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Government & Politics

FG Should Pardon Those Who Return Loot, Says Prophet Abiara

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Prophet Kayode Abiara is the General-Evangelist of the Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide. He talks about the $2.1bn arms deal among other sundry issues with KEMI ASHEFON

Recently, some pastors were accused of liaising with politicians and collecting money from them for spiritual purposes. What is your take on this?

I read about it in the newspapers and I still insist that those who made the allegation must mention the names of the pastors involved. If the former Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd), gave money to pastors, let him name those he gave money to. I remember when former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, alleged that some pastors collected N6bn to support President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election and to discredit the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd), I took a stand and insisted that he must mention names. He is an intelligent man and knows what to do on such issues. We have not heard anyone mentioning any pastor’s name.

What do you have to say about the arrest and prosecution of some individuals allegedly involved in siphoning $2.1bn meant for the procurement of arms for the Army to tackle insurgency?

We thank God for this new government because President Muhammadu Buhari is trying to right the wrongs of many decades. I know that the President wants to recover a lot of stolen funds stashed in any part of the world and I applaud him for that.

I don’t see anything wrong in telling looters to refund all the money they stole. But I believe the recent trial of some suspects should be hastened up and they should be permitted to refund the money. Buhari should pardon them if they return the money and then, let’s move the country forward. There is a lot of work to be done in the country, especially on our dwindling economy. We should not waste time on the arms probe and the prosecution of suspects. We need to move on. I pray that all the recovered money will be judiciously used.

Are you calling for pardon for anyone found guilty?

Yes, they should be pardoned as long as they refund all the stolen funds to government’s coffers. Even Jesus Christ said if anyone confesses his sins, he should be pardoned.

But the soldiers were helpless due to lack of sophisticated weapons to tackle terrorists which made Boko Haram to kill many.

If the Federal Government pardons the looters, those who want to steal would still steal. If they are not pardoned, it does not stop people from stealing. I am not against bringing thieves to book and I believe prosecuting them will serve as a deterrent to others. Even God say, ‘thou shall not steal.’ But the Holy Books also talked about pardoning sinners. Remember that Jesus Christ prayed for a thief while he was on the cross. What I am advocating is for the government to recover the stolen money, utilise the money, stabilise the economy and move the country forward.

Now that crude oil prices have dwindled and the Central Bank of Nigeria has warned citizens to prepare for hard times, what do you think is the way forward?

Economic downturn is not manifesting in Nigeria only—other countries in the world are experiencing same. God is the answer and the Bible enjoins us to turn to Him when we are troubled, to pray and He promises to heal our land. The church of God in Nigeria has been organising prayer retreats and lifting the country to God in prayers.

The Christ Apostolic Church worldwide prays for Nigeria every last three days of the month. Currently, we are holding another programme in Odo-Owa, Kwara State, where we will also pray for Nigeria. I know very soon, Nigerians will smile again. Also, I believe government should indentify loopholes in the system and block leakages.

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Now, the trend is the $2.1bn arms scandal and the trial of suspects involved in the diversion of the fund. But what about other areas where monies have been stolen? I know they have started work on recovering Abacha loot, but I believe they can still do more and not dwell on just one.

Do you think we should be talking of pardon at this stage when some countries now mete out capital punishment to looters?

Then, let the National Assembly promulgate laws that will deal with corruption and how looters should be treated. It’s not for me to decide.

As the Evangelist-General of the CAC worldwide, what are you doing to solve the crisis rocking the church?

There is nothing strange in crisis rocking any organisation. It is the handiwork of Satan because he does not want a united church. That is the reason he goes about creating chaos among brethrens, ministers of God and everywhere in the kingdom of God. But God has conquered him and the victory belongs to the church. We thank God because peace will reign and the crisis will come to an end. The church of God is matching on and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it.

What is your take on the same-sex marriage that has crept into the church of God abroad?

Thank God Nigeria did not embrace it and our legislative arm has condemned it. God, in His word, described homosexuality as an abomination. He also condemned lesbianism. These are signs of the end-time and no right-thinking Christian should embrace homosexuality. Those involved in this despicable act are inviting the wrath of God upon them.

What is your advice to Nigerians in this period of economy crisis?

First, let’s turn to God and seek His face. Then, let our youths embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship. They should harness their potential and that is what President Muhammadu Buhari has been preaching to them. Also, we should not forget to go back to the farm. We once lived on cocoa, groundnuts and other crops that were viable exports. What happened to them? Over-dependence on oil is the reason we are where we are today. Where are the cocoa farms? Where are the groundnut pyramids in the North? Even coals in Enugu State have been abandoned. Everyone is asking for a share of oil derivatives when we can go back to the farm and revive the cash crops. When we do all these, we will not experience any hard time as predicated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

You predicted that Boko Haram would become history in Nigeria…

God said unless Boko Haram have power more than Him, that’s when they would prevail, but if He is the all-powerful, Boko Haram would be crushed. The year 2016 is a year God will root out the menace of the wicked. Kidnappers and thieves will meet their waterloo this year. What God demands from Nigerians is to come closer to Him and pray more. From leadership, He demands unity—there must be no fractions. The government of President Muhammadu Buhari will succeed in the next four years if he remains united with those he is working with.

To those who are agitating for Biafra, what is your advice?

They should sheathe their swords and allow peace reign. I am sure those who are old and who witnessed the civil war will never call for Biafra again. It is an experience we pray would never happen again. The bloodletting of 1966 was too much. May peace reign in Nigeria.

PUNCH


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