*The Church, The Vatican And The Papacy
By Valentine Obienyem
The greatest institution in the entire world is the Catholic Church. Her greatness often leads so many people to develop interest in her. Once you talk about the Church, you are invariably talking about the Papacy, that is, the system of government of the Catholic Church with Pope as the head. But who on this earth can, with his finite brain, comprehend exhaustively the phenomena of the Pope and of the church. Many claims are made, many points are raised, many objections are put forward, but the question about the papacy remains not adequately answered. This piece wishes to lend its voice to the awe-inspiring institution of the papacy, taking cognizance of its foundation, structure, problems, achievements and shortcomings; and contemporary papacy as embodied in the Popes of 20th /21st centuries. These are the current questions following the notice of resignation by Pope Benedict XVI. Very soon, the issue of who succeeds the pope will occupy the front burner and many questions will be asked about the papacy.
FOUNDATION OF THE PAPACY
Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is the invisible head of their Church which, according to them, he founded. Christ, the logic goes forth, by the nature of his mission on earth could not stay ad infinitum, therefore he founded an authority to represent him on earth. Thus Christ, some believe, established the office of the Pope when he said to Simon, who was also called Peter, or the Rock. “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18). Later in the gospel of John (Jn.21:15-17), Christ brought out Peter’s position more vividly. Having called him three times, Christ gave him the jurisdiction of a supreme shepherd and ruler over the whole flock thus making him the first Pope. Did Peter justify this position?
How far St. Peter carried on the flock of Christ could be seen in his activities. He was always at the head of the apostles, and named first whenever the names of the twelve were mentioned. During the Council of Jerusalem (A.D.47), which deliberated on the propriety or otherwise of admitting the Gentiles into the Church, Peter presided. When St. Mathias was chosen to replace Judas as an apostle, Peter was the spokesman. During the Pentecost, it was Peter that addressed the men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem on behalf of the apostles. During the condemnation of Ananias and Sapphira, Peter was at the forefront. By all indications, Peter’s leadership was accepted by the early Church. Faithful to Peter as the first Pope, the early Church continued to grow amidst many obstacles that even surpassed what the Church is experiencing today.
The nascent Church existing first in Palestine, Syria, Asia minor and Greece, as described in the Acts of the Apostles, soon found its focal point in the capital of the Roman Empire, a centre which has remained to this day. The testimony of Peter’s residence in Rome is so abundant that renowned pegan and protestant historian, Whiston, attest to that. He says that the evidence “is so clear to Christians antiquity that it is a shame for any protestant to confess that any protestant ever denied it.” ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Valentine Obienyem, author of article.
Prior to his pontificate at Rome from A.D. 42-A.D. 67, Peter was the first Bishop of Antioch in Syria. He was martyred in Rome with St. Paul during the reign of Emperor Nero. According to tradition, Peter was buried under what later became the site of St. Peter’s Church in Vatican City.
It is almost two thousand years since Christ ascended into heaven. Thus the Catholic Church and the Papacy have existed for almost 2000 years. During these times, other institutions that started with the Papacy have all fallen. This, to some, is an indication and indeed the fulfillment of Christ word that he would be with the Church till the end of the time. This divine assistance has made the Church and the Papacy to rise above the human weaknesses of her members and to live and bury those organizations and institutions that once threatened her.
This long existence of the Papacy (2000 years) should and have produced many remarkable innovations and modifications. Many titles are now used for the Pope; many Offices, Congregations and Tribunals have been created to help the Pope in administering the Church; dogmas are continuously being defined (not invested) to meet the changing world; more dignified way of electing the Pope has been adopted after many centuries of trials and errors; so many advancement that were St. Peter to come back to the world today, he would scarcely recognize the Papacy. If in a sudden cataclysmic destruction of all institutions in the world, mankind were advised to name one institution for preservation, they would choose the Papacy. When I see it, I imagine I see Grandeur herself in person. As we marvel at this marvelous institution, let us see its structure and operation.
THE STRUCTURE AND OPERATION OF THE PAPACY
We have to “dismantle” the Papacy before we can comprehend its structure. This cannot be done without the knowledge of the Vatican City. During the struggle for unification of Italy, from 1848 to 1870 all Papal States were forcefully taken from the Church by the state. Having no standing army, the Pope was helpless. As a protest, Pope Pius IX (1792 – 1878) and three of his successors, in the next 60 years, made themselves voluntary prisoners of the Vatican.
In 1929, Pope Pius XI (1857 – 1939) and the Italian government led by Benito Mussolini settled the 60-year dispute between the Church and the State with two historic documents – The Lateran Treaty and The Concordant. The former gave the Pope full sovereignty over Vatican City while the later dealt with relations between the Vatican and Italy. These documents having been signed, Pope Pius XI emerged from the Vatican and entered St. Peter’s square in a huge procession witnessed by about 250,000 persons. His appearance signaled the triumph of the Church.
Justifying its sovereignty, Vatican City has its own Pope’s yellow and white banner as the official state flag, automatic license plates, postage stamps and coins. It maintains its own public works: mail and telephone systems, water supply, and lighting and street-cleaning services. Vatican has its own bank, a large printing plant, and a rarely occupied jail (use for something else now). Vatican does not have an army or navy capable of fighting a war. But it does have its own “Armed Forces”. The most famous are the Swiss Guards, who protect the Pope and serve as sentries. Other armed forces include the Noble Guards (body guards and escorts of the Pope); the Palatine Guard (the Pope’s militia); and the Pontifical Gendarmerie (the Pope’s Police Force).
In addition to L’0sservatore Romano, the most influential Vatican daily newspaper; it also publishes Osservatore della Domenica, a weekly publication; and the Acta Apostolican Sedis, which prints official Church documents. The Vatican Radio transmits Papal message in more than forty languages, including Latin.
Most importantly, the Pope sends and receives diplomats from other countries. Papal ambassadors and envoys are called Legates. Legates of high position are called Nuncios and those of lesser positions Internuncios. All Bishops submit to supervision of their affairs by legates of the Pope. The Pope’s seat of authority is called the Apostolic See or the Holy See.
Pope’s functions are mostly spiritual. Whenever he speaks Ex Cathedra, that is, in his position as the head of the Church on matters concerning morals and faith, he is say to be infallible. Besides, he is as gullible as the man next door. The Pope has the sole function of beatifying and canonizing saints. He appoints and deposes bishops; he creates dioceses, and approves new religious orders. Whenever the Pope wishes, he may call an ecumenical council, or a general conference of the Church to help him decide on Church affairs.
In carrying out his temporal and spiritual functions, the Pope is aided by numerous Congregations, Tribunals, and Offices in Rome. All this makes up the Curia. The Congregations have executive authority; the Tribunals exercise judicial powers; and Offices perform ministerial duties. The heads of most of these units have the rank of Cardinal.
In the Roman Curia, many offices are distinguished; some of them are the Apostolic Chancery – this office sends Papal documents to dioceses throughout the world; The Apostolic Datary – the office examines candidates for Papal benefices; The Apostolic Camera – this office is concerned with temporal goods and rights of the Holy See; The Secretariat of State – this office handles special matters including the relationship of Holy see and civil governments; and the Secretariat of Briefs and Latin Letters – this office prepares letters to civil rulers and puts Papal documents into its official Latin form.
There are many titles with which the Pope is known. All of this titles point out to his position as the Primus inter pares among other bishops. His full titles are legion: Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, and Sovereign of the State of Vatican City. He is addressed as “Your Holiness” or “The Holy Father”, but the Pope speaks of himself in official documents as “Servant of the Servants of God.” (Servus servorum Dei).
The clothes of the Pope are similar to those of his brother bishops in style and colour mostly white. His shoes are low, open and red in colour with cross on the front of each. His pallium, which is a band of wool embroidered with crosses, shows his rank as an archbishop. Pope’s jewels include a pontifical ring, which is known as the fisherman’s ring.
Very important in the lives of Popes is the Sacred College, also called the College of Cardinals. This body acts as advisers to the Pope. The Pope, in the spirit of apostleship, asks their advice whenever needed. He meets them officially in the Consistories. Consistories could be secret, semi-secret or public.
In secret Consistories, the Pope meets with his Cardinals. It is there that new Cardinals are named. Pope gives the new Cardinals their sapphire rings as a symbol of their offices. If a Cardinal comes from a far country, the Pope assigns him an honorary position as the head of a diocese in Italy. At secret Consistories, the Pope appoints Cardinal Camerlengo i.e. Chancellor of the Catholic Church. In semi-public Consistories, the Pope, Cardinals and Bishops meet. This Consistory discusses candidates for beatification and canonization. In public Consistory, church officials and dignitaries could be invited.
The major function o the College of Cardinals is the election of a new Pope. When a Pope dies, a member of the college must verify his death. He touches the forehead of the Pope thrice with a silver mallet and calls him by his baptismal name. He then announces that “the Pope is truly dead” in the interim, the Sacred College takes over his functions. Though we have had Popes that resigne in the past, it was essentially due to one problem orthe other, including the era of anti Popes. With the resignation of the present Pope, it is imperative that before the date it will take effect, he would have named what the formula will be.
During the election of a new Pope, the College of Cardinals is known as “The Conclave”. Why in the conclave, the Cardinals severe any relationship with the outside world. On the day of the election, mass of the Holy Ghost is celebrated for guidance in decision. The actual voting takes place in the Sistine chapel (erected in the palace of the Vatican by Pope Sixtus IV in 1473).
