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NSA And Nigeria’s Security Missteps

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NSA And Nigeria's Security Missteps

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Emmanuel Onwubiko

There is a very commonly used catch phrase that goes thus: “Better soup na money kill am”, which means quality services take a whole lot of human and material resources. Another of such commonly used catch phrases also goes as follows: “Too many cooks spoil the soup”, meaning that for any endeavor to succeed, there ought to be respect for expertise.

These elementary wise sayings can be related to the general experiences of calamitous security issues that keep escalating by the day in Nigeria in spite of the fact that Nigeria runs a well-funded office of the National Security Adviser.

Besides, there is the unprecedented rise in insecurity around the country which has become much more troubling since the last batch of military chiefs embarked on voluntary retirements after putting in many years of illustrious and meritorious services and retired just when they were at the verge of a historic success against the terrorists.

A peculiar question that has lingered ever since the emergence of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government but has become much more nightmarish since the exit of the immediate past military chiefs is why President Muhammadu Buhari has not considered it imperative to rejig his office of the National Security Adviser in spite of the collosal security problems especially in the area of achieving unanimity, harmony and strategic implementation of national security goals. The fact is that even when the immediate past military chiefs did their utmost best, without a thoroughly bred national security strategy which ought to emanate from the office of NSA, the individual efforts of the service chiefs will mean a little.

A reputable scholar who is based in the United States of America was recently in Nigeria on a research tour and sought to know from me why the office of the National Security Adviser is not effective and efficient. The lady who is actually a Nigerian/American citizen asked the question when it emerged that the administration of President Buhari was blocked from accessing some of the bulk defence assets the administration had ordered from the United States.

The professor of politics with a vast interest in counter- terrorism was of the opinion that if Nigeria has an efficient and an effective national security adviser then that office could have adequately briefed the United States Congress on the necessity of those military assets vis-à-vis the need to deploy them specifically to battle the terrorists that are tearing Nigeria apart in the North East and a large portion of the North West of Nigeria including the terrorists who recently shot down a military jet in Zamfara State.

The professor became even much more confused when the Information Minister Lai Mohammed and the Nigerian Senate spoke at cross purposes and cancelled each other on the same issue of the blockade of arms supply to Nigeria by the Congress of the United States of America. This my scholarly friend then asked: “Please does Nigeria have a national security adviser?”
Before attempting a response to the tepid and weak nature of the office of NSA in Nigeria now, let us have a review of this major global development on Nigeria in the last one week.

The first was the shocking news reportage that Nigeria can’t get the supply of nearly a billion dollars arms and military assets it had since ordered and paid for.

On July 29 , Reuters reported: “U.S. lawmakers have put on hold a proposal to sell almost $1 billion of weapons to Nigeria over concerns about possible human rights abuses by the government, three sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

“The proposed sale of 12 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters made by Bell (TXT.N) and related equipment worth $875 million is being delayed in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and in the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, the sources told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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“Foreign Policy reported this week that the State Department had informally notified Congress of the proposed sale but that it was frozen in the Senate committee. The package includes the helicopters, spare engines, navigation systems and 2,000 precision-guided munitions, it said.

The hold could have an impact on Nigeria’s efforts to seek support to fight Islamic State West Africa Province and jihadist group Boko Haram in the northeast as well as armed bandits in the northwest of the country.

“However, the hold may not hinder Nigerian military capabilities on some missions.

“A U.S. government official said Nigeria recently took delivery of Embraer-made (EMBR3.SA) A-29 Super Tucanos, a slow-flying plane that can provide close air support to infantry much like a helicopter.

That deal, for a dozen of the turbo-prop planes, was notified under former U.S. President Donald Trump in 2017, and had a value of up to $593 million, according to Pentagon documents. A handover ceremony for those planes is slated for August, the official said.

“Under normal practice, the State Department tells Congress of proposed arms sales informally in advance to give lawmakers the chance to put a hold on the proposals to raise concerns. If Congress opposes a sale after a formal notification, it can pass legislation to block it.

“A State Department spokesperson said: ‘As matter of policy, we will not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales until they have been formally notified to Congress.’

The Senate and House committees both declined to comment on the issue. A spokesman for Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari also declined to comment.

Nigeria, Reuters says is also battling rising armed robberies and kidnappings for ransom where thinly deployed security forces have struggled to contain the influence of armed gangs.

U.S. officials last October complained of “excessive force” by Nigerian military forces on unarmed civilians and called for restraint after soldiers opened fire on protesters demonstrating against police brutality in Lagos.

The well articulated news coverage by Reuters then set out confusion within Nigeria’s official quarters because of the failing of the office of the national security adviser to effectively brief Nigerians on the official stand point.

Rather the minister of information unleashed torrents of confusion and conjectures when he denied a matter that had already become so notorious.

According to Lai Mohammed, the government was unaware of the development reported aforementioned.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports thus: “The Federal Government says it is not aware of any $875 million ammunition deal with the US which is being purportedly blocked by some lawmakers in that country.

