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Catholic Bishops, Oyedepo, Okonjo-Iweala back anti-police brutality movement

Catholic Bishops, Oyedepo, Okonjo-Iweala back anti-police brutality movement

19 October, 2020

By Gbenga Omokhunu, Precious Igbonwelundu and Adeola Ogunlade

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Living Faith Church founder Bishop David Oyedepo and former Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala have expressed support for the ongoing nationwide protests against police brutality and extra-judicial killings.

According to a statement on Sunday by the National Director of Communications, Padre Mike Umoh, the CBCN President and Archbishop of Benin-City, Most Rev Augustine Obiora Akubeze noted that the widespread protest calling for an end to SARS is “not only remarkable but quite commendable,” more so that it is being led by the Nigerian youths.

Archbishop Akubeze stressed that it is “an indication that the youths are tired of suffering from the brutality and injustices perpetrated by SARS operatives and Nigeria Police Force in general.”

The prelate said: “The youths are therefore simply calling for justice not just for themselves, but for the entire nation so that Nigeria can have peace.

“We reiterate that restructuring this country is a desirable path to be towed given the various developments in this nation. The knee jerk reaction of the administration by abolishing the SARS and setting up the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team portrays either the absence of an understanding of the entire problem or a lack of sincerity to address the problem.”

Bishop Oyedepo endorsed the protests. He spoke during the second service of the church, noting that he kept quiet for a long time because he warned the country in 2015 against a Muhammadu Buhari-led presidency.

Read Also: Businesses lose N10b daily to #EndSARS protests, say experts

While he was giving his message at 9:00am protesters had barricaded the road leading to the church in Ota, Ogun State, a situation that got many worshippers coming for the third service stranded. Some had to turn back.

Oyedepo said:  “We have been having spates of protests across this nation. Every man has a right to express their displeasure and pain. I kept quiet for a while because in 2015, I warned this nation vehemently, consistently because I saw the dangers ahead.

“And you can now tell. The most gruesome season in the history of this nation is the last five years where life has no value. Now they have faced the youth. And because they don’t know who is the next, they have a right to say enough is enough. Any system that has no value for human lives is irrelevant.”

He said: “If those in government had been killed when they were youths, they won’t be here today adding that “it will be a sacrilege to shoot the protesters who are not looting, who are not ravaging.”

Oyedepo said he was one of the few “voices telling these men and women that until you push a goat to the wall, you won’t know it has teeth to bite. I am here to say the youth have the right to say no”.

He went on: “I was grievously attacked.  Prophets are not opinion leaders, they are the mouthpiece of God. One of my daughters was reading through her 2015 notes and she said there is nothing that has not come to pass in what I said. But God have mercy. God will not send warning through an angel, he will send it through his prophets and apostles. I warned you at the risk of my reputation and I am glad I am vindicated.”

According to him, there has been no time of massive loss of lives than now “including massive slaughtering people in the church, including beheading the head of a CAN chairman with video. Well, the bad news is that the judgement has come for those behind this wanton killing”.

He advised the youths to be law-abiding while also respecting every legitimate protest.

Okonjo-Iweala registered her support for the movement through her verified Twitter handle just as she urged the youths to have their voices heard peacefully.

“I applaud the resourcefulness and courage of Nigerian youth in the #EndSARS. Powerful to let your voices be heard peacefully. Let’s join hands for a positive outcome through a One Nigeria approach,” she wrote.

The protests have graduated from a movement against police brutality, extrajudicial killings and a call for the reform of the police to demands for good governance and a better society.

The post Catholic Bishops, Oyedepo, Okonjo-Iweala back anti-police brutality movement appeared first on Smart9jaMedia.

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