The Conclave begins between the 15th and 18th day after the death of the Pope. After voting, if a new Pope is not elected, the scrutinies (ballots) are burnt with a mixture of straw) to produce black smoke. When eventually a Pope is elected, the straw is burnt alone to produce white smoke. Then, outsiders will shout “Viva il papa” (“Long live the Pope”). The Cardinals will then pay their first homage to the Pope- elect. The senior Cardinal deacon will then step out on the balcony of St. Peter’s Church and announces to the people in Latin, Habemus Papam (“We have a Pope”). The Pope makes his first appearance and gives his blessing, “Urbi et Orbi” (to the City and to the World”).
The Pope-elect chooses a day and a place for his installation – they have often chosen St. Peter’s Church. On that day, the Pope is carried in a portable throne in a procession from the Vatican to Saint Peter. After the mass, a three-tiered crown is placed on the Pope’s head. He then gives his blessing. The cardinals will pay a second homage.
However, in 1978, Pope Paul I eliminated many of this traditional ceremonies. He walked in the procession and chose to have a pallium placed over his shoulders, symbolizing his pastoral responsibilities as the head of the Church. Later, Pope John Paul II followed this Pauline example.
The foregoing represents the operation of the papacy, so terribly organized. In fact if art were the organization of government, the Papacy is the most imposing masterpiece in history. This does not mean that the papacy is trouble-free. It has its own plenty share of troubles amidst many achievements.
TROUBLES AND ACHIEVEMENTS
It is said, often with some truth, that the beginning of anything is usually difficult, thus the early Church and Popes faced monumental obstacles. In these trials, they were mettlesome enough. Almost all of them faced the opposition against the Church with heroic faith.
Since Roman Emperors were pagans, they tried to exterminate the nascent Christianity at all costs. It was so intense that in A.D. 67, Emperor Nero killed St. Peter and St. Paul. When Rome burnt (A.D. 64 – 65), Nero accused and persecuted Christians. In A.D. 96, Emperor Domitan tried to surpass the records of Nero by his brutal killing of Christians. Emperor Diocletian in A.D. 303, 23rd February, published a general edict ordering the destruction of Christian Churches and writings and reduced Christians to slave status. The list of hostility, if one wishes, could go on. ad-infinitum
A turning point was, however, recorded in A.D. 314. With the help of his mother, St. Helena, Pope Sylvester (314-325) converted Constantine to Christianity. As a postscript, he initiated the transformation of pegan Rome into a Christian state. Constantine stopped the crucifixion and breaking of leg in Roman Empire (A.D. 315); Constantine declined to celebrate the Ludi Saeculares at Rome because of their pegan association (A.D. 314). Constantine exempted the clergy of Roman Empire from taxation (A.D. 315); Constantine recognized the jurisdiction of ecclesiastical courts (A.D. 318); Constantine forbade magic (A.D. 320); Constantine forbade heretical gatherings and divorce (A.D. 331). The culminating act of his conversion was the building of the first St. Peter’s Basilica above the crypt (tomb) of St. Peter in 325. The modern St. Peter was however started in 1506 by Pope Julius II and dedicated in 1626 by Pope Urban VIII. Pope Alexander VII (1655 – 1667) was to erect the magnificent colonnade of the plaza at St. Peter.
Another unpleasant task of ecclesiastical organization under the Popes was to prevent a fragmentation of the Church through the multiplication of heresies i.e., doctrines contrary to the conciliar definitions of the Church creed. These heresies almost always rose in an East that had inherited the Greek passion for defining the infinite. It has always been resolved through different Councils convoked to examine specific heresies otherwise known as General or Ecumenical Councils. The first council was that of Jerusalem chaired by the first Pope, St. Peter.
Then in A.D. 318, Arius, a Libyan Priest, startled the whole world by his denial of the Holy Trinity. Christians hold Christ to be so identical in being with God (homoousious), Arius considered him only similar in being (homoiousis). In A.D. 321, Arius was excommunicated. With the help of Constantine, Eusebius of Caesarea and St. Athanasius (Later Bishop of Alexandria) and the support of Pope Sylvester I the Nicene Council was called. The Council re-affirmed the trinity and gave us the Nicene Creed, which summarizes the Chief articles of the Christian faith.
At this point, Nestorious, Bishop of Contantinople, entered the heretic scene. According to the church, Christ was God, and Mary was “Theotokos,” God- bearing, the mother of God. Nestorius thought the term too strong; Mary, he said, was the mother only of the human, not of the divine, nature of Christ.
In 429, St Cyril, Archbishop of Alexandria, repudiated Nestorius. Pope Celestine I (422 – 432), stirred by a letter from Cyril, called a Council at Rome (A.D. 430) The Council demanded Nestorius to retract, he refused. Finally the Council of Ephesus (A.D. 431) re-affirmed that Mary was the mother of the incarnate Logos, or word of God, containing both the divine and the human nature of Christ. The same Pope Celestine I sent St. Patrick to convert Ireland to Christianity, a task he masterfully accomplished.
Eutyches, head of a Monastery near Constantinople, announced the last great heresy of this turbulent period, and the most momentous in result. In Christ, said Eutychus, there were not two natures, human and divine; there was only the divine. The Council of Chalcedom (451), under Pope Leo I condemned this “monophysite” heresy and reaffirmed the double nature of Christ.
In between the above heresies, many other heresies had at a point threatened the Church. There was the Albigensian heresy. This heresy derived its name from the city of Albi, they rejected the Holy Trinity and believed that Christ was not the son of God but an archangel who came to earth as an apparition or illusion. Pope Innocent III fought them to a standstill in 1208.
In 787, Pope Adrian I condemned the heresy of Adoptionism, whose exponents held that Christ as man was the adopted, but not the natural Son of God. The Pope, in 787, presided through his delegates over the second Council of Nicene, which condemned Adoptionism and Inconoclasm.
We cannot point out all the heresies that agitated the Church in her history. In addition to those mentioned, we have the Apollinarians, Saballians, Manichism, Paulinians, Bogomiles, Pelagianism, Massalians, Priscillinists and heresies propagated by current commercial churches. Added to these heresies, there were additional problems created by differences between the Latin Church and the Eastern Church. The Church, despite its many problems and heretics attacking her, was united until after the first 800 years when a major schism began to separate the Church at Rome and the Church at Constantinpole, now at Istabul. The causes of this schism were many and its result momentous.
First there was communication problem created by differences in language, liturgy and doctrines. Greek Liturgy, ecclesiastical vestments, vessels, and ornaments were more complex, ornate, and artistically wrought than those of the West; the Greek cross had equal arms; the Greeks prayed standing, the Latin kneeling; the Greek baptized by immersion, the Latin by aspersion and/or immersion; marriage was forbidden to Latin priests but permitted to Greek priests; Latin priests shaved, Greek priests had contemplative beards. These differences and many other disagreements led to the excommunication of Photius in A.D. 863 by Pope Nicholas and Photius excommunicated the Pope in A.D. 867. In Leo’s pontificate, Greek and Latin Church were finally divorced (1054). The excommunication was removed in 1965, when patriarch Athenagoras visited the Pope in Rome. There was a follow up to their earlier visit (1964) in Jerusalem, the first meeting in 500 years.
In 1300 the papacy suffered two major setbacks: the era of “antipopes” and the “Babylonian Captivity”. In 1305 through influence of king Philip of France, a French Archbishop was elected and crowned at Lyon as Pope Clement V. Clement moved the papal court from Rome to Avigon in 1309. The papacy remained in France during the reign of seven Popes, and this greatly reduced the prestige of the Papacy. This period was known as “Babylonian Captivity” it ended in 1377 when Pope Gregory XI returned the Papal throne to Rome.
This development made the Papacy to be a subject of intense rivalry among Catholic countries. Unfortunately, it degenerated into the era of rival Popes, in other words, known as “anti-popes.” An anti-pope was he who has been improperly elected a pope. He sets himself in opposition to the pope who has been regularly chosen in accordance with canon law. The first anti-pope usually noted was Hippolytus; the last anti-pope was Felix. This schism divided the church for almost 60 years. As if the Church was recovering from it, subsequent popes posed a problem to the Church. Having obtained their election by bribe, they lived shamefully. This was exemplified in the pontificate of Alexander VI. Alexander involved himself in the political maneuvering which characterized Italy of 1492-1503. The career of Alexander VI and some other Popes of the era demonstrated that they were typical Renaissance Princes occupied with Italian politics often to the neglect of their spiritual duties, thus bringing disgrace to the Church and the Papacy into disrepute.
As an aftermath of this degenerative Papacy, many Church leaders cried out for reforms. These cries continued unheeded until Martin Luther came forth. Though Erasmus was accused of having laid the egg that Luther hatched, but he was more civilized as opposed to the rudeness of Luther. Luther was a Catholic Priest and a monk. In his 95 theses he denounced many things in the Church especially the indulgence. But let it be said here that even before Luther, Pope Boniface IX in 1392, Martin V in 1420 and Sixtus IV in 1478 had repeatedly condemned the misconception and abuses of indulgence. Luther’s concerns were legitimate. Some believe that his way of going about it was wrong, others believe otherwise. This debate continues.