“The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, described the purported ammunition deal reported in some sections of the media as ‘fake news.’

“Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja, the minister said there was no contract of such nature and sum between Nigeria and the US

“There is no contract of arms between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the United States of America today apart from the 12 Super Tucano Attack Helicopters of which six had been delivered.

“We are quite satisfied with the progress and cooperation that we received from the government of the US on this issue.

“As a matter of fact, six of the Tucano helicopter will be launched on Aug. 3, this year.

“We are not aware of the so-called 875million USD arms contract or some helicopters which they said some lawmakers in the US are trying to persuade the president of the US not to honour

”The relationship between Nigeria and the US is smooth and waxing stronger,’ ” he said.

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The reports in some sections of the media had claimed that influential U.S. lawmakers were masterminding a hold on a proposed sale of ammunition and attack helicopters to Nigeria over allegations of human rights abuses and anti-democratic actions of the present administration.

The report listed the blocked proposed sale to include 12 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters accompanied by defence systems, 28 helicopter engines produced by GE Aviation and 14 military-grade aircraft navigation systems made by Honeywell.

However, the embarrassment became apparent when the Nigerian Senate confirmed the development from the U.S congress.

On 31st  July 2021 the National Assembly said it was billed to hold talks with the United States Congress over the stoppage of weapons sale to Nigeria, Saturday PUNCH reliably learnt.

“The Senate and the House of Representatives may be sending different delegations to meet with their American counterparts on how to successfully procure attack helicopters and other arms and ammunition in a deal valued at $875m (N360bn).

“The Chairmen of different security committees in the National Assembly, in separate interviews with one of our correspondents between Wednesday and Friday, confirmed knowledge of the deal’s stoppage and their readiness to seek legislative and diplomatic interventions.

“The US lawmakers are holding down a proposed sale of warplanes to Nigeria amid mounting concerns over the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s (retd), human rights record as the country grapples with multiple security crises.

“The Senate Foreign Relations Committee of the Congress has reportedly delayed clearing a proposed sale of 12 AH-1 Cobra fighter jets and accompanying defence systems to the Nigerian military.The proposed sale also includes 28 helicopter engines produced by GE Aviation, 14 military-grade aircraft navigation systems made by Honeywell, and 2,000 advanced precision kill weapon systems – laser-guided rocket munitions, according to information sent by the State Department to Congress and reviewed by Foreign Policy Magazine.A report by the magazine on Tuesday said the behind-the-scenes controversy over the proposed arms sale illustrated a broader debate among Washington policymakers over how to balance national security with human rights objectives.

The hold on the sale also showcases how powerful US lawmakers want to push the Joe Biden administration to rethink US relations with Nigeria amid overarching concerns that Buhari is drifting toward authoritarianism as his government is besieged by multiple security challenges, including the Boko Haram insurgency.

Western governments and international human rights organisations have ramped up their criticisms of the Buhari regime, particularly in the wake of its ban on Twitter, systemic corruption issues, and the Nigerian military’s role in crackdowns on #EndSARS protesters last October.”

The details on the proposed sale were first sent by the US State Department to Congress in January before then Vice President Joe Biden was inaugurated as president, according to officials familiar with the matter.

Nigeria recently took delivery of six out of the 12 Super Tucano fighter jets purchased from the US government.

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The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, noted that the US lawmakers had expressed concerns over rights abuses in Nigeria.

He recalled that the American government raised similar concerns when Nigeria ordered 12 Super Tucano aircraft, part of which had been delivered.

Ndume said: “When we resume at the National Assembly, after consultations, we will know what to appropriately also do as the Nigerian National Assembly that appropriated such amount of money for those purposes…even if it requires our intervention… Definitely, this is based on information that was given (to the US) by one side.”

Asked if the National Assembly would engage the US Congress on the matter, the lawmaker said, “Yes, that is possible. That is what is right. If it requires that, we would do it.”

Ndume added :“What is going on (in Nigeria) and what the arms are needed for, every Nigerian knows. We are not acquiring arms in order to abuse human rights; we are acquiring so the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies can be armed because of the security challenges we are facing. These are two different things. Human rights and the fight against terrorism, banditry and other forms of criminality are different things entirely.

“So, I am surprised that the US Congress is mixing up the things. If it requires that they should hear from the side of the Nigerian Government – not even the executive because the Nigerian Government which we are in collectively is fighting against banditry, insurgency, which is terrorism, and which the American Government has even placed bounty on some of their (insurgents’) heads – they will.”

Speaking on funding for the Armed Forces, the lawmaker said it “is adequate for now, based on the resources at the disposal of the Nigerian Government.”

The lawmaker, however, stated that the country had serious challenges in terms of adequate equipment and platforms for the forces “while the government has appropriately responded.”

He also noted that the American Government had offered to assist Nigeria in the fight against insecurity.
“That is what the arms are meant for,” he stated.

Ndume added, “If you say you want to help somebody, it means that you have identified that they have a problem. So, when they want to solve the problem, they cannot do it with their hands. And then, when they want to use arms, they have to get them because Nigeria does not have the capacity to manufacture those things.”

