Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), Sunday expressed concern over the wanton killings in the country, lamenting that with the 2019 general elections fast approaching, Nigerians were becoming fearful and anxious about the future.
He was also worried over the state of the economy, saying hardship has not only made the poor poorer, but has drastically reduced the quality of life of even the rich.
Gowon, who is also the convener of Nigeria Prays, an interdenominational Christian organisation that prays and intercedes for the people and the country, spoke at a special National Prayer Service held at the national headquarters of the Deeper Life Bible Church in Lagos yesterday, and tasked the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to be alive to its primary responsibility of protection of lives and property of all citizens.
He said, “The problem of economic hardship has not only made the poor poorer, but has drastically reduced the quality of life of even the rich or politically influential.
“But we must continually demand that government be seriously alive to its primary responsibility of the protection of life and property of all citizens. While government is encouraged to do the needful, people of faith also must be encouraged to win over unnecessarily angry and violent people with the force of love.”
The former head of state said despite the killings perpetrated by “the dark agents of insurgency, Boko Haram, or by armed cattle herdsmen and rustlers, Christians should not resort to any form of retaliation that would lead to a religious war.”
The former head of state said despite this, the children of God should come together and pray for the nation, adding that “whatsoever the provocation, whatever the threat, for the sake of the country -Nigeria, Christians should never resort to retaliation.”
He urged the people and the church to embrace the spirit of love, patriotism and commitment to the good of the nation irrespective of political party or religious affiliations or tribal differences.
Gowon said, “I say this mindful of the concerns that have been raised by Christians across the country over the growing spate of the killings of our brethren that have been recorded and reported nationwide.
“Truth be told, these are genuine concerns. Should this lead us to contemplating retaliations or reprisal attacks? The scriptures are clear: vengeance is of the Lord. We must steer clear of any semblance of encouraging religious warfare in the guise of self-defence.”
At the service, where Buhari was represented by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, and was attended by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Okey Enelamah, who represented Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; the Social Democratic Party (SDP) presidential candidate, Mr. Donald Duke, and his wife, Onari; the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate for Lagos State, Mr. Jide Sanwo-olu; Dr. Christopher Kolade; Chief Opral Benson and the wife of the governor of Ogun State, Mrs. Funsho Amosun, among others, the General Overseer of the Deeper Life Bible Church, Dr. William Kumuyi, in his sermon, said that God has not given up on Nigeria.
Kumuyi, while quoting profusely from the Bible, said that Nigeria is like Egypt in the Bible, where God said that “Egypt shall return to the Lord,” adding that despite what the nation may be going through, it shall overcome the present tribulations.