Editor's note: A public affairs analyst and and Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR), Dr Mahmood Ahmed Kankia writes on the recent allegations of former minister of aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, regarding the building collapse inside the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN) in September 2014.
Recently the founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), the revered man of God, Prophet TB Joshua, a citizen of this country known worldwide and someone who has contributed immensely to the social economic development and growth of Nigeria, threatened to relocate his ministry from Nigeria.
The internationally aclaimed preacher and philanthropist who is followed by millions worldwide from within and outside Nigeria, stated that, his country has become hostile and difficult for him to reside and operate in.
According to him, “This is the most persecuted ministry in the world. Who are the people persecuting the ministry? My people, Africa.
“That is why I choose to live a lonely life. If you want to see me, come to this church. I don’t go out. It has not been easy – because I don’t know who is a friend or who is an enemy.
“If you learn TB Joshua is not around, I am in a revival. I live in the church here. I don’t have a house outside.
“What happened to me from the beginning of my ministry is enough to chase me out of this country.
“But I am still in your midst. Upon the persecution and hatred, I decided to follow the path of love. You show hatred; I show love.”
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Many Nigerians are aware that, if Prophet TB Joshua relocates from Nigeria, the aftermath will be disastrous and further compound the economic woes of the already tethering social economic well-being of Nigerians.
For those conversant with the activities of the prophet, millions of foreigners troop into the country on daily basis, all year round to see the manifestation of what God is using him to do, but like the biblical saying, a prophet and rightly so is not always recognized in his own home.
It is because of this that Prophet TB Joshua has continued to be prosecuted, attacked, insulted without the government and its agencies raising any eyebrows.
Days ago, a former minister of aviation, Femi Fani Kayode, raised some salient issues and accusations against the security apparatus of the federal government.
For clarity of purpose, this is what Fani Kayode has to say:
“One of the single greatest atrocities perpetuated by rogue elements in our intelligence agencies in modern history was the blowing up of a guest house in Prophet TB Joshua’s church which resulted in the death of approximately 116 people, most of whom were foreigners.
“This took place on September 12 2014. The perpertrators of this utterly barbaric act were the same people that covertly and cleverly spun the tale that the building collapsed as a result of a weak foundation and fed that pernicious lie to a gullible and easily manipulated Nigerian media.
“They argued that the building was built without the relevant permits and conveniently overlooked the fact that, according to my sources at Alausa, Lagos state, between 60 and 70 percent of buildings in the environs and suburbs of Lagos state, either never had a building permit in the first place, procured one only after the relevant building was constructed, or have fake ones which were procured through bribes.
“The motive for the attack was to silence and discredit Joshua, who, by that time, had become a thorn in the flesh of many within the corridors of power, simply because he was exposing the deepest secrets about what was going on in the country and those who were covertly working against former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“He went as far as to prophesy and predict everything that would happen in the 2015 election which was scheduled to hold two years later, with great accuracy, if President Goodluck Jonathan did not remove certain people (whose names were mentioned) within his government and inner circle.
“The attack involved the use of certain members of our intelligence agencies who used a large remote-controlled drone to fly over the building and who then activated an explosive device which had been planted in the building days earlier with the drone.
“The whole thing appears to have been covered up and those in high places in the intelligence agencies at the time, having discovered that this was yet another rogue operation by a group of fifth columnists within the security apparatus who were keen on silencing the president's friends and who wanted to use the operation to embarass and terrify their perceived enemies and adversaries, decided to brush the whole thing under the carpet and keep it quiet.
“And this is where things went badly wrong. In a typical Nigerian manner, instead of digging deep and patiently trying to establish the relevant facts and setting in motion a forensic-based and professional investigation, the security agencies looked for a scapegoat, turned on the man of God, made him the subject of a criminal investigation and claimed that the building collapsed because it had weak foundations and because it had not been properly built.”
However, as it is typical in the Nigerian context, the government has kept mute, carrying on as if nothing is amiss and the citizens too, weighed down by the the current situation in the country, are busy looking for what to eat and drink and not worried that someone like the Prophet is being set up.
A country is not built like this and there is no way we are going to make progress as a people with this lackadaisical altitude to issues of such monumental proportion and expect us to compete with other serious minded countries in the committee of nations.
Even the federal government that should know better and try to get to the root of the matter because it appreciates the contributions of TB Joshua is not saying anything tangible on the development.
The federal government should know better because when the man of God threatened to relocate his ministry to Israel, the federal government through the minister of information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed advised him to shealth the idea, knowing the consequences.
Speaking with newsmen during the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigerian Association of Tour Operators (NATOP) in Lagos, Mohammed called for dialogue between the Pastor and the authorities over whatever challenges he was facing as jumping ship is not an idea to be considered.
His words: “That will be very unfortunate (TB Joshua leaving Nigeria) in the sense that if he does move out, it will affect our tourism in Nigeria.
“Pastor Joshua is an important person, he must bear with us. This is his country; if he moves out and go to South Africa, for example, the revenue will go to South Africa.
“It is better that Pastor Joshua sits down with the relevant authority and resolve whatever problem he has. If I have access to him, this is exactly what I am going to tell him.”
But the question begging for answers is why the government is foot dragging on launching a comprehensive and independent investigation into what actually transpired that led to the building collapse?
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Fani Kayode might be an ardent critic of this administration, but a serious allegation and issue that border on national security and national development has been raised as the minister of information himself has testified to.
Or is it because it is coming from an opposition figure? This government should employ all avenue necessary to bring this matter to an open and transparent conclusion, that is the only way it can engender patriotism and give those contributing their quota to the development of the country a sense of belonging.
In my humble opinion, government needs to revisit this issue and get to the root of the matter. Those allegedly involved and covering up the situation should be brought to book as a way to showing the man of God that his country values him, loves him and appreciate his contributions to the country.
Many Nigerians and expatriates alike, who have benefited from the philanthropic gesture of Prophet T.B Joshua, spaning gifts and cash to the less privileged in the society and foreigners who troop here on a daily basis to boost our foreign exchange, as testified to by Lai Mohammed, will believe more in Nigeria as a country and this administration as one that is capable of bringing about the change, on which platform it rode to power.
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