Also, the Chairman of the House Committee on Defence, Babajimi Benson, said the lawmakers would deploy diplomatic means to resolve the issue.

Benson said, “There is what we call parliamentary diplomacy or advocacy. The US parliament is very strong and determines a lot of things. Plans have been in the works – not because of this – to visit the US parliament and explore ways of military cooperation and so on.

“Recently, we visited the base where the Super Tucano aircraft were manufactured and what we all agreed was to cut out human rights abuses; that we needed to be more precise and ensure precision in whatever inventory or equipment we use so that we don’t hit collateral targets or innocent citizens unnecessarily.

“If they don’t give us those armaments, it means that the human rights thing may worsen because there won’t be precision. One of the good things we got with the A-29 (Tucano) is that it is guided. But now, if they (US) are withdrawing, they are not helping us with reducing civilian mortality and building our human rights records.”

Asked if the executive in charge of the Armed Forces should be more concerned about the records of human rights abuses than the legislature, Benson noted that it was still the same government and “there is no difference in Nigeria’s reputation and security that is at stake now.”

The lawmaker added, “We as the people’s parliament need to ensure that when those in the executive go out defending the territorial integrity and internal security, they are more guided, and they need weapons to be well guided. And who produces the best weapons that can guide in this regard? It is them (US).

“As a matter of fact, they have also trained our forces on how to minimise collateral damage and ensure civilian protection. There is ongoing training on that. If they now deny us, they are creating a bigger problem, not solving it.”

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Responding to a question of America wanting to see Nigeria walking the talk on human rights protection, Benson noted that the Lagos State Government “is doing a fantastic job” towards bringing closure to extrajudicial killings and human rights abuses by officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force.

Where then is the national security adviser of President Buhari? Mr. President Sir, where is your national security adviser?

To understand why Nigeria has faced several missteps in the strategy adopted to secure Nigeria, a reading of the piece on the qualities of a good national security adviser will suffice.This professional friend of mine then pointed my attention to the scholarly piece titled:

“What is the role of the National Security Adviser? And the following is his exact presentation: “The National Security Advisor, officially known as the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, serves as a chief advisor to the President of the United States on national security issues. The National Security Advisor serves on the National Security Council and is assisted by staff that produces research, briefings, and intelligence reports.

The National Security Advisor’s office is in the White House, near the office of the President, and during a crisis operates from the White House Situation Room updating the President on the latest events.

“The National Security Advisor is appointed by the President but not confirmed by the U.S. Senate, which protects the position to some degree from political controversy and partisanship. The role is not connected administratively to the Departments of State or Defense but offers independent advice, effectively creating a policy triad that the President may rely upon for advice. The National Security Advisor’s role and relative influence varies from administration to administration, and from advisor to advisor.

“The National Security Advisor plays a critical role in administration of the National Security Council (NSC), which advises and assists the President on national security and foreign policy issues. The Council also serves as the President’s principal arm for coordinating national security and foreign policies among various government agencies. The NSC is composed of the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Advisor; the Council is chaired by the President.

“The NSC is also advised by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Director of National Intelligence, the White House Chief of Staff, the Counsel to the President, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. The Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget may be invited to NSC meetings pertaining to their responsibilities.

“The first National Security Advisor was Robert Cutler under President Eisenhower in 1953, and 20 different advisors have served every President since that time. Zbigniew Brzezinski, under President Carter, was the first National Security advisor to be elevated to cabinet-level status in 1977. President Reagan demoted the National Security Advisor from cabinet-level status and subordinated the role to the Secretary of State. Six National Security Advisors served under President Reagan, representing the highest turnover in the position in history.

“Brent Scowcroft is the only person to serve as National Security Advisor in two different administrations, under President Ford and President George H.W. Bush. General Colin Powell became the first African-American to serve as National Security Advisor, under President Reagan; and Condoleezza Rice the first woman to serve as National Security Advisor, under President George W. Bush.”

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President Muhammadu Buhari stands on the threshold of history to make or mar his legacy for life. He has just two years to end the vicious circles of threats to national security.

He already has set the tone by publicising his targets that are deliverables by his new service chiefs. But these deliverables to secure Nigeria would not materialize if the president fails to reorganize the much important office of his national security adviser.

The ball is in the court of President Buhari to rescue Nigeria and reassure the global leaders that it is determined to wage law-based counter-terror war.

Mr. President let me drop some legal points I got from a well authored book by a military general. These are legal thresholds the NSA ought to monitor and then defend the administration in the area of adherence to human rights standards. The law expert and general of the Nigerian Army wrote thus: “The basic tenets of the rule of law are unequivocal as to the fact that calling out members of the Nigerian Armed Forces on an internal operation, does not confer on them more powers than those prescribed under the law of the country. Consequently, compliance with the rule of law demands that the rules should be adhered to by troops on all issues during the operations. Some of these issues and the rules applicable to them are addressed as follows:

“a.  The Use of Minimum Force. The first thing troops have to bear in mind when engaged in internal operations is that force should only be used when absolutely necessary. Even then, the rule is that troops on such operations may only use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances.