In response to this protestant reformation, the Church called the Council of Trent, which met from 1545-1563. This Council re-affirmed the Catholic doctrines. It needs to be said, and I do hereby say it that the personal immoralities of priests or popes do not nullify the divine character of the Church, the purity of its doctrines or the graces and spiritual powers it transmits. The final major offensive against the papacy was the madness of Napoleon Bonaparte. He forcefully annexed the Papal States in 1809. The Congress of Vienna restored this in 1815 under the protection of Austria. During the struggle for unification in Italy, all the papal provinces were confiscated, but in 1929 the Vatican City was granted independence: this ushered in the era of the modern papacy.
THE CONTEMPORARY PAPACY
In the 1900’s the papacy enjoys a high prestige and influence. With the independence of the Vatican, the popes concern themselves with moral and social issues of the day. Pius X who became Pope in 1903 worked hard to keep peace in Europe. He was shocked by the outbreak of World War II in 1914.
Like Pius X, Pius XII who succeeded him worked tirelessly for peace during the World War II, this brought him worldwide acclaim. Pope John XXIII, known as the “rotund” Pope succeeded him in 1958 and called the Second Vatican Council, which began in 1962. This is the 21st council in the history of Christianity. This Council made changes in the Church and was completed under Pope Paul VI who succeeded him in 1966.
Paul travelled widely. He was the first Pope to visit the Holy land, the U.S. and the South America. In 1978 he died and Pope Paul I succeeded him. After 34 days, he died and Pope John Paul II succeeded him. A year of three Popes!
We must not refuse this Pope the credit of having brought the Church to her greatest height, and had never relented in his task of realization of a moral state. He was one of the ablest Church leaders in Church history. He pursued his aims with vision, devotion, inflexible persistence, and unbelievable energy.
The Pope gave himself so unremittingly to the problems of humanity that he looked physically exhausted, weighed down by the suffering of humanity. He waged war against abortion, euthanasia, oppression, with unquestionable sincerity and heroic devotion. He was called a mobile Pope because he travelled widely as part of evangelization with his message of love, reconciliation, charity and peace. These, among other things, made him the most cherished visitor wherever he visited. The Pope had some physical comeliness and spiritual magnetism that attracted millions of people wherever he visited. He remained a spiritual lion even until he died on the 2nd of April, 2005 mildly like a ripe pawpaw from its tree.
Contemplating his achievements, we marvel at the prestige he brought to the papacy, Catholic Church and Christianity. He renewed our faith in the future possibilities of the Church as indispensable to the moral health of humanity. We can always call him, without tongue-in-check, the very representative of Christ. It is a challenge to the Catholic Church to keep on producing Popes like him in future, thank God that the present Pope, Pope Benedict xvi is leading the Church along the parts of holiness.
Watching the actions of Pope Benedict XIV, one noticed that he is not after personal glory. He does his job as the Representative of Christ. In his apostolate, he keeps making reference to the work of his predecessor without any tinge of jealousness.
Presently, there appear to be organized war against the Catholic Church and we are happy the manner the present Pope has handles it. The war is hinged on clerical celibacy, ordination of women, same-sex marriage, abortion and many other contentious issues. If the Church is truth, it would have to maintain the teachings of God and not swing with the changing times. The moment the Church starts saying that because majority of the people are clamoring for this or that, let us change the divine truth, it will do more harm to her.
Expectedly form today till the 28th of February the Pope’s resignation will take effect, we shall witness a lot. the See of the Basilica of St. John Lateran, which is the Cathedral Church of the Bishop of Rome (Pope) will be declared vacant (Sede Vacante) . Normally, with the death of the Pope, all heads of Roman Curia resigns, except Cardinal Camerlengo and Major Penitentiary, will it apply in this case/ Will the Coat of Arm of the Holy See changer form the normal Papal tiara to Umbraculum? These questions will soon be answered.
Valentine Obienyem , writes from Awka , Anambra State, Nigeria.
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*What Obasanjo And Yar'Adua Told Prof. Charles Souludo
By Chris Onyishi
I have had some undefined disapproval of Prof. Souludo in the past, both during his tenure as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and in all the tumbles that followed after he left that position, hurriedly, to want to become a politician.
I even mentioned him in one piece I wrote way back in 2006 which I titled “Who is our President?”. A reasonable portion of my perception of him was built on the precept that he agreed and remained to serve in President Obasanjo’s administration which at the time, from what you would realize from the linked article that I was devastated and frustrated that the administration at that time had squandered the unimaginable support that attended its emergence, which you could describe as wrongfully or a child of substance.
But with the little expose in a blog (This Day) titled "What Obasanjo And Yar’Adua Told Me", I am at this point summarily deadening that disapproval. I would say, without fear of contradiction, that when you hear a man out, you may change your perception of that man and that should not mean double speak on the part of the person who yields to superior thinking.
Prof. Soludo, even if he gets submerged in the, as he puts it, “shark-infested waters of politics” – but I pray God guides him through – I would be saying that he was overwhelmed in the treacherous gambit of Nigerian politics but not that he did not have a mission. I entirely agree with him that politics – as is being practiced in Nigeria today – is so dirty and is not meant for ‘decent people’. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Prof. Charles Souludo
Again, on my “Face Book” timeline, I had quoted one of the finest minds humanity has ever had – Albert Einstein – when he said; “All my life I have dealt with objective matters, hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official function. I am the more distressed over these circumstances because my relationship with the Jewish people became my strongest human tie once I achieved complete clarity about our precarious position among the nations of the world"
The above excerpt was how Albert Einstein summarized his feeling when, after the death of the first Jewish President in 1952, the then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion offered him that position.
Can you compare that with what obtains now where an incumbent will be complaining that the action or inaction of his predecessor in office has made him/her not to perform and yet would not resign?
Is there any wonder then why the Jews have sustained the entire onslaught against them? Their leaders do not aspire to lead for fun.
Politicians around the world, today, sit tight in power and oversee the crumbling of their state’s economies without remorse. They engage on all manner of intrigues while their nations get burnt, economically.
The greatest minds of humanity are never habitually remembered or are not even remembered at all and, in some cases, are not even known. What would the world have been today without electricity. What would the world have been today without airplane. What would the world have been today without penicillin or ampcillin.
Not most of our rulers today will understand what you mean when you talk about the Wright brothers (Orville and Wilbur) and yet they travel by business class and even own jets. Charles Edgar Duryea would not ring a bell as much as Fredrick Obateru Akinruntan, who made history sometime ago as the first black person to buy the 2014 model of Bentley.
Winston Churchill of Great Britain, best known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War, is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century and yet little is known of mortals such as Richard Gatling, who invented the first machine gun in 1862 which prototype was used to execute the WW2, and Hiram Maxims who muted the idea of recoiling energy in power reloading guns, neither do we mention Albert Einstein who is regarded as the father of modern Physics. Today Alexander Fleming who invented penicillin is not as popular as British Prime Minister Cameroun or the British Monarch.
When we talk about Benjamin Franklin today, many people will know more of President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria than give a thought to that name and yet what has held us down as a people is that what Franklin discovered several years ago – electricity – cannot be used today by President Jonathan to create an impact in his country.
I did a piece some days gone by which I titled “Politicians All over the World Are Gradually Decimating Organized States”. The people who dictate how the resources of man - as freely given by GOD - are shared today are not the caliber of people who really made the world what it is and this has been the bane of mankind. The rulers we have today are mere mortals who do not understand governance beyond looting of public treasury to own properties and physical cash they will never have need for before death stifles them out of existence.
And if you realize the people Prof. Soludo is quoting and the platform upon which he was trying to emerge, you would know that he is already in between the deep sea and the red dragon. He is already felicitating with people who will become political albatross on his neck even before he takes a plunge. And going by what is obtainable today, nobody who aspires to be the president of Nigeria and eventually gets there through the PDP structure will be different from the others no matter how visionary the person is. But it is possible that he is only looking at the governorship level for now and to that extent, he could make an impact.
A classical example of impacting the government from the outside is Prof. Chinua Achebe who has constantly and consistently rejected the so called “national honors” award on the ground that you do not get honor from dishonorable people. Nigerians are fast in condemning corruption but they seem to have nothing against the offspring of corruption. So you get journalists praising individuals who in the recent past were hungry but become wealthy overnight as a result of monumental corruption and before you say anything you have the same government officials justifying such acts because it has not been challenged in any law court. What an absurdity!
If you want to size up corruption in Nigeria, just prepare and attend an occasion where two families of these corrupt government people are playing a marriage script.
How would a corruption laden administration of Goodluck Jonathan confer honor to anybody in Nigeria today? Except for a few who get the honors award on merit, it is proven that most of the awardees pay money through surrogates to get the award even when it is glaring that most of them have not done any special thing to attract the award to them. I am certain of one of the awardees who was approached by some marauder s who claim to be representing Aso Rock on the honors award. They made some mad demands from this prospective person which he vehemently rebuffed and they left. He later got the award but you would agree with me that most people just buy their way into the “Honors” list.
But instead of succumbing to pressure and jump into the river before making up one’s mind to swim, I would enjoin people of Prof. Soludo’s caliber to stay off the murky waters of Nigerian Politics but be on the sideline to continuously be generating substantial dialogue that will tend to put these adventurers, called politicians, on their toes. I have always had the opinion that one does not really have to be in governance to contribute meaningfully to the growth of his state or country or humanity at large. And in Nigeria’s case being involved directly diminishes one’s strength to perform and he is poised to turn around to blame someone just as our President recently blamed amalgamation of 1914 for the problems of Nigeria.
