The Bishop of Lagos and Missioner, Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Humphrey Olumakaaiye has urged Nigerians to always seek God’s intervention to overcome the nation’s challenges. He also begged the #EndSARs protesters to embrace peace and negotiate with the Federal Government to avert further violence and damages.
He called on government to listen to the outcries of the youths, who took to the streets to express their grievances. Although the protest might have been hijacked, he believed that the Church would engage in spiritual exercise to help transform the nation.
Olumakaaiye spoke at the dedication/commissioning of the auditorium of St. Paul’s Church, Maza-Maza, Amuwo, Lagos: “When we seek God’s face, there will be an end to emptiness economically and the many challenges facing the country will be a thing of the past. God will answer Nigerians when they reach out to Him in term of sincerity.
“The problems pervading Nigeria are as a result of sins and unrighteousness of its citizens.” He urged Nigerian leaders and citizens alike to pray for wisdom, divine visitation and help from God:
“Solution is possible. We should not relent in praying for the country because God will visit us. I have high hope that Nigeria can be changed. I have hope that if we pray, God will give wisdom to our leaders to boost their efforts.”
He appealed to the protesters to leave the streets and apply caution, peace and dialogue to avert more crises. The protest, which had been peaceful, snowballed into violence after the Lekki tollgate shootings by unknown soldiers: He added: “All of your demands would take a process and I seek urgent intervention by government to fix the challenge.
“They must avoid turning the situation into anger and frustration. It is a collective challenge that will take a process to achieve the desired results. Apart from the activities of the SARS, they have listed most of the problems in the country, government have to re-examine its operations to ensure that the nation is restructured.”
Olumakaaiye commended the protesters for the courage displayed, saying it is time to open channels for dialogue: “The Church is in support of the movement. We are praying for the nation to have spiritual transformation, when that is achieved, there will be total peace.
“The Church is the center of unity, has been a place of refuge for the destitute. Government needs to put in place structures and working institutions, so there will be spiritual transformation beyond meeting the demands.
“Though the attacks were done by hoodlums, they should not be happening because they distract us from the conversations. I am heartbroken watching the youths who are the hope of the country being subjected to various degrees of humiliation because they want to chart a new course.
“Unfortunately, the crisis has deepened due to the problem of trust. The youths do not trust the leadership of the country. It is only God that can help us.” He encouraged the youths to allow government work on your demands to change the system as well as end the protests.
The cleric stated that in as much as the youths are fighting for justice, they should equally listen to the voice of reasoning: “Spiritual transformation is what we need to actually bring the expected change not just the physical justice.
“I believe it is time to sit down with the authority to figure out a strategy on the reforms we want implemented and cut a deal. The #EndSARS protest is getting out of hand it is being distracted by hoodlums and miscreants. We should not let this happen.”
He called on government not to make use of armed men to disrupt the process and appealed to the youths to retreat: “You have made demands but need time to handle things. Do not to take laws into your hands and government should guard against anarchy and should not detain peaceful protesters.
“Restructuring is what the youths seek and the role of the Church is to pray and foster the development of their community. The Church in its own little way has contributed to development as well as impacted the nation.
“The fight is a genuine course, and government should look for a way to curb this crisis. The youths want reform and government should listen and reach compromise to fix the present situation. Government should give peace a chance and dialogue with the youths, though the youths are bitter especially, with the severe hardship, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He encouraged Nigerians to continue praying for the nation to overcome the challenge:
“Love, peace, unity and harmony are important values missing. Desperate individuals are taking advantage of this to cause mayhem. Those behind the country’s security challenges should turn to God and attain spiritual transformation. That is the only thing that will bring lasting peace to our nation.”