Should any one ask, what has the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) been doing about the security situation of the country and other challenges facing Christianity in Nigeria? You might be tempted to say “Well they are trying na! Yet I have taken a closer look at the efforts of the blocs that make up CAN and I have come to the conclusion that they can do much more better than what we see them do (or should I say what we think they are doing).
For every free society like Nigeria, especially in a free world that we claim to live in, the Judiciary and the Legislature are not the only bodies that should provide checks and balances for the executive arm of our government at all levels. Over time and in recent history, the media, social media (in recent times), Civil society Organisations (CSOs), and expectedly religious leaders have been a thorn in the flesh of obnoxious policies of the government that do little to favour the interest of the people they are elected to serve.
While the judiciary and the legislature are backed by the instrumentality of the constitution that provides concrete responsibilities to check the excesses of the executive, the media, the church and CSOs are bound by moral, social, and divine responsibility to keep those at the corridors of power at check.
If you ask me, I would tell you that while the other two make good their arsenals, the church is far shy from unleashing the force of its potential to force the government to live up to her responsibilities to the people.
A recent video released by the dreaded Boko Haram members showed some humanitarian workers who were apprehended on July 18 2019begging for the proactive action of the federal government to come to their aid and not allow them to be history!
The footage obviously is for the government to have the thinking that Leah Sharibu who was held back by the terrorists for not renouncing her love for Christ has been killed. While I joined other positive minded Nigerians to see beyond the news of the death of Leah Sharibu, I want to believe that the intention of the satanic agents is to cause confusion and commotion in the country considering the uprising of the now proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Abuja in recent weeks.
Yet I also empathise with the parent of this lovely soul who would not sell out her faith for her life.
In another clime where premium is placed on the lives of every member of the society, members of the civil society, the media, and our revered religious leaders would beon the streets calling for government immediate action and reaction to the development.
It is obvious that the government at the moment do not know the fate of Leah Sharibu, whether she is still alive or not. Religious leaders should have been on the street of Abuja, Lagos and other parts of the country calling for action in saving the lives of this young lady.
It is however unfortunate that our religious leaders appear to have gas out in their struggle to see that Leah is reunited with her parents. Theirpassive reaction to this ugly news is a vibrant show of loss of strength to continue in the journey to see her free.
Perhaps they have forgotten that Jesus Christ while admonishing his disciples on the need to cater for the wellbeing and protection of members of the body of Christ said that it behooves on the shepherd to leave the 99 sheep in search for the one lost sheep and restore it back to the fold, Matthew 18:12-14.
Leah may be only one person, but her absence and the sketchy information about her wellbeing and welfare leaves a sad tale for her parents every night. Her family will never be the same until she is reunited with them.
The recent meeting of the traditional rulers in the southwest of the country to President Muhammadu Buhari over the insecurity situation in the region should not only challenge the leadership of the body of Christ to know that their effort is not enough in securing the lives and properties of members of the body of Christ. Prayer is the key. Absolutely. Yet action must power this prayer James 2:14-26.
CAN, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and other Christian blocs across the country should move beyond rhetoric and face the fact; they should hold the government accountable to the people. The safety of lives and properties are paramount concern of all. Christians and Nigerians in general need more than issuing Press Releases, holding Press conferences, granting interviews to media. We want proactive efforts, we want to see religious leaders that can call out to the leaders of this country in constructive manner and still achieve what is needed to be achieved. We want a CAN and Christian leadership that will not only stand from the prayer room and forget about the quest for the release of Leah, but would go out day and night on the streets and besiege government offices calling for the safe return of Leah back to the fold.
The safe return of Leah Sharibu to her parent is not only the responsibility of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian Armed Forces, it is also the responsibility of our Pastors and Reverends who stand on the pulpit every Sunday to tell us how the effectual prayer of the righteous availeth much.
It is the responsibility of the CAN to be committed to the safe return of Leah to her parents. When she has return then we can boldly say with our hearts full of joy and testimony in our mouth that truly religious leaders in the country are not only after a church filled to capacity but are concern just as Christ is concern about the disciples, John 17:12.