If Prof. Soludo is nursing any feeling to go into politics and he cannot suppress it, he would better do that on a different platform than the PDP which has become a tsetse fly on the testicles of Nigeria.
Chris Onyishi (email@example.com)Lagos, Nigeria.
*Saving Nigeria’s education: NDDC weighs in
By Ifeatu Agbu
It is common knowledge that education provides the springboard for growth and development. It drives the engine of vibrant economies. Indeed, there is a positive correlation between a country’s economic greatness and the premium it places on education. Finland, for instance, invests heavily on education. This is the reason the World Economic Forum ranked the country as having one of the most competitive economies in the world. Of course, this did not come by accident, as Finland offers free and qualitative education up to university level.
Nigeria, on the other hand, is yet to give education a pride of place, in spite of the enormous oil wealth bestowed on her by nature. Poor funding and other structural inadequacies have for many years placed Nigerian students at a disadvantaged position.
Our government has consistently failed to meet the United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation, UNESCO’s, prescription that national education should be funded to the tune of 26 per cent of overall annual budget. The consequence is what manifests in dilapidated and overcrowded classrooms, absence of functional libraries, laboratories and poorly motivated teachers.
The dismal performances of students in national and international examinations in recent years make a sad statement on the failure of our educational system in general. For Instance, the recent results where only 38.81 per cent of those who sat for the May/June 2012 SSSCE examination, obtained credits in five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics, paints a dour picture.
The slide in the quality of education as reflected in the poor results in examinations conducted by West African Examination Council, WAEC, has been the trend for many years now. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Study Books
Sadly, the wobbling educational system in Nigeria is driving thousands of our students to foreign countries, including Ghana and South Africa. According to Comrade Simeon Njoku, chairman, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Abia State, about 25 per cent of pupils and students of primary and secondary schools and tertiary institutions in Ghana are children of rich Nigerians. To quantify Nigeria’s loss to Ghana, the Chairman, Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Dr. Wale Babalakin, said that Nigerians commit a staggering N160 billion to the education of their children and wards in Ghanaian universities every year. He said that the figure represents the cost of university education for about 75,000 Nigerian students in that country.
The amount, Babalakin explained, excludes huge amounts also spent on education of Nigerians in other countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. This huge cost of university education in Ghana and other countries is an avoidable capital flight. Ironically, what Nigerians spend in Ghana alone exceeds what both our federal and state governments release to their universities.
The question is why have Nigerians passed a vote of no confidence on their country’s education system? Obviously there is a systemic failure which has made both students and teachers to be found wanting. Today, we are confronted with the embarrassing story of teachers in Sokoto State who could not read and write. According to the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Mohammed Modibbo, over 50 per cent of primary school teachers in the state are illiterate. He told members of the Senate Committee on Education that "50 per cent of the entire teachers in the state cannot read, because they are unqualified.”
The situation is not any better in the universities. The opening of several new universities within a very short period has stretched the available teaching manpower to the limits. The former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku expressed worry over the situation. He said: “When you create a new university, you have to look for staff from other universities. So, the situation was that even those who were not yet ripe to become professors were appointed professors.”
The same is true in some other states. Many primary school teachers cannot write lesson notes, let alone teach anything meaningful. Any serious attempt to make Nigeria globally competitive educationally, must drastically reform the primary and secondary education.
At the tertiary level, President Goodluck Jonathan, tells us that 60 per cent of the lecturers in Nigerian universities do not have doctorate degrees. “To be in the academics, you must have a PhD,” he said.
For most lecturers to get PHD, the universities must adopt best global practices, as it was in this country in the past, of having a robust staff development programme. Bright students, who made first class or second class upper division, should be encouraged to stay back as graduate assistants. After a while, the university should sponsor them for their master’s and doctorate degrees. Other government agencies and the private sector should also key into this.
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, for instance, is already helping out in this area. The commission has so far sponsored over 600 students at the post-graduate level under its Foreign Scholarship Scheme. The beneficiaries pursue Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in science disciplines.
The Managing Director of the NDDC, Dr Christian Oboh, said that science education was critical to the development of the oil and gas sector and the nation in general, hence the resolve of the commission to assist in procuring high-level manpower in these disciplines.
Again, the commission is partnering with relevant institutions to boost the teaching and learning of science subjects at the primary and secondary school levels. Recently, it organised a training workshop for primary and secondary school teachers in Akwa Ibom State. The Train-the-trainer workshop on the use of NASENI primary and junior secondary science kits was put together by the NDDC in collaboration with the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure [NASENI].
The NDDC seems bent on demystify the teaching and learning of sciences in the schools spread across the Niger Delta. So far, it has supplied science equipment to schools from the primary to the tertiary levels.
According to the NDDC Director, Education, Health and Social Services, Dr. Christy Atako, 400 units of primary science kits and 700 units of junior secondary school kits were distributed in schools within the Niger Delta recently. In addition, she said, 36 units of 100kg Rotary Furnaces and 18 sets of Advanced Units of Manufacturing Technology facilities were distributed to tertiary institutions in the region. The commission also donated 880 sets of computers to all the polytechnics in the Niger Delta.
Qualified teachers alone do not make universities to produce qualitative graduates. Students need good learning environment, good libraries and laboratories, good classrooms and good hostels. Our universities have not always been in this sorry situation. Time was when they ranked among the best in the world. We should not forget that our premier tertiary institution, the University of Ibadan was once rated as the fourth best in the commonwealth. The rot set in when standards were compromised.
Lecture theatres and hostels in some of our universities are not really better than the dilapidated Police College, Ikeja, which has attracted the attention of President Jonathan. The regulatory authorities should insist on minimum standards that would make our ivory towers to be conducive for learning. They should stop approving universities for all manners of groups and individuals, whose only interest is to make maximum profit.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Why Do Most Kids Hate Mathematics?
By Chris Onyishi
Most kids who fear mathematics do so for so many reasons amongst which are:
But the truth is that any rational thinker is a good mathematician and any good mathematician is a rational thinker.
The above statement is represented in mathematics as corollary or inverse and these are terms we use casually on daily basis. That we are casually being mathematicians on daily basis is what it turns out to be.
If the reasons I gave above for people hating mathematics is true, then mathematically you say that my list is a SET of why people fear mathematics. If there are other reasons, such as Lack of mathematical models, lack of mathematics teachers, etc then mathematically you say that the SET is a SUBSET of reasons; do not mind my interchange of “fear” and “hate”. You can bring the two SETs together into one bigger SET with a merger tool call UNION. But if there could be no other reasons people fear mathematics, then you express that mathematically by saying that the SET is a SUPERSET which means the SET has covered all possible reasons, at the time, that make people fear the subject mathematics.
Just as we normally say that we are all political animal, it is true to say that we are all mathematical animal. It is only when one is mentally deranged that this notion cannot apply because to be a mathematician you must be coherent in your thinking and it is true that most people are coherent when they think. This is why when we want to travel by air, we go to obtain an air travel ticket and not just kick the ground and expect to lift our body and make the journey. This is also why when we go to buy a loaf of “Agege” bread worth N200 and we give the seller one N500 naira note, we expect and get N300 naira back as change. We would refuse to take N250. That is simple mathematics or arithmetic.
The difference between being political and being mathematical is that whereas the former is full of treachery and deceit the later is based on facts and is subject to proof and amenable to empiricism. So you get a situation where a politician tells you that he can build a bridge from earth to heaven but a mathematician will tell you what it will cost you to build a bridge to heaven or he may be blunt and tell you it is not possible based on some calculations and computations. A politician will never be specific on anything. He is only a crook who will tell you what you want to hear so that you will allow him impose himself upon you and continue to cheat you.
Let us partially look at a terminology in mathematics called transitivity. If I am driven by the knowledge that there is a living God and you are driven by my way of life, in mathematics we say that you are related to God (through me) by the rule of transitivity. If James is brother to John who is a brother to Julius, then mathematically it is reasonable to say that James is brother to Julius transitively. And when you turn the relationship around to say that Julius is related to James through John, you would use the word converse to describe that relationship. Simple. Isn’t it? So you say that James is related to John and John is related to Julius, then you can reasonably say that James is transitively related to Julius and conversely that Julius is related to James. But the rule of relationship is very important. In this case the relationship is brotherhood and not maternal.
But if Alice is the mother of Esther and Alice is also the mother of Gloria, we can infer that Gloria and Esther are related by birth from the same woman, Alice. You now see prepositional inference and not transitivity as the case with the brothers. By and large mathematics is just a shorter way of expressing things with less ambiguity. In our next approach, we will try to gradually bring in the notations and symbols that will depict the implication of what we have said.
When you go further into this area of mathematics you begin to bring in binary, exclusivity, inclusive, etc. But we won’t go that deep. We are just being ephemeral.
