THE NORTH-EAST NIGERIA CONFERENCE OF THE SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH ON THE INCESSANT BLOODLETTING AND MINDLESS ORGY OF MERCILESS MASS MURDER IN PLATEAU STATE, THE MIDDLE BELT AND OTHER PLACES IN NIGERIA AT THE CONFERENCE HALL OF NENC HEADQUARTERS, BUKURU,
The President of North East of the Seventh Day Adventist Church Pastor Emmanuel Gbazi Jugbo has appealed to Muslim and Christian clerics to enjoined and desist from using derogatory language regarding other religious groups or else the relevant laws prohibiting insult to and disruption of religion should be enforced against them.
Pastor Emmanuel Gbazi Jugbo and the Executive Secretary ,Pastor Joshua Ezra Mallum disclosed this during their World press conference held in Jos South Local Government Area .
He explained further that the cry of the Church right from inception has been for truth, justice and righteousness. We therefore call on all Nigerians to embrace peaceful co-existence .
Pastor Jugbo noted that it is with deep sadness that we address you today on the carnage that have become the order of the day in many parts of our country Nigeria. Killing of innocents and destruction of property are a daily occurrence in most parts of the Middle-Belt as well as other places in this country.
The church leaders wonder if we are truly one nation with one destiny!
Before we delve fully into the crux of our address today, kindly oblige me to take you through the cardinal points of the Mission Statement of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is to call all people to become disciples of Jesus Christ, to proclaim the everlasting gospel embraced by the three angels’ messages (Revelation 14:6-12), and to prepare the world for Christ’s soon return.
Guided by the Bible and the Holy Spirit, Seventh-day Adventists pursue this mission through Christ-like living, communicating, discipling, teaching, healing, and serving.
In harmony with Bible revelation, Seventh-day Adventists see as the climax of God’s plan the restoration of all His creation to full harmony with His perfect will and righteousness.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church sees itself as the remnant Church of end-time Bible prophecy. Members of the Church, individually and collectively, understand their special role as ambassadors of God’s kingdom and messengers of the soon return of Jesus Christ. Seventh-day Adventists have enlisted as co-workers with God in His mission of reclaiming the world from the power and presence of evil, as part of the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan.
He ,therefore,said every aspect of a Church member’s life is influenced by the conviction that we live in the last days described in Bible prophecy and the return of Jesus Christ is imminent. Seventh-day Adventists are called by God to live in this world. Every action of the Christian life is done “in the name of Jesus” and to advance His kingdom.
THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE AND VALUE OF PROPERTY
We believe in the sanctity and inviolability of human life. ”Thou shall not kill” as captured inExodus 20:13, is God’s moral imperative which is replicated in the laws of virtually all civilized societies in the world. Therefore it baffles us that human life, especially in most parts of North-Central Nigeria is treated by evil minds with such contempt that they often embark on unprovoked killing sprees.
The recurrent spate of attacks and cold-blooded killings of people in Adamawa, Benue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, and Zamfara States by hoodlums, often refers to as Fulani herdsmen, attest to this fact. Indeed the recent concerted mass killings in Barkin Ladi, Bassa ,Bokkos, Jos South, Mangu, and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State in cold blood leaves no one in doubt that the mayhem is orchestrated. The perpetrators must have been largely less than human, given the sheer number of victims, the brutality of the killing and volume of valuable property including houses, foodstuffs, growing crops, livestock and clothing, destroyed in the most barbaric manner.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church, commiserate with those who have lost loved ones in the heinous attacks, wherever they occurred, including those whose dear ones were killed as passers-by in some places. The Holy Book emphasizes the sanctity of life, and only God who creates, reserves the sole authority and power to take life. We specifically commiserate with the Catholic Church over the gruesome killing of two priests and other parishioners in Benue who were massacred during an early morning Mass.
OUR CONCERN ABOUT THE RESPONSE BY GOVERNMENT
As a church, we are deeply concerned about inability of government at all levels to identify and bring the perpetrators of the heinous crimes and their sponsors and collaborators to justice. Thousands of human lives and tons of valuable property continue to perish in incessant attacks while government continues to issue failed assurances of being “on top of the situation.” This scenario capable of not only generating loss of confidence in government, but also lending credence to the recurrent allegations of government’s complicity in the mindless attacks. We call on our political leaders at all levels to take these murderous attacks seriously, intensify intelligence gathering and improve on adequately taking full advantage of the intelligence available to them. They should always remember the heavy responsibility on them to lead in truth, justice and righteousness, for there will come a day of reckoning on which they will give account of their stewardship before the creator.
CONDEMNATION OF THE ATTACKS
As Christians, we view these unfortunate situations from the vantage lens of the Bible books of Matthew 24 and Revelation 13. As the Remnant Church of Bible Prophecy, the Seventh-day Adventist Church upholds theBible and the Spirit of Prophecyas its Cardinal Guide.
Thus, the prevailing situations are quite clear to us, because they have been abundantly declared in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy as events that must happen as preludes to Christ’s Second Coming.
We condemn in strong terms, all forms of violence, murder, and armed conflict in place revenge or counter killings,. In the place of revenge or counter killings, we call on all Nigerians to “… redeem the time, for the days are evil” Ephesians 5:16; and remember to always “guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life” Proverbs 4:23. We encourage all believers to persevere to remain in good standing with God rather than engage in civil rebellion and violence. This is because we are to “submit ourselves for the Lord’s sake to all civil authorities, whether to king as one in authority or to governors as sent by Him” 1Peter 2:13 & 14.
The Bible enjoins us to pray for kings and others in power that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 1Timothy 2:2.
Government and security agencies, irrespective of religion, creed, or ethnicity; must arrest the masterminds and sponsors of these killings, – arrest, prosecute, and punish them in line with the dictates of the law to serve as deterrent to others.
All well-meaning citizens should rise up in one voice and denounce this vicious cycle of violence tearing the very fabric of our society apart.
The International Community should not just pray and protest, but should rigorously intervene both diplomatically and politically as done recently by US President, Donald Trump.
All effort should be made by government at all levels to end the circle of violence and reprisals in the areas affected.
Community and traditional leaders should put in place and revive local dispute resolution mechanisms through which an offence by a person or group is settled and appropriate punishment meted out to offenders
We call on all religious leaders, Christian and Muslim to mind their utterances and guard against their speech. They must be aware that they are opinion molders, and God will require the blood of innocent people killed because of their speech.