hands and neglect our own responsibilities.” As citizens, we must prepare to vote for the right candidates, candidates who will fear God, be forthright, and fair, and who will regard the people as their own.
“Nigeria is divided into North and South, East and West, Christians and Muslims, and we have all of these different types of people in our country.” Those seeking state leadership, on the other hand, must be concerned about all citizens of the state, not just those who speak his own language. Whoever is chosen to lead the country must be concerned with all aspects of the country. “These are the people we’re looking for.”
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