If we look at the reasons we stated above in a little dept, we come to the following expatiations.
a) IGNORANCE: One of the reasons we stated for people hating or fearing the subject “mathematics” is ignorance. When you do not know who you are and what is your capability towards solving any problems, chances are that you just shy away from attempting to solve problems. So if you do not realize that you are naturally a mathematician, you would likely hate to associate with it. This is mostly as a result of your early contact with mathematics. If your first teacher in a mathematics class decided to be “King Pung”, he would have given you the impression that mathematics is a hard subject and that he was able to become a master of it because he is a supper human. So you begin to fear him and his mathematics. So teachers must device a means of bringing down mathematics to the level where we discover that we are more mathematical than we are biological, for mathematics is what we practice every time we take a decision while biology is what we are told about our existence.
b) HATRED: Another reason for hating or fearing mathematics is HATRED OR FEAR. The moment your early exposure to mathematics is knotty, the problem has started. We now see that ignorance is directly connected to our subsequent attitude to mathematics. As a normal human being, we can overcome fear or hatred by growing up. So this issue is really personal. You can grow up by understanding that you can do it. The more we hate somebody, the more we get farther away from knowing who the person is. And hating someone just because you did not get properly introduced to him or her shows you have a bias that is not founded on any real fact. Try to know whether this person is really as bad as you were told. Try to learn the person, even if it means from a safe distance.
c) LAZINESS: Laziness is probably the most dangerous part of man. Laziness is that part of man that does not even allow him to have strong reasoning but just to resign him or her to faith. Faith actually works but certainly won’t make any person a mathematician. Laziness is defined elsewhere as indolence: inactivity resulting from a dislike of work. Any person who has given in to laziness will not have anything to do with success. So this aspect does not make a man to hate just mathematics but every other thing about life that has to do with effort. Prayers and counseling is what will be applied to a lazy person.
Another very important thing is that one does not have to be a “Chike Obi” to accept that he or she is a “reasonable” mathematician. You must not really have to get to the level of differential equation or integration. That level may actually have taken another turn into physics or something else. Numerical method is actually application of mathematics to give a statistical meaning to sequence of postulations. Little algebra, logic and the number system is sufficient for a start. You can at least apply for the study of Computer Science with a basic knowledge of mathematics. But a deeper knowledge is an advantage.
We talked about corollary or inverse, transitivity and converse and the concept of a SET which could be SUB or SUPER and how to use the operator of UNION to merge two SETs that are related. We will resume next time with another exciting secret to believing in our ability that we are reasonable mathematicians and how we can get our children become Chike Obis and Agbalajobis, et al. in due course.
Chris Onyishi (email@example.com) Lagos, Nigeria
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*My Tale As A Country
By Jide Olu
I'm not likely to explain to you the reason for my hope, but then it's probably enough to tell you I had one day met a middle-aged woman who told me stuffs. Sad and interesting and hopeful stuffs. She had no shoes and it's about impossible to question the reasoning of one without shoes. Such a sad sad little woman, clad in a faded richness and a sleepiness that made me think she's incapable of seeing outside her cosy little world.
It was in the farming years and even though the pleasant palms and nuts and cocoa trees were about all gone from my gardens, I had at that time retained the pleasure of relishing the stretch of my land--the richly dark forest nourished by coast and rains, and the sandy brownness Northward ploughed into richness by Nomads' feet. I must say it wasn't always this way with me that I should relish in the tell-tale marks of my extinct crops like one rejoicing at the vestige of a departed Sunshine. Instead I had lived my days as night and my night to sorrow over a growing apprehension: would I again regain my rich coat of white and green and be able to feed my children with meat unborrowed? But then the Messenger of the Winds visited me on one of my gloomy nights with report of the vast richness by my springs. I despaired to believe, to trust any good should come from turning springwardt rendering my house panting after and tearing apart one another for a bite at the strange nourishment. Also, who shall fight to restore my greens, my crops and my trade? And what shall become of a house raised on hand-downs after the springs do dry?
The Messenger in words was sweet and in motive ruthless. He was also very good at commerce for he sold to me my own possession and in exchange took my pleasant gardens of nourished forest and sandy brownness. And when I thought all I ever had was now lost, he showed me a means of being at peace with my destiny. For, he said, a man must accept his destiny or be crushed by it. With many such words he separated me from my miseries and preserved me comatosed and proper for his use. I contended vigorously, within me, to tell him I was no longer a man but a piece of rag soaked in oil and hanged on termite-infested props. That mine was not a destiny but a woe of my own gullibility, the doing of an indifference to the state of my father's house. That I was already crushed, long crusehd, the very moment I tarried to hear his message of Winds. Yes, I contended vigorously but my contention died within me for my very voice was owned by him.
Was I deceived? I have no means of judging. I am so far removed from my own conditions and from how things should be or should have been. My surviving children were born in the time of oiled rags and are all grateful for the remnant oiliness in our rags, and the older ones dig insatiable wells with million pipes running underground on their deepening bellies to drain out the little breath that in us is left.
Was I deceived?
Perhaps. But then that was the last of the deception that I should suffer, The Messenger of Winds having these days grown somewhat quiet and distant, or perhaps bored by the vastness of his loots. And gradually I have found some way to grow my own crops from the brilliance of my children-from letters and inks, and make the remnant of my oily inheritance cater to my house. Some disturbing tales from abroad had sometimes ago breezed in that some of the goods stolen from me were found on foreign shores, and then returned to my land. I've asked around but none could tell me where it landed-within my yard or in The Messenger's barn. But when some said it had all invisibily gone into oiling my rags I decided to let the matter rest for I have no way of deciding whether or not I was being deceived. It had seemed enough that a small fraction was recovered from The Messenger. It had also seemed appropriate, that I should be left alone to tend to my fading embers especially now that I have met a shoeless friend.
Sitting there opposite and facing me on my rotten bench, I had never felt a deeper connection to anyone. She's clad in the skin of my own offsprings, and in a shoelessness that echoes my own nakedness. She had stared long at me and suggested she would champion a cause to recover my stolen life. I patted her softly on the back to solidarise in her meaningless ambition, I was very much at home with much meaninglessness. She swayed back and forth and from side to side, lifted up one foot after the other to make sure I had not missed the pitiable sight of her unshod feet. I told her I saw it all and that it's nothing to compare with my broken will. She answered every one of my questions with a blank stare, and had proposed befriending the Messenger as a means of compelling him to return my stolen goods. It was a simple plan, easy to memorise. It had also come with the tenth of a bag of rice and the rat-size of Ankara cutting; my children hailed her so I gave her my vote and companied her with drums and the last of our breath to the Rock. But suddenly I found myself arguing over the ownership of our remaining metre-square land, praying to the Winds to give light, and begging a shoeless friend for a chance to shoe my children's feet. My sandy brownness now enriched in blood to the overflowing, and in my dark forests robbers and kidnappers form an empire.
Did the shoeless woman deceive me? I have no way of telling, for my bent back and feverish gash are to me a much closer reality than those that though shoeless shall deprive me of my last oily rag.
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*'Cry of A Biafran Child', An Inspirational War Hymn Launch In Milwaukee Saturday
On January 12, 1970 at the tender age of 14 as Charles O. Okereke witnessed the end of Nigeria’s historic civil war, enduring firsthand, the horrors of armed conflict as a child, he composed the hymn friends refer to as ‘Cry of A Biafran Child’. The essence of launching this song is not for a political ideology or agenda, but to identify with the history, will and determination of the people on both sides of that historic war, who symbolized a struggle and whose sacrifice, established either positively or negatively what is the present day Nigeria. In the same vein, this launching aims to celebrate the rich values of freedom, liberty and justice which the founding fathers of the great Nation - United States of America have handed down to its citizens, through the struggles of many iconic men and women who have contributed to the civil, political, ideological and social evolution of America.
Okereke says he will never forget January 12, 1970, the day the Nigerian civil war ended, because there was intense and sustained shelling of Orlu and environ as millions of civilians and soldiers were holed up in the enclave. In his words: “Our entire family, my parents, myself and siblings were in the encirclement. Voice of Biafra only played Church hymns with intermittent announcement that there would be a "special announcement" at 2.00 pm as our world was heavily bombarded. We listened to the radio for the announcement as we lay face-down on the floor under cover. I will never forget General Effiong's voice coming in much later after 2.00 pm to broadcast the surrender announcement. Federal troops stopped shelling the enclave about seven minutes into Effiong's speech.”
The CD insert has a complete history of this song. The CD can be purchased by sending $14.00 by mail to Charles O. Okereke, P.O. Box 11721, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211; and by Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org
Individual tracks can be purchased at itunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/all-hail-biafra-cry-biafran/id594341032?uo=4 . The entire CD or individual tracks can soon be purchased at amazon.com by searching for “All Hail Biafra (Cry of A Biafran Child)”.
Refer to enlarged flyer (by clicking the link underneath the flyer below) for complete details of the Milwaukee, Wisconsin launch. The U.S. launch comes up in Virginia, March 23 this year – complete details of the event will be released soon. The CD will be available in Nigeria soon.
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigerian Troops And The Malian Crisis: Matters Arising
By Theophilus Ilevbare
The Nigerian Senate gave constitutional approval to the deployment of 1,200 troops for combat mission as part of the Africa International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) – an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) organized military mission sent to support the government of ECOWAS member nation Mali against Islamist rebels in the Northern Mali conflict. The mission was authorized with UN Security Council Resolution 2085, passed on 20 December 2012, which "authorizes the deployment of an African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) for an initial period of one year. Nigerian troops had already been deployed by President Goodluck Jonathan before a letter was transferred to the Senate for approval. This action in itself raises serious constitutional questions.
