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Pastor Chris Okafor under fire over comments on Kaduna crisis, El-Rufai



The founder of Liberation City, Pastor Chris Okafor, has been warned against making reckless statement that could tear Nigeria apart.

The New Initiative for Credible Leadership (NICreL), which gave the warning on Wednesday, said Okafor’s recent outburst on the crisis in Kaduna State and Governor Nasir El-Rufai was unexpected of a preacher of the gospel.

The cleric had during a Sunday programme warned the Governor to avoid persecuting Christians and preachers in the state or risks the wrath of God.

The preacher gave El-Rufai, whom he likened to Biblical Herob seven days to reverse the bill at the state House of Assembly to license religious bodies or would be visited by God.

Reacting to his comment, NICreL in a statement through its Executive Director, Samson Onwu, said Okafor’s comment could undermine peace and security across the country.

It said Okafor recently sought to incite sectarian strife by interpreting “A Bill for a Law to Substitute the Kaduna State Religious Preaching Law, 1984,” in ways that suggest it was targeted at Christians in the state.

The statement noted that the kind of behaviour he exhibited has no place in a country governed by law and he must therefore be censured to prevent him from exploiting the cover of being a clergyman to promote ethno-sectarian hate at a time Nigeria needs healing from all the divisiveness that had held it back.

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It reads: “Interestingly, while Pastor Okafor presented the bill as something that was initiated just a few days ago, the bill has been with the Kaduna State House of Assembly for over three years. Furthermore, contrary to his claim that the bill’s main objective is to persecute Christians, the proposed legislation was informed by an urgent need to address the waves of sectarian strife that had repeatedly rocked the state leading to loss of lives.

“It is irresponsible of Pastor Okafor to use a proposed legislation meant to discourage hate preaching as a basis to incite further hatred along sectarian lines. Such behaviour calls to question what Okafor believes in as there is no record of Jesus Christ endorsing attacks against those in authority or violent response to even those that attacked him.

“The pastor’s admixture of politics into his sermon equally signposts an emerging dangerous trend that could undermine peace and security across the country as clergymen encourage the faithful to migrate their sectarian biases, hatred and disaffection into everyday life.

“The 2019 elections saw the Christian faith being exploited and abused to promote politics of hate, a development that demystified many clergymen that were once held in high esteem but have now become false prophets before their followers. There is no doubt that this is the fate that would befall Pastor Okafor when the seven days ultimatum he handed to Governor el-Rufai to rescind the bill or die within two years fails to materialize.

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“We urge the Kaduna State House of Assembly and the Kaduna State Government to note that the incitement by Pastor Okafor is a wake-up call that they cannot continue to delay passing the bill and signing it into law if fanatical and extremist clergymen must be checked.

“In the interim, the state government should explore exiting legislation, including the anti-terrorism laws, to discourage merchants of hate whose main intention is to cause crises that are of the magnitude as terrorism”

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