Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, General Overseer, Trinity House, Lagos, opined that although Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest number of churches and worshippers, there’s need to understand that both Christian and Islamic religions are still young in their existence.
According to him, “Christianity and Islam are still young in Nigeria. Christianity is between 150 and 200 years while Islam is a bit longer. And some Nigerians are still trapped in traditional and idol worships and ritual things. Some Christians still believe in the traditional ways of solving problems.
“Another angle is the fact that Nigerians have become so desperate to survive, succeed,excel, make money and be wealthy. So, they are ready to do anything to achieve their aims.
”Some Nigerians have the mindset that after indulging in ritual killings, they would come back and beg God for forgiveness. So, the traditional faiths and the ritualistic things are still very strong in the heart of the people especially in Nigeria”.
Asked where we got it wrong, Ighodalo said, “ it is a question of shaking off traditions that have existed for a longtime. A lot of people believe in things they see physically than what they feel. There seems to be some seeming potency in those things and they believe in them.
It is also possible that the right messages are not preached anymore. It is possible that the pressure and desperation are so much that the desire to have quick answers becomes inevitable. And sometimes, there is a feeling that God is slow to judge, so, some people think, He is not there.
Another thing is that greed and selfishness have overwhelmed the people. Another aspect is that people do not have a full knowledge of this God that Christianity preaches and practices. They don’t have the fear of God. They have not really seen the power of God the way it should be. Therefore, churches need to do a lot more in preaching the gospel and also pray that God will show himself mighty and strong.”
Religious leaders on their part need to really be close to God. We must not pay lip service to the God we serve. We must preach a true and fair gospel;that is, a gospel of truth. We must make sure that we show people the right way to fear, follow and serve God.
Religious leaders must also live by example. We must practise what we preach and show the right way to our followers. We must chastise and correct people when they do wrong. We must not be afraid to wrestle some of these evil powers which a lot of us are not confronting head-on.
“We must not be afraid of the forces that are behind this evil, like what Elijah did in the Bible. Unfortunately, the Pastors like Elijah are very few. Elijah himself thought he was the only prophet in Israel in those days until God told him he wasn’t the only one.”
Bishop Isaac Olawuyi, of the Diocese of Lagos West, Methodist Church of Nigeria had this to say: “Ritual killing is a form of religion on its own. Christianity is not the only religion we have in the country and so Christianity does not believe in ritual killing. Therefore, any Christian who is into such act is just camouflaging. He is not a Christian.
“Sadly, majority of Nigerians do not believe in hard work. They believe in cutting corners. They are only involved in “Quick Money Syndrome”. And that is what corruption has caused.”
“Again, it is observed that cases of ritual killings are always rampant whenever elections are approaching because some politically ambitious leaders tend to seek power by all means and by so doing, they go diabolical.
“Poverty is another factor that encourages ritual killing. Everybody is looking for ways to overcome poverty and that is why there is ritual killings and corruption among other things in the country. The bottom line is the fact that some people tend to have thrown the fear of God to the dogs by using poverty as a yardstick to commit all sorts of atrocities.
“Unfortunately, majority of those who go to church today see it as a social gathering. Many people do not go to church because they are seeking God.
“Nigeria is experiencing an era of a failed government. People are under pressure and they are looking for means to get rich.
“Majority of pastors encourage corruption by inciting people through the preaching of prosperity without putting people in line with God and in the path of righteousness. They do not allow their members to know the mind of God.”
In his submission, Uranta Tony said: “I vote that the death sentence be passed on anyone convicted of any level of human slavery, trafficking, cannibalism or sacrifice. And that all participants in mob lynchings and jungle justice be sentenced to death also. Only severe penalties can act as deterrence against these barbarics now common among our people”.
Member, Lagos State House of Assembly representing Ikorodu 1, Hon Sanai Agunbiade said:
“We read recently about a prophet that asked a woman to kidnap a child for ritual purposes. You have kidnappers’ dens where victims were rescued. Are there not people who use human beings for rituals and have never ventured into politics?
“Whatever effort you make to get to power, if God does not support you, you cannot get it. Look at what happened to the late Chief MKO Abiola, everybody wanted him but he could not get there.
“I think the end-time is near, there is crisis everywhere; you see people professing to be men of God but they are devil incarnates.”