The swift dispatch of troops belie the security challenges at home. It is now habitual and priority for Nigerian government to solve crisis in neighbouring African countries faster than the insurgency at home. If the federal government had responded in similar manner to the Boko Haram menace during its formative years, their activities would have been nipped in the bud. Security challenges now seem insuperable, extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses are now the hallmark of the Joint Task Force (JTF) on duty in the troubled northern states of Nigeria. The "brilliant record" of Nigeria's participation in peace mission in neighbouring African countries count for nothing when compared to the insurmountable security challenges at home. There is nothing ‘responsible’ about being proactive in regional conflicts when the Boko Haram menace has claimed over 3,000 lives and counting. The present security challenges at home does not warrant any form of peace-keeping outside the shores of the country. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Major General Emeka Onwuamaegbu, Commandant of Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) in handshake with soldiers.
The conflict in Mali birthed by the emergence of three Islamist groups now active in northern Mali – Ansar Dine, al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad all beefed up by an influx of mercenary fighters from Libya about a year ago. Defeats by Tuareg separatist aided by Islamist fighters coming back to Mali after the fall of Gaddafi triggered a military coup, in the confusion that ensued, the army were forced to retreat from the vast deserts of the north, with the secular Tuaregs swiftly pushed aside by their former allies, extremist militants took control of a vast area, big as France. For a country fettered with poverty, its citizens in perpetual pangs of hunger and most Malians practicing a temperate form of Islam, the insurgents in Mali were able to operate in shadow manner their presence undetected for years in the forests and deserts with strong ties and financial backing from al-Qaeda in the Middle East (AQIM). These Islamist rebels were also engendered by the subsequent destabilization of northern Africa after the war in Libya leading to the proliferation of arms and ammunition to groups masquerading as Libyan freedom fighters.
Nigerian government should take a cue from the reluctance of some European countries, particularly Britain whose Ministers were ordered to the Commons to stress that UK troops would not ‘undertake a combat role’ in the crisis in Africa, amid fears they could be sucked into a long, bloody conflict opting for logistical air assistance to France. The US played an active role in ousting Muammar Gaddafi during the Libyan uprising with air strikes without putting boots on the ground. Nigeria could have explored similar possibilities and should begin to think along such direction for future invitation to combat missions.
The suggestion by some senators that it is high time Nigeria considered her economic interest in foreign policies like the world super powers, US in particular, was instructive. We need not go on foreign missions without reaping the maximum benefits of our sacrifices. “It is no longer uhuru for the country to continue to play Father Christmas in its foreign policies” quipped a Senator.
The remark by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Azubuike Ihejirika, that Mali trained terrorists have crossed the border into Nigeria is rather preposterous as he gave no evidence of their presence. Actually, Nigeria does not share its border with Mali. In-between there is Burkina Faso, Niger republic and Togo. If all these nations did not report terrorist immigrants, then on what basis did the COAS raise alarm that Mali trained terrorist had landed Nigeria shores? A ruse it turned out to justify the deployment of troops to Mali.
There are real threats of retaliatory strikes of western targets across Africa and beyond, countries whose troops are part of the combined effort to flush out the terrorists. Mali may not play a significant role in world economy but it is surrounded, on far and near sides, by countries that do. Nigeria and Algeria with the largest and second largest gas reserves respectively in Africa, suppliers of petrochemical/minerals, make them potential targets of reprisals. Recently, al-Moulathamine, a group affiliated to AQIM has since claimed responsibility for the attack on a gas field in southern Algeria run by BP, Statoil and the Algerian state oil company Sonatrach.
The Algerian government said 38 workers and 29 militants died in an attack during a three-day military operation to end the hostage crisis. After a special forces operation crushed the last holdout of the fighters at the Amenas plant. Considering that Algeria have been co-operating with the French military operations by allowing the use of its airspace and committing about 900 troops to the UN mission in Mali, the Islamists fighters vowed to avenge what they called the country's support for French military action in neighbouring Mali. With Nigerian troops too in Mali, we may fear the worst.
There is a school of thought who believe the Malian crisis can be resolved with a bit of political persuasion rather than military intervention. Aside this, there lies a serious fear of Islamist fundamentalist taking over Mali and the country’s northern desert already held by insurgents and could become a breeding haven for terrorists to plan and launch international strikes. Already the fighters have taken control of major towns in the north. In the Taliban-Afghan style, they flog women for not covering up and amputate in public squares. The turban fighters have taken advantage of the political instability to capture territories hitherto used to stockpile weapons and train forces.
Few weeks ago, rebels seized control of a town called Konna, and gained entrance to Mopti, Mali's second city which by extension means there capture of the whole south in addition to the already controlled northern part of Mali. Their aim is to topple the government in the capital, Bamako. French troops have provided effective shield for the capital. Reports say French and Malian forces reclaimed the key towns of Konna and Diabaly from militants after days of intense fighting.
Now here is the big question; what is the strategy of the Nigerian troops nay the AFISMA in Mali? Is it to crush the terrorist or chase them out? Whichever of the tactics they deploy, reprisals from splinter and allied terrorist networks in Nigeria, like the Kogi state attack, are a cinch. But if their strategy is to push them out which is the obvious tactics from days of fighting in Mali, border countries should be prepare against the influx of fleeing Islamist rebels.
To stay ahead of the game in the fight against terrorism, Nigeria needs to be proactive on the home front. Have we deployed troops to protect or fortify, if any form of security already existed, Nigeria’s porous borders? Did we count the cost of an economic spill over of a full blown war in Mali, or of a military impasse or casualty? From the foregoing, the deployment of Nigerian troops to Mali has raised more questions than answers.
Theophilus Ilevbare ( email@example.com )
*Nigeria Police Force: The Good Versus The Bad & The Ugly
Public Statement By The Intersociety Nigeria
(Onitsha Nigeria, Monday, 21 January, 2013)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) believes strongly that one of the fundamental challenges facing the Nigeria Police Force today is the culture of the good versus the bad & the ugly within her management and operations. Other core challenges or problems undermining the Force’s competence, capacity and capability in crime prevention, fighting and control are static policies and procedures or non-adherence/adaptation to changing security challenges and modern anti-insecurity patterns; obsolete legislations on criminal justice and court rules; obsolete crime prevention and fighting equipment including lack of modern technological policing toolkits; unprofessionalism and lack of specialization; dearth of funds and gross mismanagement of overheads and capital allocations; incompetent oversight control of the Force’s headship by the PSC, ministerial and extra-ministerial establishments; lack of moral boosting; un-patriotism; ethno-religious-cum-political allegiances; ethical dilemma and police sub culture including blue wall of silence and gross negative public perception towards the police resulting in increasing rates of dark figures of crime and the self-help syndrome among members of the public.
The Nigeria Police Force(peopled by over 370,000 officers), going by modern policing technology, is no longer haunted by lack of manpower but lack of machine power and its competent handlers. For instance, it is an indisputable fact that up to 95% of the Force personnel, particularly from her Constables to Inspectors, are not computer literate. Also, most of her so-called Investigating Police Officers in her over 6,500 field formations in the country including most of her State CID operatives fear computers and their hardware and soft ware methodologies. Our criticism of the Force in recent times is well-intentioned; part of it is to see her totally revolutionalised by the authorities concerned. The Nigeria Police Force as the country’s general overseer of her internal security must be re-focused, socially re-engineered and reconstructed to enable her face competently the mounting internal security challenges such as internal terrorism, violent, cyber and administrative crimes. The worrying culture of the good versus the bad and the ugly whereby the good in the Force faces imminent extinction and extermination in the hands of the bad and the ugly who dominate the Force, for daring to effect positive changes, must be tackled head on before it becomes a hydra-headed monster. The late DIG Haruna John (killed in a suspicious helicopter air crash in 2012) wore and still wears the incontestable symbol of the good in the NPF.
Notwithstanding the forgoing inadequacies, there are still the good in the NPF working to the best of their abilities to give the Force a new good name and a new path. We in the Intersociety totally associate ourselves with such police good ambassadors. Conversely, the bad and the ugly still dot every nook and cranny of the Force swearing un-repentantly to return the Force to her dark ages with their sundry nefarious conducts aimed at sabotaging and undermining the change philosophy, which has incontestably removed the Force from the first position of the most corrupt public institution in Nigeria, which now goes to the Nigerian Judiciary particularly its pre-elections and post elections litigation section. One of the good in the top hierarchy of the NPF in recent times is IGP Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar. IGP Abubakar, from our extensive interactions with recently retired chiefs of police in Nigeria, etc, is joined by the likes of late DIG Haruna John (former DIG OPS), DIG Peter Gana(DIG FCID or D Div), AIG Philemon Leha, etc. Out of our various calls for the revolutionalisation of the NPF’s obsolete general administration, intelligence, criminal investigations and oversight control of her top headship, attentions by way of workshops, seminars, re-training and re-orientation, though not yet enough, are being given to two(general administration and criminal investigations)headed by IGP Abubakar and DIG Peter Gana. The dislodgment of most of over 3,500 extortionist police checkpoints across the country and the diligent investigation so far carried out in the dastardly murder of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde( an aide to Governor Adams Oshiomhole) on 4th of May, 2012 in Benin, Edo State, South-south Nigeria, are cases in point.
