By Daramola Bade Joseph, Esq, CAN’s General Secretary.
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned in strong terms, the invasion of Dunamis Gospel International Centre, Abuja by some youths protesting against the government while the Sunday service was ongoing recently.
Their actions were ungodly, unbiblical, unacceptable, unprecedented, reprehensible and provocative. We wondered what could have led those misguided youths to turn a place of worship to a political arena.
According to reports which we received from the Church, which corroborated our findings, some youths came to the Church premises on Sunday, July 4, 2021 wearing branded T-shirts with the inscription “BUHARI MUST GO” and participated in the first of the three services conducted.
The Church denied that the protesters were arrested when they came out to answer the altar call and were handed over to the Department of State Service operatives.
According to the Church, “No one questioned the legality or otherwise of the inscription on their T-shirts during the altar call. However, soon after their departure from the altar, they swung into protest blaring trumpets and saxophones right from the exit door of the church. At the same time, the event was being covered and live-streamed with the background shots of the church building and those of the thronging crowd, both exiting and entering the sanctuary for the next service. The live streaming had the caption: ‘BUHARI MUST GO Campaign Hits Dunamis Church in Abuja’. This is an embarrassment to the genuine worshipers and the Church leadership.
If the DSS operatives truly arrested some of them as was reported, their sponsors should settle that with the security agency instead of threatening the assaulted Church with fire and brimstone. While we are not against any peaceful protest but the venue for such a protest shouldn’t be the church premises, a place of worship. What happened on that day was unprecedented in the history of the Church in the country. Whenever we direct churches to embark upon any peaceful protest, within and outside the church premises, we always make it known publicly and we have never asked any group of people to join us.
We wondered why the sponsors of the protesters who failed to carry the leadership of the church along before embarking on their protest are now accusing the Senior Pastor of Dunamis Church of being responsible for the detention of those who were arrested.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Body of Christ in the country is neither a pro-government or anti-government association. That is not parts of our divine responsibilities.
While we are calling on the concerned security agency to release those who are in its custody over the unlawful actions, on humanitarian grounds, we are also warning any group of people against further desecration of any of our churches in the country. People of different political persuasions go to Church primarily to worship the living God and not for political reasons. There are empirical evidences that show that the Church in Nigeria has never been cowed or failed to speak the truth to power as the need arises but that should not be perceived as anti-government stance.