Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President Rev. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle has called on Christians to defend themselves against killings and attacks by herdsmen, Boko Haram insurgents and other militia groups.
He urged Christians to go into politics, insisting that the country needs believers, who would see leadership as serving the nation.
Rev. Ayokunle, who is also Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC) President, spoke at Rivers Baptist Conference International Campground at Ndele in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State at the weekend during a pre-convention news conference.
It was part of the activities lined up for the 105th annual meeting of the NBC, tagged: “Moving forward, building a great nation through effective Christian participation”.
He said: “Lawyers have been speaking that the issue of self-defence is constitutional and also in commonsense, which may not be common, because if you see somebody coming with dangerous weapon to kill you and you say it is not constitutional to defend yourself, then you must be ready to lose your life.
“It is commonsense that you defend yourself from danger that is coming, but if you think it is not good to defend yourself, good luck. Do not be naive. If the marauders appear to be more powerful than the government and they cannot save us from them, then we must save ourselves.
“For about nine years, these people have continued to kill and it appears like they have more guns and tactics than the security agents to be able to continue. How many of them have been arrested? How many of them have been prosecuted? Then, if I allow them to take my life, I will be responsible for my foolishness.”
The CAN president, who also added that there are 15,000 Baptist churches in Nigeria, stressed that the theme of the annual convention was crucial to Nigerians at this time, having been ruled by different administrations and people – from the colonial masters to civil rule to military and back to civil rule.
He said: “We have been experiencing one pain or another from one administration to another. Many analytical minds in the country know that Nigeria is like a crippled giant, because we have not been able to fully appropriate the potential, which God has given to us.
“The pain of the nation is that of lack of task-oriented leaders. Leaders that are selfless and compassionate. Leaders that are ready to sacrifice and are committed to nation-building are lacking in this nation.
“We have been ruled by the wicked. People, who do not take to their hearts, the people’s welfare. No wonder, over 50 years after independence from colonial rule, we still have dead traps as our roads.
“When you leave the major roads, you cannot enter any city in Nigeria and be proud of what you see. Taps, which use to flow, when the colonial masters were here (in Nigeria) are no longer functional. Apart from the rulers, those that are ruled are part of the problems, because we have not been able to make our leaders to give account of their stewardship.”
Rev. Ayokunle called on Christians not to see politics as a dirty game, but to fully participate in politics, to change Nigeria for better.
He said: “Good Christians have not made themselves available for governance, thinking that politics is a dirty game. If politics is allowed to be a dirty game, we will continue to allow the dirty people to play it. The righteous ones should rise up to deliver the people of this nation from slavery.
“Nigeria needs people like Moses, who will not fear to face the oppressors in the land. The righteous have to rise up like Daniel to give credible leadership and throw away idolatry from our land. We need men called of God like David, who will build the nation and serve the people, according to the will of God.
“I am calling and challenging Christians, especially those from my constituency, Baptist in particular, to join politics and give this nation hope, as many of you that are called to go into politics to serve the people, not because you want to eat up the resources of the nation, rather you want to build the nation.”