The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has charged Christians to defend themselves amidst the worsening level of insecurity in the country.
Adeboye made the statement while addressing his congregation at the RCCG Holy Ghost Service for the month of July on Friday night.
The massacre of about 40 Catholics by gunmen in June at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, as well as the attacks, kidnappings and killing of Catholic priests in different parts of the country, has led to calls for Nigerians to arm up to defend themselves.
Adeboye informed his congregation that it was not written anywhere that Christians should not defend themselves when constantly attacked.
Speaking on Friday, the octogenarian preacher said, “Safety is of the Lord and nobody dies until their time comes.
“I don’t want to say much, because I know whatever I say, some people may want to twist it but I’ve searched the Bible from cover to cover and there is nowhere in the Bible where God said a child of God cannot defend himself.
“If you find the place, let me know. He said, if they slap you on the right cheek, turn the left. If they now slap the left, what did he say? When God is silent, do you know the meaning of that, it simply means, over to you.
“Every enemy of the church, as long as my father is still on the throne, as long as Jesus lives, as long as His name is the consuming fire, if they don’t repent, the fire of God will consume them. I’m not talking to everybody o, I’m only talking to my children.”
Religion Nigeria recalls that Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, in May, reiterated his call to the people of the state to rise and defend themselves from external attacks, particularly by militia herdsmen.
Ortom made the call at Adoka in the Otukpo Local Government Area of the state during an address at the funeral of Mama Enenu Ebute, the mother-in-law of the Deputy Governor, Mr Benson Abounu.
The governor described Israel as the chosen heritage of God, saying it did not allow its people to be killed in such a manner without defence.
He said, “Our people have had enough of these killings and they should rise to defend themselves against any external attack. We need to live.”
In a separate statement, Ortome was quoted by his Chief Press Secretary, Nathaniel Ikyur, as saying that the Federal Government is unwilling to wield the big stick against murderous terrorist groups.
“According to Governor Ortom, the inability of the federal government to act swiftly to tame the rise of terror attacks on communities in the country for many years now by Islamic extremists with the sole aim of taking over the country must be put to an end.
“He alleged that the current appointment of suspected Boko Haram supporters into key federal offices, integration of repentant members of the sect into the military and failure of government to arrest and prosecute terrorist herdsmen have also proven the complicity of the government,” Ikyur said a month ago.
This is just as Zamfara State Government, last month, directed residents to obtain guns owing to the increase in the activities of bandits in various parts of the Zamfara State government has directed individuals to obtain guns.
A statement issued by the commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Dosara, read partly, “Government has henceforth, directed individuals to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against the bandits, as the government has directed the state commissioner of police to issue a license to all those who qualify and are wishing to obtain such guns to defend themselves.
“Government is ready to facilitate people, especially our farmers to secure basic weapons for defending themselves. The government has already concluded arrangements to distribute 500 forms to each of the 19 Emirates in the state for those willing to obtain guns to defend themselves.
“People must apply from the Commissioner of Police, license to own guns and such other basic weapons to be used in defending themselves.”
Meanwhile, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has kicked against the call for self-defence by Governor Bello Matawalle, stressing that it is against Nigerian laws to allow citizens to bear arms.
Irabor’s reaction comes after Matawalle’s call got the backing of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.
The CDS has assured Zamfara citizens that the Nigerian military is capable of ensuring their safety. The Zamfara State Command has also warned citizens not to heed to the governor’s call for self-defence.
Irabor spoke on Monday at the opening of the Joint Exercise for the National Defence College and War Colleges of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, code-named “Exercise Grand Nationale,” in Abuja.
“I believe that, in my view, it is not the right way to go,” he said.
Elkana said, “there is a ban on firearms licence and we don’t give licence.”