The news of outbreak of corona virus hits the world like wild fire and every nation is struggling to control the spread of the disease which has affected thousands of people across the globe. Similarly, the Nigerian government has initiated moves to curtail the disease’s impact on the populace and one of the measures is to restrict movement in and out of the country.
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA) applaud various governments for their prompt responses even though may not yet be holistic. However, the flagrant disregard by the Living Faith Church founder; Bishop David Oyedepo for Ogun State government directive to religious houses and other places in the state to avoid gathering exceeding 50 people could best be described as his usual antics of being above the laws of the land
In 2013, the same Bishop Oyedepo ordered the merciless beating of Ogun State officials from the State Internal Revenue Service and the Town Planning authority who visited the Church headquarter to enforce collection of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) and regularization of buildings respectively which led them to hospital in Ota as the Church had, reportedly, not paid its PAYE and or obtained approval for structures it erected in its compound. Even reports had it that some media men also had fair share of the beating for attempting to record the incidence. But his partner and protector; former President Olusegun Obasanjo protected him and ensured he went away with the assault on the State laws and the officials.
The rest became history till date. So, his decision to hold church service having more than 50 people in attendance was another show of arrogance to the laws of the land but instead of security operatives who were at the place when the assault occurred to act, they looked other way and were busy attacking other defenceless Nigerians.
If such security agents could not arrest or disrupt Bishop Oyedepo service what justification do they have to disturb other Nigerians?
Or was it because Bishop Oyedepo pays regularly tithe to Security agents in Ogun State or his members in the security agencies must ignore the laws of the land for their “lord”?
One of the reports from the Church service he held on Sunday March 22, 2020 indicated that he said
“shutting the church is like shutting the hospital”.
But when his wife was ill a while ago, his anointing oil could not heal his wife which he took to USA where doctors in one of the best hospitals in the country attended to his wife for almost a year.
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Apart from the fact that none of the annual Nigerian guessers could predict the outbreak of corona virus in their 2020 guesses which ought to have exposed their members to reality of being duped by such predictors, the reality shows that most of the shepherds would hardly care for their members that contact the deadly disease as a result of the deviant gathering.
Even though his followers have freedom to choose whatever they wish to do in the name of defending tithes to be collected for their leader. Other Nigerians too have rights to be protected from contacting the deadly virus from likely contact they may have from affected person who could be anyone even from his church.
The worst part of the bishop hypocrisy is that he often pretends as if loves Nigerians while majority of the people do not know he only vent his anger on any administration that blocked him from defrauding the nation at the expense of common man.
While RIFA appreciate genuine Pastors and Imams who honoured the government advice, the deviant ones must not be allowed to go unpunished especially when branches of Bishop Oyedepo Church in America and other countries complied with the directive in other countries.
To the various governments of Nigeria restricting movement of citizens without following the constitutional provisions of 1999 Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) Section 41 subsection (1) which provides that
“Every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit therefrom”
and Section 45 (1) which states that
“Nothing in sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society. (a) in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or (b) for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom or other persons (2) An act of the National Assembly shall not be invalidated by reason only that it provides for the taking, during periods of emergency, of measures that derogate from the provisions of section 33 or 35 of this Constitution; but no such measures shall be taken in pursuance of any such act during any period of emergency save to the extent that those measures are reasonably justifiable for the purpose of dealing with the situation that exists during that period of emergency:”
Therefore, what the law says is that only compliance with a law and not policy of government could limit citizens’ movement.
As a result, in compliance with Section 305 of the Constitution, a state of emergency needs to be invoked first which most governments have failed.
However, their failure could only be challenged in courts and not by the Bishop and co-travelers’ disobedience.
On the restriction order, RIFA warn various government of looming anarchy if appropriate steps are not taken to stifle the effect of the restriction as hunger, robbery and insecurity may take charge soon.
Already, robbery in neighbourhood has increased while hunger worsens due to inability of daily hustlers to go to their work places and the downtrodden exposure to precarious hungry living conditions.
If as at March 15, 2020, 41.465093 million eligible residents or Nigerians have enrolled for bank verification number (BVN) out of the estimated 200 million Nigerians, the government should have a programme to cushion the effect of the restrictive order by crediting eligible Nigerians with BVN certain equal amount as a compensation for barring them from going to work or make a better alternative to provide comprehensive social recovery measures to the vulnerable Nigerians.
RIFA insist that since the governor of Ogun State is a collaborator with the security agents, the Bishop has really proved to be untouchable and so no other Nigerian should be harassed by any officials of the government anywhere in the country until they round up the “untouchables”.
WATCH VIDEO OF HOW POLICE BEATS UP SOME PEOPLE WHO IGNORED THE GOVT ORDER AND WENT TO CHURCH
Rights and Freedom Advocates (RIFA)
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