Amidst widespread tension and anger following the alleged shooting of unarmed protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, Lead Pastor of The Elevation Church (TEC), Godman Akinlabi has reiterated that Christians will not allow the nation to sink.
On the night of 20 October 2020, Nigerian Armed Forces allegedly shot at #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria. The number of casualties is disputed, with the Nigerian government claiming one possible death, while Amnesty International is stating that at least 12 protesters were killed and some eyewitnesses claiming up to 70 people dead. The gruesome incidence follows two weeks of protests by Nigerian youths against police brutality and an unjust system that denies them inclusivity, justice, and accountability of those who govern.
Akinlabi, who was one of the first church leaders to respond to the ongoing protests, says we, as citizens need to demand justice by asking the Nigerian political class and the military hierarchy who are the only institutions with the vested authourity to permit the assault of Tuesday night. He called on the President of Nigeria to respond to the situation and prosecute those involved in this dastardly act.
Speaking at this week’s edition of the church’s midweek programme Switch tagged “Radical Transformation II”, the cleric urged the church to demand justice, equity, and accountability in leadership from the government.
He described the ongoing protests in the country as the birthing of something new.
“We know a new Nation is about to be birthed. However, every birth will come with some pain, but we can always minimize the pain. We are praying that God will minimize our pain this time.
Up till now, our nation has not been able to speak out on who authorised the assault and possibly killings of peaceful protesters and we need to demand justice,” Akinlabi said, addressing the public online.
“God is using the young people of Nigeria to push for something new, for their rights to life, for a life of peaceful existence, for the commonwealth of the nation, for development, for good governance, for good leadership and an end to police brutality in the nation,” the charismatic cleric continued.
Addressing the press earlier this month, Akinlabi mentioned that the role of the church is to be the conscience of the nation and the voice of the people as a collaborator for good governance. It is, therefore, no surprise that he is reiterating this message as he charged Christians to adequately equip themselves with accurate and verified information about what is going on firstly, then exercise their duty by demanding good governance from the people they selected to govern.
He further goes on to mention that problems cannot be solved with the same level of awareness that created it emphasising the need for people to properly understand the situation before they fall victims of the windfall of fake and inaccurate information currently circulating.
“The church is the conscience of the nation and by implication, we should be the conscience of the government. We will hold the government accountable until we see that the right thing is being done.”
In concluding, Akinabi addresses the role of fear in dissuading people from doing what is right. He acknowledges that after recent events, there is widespread fear in the mind of the average Nigerian. Rather than succumb to that fear, Akinlabi charges Christian to channel the fear to be a motivator to gain knowledge, gather accurate information, prepare for what is ahead and position for grace.