There is no hard and fast rule to determine whether a particular degree of force is reasonable in any circumstances. The relevant and widely accepted objective test in determining the use of force is the popular saying that you ‘do not kill a fly with a sledge hammer’ or conversely, ‘you do not attack a lion with a pen knife’.

“Arrests. During an internal operation, it is usual for troops involved in that operation to carry out arrests. The suspects may include rioters or even more serious offenders like murderers, armed bandits or looters who are merely taking advantage of an upheaval or mishap. Whatever the circumstances, arrests are either conducted with a warrant of arrest, or without such a warrant. In practice, a warrant usually contains the following: The date of issue; a concise statement of the offence or matter for which it was issued; the name of the person to be arrested; an order to a law enforcement officer to apprehend the named person and bring him before the law; the signature of the magistrate or judge.” (Military Law in Nigeria Under Democratic Rule by Brigadier General T.E.C. Chiefe (Rtd) Ph.D).

Onwubiko is the leader of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).

 

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Opinion

Wanted: Nigerian Football Museum (2)

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Wanted: Nigerian Football Museum (2)

By

Tony Afejuku

Let me let you enter my column today by way of revising a remark I made last Friday with reference to Daniel Okwudili. Daniel Okwudili was not a product of Amukpe Football Club of Sapele. He was a product of Warri Football Club in the early sixties. He was discovered in Warri from where he played for the Green Eagles as a right inside forward. He was a product of Hussey College, Warri. Much, much earlier he was a product of Sacred Heart, a Catholic Primary School in Warri where his football stretched out to Hussey College.

Mr. Amaju Pinnick may not know it now, but after all is said or written or recorded after his precious or not precious time, or tenure or period as chairman of the Nigeria Football Federation his wondrous legacy that will remain his wondrously permanent legacy is the football museum being canvased here and now. If he can do this, if he does this, if he establishes this museum we shall hail him to the high heavens of Nigerian football. And we shall do so by importing from Australia specially and meticulously well bred wonga-wongas to celebrate him and the historic institution. But the envisaged football museum is not to be seen as a mere wood lot or bush lot. It is envisaged as an institution of a great historical record of great success for our football project of sound intellectual merit. The staff to run and man it shall be the right caliber staff especially at the senior category or senior level to engage in adequate research of pure beauty to stand and watch over our football not as its police or sheriff but as its keeper and researcher of records. Sports writers and chroniclers, football essayists and academic football writers and chroniclers and academic and non-academic football anthropologists shall be engaged by the museum to go back into the deep past to straighten, straighten out and straighten up our football in all ramifications right from the deep past, I repeat, up to the present time. Mr. Amaju Pinnick should intellectualize our football.

READ ALSO: Wanted: Nigerian Football Museum (1)

Who and who did this or that for Nigerian football and at what time, or at what period as players, official referees, ball boys/girls, as proprietors or proprietresses or as philanthropists, etc.? Can we get their pictures or murals or drawings or images as mementos to encourage present players and lovers of our football to be real football patriots of Nigerian football? Who were and are current heroes and heroines of Nigerian football? What historical and patriotic projections can be made for those who are rightly visible now and who definitely are not going to be visible tomorrow but whose legacies should (and must) be recorded and kept alive for posterity? These and several other issues I don’t wish to mention here now for strategic reasons and considerations should receive the beautiful and expansive attention of Mr. Amaju Pinnick and members of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) he leads. In fact, Mr. Amaju Pinnick and the Federal Minister of Sports, Mr. Sunday Dare, the equally youthful sports administrator, should sit down and rub minds over my modest proposal which should be in the capital heart of their respective football and sports hearts.

Now I should steer my readers to the foreign football port that inspired me to feel for Nigerian football as I have lovingly felt for it to the extent that I am hereby dreaming for it the need for Mr. Amaju Pinnick to erect a museum for it.

My reader from across the Atlantic Ocean (who pointed out my Daniel Okwudili error) drew my football heart and mind to a black football “trailblazer” who “helped transform how football was placed” in  Scotland and in England. The name of this black “trailblazer” was Andrew Wilson. He was born in Guyana in the West Indies of a very wealthy Scottish father (who made hay in Guyana) and a black slave mother. He was bred to become an English gentleman and made his great or iconic mark as a highly famed footballer who captained Scotland and was widely acknowledged as a fabulously fabulous Scottish footballer that led Scotland as its football captain to demolish England 6-1 “on his debut in 1881.” Andrew Watson has gone into history as the “world’s first black international, but for more than a century the significance of his achievement went un-recognised” on account of racism. Research of three decades has rescued him from oblivion and obscurity. A significant and well underlined description of him and Pele, the black and world football pearl of pearls, goes thus: “There are murals of black footballers facing one another across an alleyway in Glasgow. One helped football as we know it, the other is Pele.” Watson’s biography is very, very rich in every respect, but I am primarily concerned here with his football exploits. In his second match against England (not long after the first) he led Scotland to beat England 5-1 convincingly. This second heavy defeat compelled the English Football Association to change England’s football approach thanks to Andrew Watson who “assumed the role of Scotch Professor and taught his English peers “the science” of a more dynamic passing style.” And here is the gem of gems:

“Pele was a genius footballer, but there are thousands of genius footballers whose influence dies with them the second they retire,” says Ged O’Brien, founder of the Scottish Football Museum.