IGP Abubakar & DIG Peter Gana As Semblance Of The Good In The NPF:
Apart from ordering the dislodgment of over 3,500 extortionist police checkpoints on January 30, 2012, the IGP has substantially kept to his words of ensuring its sustenance despite the efforts of some corrupt State commands such as Anambra State Command under CP Bala Nasarrawa to sabotage and undermine it. The IGP has, for now; distinguished himself as one of the few history and people-friendly IGPs in Nigeria, notwithstanding the shortcomings of his personnel particularly in the areas of rights abuses such as extra-judicial killings and torture and corrupt practices. When objectively compared with her immediate inglorious epoch, the NPF under IGP Abubakar has made a remarkable shift from her hitherto chronic path of infamy when all indices of her social duties were at zero ratings. The recent successful launch of the code of conduct for the officers and men of the Force is a plus for the IGP’s leadership. Though belated, the code of conduct, we believe, emanates from the international code of conduct for police officers, issued by the International Association of the Chiefs of Police, which is an integral part of the Law Enforcement Oath of Honour, Law Enforcement Code of Ethics, Law Enforcement Code of Conduct and Cannons of Police Ethics. The godfathers of these important codes are the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Personnel and the UN Basic Principles for the Use of Force by the Law Enforcement Officers. In the rights community, they can be called Bill of Rights &Obligations for Law Enforcement Personnel. With this commendable development, the NPF has joined the league of international police organizations using modern professionalism and sound ethical conducts as her uncompromising parameters in her public policing industry. The change philosophy introduced by IGP Abubakar should be supported by all and sundry including the untiring exponents of the new Nigeria Police Service for a maximum success.
The Raging Controversy Over The Murder Of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde:
For some time now, the investigation and prosecution of the possible murderers of the late Private Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Comrade Olaitan Ojerinde have been shifted to the pages of newspaper no thanks to the Governor’s sustained media attacks against the NPF particularly her DIG FCID, DIG Peter Gana and DCP Chris Ezike(DCP, Federal SARS), who investigated and still investigate the matter, and the scanty responses by the authorities of the NPF. For untainted records, according to our empirical findings, the late Comrade Oyerinde was gruesomely murdered by some violent armed men on 4th of May, 2012 after midnight moments after he returned from a night outing in Benin City, in company of his two friends: one David Ugolor and one Blessing Ada Ogbonna. The gruesome murder took place at his residence: No. 65 2nd Ugbor Road, GRA, Benin, Edo State. The killers of Comrade Oyerinde also robbed his household of mobile telephones including Black Berry; laptops, local and foreign currencies, etc. The most worrying and controversial part of it all was the timing of the gruesome murder: barely three months to the all-important Edo gubernatorial poll, which eventually took place in July 2012. On surface valuation, it appeared politically motivated. But instead of allowing for competent and unbiased criminal investigations, the key players in Edo politics, drawn from the political camps of the ACN, which rules the State and the PDP-the main opposition party, resorted to accusations and counter-accusations via media warfare, aimed at achieving unholy political goal or destroying the possible leads into the involvement, directly or indirectly of either of the two camps.
The criminal investigations into the ill-conceived murder were handled by the NPF best hands in criminal investigations-the DIG-FCID and his subordinate commanders such as DCP Chris Ezike(DCP-Federal SARS), etc. The Department of State Services-DSS (SSS) was also involved in the investigations. At the end, two sets of criminal suspects were arrested by the two security agencies-NPF and SSS with the NPF launching its original investigations on the same day of the murder (04-05-2012). Today, with the help of media propaganda, the substance and validity of the investigation outcomes are under a serious threat. A division, by false or real impression, has successfully been created between the Police and the SSS criminal findings. For instance, Governor Adams Oshiomhole believes that Police have not found the killers of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde, yet the State’s DPP under his Attorney General has Okayed some of the arrested suspects for criminal trial for murder, armed robbery and criminal conspiracy against the subject. On the other hand, the suspects arrested by the SSS, whom Governor Oshiomhole believes did a good job, were not conventionally investigated (according to our empirical findings) by the SSS, who handed them over or transferred them to the NPF on 23rd August, 2012 for prosecution, with some exhibits other than (no) case files, statements of the suspects and witnesses/complainants, attestations, search warrants, etc; thereby leaving the NPF investigators with no other options than to re-investigate them. The only nexus between the SSS suspects and the murder under reference, according to our empirical findings and the re-investigated case, was criminal receipt of the deceased family’s personal effects (mobile phones) per suspect Lawal Abubakar originally wanted by both NPF and SSS, but first arrested in Kano by the Kano State Police Command and handed over to the SSS on the orders of the State CP before the arrival of the Force CID team. Also, the clues provided by suspect Garba Usman Maisamari, under interrogation, as per his relationship with one David Ugolor over the procurement of the Comrade’s gruesome murder were aborted through media propaganda and court actions, therefore, the clues were unexhausted.
Lessons From The Gruesome Murder & Its Criminal Findings:
The first lesson is gun controversy. Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s accusations would have been valid and believable if, for instance, he had established before the public, as his State’s chief security officer, that the guns used by Comrade Oyerinde’s killers, through bullet ballistic and other empirical analysis, were not the same with those disclosed by the NPF or SSS; since the late Comrade was shot severally in the stomach. Also the ownersip of the guns that accompanied the SSS exhibits and suspects ‘transfer to the NPF is now subject of controversy because its admittance allegedly under torture or duress by one of the suspects (Mohammed Ibrahim Abdullahi) has been withdrawn in the re-investigated case. The suspect, according to our empirical findings, had insisted that in the course of the search executed in his house in Benin, only one hammer, one machete and two kitchen knives used by his three wives were found. He was reportedly introduced to Governor Adams Oshiomhole as the owner of the guns used in murdering Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde when the SSS reportedly paraded him and six others before the Governor on 31st June, 2012. Therefore, it is now left with an option that they were planted. The SSS owes Nigerians an obligation to make public (if any) empirical findings of its conventional investigation of its seven suspects it arrested in connection with Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde’s gruesome murder. The second lesson is the politicization of the murder and its investigations. In criminal investigations, excessive media involvement is a sufficient defense to right to freedom of expression and media, because it defaces leads, clues and scene of the crime management. For now, Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s accusations lack empiricism and factuality until proven otherwise. The third lesson is that other than conventional armed robbery as the cause of the Comrade’s death, it is possible that he was killed from within or outside. In Criminology, Security Studies and the PCR (Peace & Conflict Resolution), politicians from both ruling and opposition parties and camps can kill their own or their opponents for political goals or to erase traces of political incriminations or certain deadly secrets. The fourth lesson is the continued dependency of police prosecutors on the so called DPP advice, which is both time consuming and corrupt. It is also manipulative. Nigerian courts including the Court of Appeal have recently rested the controversy as whether police lawyers can prosecute felonious cases including armed robbery and murder in courts of superior records. The Court answered yes. Referrals to DPP should be made optional and the issue of Holden Charge, already outlawed by some decided cases, revisited.
In all, Governor Adams Oshiomhole’s position that killers of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde have not been fished out by the Police, may or may not be correct. Since the criminal investigations can last up to seven years, all hands should be on deck to ensure that the Comrade’s murderers including those that perfectly murdered our own Comrade Chima Ubani in September 2005 in Borno State, are fished out and made to face the law. Instead of capitalizing on the poor public image of the NPF to further vilify the Force in matter of innocence and job fairly done well, the NPF should deserve commendation where necessary and bashing or condemnation where necessary as well. For us at Intersociety, the DIG FCID team deserves commendation, not vilification, over its handling so far of the late Oyerinde Olaitan’s murder investigation. Calls for the sack of the duo of DIG FCID and the DCP, F-SARS are, therefore, ill-conceived and condemnable. We hope that those that the Edo DPP says have a case to answer in law court should be diligently and timely prosecuted.
The Bad & The Ugly In The NPF (Nigeria Police Force):
Killer-DPO Temitope Fasugba Of The Onitsha CPS & Torturer-DPO John Mark Of Fegge Division:
On 18th December, 2012, Citizen Chuka Nwankwo, residing at Umusiome Village, Nkpor, Anambra State, was shot twice and battered at close range, at leg region by the DPO(Divisional Police Officer) for Onitsha CPS, SP Temitope Fasugba. Citizen Nwankwo is a commercial bus driver in Onitsha usually hired and paid on daily basis by the management of the Anambra State Traffic Control Agency (ASTA). Citizen Nwankwo and other field officers of the State Agency were at the Onitsha Upper Iweka, controlling traffic to ensure a traffic-free movement for Xmas returnees. Conversely, three women police officers were busy engaging in collection of bribes from motorists and allowing them access to wrong routes. As a result, one of the motorists who offered them N500.00 was refused access by the ASTA field operatives to ply wrongly. The vehicle, a four-runner jeep was impounded and toed to the Agency’s office at the Onitsha GRA, under the police jurisdiction of the Onitsha CPS and the Onitsha Area Command. The toeing of the vehicle was resisted by the three women police officers, who felt slighted and followed them to the Agency’s office. The DPO was contacted and he stormed the Agency’s office in a commando style with his armed personnel at about 4: pm same day and opened fire, shooting indiscriminately in the air. As the personnel of the Agency were scampering for safety, the DPO went straight to where Citizen Nwankwo was surrounded by the three women police officers, pulled his service pistol and shot him. He went closer again to him and shot him the second time, after which he picked him, took him in the booth of his official vehicle and dumped him at his Station to bleed to death. Citizen Nwankwo bled profusely until about 8: pm same day when the night duty officers became afraid of his possible death and alerted the killer-DPO, who had left his office since over two hours. For fear of his possible death at the Station, the killer-DPO directed that he should be taken out of the Station and he was finally dumped at the Multi-care Hospital; an Onitsha based private hospital. On Thursday, 20th December, 2012, the killer-DPO sent a cash of N20, 000 as treatment deposit to the management of the hospital.
