A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 67TH ECWA GCC MEETING - JULY MONDAY 27TH – FRIDAY 31ST, 2020

A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 67TH EVANGELICAL CHURCH WINNING ALL (ECWA) GENERAL CHURCH COUNCIL (GCC) MEETING HELD FROM JULY 27–31, 2020 AT ECWA BISHARA 1, TUDUN WADA, JOS, NIGERIA


The Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) has held her 67th General Church Council (GCC) meeting with emphasis on the Church’s 2020 theme: ‘It is not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit’, Zachariah 4:6, which reflects the assurances of God’s power of deliverance for believers experiencing difficult times.


The Council meeting had in attendance the ECWA Executive members, members of ECWA Board of Trustees, Chairmen, Secretaries, and Delegates of all the 86 District Church Councils (DCCs), Directors of the various ECWA Departments, and Chief Executive Officers of ECWA Strategic Business units. The Council deliberated on many key issues affecting the Church, the Nigerian State and the global community and resolved thus:


INSECURITY AND WAVE OF CRIMINALITY IN NIGERIA

The Council views with serious concern the unabated attacks of armed herdsmen and bandits across the country, especially in the Middle-belt and Northern States particularly in Southern Kaduna, Niger, Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Katsina, Zamfara, Taraba and Adamawa, as they continue to destroy lives, farms and properties of innocent members of these native communities with impunity. The Council condemns in strong terms the mindless killing of the indigenous Christians in southern Kaduna over the past few weeks which has assumed a genocidal magnitude and calls on the Federal Government to apprehend the perpetrators to face the full wrath of the law, and to compensate the victims in the interest of justice.


The Council notes with grief the several attacks on Southern Kaduna Christian communities, which are the strongholds of ECWA, where over 120 persons including infants and women have been killed in the last two weeks alone, with scores injured and thousands displaced from their villages and farmlands by armed Fulani militia without any care from the Kaduna State and Federal Governments. The manifest nonchalance of both the Kaduna State and Federal Governments to the plight of our compatriots is suggestive of their loss of the innate humane sense of value for life and their seeming abdication of their primary responsibility of securing the lives and property of their citizens. Furthermore, The Council frowns at a recent statement credited to a Presidential spokesman explaining away these genocidal massacres as reprisal killings. No responsible government would want to be perceived as holding brief for terrorists, unless it is complicit. Thus, the Council is even more worried about the callousness of the government in changing the narrative of the attacks, bending it towards blaming the victims when in actual sense it is the government that has woefully failed in its constitutional responsibility of protecting its citizens.


In recognition of its divine mandate, the Council reminds all of the sacredness and inviolability of the right to life, stating that no person, authority or institution has the right to terminate the life another unlawfully and urged everyone to respect the sanctity of human life and end the wanton bloodletting in the land. It advocates for a stronger collaboration between the government, the security agencies, and the entire populace to make for a more robust and rapid response for the protection of human lives and property. This is all the more important because very often the security agencies in their response to distress calls arrive in attacked communities only after their attackers have committed their atrocities and left. The Council, therefore, urges the security agencies to improve in their response to distress calls, increase intelligence gathering, and take proactive steps to nip the imminent attacks in the bud.


The Council is also alarmed at the general state of insecurity in Nigeria wherein citizens can no longer sleep peacefully in their homes or travel on the highways for their genuine businesses without the fear of being attacked or kidnapped for ransom and even killed in many instances.


The Council, therefore, cautions that Government’s failure to protect the citizenry and serve justice will spur them to pursue self-defense, which may inevitably lead to anarchy.

The Council frowns at the deplorable conditions of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps across the country and appeals to the Federal and State Governments to improve their welfare and ensure adequate security to enable them to return to their ancestral homes and their established means of livelihood in the quickest time possible.


Furthermore, the Council expresses worries at the failure of the Federal Government to secure the release of the only Christian girl Leah Sharibu (who was abducted by Boko Haram among many female students of Government Secondary School, Dapchi), Alice Loksha a Christian nurse doing humanitarian service in Borno State, Grace Lucas, Lillian Gyang, and the remaining Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram. The Council is worried that despite several promises by the Government, the freedom of the abducted girls has not been secured. The Council is again using this medium to call on the Federal Government to do more towards the release of these girls to free their parents and loved ones from the years of trauma that they have been subjected to as their children remain in captivity.


The Council commends the efforts of the Military in tackling the surging insurgency in Nigeria but also observes the subtle militarization of the polity with the setting up of all sorts of military operations perceived by many Nigerians as targeted at silencing legitimate venting of grievances, with the attendant breach of the fundamental rights of the citizenry due to the high-handedness of some military personnel.


The Council also observes with dismay the huge resources being committed to the supposed deradicalization and rehabilitation of the so-called repentant Boko Haram fighters by the military, while millions of their victims are still languishing in deplorable IDP camps, and considers this not to be the best use of the tax payers’ and indeed a complete misplacement of priority. It considers the recruitment of many of such supposed “repentant deradicalized fighters” into the military and other security agencies as a dangerous trend, capable of recycling and legitimating insurgency by infiltration of the security services from where insurgents could continue to wreck havoc on unsuspecting citizens. Instead, the Council advises the military to channel such resources towards the welfare and proper equipping of our gallant soldiers in the front-lines of battle against the terrorists, as a way of discouraging mass resignations and desertions by military personnel that is already happening.


CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC AND ITS EFFECT

The Council notes with concern the devastating effect of the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), which originated from Wuhan-China and has spread across the globe like a wild wind, taking deadly tolls on human lives, means of livelihood, places of worship, education and every human endeavor following months of lockdown of many countries, including Nigeria. As part of the Covid-19 containment measures, globally all schools and worship places were completely shut down, alongside the institution of several safety protocols. While we thank God that the lockdown across Nigeria has been eased and worship places in most states already opened, it is disheartening that some states such as Lagos and Ekiti have kept places of worship closed to worshipers. It is ironic to open markets with larger crowed gathering and keep worship places closed. ECWA, therefore, appeals to the concerned state governments to allow for the immediate opening of worship places with the application of NCDC operational safety guidelines.