I am Rev Fr Dennis John Chukwubuzor Attah of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka. As a minister of the Gospel I am called to live above pretence and with all my heart I embrace the call. May God help me to always live the life worthy of my vocation.
In all sincerity, I hold the Nigerian Church leaders responsible for the continued loss of the lives of Christians in the hands of the Fulani herdsmen. This is because many of the leaders are myopic, weak and insincere.
They are myopic in the sense that some of them are yet to know that the so called Fulani herdsmen are operative machinery of Buhari’s islamization agenda. Many are yet to believe that the target of their attacks is the Church. Many are yet to understand that they are not on their own, but are working hand in hand with the government. Many so called men of God do not see self-defense as legitimate and moral.
The Nigerian Church leaders are weak. Though they have strong feelings against what the Fulani herdsmen are doing yet they hide their feelings. The Christian leaders know that what is happening today is nothing less than the jihad threatened severally against the Nigerian Church by some Muslims, but they are quiet. They know that the jihad is a threat to the very existence of the Church and to their very positions as the leaders of the church, yet they lack the courage to boldly express their feelings the way they feel. This is because they are afraid of losing their friendship with the government, they fear sanctions, arrest and death.
They are insincere in the sense that though they are terribly angry with the perpetrators of the heinous evils, they would not want them to notice their anger, hence they have consistently turned down the suggestions to ban the use of the cattle which gives their enemies the platform for the continued massacre.
Your people are being killed, your churches are being destroyed for the sake of the cattle yet you patronized the killers and fund the killings and equip the killers with the gain they make out of the cattle you naively buy.
The Muslim Fulanies hide under the cattle rearing to destroy you, your people, your farmlands, your holy places and your religion, yet you pretend to be their friend, you are unready to let them know that you are hurt by their actions and that you have seen them as enemies. I consider such as the INSINCERITY AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL.
However, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria are free from these apparent weakness and insincerity exhibited by the church leaders of Nigeria, because they have directly addressed the president -Buhari, through the CBCN communique asking him to resign. They also made him know that having violated his official vow as demanded by the federal constitution of Nigeria, the people are no longer bound to follow his words. They insisted that the people should be free to provide for themselves the fundamental necessities the government has failed to provide for them. From their resolution, one can appreciate that self-defense is not only legitimate but is also moral. Hence they said:
_“ *Government should encourage and empower* *citizens to secure themselves and their environments. This is not the time to disarm people* *with legally procured weapons of self defence* .
“ *These are not normal times, since those we pay to protect us have* *failed to do their duty. Nigeria can return to normal times, if we put our heads together with sincerity”_*
However, as I congratulate the CBCN for her bold disposition in the crisis, I wish to make bare my heart.
As the noble advice of the great Servants of God had fallen on Buhari’s usual deaf ears, my humble opinion is that :
1 The CBCN should direct every Bishop to hold a press conference in his Diocese in which vote of no confidence will be passed on Buhari and his regime.
2 The Bishops should make clear in plain terms that self defense is legal, moral and ecclesiastical. That the Christians have a duty of defending themselves and the obligation of defending the land (the Church).
3 The Bishops should encourage the people to get themselves ready and equipped to respond to any attack on them according to the tempo of the attackers.
4. There will be simultaneous peaceful demonstration against the government across the country to be led by the Bishops.
5. Should any Bishop be arrested for defending the church, let other Bishops join him in the same prison in solidarity.
6. The Bishops should direct the priests to prepare and equip their parishioners to defend themselves, their faith and their parish against any attack.
7. The CBCN should officially invite the United Nation Organization to rescue the church from Buhari’s islamization agenda. The CBCN should give the UNO the details of the experiences of the church under Buhari’s regime.
8. The leaders of the other Christian sects in Nigeria should join their voices and their energy in the efforts in progress to legitimize and consolidate the position of the Church in this country.
9. Christians should cease to see self-defense as evil, immoral, illegitimate or opposed to the Gospel.
As it is not unholy for a Christian to take up food to counter the attack of hunger or to take up medicine to defend himself from the attack of sickness so it is a holy duty for a Christian to protect and defend the lives of the worshipers of the true God, starting with himself as a worshiper of God. The use of arms to defend oneself from an armed enemy cannot be against the Gospel.
Benjamin Natanyahu the Israeli Prime Minister, defending their use of arms said:
*” The truth is that if Israel were to put down its arms there would be no more Israel. If the Arabs were to put down their arms there would be no more war.”*
The Christian religion is by her vocation peaceful and non violent, but considering the situation on the ground, she is faced with extinction, should she fold her hands to watch the onslaught of these barbaric killers.
(Imagine what it would look like if these killers should succeed in their agenda. It means destruction of all the churches, forceful conversion of all Christians to Islam including your mothers, wives, children, officials of the church, all, including the new converts will be handed back to evil, barbarism and anti civilization. Immorality and insensitivity become the order of the day. This happened to Turkey, the home country of St Augustine, and because the Christians were over spiritual and insensitive about the situation on the ground, the land was overtaken by the jihadists who strangled the Turkey Church to death. Unfortunately today Turkey is 98% Muslim as against the original 100% Christian.)
That can’t happen to the NIGERIAN Church while we live and even after us because the Lord lives. If such should happen, it means the end of the Eucharistic celebration, the end of Episcopal meetings, Crusades, conferences, revivals, evangelical weekends, Eucharistic Adorations etc.
The success of this evil plan is as good as the dethronement of Jesus Christ and the enthronement of Muhammed; God forbid!
Any body that has passion for Christ and for the Church must take up the defense of the church as a major assignment.
My dear shepherd of God’s flock, can you imagine how it would go with you on the last day if one of the people entrusted into your care should get lost by losing his faith in Christ and turn to Islam, simply because you failed to stand up now to witness to Christ.
We are called upon to use everything and every opportunity to witness to Christ, by posing a stiff opposition to every attempt meant to islamize your Ecclesiastical territory, to weaken the faith of the Church or to dehumanize the Christians. You should feel obliged to say like Jesus: “I lost non of the people given to me”. You can call this defense apostolate, but be informed that the Lord demands it of his shepherds.
There are some ministers that claim that: “TURN THE OTHER CHICK” forbids self-defense, but they failed to realize that even when the Lord himself was slapped he used it as a platform for the teaching against sycophantic impressionism of the people who deal badly with others simply to please the great.
The impressionists that sacrifice their neighbors at the altar of the ogaa’s favour.
(Most unfortunately many people in the Church do not care to know the offence of the inferior but contribute to his punishment simply because such would please the superior).
We should also note that in all the encounters Jesus had with the security personnel he never condemned any on the ground of their profession. Even when the soldiers came to John the Baptist, he didn’t condemn them for their work but simply advised them to desist from abuse of office, the intimidation of the innocent civilians or the extortion of the weak.
We can therefore, see that self-defense is not antithetical to the teachings and the morals of the Gospel. Therefore, any one who claims that self-defense is against the provision of the Gospel is simply living a life of *”Baptized Laziness”.* I can’t imagine Jesus rejoicing over the shepherds that lost Turkey to the Muslims, because it is he that insisted that it is by our bearing much fruits that we glorify God.
My dear shepherd of God’s flock, the Lord needs your sincere attention and deep commitment to the NIGERIAN church now more than ever before. This is the time he expects you to lay down your life for the sheep as a Good Shepherd. I can imagine Jesus addressing you with the following words : “SHEPHERD BEHOLD YOUR FLOCK”.
Rev Fr Dennis John Chukwubuzor Attah.
(Ready to die for the truth).