READ ALSO: Haba, Oga Ichabod, Were You  Actually Called?

“You can look at any game of football being played anywhere in the world – by any person of any gender or ethnicity or culture and the ghost of Andrew Watson will be looking down on you because they are playing his game.

“Watson is the most influential black footballer of all time. There is nobody that comes close.”

Many persons may accept almost everything in this quotation with a pinch of salt. But one thing is clear: Andrew Watson is today a living subject brought to our fading football consciousness by the Scottish Football Museum. This remark should enter well and well the key of Mr. Amaju Pinnicks’s Nigerian football administration, impression and pleasure – meaning that positive thoughts about giving us Nigeria Football Museum should start raining forth in profusion from him.

I must end this second division of my subject – before my conclusion – with what the Scottish Football Museum’s historians, researchers and academics also further brought to light about Andrew Watson: “During his life-time, Watson’s influence was felt across the game. He was a captain, a national cup winner, an administrator, investor and match official, each achievement and contribution made as the first black man to do so. Is Mr. Amaju Pinnick hearing me? Is Mr. Amaju Pinnick listening to this columnist? If he is not blocking his ears (and eyes), he should read well my lips: Don’t be satisfied with the pleasurable feeling of entering Nigerian football books as the first Itsekiri-Nigerian to be the chairman of our NFF and to be Nigeria’s representative in FIFA. He must make a mark that is a mark that is a legacy of legacies.

To be continued.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

 

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Haba, Oga Ichabod, Were You  Actually Called?         

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Haba, Oga Ichabod, Were You  Actually Called?         

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Grace Ego Omoni

The world is changing rapidly in all facets of life…technology, science, education, fashion, money-making and of course our religion including absurd  activities of many  church leaders, I mean the so- called  “men of God.” Stories surrounding the “self-anointed men of God” are so incredible that one is left  but to ask whether they were really   called by  the  Lord who instituted the church or it was a self-induced call.

Career choice in guidance and counselling in the school system is based on the use of psychological tests, one of which is the Vocational Interest Inventory by Prof C.G.M Bakare. Unfortunately, many schools know little or nothing about this all-important tool which assists students to choose a career based on  their area of interest, ability and capability. So many people find themselves in professions  not actually meant for them but are there  just to make two ends meet. Of all the professions most bastardized,  is the pastoral ministry where we find every dick and harry calling and parading themselves as “men of God” whereas the anointing is very, very  far away from them.

They are of different shades: the trained but not carrying grace,  the charlatans, the  self-appointed church leader, the illiterate pastor, the morally bankrupt church leader, the false prophets/prophetesses and the general overseer church leader( which I have labelled: one-man company) and a host of others. My problem is that many of these so-called  “men of God” do not realise that church leadership is dependant on God’s power and call and not just a feeling or a desire. It is a decision taken which entails  relying  on God based on what He has revealed about Himself through His nature and the Scripture.

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Unfortunately, some of these “men of God” who are supposed to influence society positively in their biblical teachings and moral behaviours are the ones perpetrating corruption and immorality unabated in their environment. Unhealthy toxic culture has crept into the church and it  is being spread sporadically by this  calibre of Christians popularly applauded as “men of God.” Hence my question: Haba, Mr. Ichabod, were you actually called or you see this noble profession as your last resort after failing to secure a job in the secular world? Why have you decided to make the glory of God to depart from the church? This article is  meant to  help us  reposition and redefine the influence and the role  of church leaders in our society and not in any way to bring  her to disrepute.

Thus, we shall be looking at this discussion under the following sub-topics:

1) The characteristics of the ideal church leader or pastor.

2)Levels of immorality among pastors.

3)Factors facilitating  immorality among pastors.

4)Consequences of these practices on the society.

5)Counselling strategies.

As earlier observed, this article is not to play down Christianity but it is  with a view to repositioning the integrity of the church and for society to realise that the office  of the pastor is sacred,  noble, ordained by God, a model worthy of emulation and thus must be held in high esteem.

Characteristics of  an  ideal pastor or man of God or church leader:       

According to 1Cor 2: 14, “the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” Thus a real man of God is spiritually inclined, anointed and called by God Himself. He is able to discern spiritual things; listens and hears from God. He is one who can give a defined testimony of his or her call into the ministry. Such a one   must have undergone proper training in a bible school, a theological seminary or college. There must be evidence of this training; he or she must show evidence of being qualified to pastor the church by his or her character. That is he must possess a licence which gives him the authority to minister under laid down principles, beliefs and practices of the denomination he belongs to. This licence acts as checks and balances to him in his role as a church pastor. The implication is that such a licence can be withdrawn from a pastor who fails to live up to expectations as outlined in the ethics, beliefs and practices of the church.