From the foregoing, therefore, it is obvious that the bad & the ugly abound in the NPF. DPO Fasugba is one of such bad eggs polluting the NPF with utter alacrity. The above criminal conduct by a senior police officer is not an isolated case; a lot of such go unreported on daily basis. Killer-DPO Temitope Fasugba, before his recent posting to the Onitsha CPS as the DPO, was formerly of the B Division at the State Command Headquarters at Awka as well as the 2i/c Operations at the State Command. The said DPO is a bad news in all its ramifications! He expressly represents the dregs of the NPF or the black sheep of the NPF. If a DPO of his standing cannot understand common theories of use of force, proportionality of defensive force to the proportionality of attacking force, code of conduct and ethical dilemma management, then the NPF is doomed if his likes are allowed to remain in the Force one bit. Killer-DPO Temitope Fasugba and John Mark, the torturer- DPO, Fegge Division of the NPF represent the opposite of the new Nigeria Police Force (NPF). It is correct to say that when IGP Abubakar and his team struggle to re-build; the likes of Supols Fasugba and John Mark struggle to destroy anything needing re-building including NPF image and integrity.
Further, on December 15, 2012, the body including the sensitive body of Mrs. Chika Obikwelu of No. 124 Bida Road, Fegge, Onitsha was lacerated with a long stick by the DPO, Fegge Police Division, Onitsha, Supol John Mark. The woman, a mother of five, had gone to see one Mrs. Ibe(father’s surname), a heavily pregnant woman, who was arrested and detained on the orders of the DPO over her husband’s alleged involvement in armed robbery, with a view to giving her food. The pregnant woman was detained alongside her brother, Mr. Ibe (an operative of the NPF) on the ground that they must produce the culprit, who is Mr. Ibe’s in-law. On sighting Mrs. Obikwelu at the Station’s counter, the torturer-DPO accused her of being one of them and snatched a long stick from an officer, designed and lacerated her body, after which he ordered for her indefinite detention. Mrs. Chika Obikwelu was released three days after (18-12-2012). The matter was later transferred to the SARS for further investigations, culminating in granting the duo bail on Wednesday, January 16, 2013, after over 30 days in detention. The case of the torture of Mrs. Obikwelu has been reported to CP Bala Nasarrawa and assigned to DC OPS for investigation.
As we speak, every inner corner of Onitsha police jurisdiction is flooded with extortionist police personnel. Our press release of December 19, 2012 with respect to the foregoing is a case in point. It is available on our website (intersociety-ng.org). The most culpable police stations are Okpoko under DSP Joseph Ogunlade, Fegge under Supol John Mark, Onitsha CPS under Supol Temitope Fasugba, Obosi under Supol Emeka Ugwu, Onitsha MOPOL 54 under Supol Hilary Ndoma and Onitsha Area Command under ACP Benjamin Wordu. There also exists police fee of N200.00 forcefully paid daily by every commercial vehicle in Onitsha police jurisdiction, collected by a certain contractor and distributed among police heads in the area. The IGP is called upon to take note of these and arrest same promptly. Killer-DPO Temitope Fasugba and torturer-DPO John Mark should be booted out of the NPF and jailed to serve as deterrent to others. The DPOs/Commanders mentioned above should be seriously monitored and held responsible for those anomalous acts complained of. CP Bala Nasarrawa should be made to sit up to sanitize his Command or be posted out of the State and sanctioned.
Shocking Discovery Of Possible Victims Of SARS Extra-judicial Killings:
IGP Abubakar should also investigate thoroughly and conclusively the recent shocking discovery of dozens of corpses inside the Amansea (Ezu) River, in Awka, Anambra State by the local residents on Saturday, January 19, 2013. The River is located between the borders of Anambra and Enugu States. Since there is no known intra and inter communal violence or conflict in the area, it is most likely that the corpses are victims of extra-judicial killings by SARS (Special Anti Robbery Squad) operatives in Anambra State. More so when little or nothing is heard of the prosecution, conviction or acquittal of those arrested for their involvement in violent crimes such as armed robbery, kidnapping and culpable murder, particularly after they have been paraded. They are rarely arraigned and prosecuted in courts. In November 2005, over 20 detained citizens were massacred by the Awka CPS SARS and dumped in the area (Agu-Awka). Therefore, every logical indication points in the direction of the Anambra State SARS and the Anti Kidnap squads as the source of the dead bodies. The IGP should order that the corpses be pathologically investigated to determine their style of killing and circumstances under which they were killed.
Comrade Justus Ijeoma
Head, Publicity Desk
Mobile Phone: 08037114869
Photo Above: Chuka Nwankwo battered leg
*Nigerian Churches and the Rising Influence of Marine Spirits (Part 2)
By Obinna Akukwe
The rising influence of marine spirits in the churches is noticeable in the city of Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt. lot of young pastors have had course to escape from the church of a super rich, well connected female pastor because this woman whom close friends and workers claim has affinity with water spirits is always demanding sex from numerous young and hungry pastors who throng her church for ministerial assistance and is ready to handsomely reward any accomplice. When one of the pastors refused to continue with the unending sexual demand and signalled intention to quit, the woman of God cursed him and he died. The pastor’s death, under mysterious circumstances, hours after the final altercation with the super rich woman, raised a lot of dust within ministerial circles in Abuja and was reported to local chapter of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, by friends of the deceased. There is a general consensus that the then leadership of Abuja PFN lacked the courage to confront the woman because of the mouthwatering tithes and offerings from her. This matter occurred in the peak of former president Obasanjo’s campaign for Yaradua presidency. Shortly after that, in 2007, another music pastor, whose father is equally a pastor in his South-South home state, had to flee to another church for deliverance when this woman’s son warned the randy pastor of the diabolic nature of the mum( woman of God) whom he is constantly sleeping with. This pastor also had dangerous marine tales about her sugar mummy pastor and I encouraged him to repent and secure himself in God before he becomes a spiritual rag.
These are few instances where the pastor is equally an agent and with the enormous marine sanctioning power, they can reign in any errant church member who is not spiritually well fortified. The purpose of every marine penetration is to lead people on the highway to hell fire and the way the churches are going now, a lot of rich members whom God had blessed are equally being prepared for eternal damnation in churches where the marine powers have taken control. This control of the churches by marine powers dated back to the apostolic age when in the letter to the seven churches, Jesus Christ commended the church in Thyatira for refusing the advances and the teachings of the prostitute, (Revelation Chapter 2 vs 18-21) therefore, believers are expected to resist its operation by rejecting its appearance in the body of Christ. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Christian Symbol
In April 2012 a notable Lagos based Bishop alarmingly told me of a pastor friend who recently patronized the Queen of the Coast and escaped by the grace of God. This Lagos based pastor whose church members have disappeared due to financial hardship, went in search of ministerial help from another senior mentor who has a church of about three thousand members and lots of excess financial breakthrough. This senior mentor took this young pastor to Lagos bar beach in the midnight for special prayers. According to the narration of the traumatized pastor, he saw some pastors he knew in clusters talking in whispers near the parking lot, as they moved closer to the ocean.
The senior mentor then revealed to the younger pastor that the condition for the power he is to receive to transform his church include making love to a soon to appear mermaid and afterwards everything about his church will change. Secondly, he will be constantly sleeping with church members and using their star to maintain the power, he will donate a soul annually, and finally he will be soft on messages of righteousness. The senior pastor explained that all those he saw somewhere near the parking lot have all done it and their churches are moving well and that they still love Jesus except that ministry must move on.
The young pastor was still contemplating what to do when a mighty wave rose up in the sea and a very beautiful girl, stark naked walked out of the deep sea and made for the pastor. This pastor claimed that this lady whose hair reaches the shoulder level was the most beautiful girl he has ever seen and when his manhood was about to respond in admiration he heard a small voice warning him that once he makes love to this lady, his soul is mortgaged forever. He started speaking in tongues and rebuked the foul woman in the name of Jesus Christ; she screamed and disappeared back to the water. This pastor had to narrate the experience to close confidants including the identity of Men of God he saw at the parking lot. This pastor’s story caused some stir among ministerial circles in Lagos and the Bishop was the third notable pastor in Lagos to inform me about it.
Therefore, the evidences of pastors, priests etc working for marine powers abound. God had given every Christian the ability to discern good and evil and it behoves a Christian who sincerely loves God to engage the Holy Spirit in prayers and seek clarifications when strange things happen in the congregation. Wishing away spiritual signals can cause a faithful his soul, which is more precious than the wealth of the entire world. Christians should be watchful and constantly pray against marine operations anywhere they receive spiritual nourishment. This season calls for extra carefulness and pastors should constantly pray and shut the doors of marine penetrations in their respective worship centres without necessarily antagonizing any worshipper. These prayers will kick-start the process of reducing the growing influence of marine powers in the churches.
Obinna Akukwe ( Profetobinna2@yahoo.com )
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