…Requests PMB’s health status be made public
Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) at a Press Briefing on Thursday, April 15, 2021, demanded the health status of President Muhammadu Buhari; they also expressed concerns at level of insecurity, and then asked government to shore up the value of the naira, create jobs, limit importation, among other demands. CYRIACUS NNAJI reports.
It was the gathering of the top echelons of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria at their national headquarters, PFN Close, Mechanic Village in Aswani Area of Lagos.
The group spoke on vital and salient national issues that needed urgent attention for the good of the country.
National President of PFN, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, first commended the Press for progress made overtime in exposing corruption, nepotism, exposing militarism and evil in the society and for educating and entertaining the world.
On behalf of the body he also saluted their Moslem friends on their Ramadan fasting.
Meanwhile Bishop Oke drew the attention of their Moslem leaders to help in tackling Boko Haram and also on the need for peace and peaceful coexistence, maintaining that the Ramadan fasting period offered a veritable atmosphere to partner with PFN to bring peace to the nation. “And we want to urge them, they have told us repeatedly in the past that Islam is a religion of peace and we want to urge their leaders to persuade their members and followers not only in words but in action to bring to an end the Boko Haram menace. Boko Haram, they are using the name of Islam to perpetrate their atrocity and they are messing the name of Islam.
“Leaders of Islam should come together and stop this, even the bandits; somebody said they are trying to fight to defend Islam. If Islam is a religion of peace, we don’t dispute that claim, let them prove it. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, we are ready to partner with our Moslem brothers and sisters, their leaders in building a progressive, peaceful nation that we all can call home. If we do not have peace and security it is impossible, so we invite them into a partnership, lets cooperate together to pray for this nation, to work for the peace of this nation, to end banditry, to end the Fulani herdsmen menace all over the country, to end Boko Haram menace, we are working for peace. They should join hand together, in prayer in working for peace,” Bishop Oke urged.
The religious body also stated that they were concerned over the security challenges in the nation and called on the Government to be proactive in tackling security menace all over the country. Oke said “Everybody should be concerned about the security of this nation. Sometime it was confined to the northeast and then it began to spread to the northwest, now it is all over, southeast is terribly affected, South-South terribly affected, southwest terribly affected, we cannot talk about near decimation of the north central. And we want to charge the federal government to rise to its number one responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of every Nigerian, and we plead with the newly appointed security chiefs not just to talk the talk but to walk the talk, bring your skills and training to bear, let’s deal with insurgency, let’s deal with insecurity.”
He said PFN is of the firm opinion that government should not negotiate with bandits, adding that a government that negotiates with bandits is a sign of failure. “Negotiating with bandits is an admission of government failure; bandits are not to be negotiated with. Bandits are to be made to face the full wrath of the law. Why should a credible government be negotiating with rapists, kidnappers, and murderers? It is not acceptable. It is an admission of failure, and we do not believe that the government of Nigeria has failed yet; the government should rise up to the occasion and bring the full weight of justice to bear on the bandits, the rapists, the killers.”
Oke maintained that government should rather negotiate with the youths who are agitating for better life. “If anything at all government should negotiate with the youths that are restive, not to clamp down on them, the people that they should clamp down on are the bandits, the killers, the murderers, the rapists so we can have security everywhere in Nigeria.”
PFN also lent its voice on the call to effectively build a vibrant and robust economy in Nigeria and urged the federal government to shore up the value of the Naira. “The PFN felt concern about the economic situation in the country. So many millions are not employed, the value of the Naira has fallen drastically; latest news report says the Naira is now about 490 something to one dollar; that is like a battered economy. The government should create jobs, the government should work on the value of the Naira so that the naira will be strong, the government should limit import and promote our home made materials, lets produce the food we eat in Nigeria, a situation we are a consumer economy, just import and eat, we are serving as an economic slaves to other counties. Government should rise up and strengthen the local manufacturing sector, strengthen the local agriculture, limit import to most essential items.”
While wishing the president speedy recovery, PFN urged the Presidency to make the health status of the president public, adding that the president belong to all Nigerians. “The PFN are praying for our president, for a little over two weeks now our president has been out of the country on health matter, we want to assure the nation and assure our president, that we believe in prayer, we are praying for our president and that he would return home.
“However, two things give us concern over our president’s surgeon out of the country. Number one, we feel that the nation needs to know all the truth about the health of the president, we ask the federal government and the presidency to lay the card on the table and tell us what is happening to our president. The president is no longer a private citizen, the president belongs to us, and we need to know what is happening so that we know how to pray, how to advice, how to counsel.”
Oke stressed the need to upgrade and put in place functional medical facilities in the country “And again, we are concerned that whenever our president needs health checkup, he goes out of the country; that is a very major security risk. Does it mean that our president is safer in the hand of foreigners than in our hands? Supposing those people in an attempt to undermine our nation, tries to play game with our president, what can we do? Why should our elected officials be going abroad for medical treatment when they can inject money into our healthcare system and bring it up to par with those of the nation they are going?
Oke said, “Nigeria is blessed with extremely intelligent people, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, physical therapists, in any field, people who when they meet their colleagues from other countries, they standard out, very intelligent. We are not creating enabling environment for them, now how many Nigerians can go to UK for medical treatment like our president, the federal government should rise up, invest in our health care system. The doctors are complaining, they are on strike, and the government appears not to care. Let’s pay attention and bring our medical health system to such a level that whenever the president of this nation needs medical attention, he can just check into any hospital in Nigeria and he will be fine. To see our hospitals reduced to near mortuary, and then when our leaders are sick, off they go to America, India, Germany, to Dubai, it is not acceptable.”
Dr Cosmos Ilechukwu, National Secretary of the body, on his part, spoke on Covid-19 vaccine and advised government to soft-pedal on the vaccine until a careful investigating over its efficacy or otherwise is carried out. “The question has been asked does this vaccine prevent people from being affected by covid-19 and the answered they provided was no, they are not sure. Will the person be immune? The answer we got was not a definite yes. Now I think a vaccine is not what can come up overnight, it takes time to develop a vaccine. I think that we should all be patient and allow the people that know what they should do to take their time and let the vaccine take its proper evolution and come up with something that will bring health to humanity.
“Anytime the public raises an issue that brings about fear, it is necessary for that to be thoroughly investigated before we pursue because in this case public fear is palpable. Our advice is that government should soft pedal on issue of Vaccine, let these allegations be comprehensively investigated and let the government make definitive statement on it and let genuine Nigerian scientists be involved in that. I don’t think it is fair for us to allow anybody to determine what vaccine we are going to take, especially now that doubts have being raised on these issues, Ilechukwu said.
Making his contribution, Archbishop Johnpraise Daniel, National Deputy President spoke on 2023 election saying “We have the number, and we are also going to mobilize. We are going to ensure that not just anybody again, to come in as the president of our nation, because we have quite a number of great people in this nation, great brains who could do well anywhere in the world. We have a Nigerian at the world level, a woman; African Development Bank, a Nigerian and many others. So we have the manpower, I think we should go for the best.
“We must come out of these tribal and religious sentiments in determining who rules us, and I think 2023, the way our president is mobilizing us, knowing we have the number, 65million Pentecostals, we want to do our best and ensure that our people are mobilized to pray and secondly to be ready to vote, not just to vote but to get involved from the grassroots, if possible in decision making of who becomes the councilor, local government chairman, and so on and so forth,” Daniel maintained.