The scripture also identifies the many qualities of a pastor. He must be blameless, husband of one wife with disciplined children and able to rule his house. He must not be a drunk nor a brawler. He must not be  covetous. He must be of very good moral behaviour, accommodating, not greedy or boastful or proud.  The pastor is patient, not given to wine, hospitable, vigilant, full of wisdom from above and not sexually immoral or weak. He is not given to telling lies, not quarrelsome or one who exhibits uncontrollable anger. He is disciplined, , a lover of peace, sober and is judicious with his speech and not greedy for riches or women. He must be able to teach the word in truth and in spirit and must be able to influence the church and the society positively.

READ ALSO: Dealing With Mental Illness In The Family

Levels of unethical and immoral behaviour among pastors.

The church is supposed to be the core institution where morality is taught and a campaign against immorality ought to be mostly carried out. Morality relates to the act of being right or wrong. It pertains to the principles concerning good or bad behaviour in which man is supposed to act; whereas, immorality connotes unethical practices not acceptable by the society. It pertains to all forms of absurd abominable corrupt and evil acts by individuals. It is pathetic to observe that immorality among Christian leaders/ pastors is going on at an alarming rate.

The level of immorality among “men of God” is rampant and high  and  causing embarrassment to the church. It has negatively affected the society. It has brought serious shame, disgrace and mockery to Christendom as well as lawlessness/disorderliness to the larger society. It is an irony that men of God who are supposed to be role models to the secular world are actually the shameless vanguards and perpetrators of immorality. The integrity of the church is now at stake making the glory of God to depart( Ichabod).

Stories of pastors engaging in all manner of unethical practices, corruption and  immorality abound. They range from frauds, deceptions, intimidation, false teachings and prophecies, heterosexual and homosexual acts ( gay/lesbianism relationships), sex abuse,  adultery, fornication,  violent conducts, vandalism, covetousness, pride and power intoxication to  misappropriation of church funds, acts of schism, cheating, swindling of funds, fighting, lying,  ostentatious lifestyles and bullying.  Here are some scenarios as reported in the media, by friends and those personally witnessed. It was reported recently in the media of a pastor caught in an adulterous act with a member’s wife and he shamelessly asserted that God told him to do so. Does God have a double standard?

The 10th commandment says that we should not covet a neighbour’s wife but this pastor claimed that God told him to sleep with his member’s wife right inside the church office! Haba! Some weeks back, a pastor was made to pay the dowry and perform all the marriage and funeral rites  of a dead woman who had an abortion for him. It was reported that he forced the lady to go for an abortion because  it was shameful to hear that he put  a girl in the family way out of wedlock. Just a few days ago, a friend narrated how a pastor resold plots of land he had already sold years past to new buyers just recently and lavished the proceeds on  women leaving the mother, the real owner of  the land homeless and the immediate family in  total penury.

Presently,  he is roaming about with nothing because the church has relieved him of his appointment. Yet another story of our so-called “men of God.” Some years ago, a pastor fought his members in the church with only his pants on in  the presence of onlookers and  without remorse. He was already at loggerheads with the church, so he refused to release the musical instrument for the members to use. What a shameful act!  What a world!  Recently, a group of people witnessed an ugly situation of money swindling by a pastor right inside the church and people could not talk and arrogantly carted the money away.

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A story was  also told of a pastor who engaged in administering drugs and giving medical treatment to people in a village in the Niger Delta Region. He was neither a  trained nurse nor a  doctor or a pharmacist. This very pastor was also involved in a sexual relationship with a widow in the church. This last but not the least story is an eye-witness account. During an executive zonal  meeting of a  denomination,  this pastor exhibited very  terrible anger and boasted to members of how three of our members died because he was challenged. He confiscated the property of the church he was pastoring under his care, carried away the  church  notice board, sold the church land,  resisted arrest and attempted fighting the police when he was to be arrested.

Dear reader, what will you call this kind of pastor… a murderer, or a sorcerer or a cultist or a thug? I can go on and on to cite examples. Some are ritualists, cultists, serial killers, rapists, dupes and thieves. I am led to ask, is it compulsory to be a “man of God”? Should you use this sacred  title to cover up for your atrocities, Mr. Ichabod? Yet many people are still following them sheepishly even when the glory of God has left them. Some of them cannot teach the undiluted word of God.By their fruits, you shall know them!

Factors facilitating immorality among pastors:                             

These will be briefly itemized:

a) Many pastors are not called by God. They are self-made.

b) Many lack formal education.

c) Most of them do not have pastoral training. They neither went to bible schools nor theological institutions.

d) Some came into the profession just to have a means of livelihood.

e) There is proliferation of false prophets for money-making.

f) Many people patronize them with money for powers and to help them solve their seemingly insurmountable problems.

g) The society worships them without questioning their source of power.

h) The society is already lawless and disorderly.

i) Unemployment and poor economy sydrome.

j) The craze for wealth and power.

k) Gullibility of followers especially the female gender.

l) High-level criminality in the society without appropriate punishment meted out to culprits.

m) The culture of silence among the high and the low especially, the leadership of the Christian Council of Nigeria. The idea of covering up the atrocities of these pastors has eaten deep into the society.

n) Proliferation of churches in every nook and cranny of the society by men of shady characters. The factors are inexhaustible!

