Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged Nigerians, to look beyond the vicissitudes of the season in the country predicting that the country will become an oasis of peace, security and prosperity in Africa and beyond.
He was speaking on Sunday at the Nigerian Baptist Convention on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, but in a local Baptish Church up north in Kaduna, bandits shifted focus from schools killing a worshipper, Dr Zechariah Dogonyaro in Haske Baptist Church of Manini in Chikun Local Government Area.
With the latest death and abductions,, at least 240 persons were killed and 48 others kidnapped in separate violent incidents, part of gory statistics that made Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, to declare that the country is at war. Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said as much, too.
The Kaduna State Government condemned the attack on a place of worship in strongest terms, as the State increasingly becomes a killing field.
According to the State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan, security agencies reported to the Government that armed bandits attacked congregants at Haske Baptist Church, Manini, about 9:30am.
Osinbajo down south says though Nigeria is going through storms and adversity, the country will overcome its challenges and realise its aspirations, because of the promises of God regarding the outstanding greatness ahead of the country.
The Vice President’s message was delivered, within hours the carnage in Kaduna was on, at the ongoing 108th annual convention of the Nigerian Baptist Convention themed “Moving Forward: Finishing the Race with Joy”, holding at the church’s conference Centre along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
According to Prof. Osinbajo, “there is a promise of God for this nation, that this nation will prosper, that this nation will be the epicentre of the astounding economic and scientific developments of the 21st Century, that we will create here in Nigeria an oasis of peace, security and prosperity such as has never been seen before on this continent and beyond.”
“This is the promise of God. But today the clouds are overcast, the promise seems impossible, as it was with the children of Israel after leaving Egypt on the way to the promised land…”
Continuing the VP declared that “the journey to the promise of God for Nigeria is going through storms and adversity, but the end will be better than the beginning; weeping may endure for the night but joy comes in the morning.
“I am completely convinced that nobody, no group, no ideology, can defeat the promise of God for the greatness of Nigeria. I see it clearly; I know it like my own face.”
Urging Nigerians not to be dissuaded by the present challenges, Prof. Osinbajo said, “I urge you men and women of God not to allow the adversities of the moment to shape your utterances or perception.”
“We must not sound like the children of Israel fearful before Goliath, petrified and complaining at the Red Sea as Pharaoh and his hostile hosts approached.
“We are the light of this world, we are the voice of God in a confused and discouraged world, we must speak the things that God has promised as though they are because they will come to pass.
“The clouds cannot deny the existence of the sun, they may cover it for a while, but they must give way to the glorious brightness of sunshine,” the Vice President assured.
While commending the outgoing National President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, who is also the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Supo Ayokunle, Prof. Osinbajo said, “from his humble days leading the small flock in Ibadan to the headship of the Baptist Convention, superintending over the affairs of 13,654 churches and 8,000,637 members, and then suddenly being propelled to the rocky and difficult intersection between politics and religion as the 6th President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, the umbrella body of Nigeria’s millions of Christians, the man we celebrate today has seen it all; adversity, tribulation, enemies from within and without.”
He added: “the days of criticisms, fair and unfair, of battles spiritual and physical, of long nights of travailing in the place of prayer. And the many times when he could have said I have had enough.”
The Vice President then observed that the life and times of the CAN President “must be a parable to our Nation, its leaders and people, that there is a promise of God for this nation.”
In Kaduna, Commissioner Aruwan said according to the report from security agencies about four worshippers were abducted from the Haske Baptist church.
One resident, Shehu Mainika was injured in the general area by the bandits.
In other reports received from security agencies, armed bandits invaded Bagoma village, Birnin Gwari LGA and killed six persons, listed as: – Bala Gwamna – Kasage Ali – Mai Jakki – Makeri Kugu – Haruna Kawu – Ali Agaji.
One person, Salisu Gwamna, older brother of the deceased Bala Gwamna, was injured in the attack.
Also reported was an attack by armed bandits at Amfu village in Kachia LGA, in which one Mrs Rahila Dauda was shot dead.
Finally, the partially burnt corpse of a seven-year-old, Abubakar Sarki Musa, was found in an uncompleted building in Hayin Danmani area, Rigasa, Igabi LGA.
One Saddique Umar, an 18-year-old resident of the area, confessed to killing him, after luring the boy into the deserted building in a bid to steal a phone placed in his possession.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai roundly denounced the attack on the church in Chikun LGA as a shocking act of depraved persons far-removed from humanity.
The Governor added that attacking innocent worshipers who were exercising their natural and lawful right to assemble in worship, represented the worst kind of evil.
The Governor sent heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and to the Haske Baptist Church.
The Governor prayed for the repose of the souls of the slain in all the attacks. He also wished the injured victim a speedy recovery.