AS concerns grow over the military coup d’etat that took place in Niger Republic, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Enoch Adeboye, has told Nigerian leadership to avoid possible fresh wars brewing in the West African country.
Already, there are safety concerns for communities along the over 1,500-kilometre-long Nigerian border, which shares proximity with the Niger Republic and covers seven states of Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara, Yobe and Borno.
But the revered cleric, who reacted to the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) order to reactivate military force against Niger Republic, said,” Nigeria is already fighting some serious wars and that the country does not need more wars.”
He spoke today at the church’s 2023 Convention with the theme, ‘Beyond Expectations’.
He said, “We are still fighting wars against hunger. We are fighting some serious wars and sure, we don’t want more wars. We want to win the ones we are fighting, and we don’t want fresh ones, whether within or without our borders,”
The cleric, who shared his personal experience on the Nigerian-Civil War between the Nigerian and Biafran sides from July 1967 to January 1970, said peace is always preferable to war.
“Nigeria still needs a lot of prayers. I’m a small boy, but I was at the battlefront during the civil war, not as a soldier, but I lived near the battlefront, and what I saw, if anybody asks me to choose between war and peace, I will choose peace.”
Adeboye said Nigeria is already fighting several wars against kidnappers, terrorists, amongst others, while he stressed that “the country does not need more wars but to win the ones it is battling currently,”
“We are already fighting many wars in Nigeria; we are fighting wars against kidnappers. We are fighting wars against terrorists. There are still places in Nigeria today that when people go to bed, they are not sure they would not be killed before tomorrow morning,” Adeboye said.
He said,” We still fighting wars against some people who feel that if you are a farmer and you plant, then what you have planted is food for their cows, and if their cows come to eat your harvest and you complain, they kill you.”
Adeboye’s comment followed the controversy over the proposed deployment of soldiers to the Niger Republic by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) under the chairmanship of Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu.
Recall on July 26, 2023, the military in neighbouring Niger Republic snatched power from the constitutionally elected government of President Mohamed Bazoum.
ECOWAS subsequently gave the troops who seized power until last Sunday to reinstate 63-year-old Bazoum or face the potential use of force through the deployment of troops of the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), a multilateral armed force drawn from the 15-member states, to compel a return to democracy.
Nigeria has also cut off electricity supply to Nigeria amid a flurry of economic sanctions, including border closure, but the coup leaders remained defiant, and the deadline passed without action.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.