Consequences of unethical behaviour and  practices by the so-called “men of God”:                 

a)Disruption of the integrity of the Church of Christ. Their unethical  and immoral practices have brought shame and mockery to Christendom.  The Glory of God seems to have departed from many churches.

b) It has increased the level of doubt people have on the integrity of real pastors in our churches.

c) Societal lawlessness, indiscipline and criminality are on the increase as unscrupulous individuals hide under the name of the churches to perpetrate heinous crimes in the society.

d) There is a high rate of sexual atrocities among members and their pastors. Cases of sexual abuse, heterosexual and homosexual relationships abound now as well as adultery. These have led to a high rate of divorce and single parenthood. e)Paternity issues are on the increase no doubt.

f) Instability in families is also on the increase.

g) Many so-called men of God seek powers from herbalists, cultists and marine spirits leading to more evil such as ritual killings.

h) Since it is now a lucrative business, charlatans, false prophets and false teachings are on the increase.

i) Competition and jealousy among pastors are now the other of the day. There is no more unity, love and peace in the body of Christ.

j) Conflicts and schism( division) in the church is the order of the day.

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Counselling strategies:

1)Formal education and seminary training must be the criteria for becoming a church leader. The Christian Association of Nigeria must see to this.

2) the curriculum content of training pastors  must include relationships,  educational laws, rights of the citizen and guidance and counselling. These will help would-be pastors to adjust well to societal issues.

3) Seminars and workshops should be organised periodically by different bodies such as the Christian Association of Nigeria, denominations, non-governmental organisations, counsellors,  bible  schools and theological seminaries for pastors in the field to discuss trends in their profession as they relate to the society.

4) sanctions should be meted out to culprits.

5) The culture of silence should be stopped among Christians especially by the leadership of CAN.

6) Men of God found guilty should be prevented from practising as church leaders and the licence of such withdrawn. No pastor should be allowed to practise without licence from a properly registered seminary or bible school.

7) The society should stop being gullible and learn not to be easily deceived by this category of pastors. So church members need counselling too on who to call to  pastor the church  and how to handle him when issues on unethical behaviour arises in the church .

8) Families should take care of their children and spouses. Members should caution themselves on  too much dependence on their pastors. This gullibility  should stop.

9) The society should lay emphasis on morals and not on wealth, fame and power.

10) Churches take care of your pastors financially, morally and socially. They are human beings and can be tempted, so pray for them without

We exhibit faith when we trust in the wisdom and logic of God’s plan. Faith in God is a choice and not a feeling. Many so-called men of God are but a lie and exhibit behaviours that have brought shame to Christendom in Nigeria. Unhealthy toxic culture  at work in the church has penetrated the society at large.  This includes  money temptation, sexual temptation, anti-Christ teachings,  suspicious criminal acts such as cultism, ritual murders, exaggeration of fake miracles, lies, pride and   fraudulent “men of God” playing god before their gullible members. These practices have influenced the society negatively and have also destroyed the integrity of the Christian body in Nigeria. The glory of.  God is fast departing in churches harbouring this category of church leaders .

The culture of silence among the high and low in the church has further heightened the scandals, abuses and moral fallouts among the pastors. There is a call that enough is enough! The church leadership should rise up to fight against this pollution and unhealthy immorality in the church by teaching the undiluted word of God, resisting unethical behaviour by fellow men of God,  counselling, restoring the old-time religion of the apostles, abolishing the culture of silence and flushing out culprits, withdrawing their licence and taking legal actions against them. These will help in restoring the glory of God in our churches and further bring sanity to the society.

 

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Opinion

When Engineers Go Unethical

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  When Engineers Go  Unethical

By

Sam Akpe

A few years ago, Effiong Bob walked into the hallowed chamber of the Senate clutching about half a dozen bills. That was unprecedented in the history of Nigerian legislature. All the bills were listed in the Order Paper for First Reading, and were taken; the same day. When passed into law, one of them granted full operational autonomy to the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

When Engineers Go Unethical

Senator Effiong Bob

As a senator, Bob’s voice on the floor of the Senate was not so loud. But at the Committee level — which is the engine room of legislative business — he was a master of the game. Those who should know, know that the Senate in plenary is a Senate on exhibition, the Senate in Committee Room is the Senate in its workshop. It is at the Committee level that the worth of individual senators is  measured and graded.

As Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, and later, Chairman, Senate Services Committee, Bob noiselessly discharged his functions with amazing speed and accuracy. He pursued each task with messianic commitment. So, when he was invited by the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers some weeks back to present a keynote address at their annual event, he took the ball straight into their court.

Speaking on “Impact of Legislation on Engineering Practice: The Mechanical Engineers Experience”, Bob said the theme of the presentation, aligned completely with the dominant issues of the season; especially in a country where impunity seems to run riot almost everywhere and in everything.

Without any doubt, he said the relevance of engineering and engineers to our everyday existence cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand. Despite their failings and excuses, we cannot forget to applaud their little successes.

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He was right. A close look at the environment will always reveal that the major infrastructural creations around us — things that contribute to make life worth living — are products of engineering ingenuity. Some engineers create, others maintain. I can only imagine how boring and drab life would be without engineers.

Bob stated that the formal regulation of engineering is crucial because it is the law that separates the practice of engineering from other natural sciences. The law provides guidance, spells out controls and gives impetus to the practice. The legal frameworks ensure public safety.

He defined legislation in engineering as the process of enacting and applying laws to ensure qualification, safety and quality compliance, application and use of engineering outcomes. It also means the protocols of how ethics and legal frameworks are used to ensure quality delivery and public safety in the profession.

The former senator told the attentive audience that legislation in engineering practice is meant to prevent certain problems and behaviours observed in the application of science in the public interest, in a bid to protect life and welfare of the people; because it would be against the run of play for a practising engineer to endanger public safety.

By implication, the law places a high responsibility on the engineer to uphold sound ethical standards in his operation, as system failure would most likely attract legal action, particularly if such failure creates liabilities by causing harm to the public or incurring other unintended costs, as a result of unprofessional or ethical breach.

Bob stated: “It is one of the reasons a practitioner must be registered for proper identification, regulation, monitoring, training and discipline. He is expected to practise professionally and within the ambits of the regulations governing the practice. Legislation confers both moral and legal authorities on practitioners of the profession. It also comes with expectations and punitive measures.

“Let it be made clear that any person who calls himself a professional in any aspect of human endeavour, if what he practises is not governed or regulated by law or is not known to any existing law, that person must be engaging in an act that is inimical to the interest and safety of society. The reason is because he cannot be justifiably held accountable if anything goes wrong because where there is no law, you can’t talk about breaking the law.”

What he meant here was that an unregulated space is likely to be governed by impunity. Regulation generates sanctions. Every human endeavour requires the knowledge of the laws governing the discharge of that responsibility and the rights of others within the environment of practice.

Truly, since an engineer deals with a wide range of activities that involve lives and the environment, he must be guided, and in fact, arrested by the law, if misguided. The law is there to control and give impetus to the practice. Bob went ahead to cite specific existing laws that are intended to guide engineering practice in Nigeria.

He observed that without legislation, engineering practice would be subject to infiltration and severe abuse by unqualified persons. Of course, even with legislation, the practice is richly infiltrated by various grades of persons who have not received the requisite training that qualifies them to practise.

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Referring to Sections 6 and 7 of the Engineers (Registration, Etc) Act, 1992, he said it clearly specifies who should be registered as an engineer as well as titles to be used. Section 7 stipulates that a registered engineer shall use the abbreviation “Engr;” an engineering technologist shall use “Engr Tech;” and a technician shall use “Tech;” while a registered engineering craftsman shall use his full title with his trade in bracket under his name.

Declared Bob: “But there are lots of people who go about with the prefix Engr, yet have not received professional training from relevant institutions and definitely not certified by the appropriate body to practise as prescribed in Section 6 of the Act.”

He said these persons go about executing projects and, in most cases, create image problems for the profession through ethical and criminal failures. But again, even some certified practitioners also flout the codes and bring the profession into disrepute.

This is where the relevance of legislation comes in, to preserve the profession from quacks. But though the relevant statutes are there, it is the duty of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) to ensure that they are enforced for the sake of the profession and the safety of the society.

It was revealed that different aspects of engineering legislation deal with different activity areas. Without tort, for instance, impunity would have a field day especially in our clime where the propensity for substandard deliveries is high. The law assigns blame and penalties.

In addition, contract law defines the rules of engagement between engineers, business partners and clients. Product liability law talks about quality. There is also the intellectual property protection law; and the safety legislation codes and regulations.

If legislation provides checks and balances, Bob wondered why “We have had several cases of collapsed structures in our society including buildings, roads and bridges; and these are structures that a number of professional engineers must have or are supposed to have been involved in building.

“Let’s look inward. Can COREN honestly absolve itself from blame or complicity in the collapse of these structures since its members were involved or are supposed to have been involved in the building of such structures?

“How come that in spite of the uproar that greets each incident with accompanying casualties, it still happens again and again? Does it mean that the regulatory authorities are not doing much to whip members into line or deal with quacks to act as  a deterrent?

“This is an area that should be focused on. The body has a responsibility to save the profession from this embarrassing situation which in some cases has claimed lives. There is an urgent need therefore, for the strict enforcement of legislations governing the practice of engineering if professional integrity is to be maintained.”

COREN, don’t pretend you did not hear, please.

Akpe, a journalist, lives in Abuja.

 

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