We’ve more corruption now than before –Eragbai
The General Overseer, Divine Appointment Ministry International, Ilupeju, Lagos, Rev Ben Eragbai, has applauded the fight against corruption by President Mohammadu Buhari but was quick to add that the government is fighting the corruption of the past, but is not doing much about the present. In this interview, Eragbai speaks on various issues.
What is your take on the state of the nation?
There is hunger and starvation everywhere. As a pastor, we are bearing the burden of the people, seeing what is happening now, where people are finding it hard to feed; some are equally not finding it easy paying transport fares to go to work. Many are thrown out of jobs and some cannot pay their house rents, as well as their children’s school fees. Unemployment rate has so much increased. So far so good, I believe God is still on the throne. This is not the change that Nigerians asked for.
Things had gone bad the way they supposed not to be. We had thought that before voting a person into office, he should have appraised the enormity of challenges he was going to face and prepared to paddle the economy. Removing former President Goodluck Jonathan shouldn’t just be the achievement of the All Progressives Congress (APC), but meeting the needs of the people who are now staving and groaning over the excruciating poverty and suffering in the land, should be their strongest point.
Look at the Chibok schoolgirls? Based on what was promised, we thought that by now it would have been a settled matter as all the girls, not just the 21, would have reunited with their parents. But it is not so. How are the parents of these remaining girls feeling? These girls were not criminals, they just went to school, but some criminal elements wanted to truncate their ambitions. How would the political leaders feel if those were their children? The government has failed in this direction.
The exchange rate is another sore point in this country. The dollar is hitting the rooftop everyday, while the naira is going down and down. We are making Benin Republic and Ghana, our neighbouring countries richer. People are closing their factories in Nigeria and relocating to those countries. Airlines are also toeing the same line. We have banned importation of various items, but they are still finding their ways into the country through the land borders. We make other nations richer, as they are collecting taxes and tariffs for these items, but nothing comes to us. You banned all these items when there are no alternatives or substitutes.
How is the recession impacting on the church?
The church is waxing stronger, as the enemy cannot win the battle. It is when someone is sick that the person needs doctor. If I say the church is affected, it makes those who are fighting Christianity to begin to celebrate that they are winning the battle. When people are sick that is when they need doctor. Nigerians are very sick now, and so they need the church more than ever before because humanity has failed, and so it needs divinity. The super will never come to the natural until the natural seeks the super that is what we call, supernatural. The activity of the church is awesome. God is helping the church as it waxes stronger and the gates of hell shall not prevail.
However, the people have been thrown out of jobs. Right now, we are making the people to think inward on how they can go into farming and other things. People are hungry, they are jobless and if not for the church, the armored tanks, the guns etc, cannot stop the people from trooping out into the streets for a possible revolution.
One of my members, a commercial driver said he just stopped somewhere, where other buses were, then suddenly, some members of a taskforce arrived and commanded all of them to lie face down and towed away their buses. The place was an approved bus stop. He said the policemen attached to the taskforce used a stun gun on him, and when he realized that he was not jolted, the policeman asked him, ‘so this thing is not shocking you”. I told him that, ‘towing my bus is shocking me more than this instrument. I don’t know if this is shocking me. The main shock is how to feed my family in the evening, not this thing you are using on me”.
You see, even the stun gun could not even shock him. The solution is not bringing in more guns and ammunition. The solution should be how to take care of the people because a hungry man is an angry man; how do we make sure that food is in their stomach; how do we make sure that they have access to clean water; how do they pay their house rents? When these things are addressed, I don’t think most people would want to be involved in crime. That is the essence of the church.
I wonder how it would have been in Nigeria if there were no church. The church is where people get hope, and know that God is still on the thrown that, if today is not rosy, tomorrow will be better. That is what still keeps the people going on. The people are feeling very terrible. Prices of essential drugs are no more affordable; patients are being abandoned in the hospitals after discharge because there is no money to settle the hospital bill. This is not the change we bargained for.
How can you rate the corruption fight by the government
It is now that there is corruption. We are fighting corruption of the past but we are not looking at the corruption of the present. Go to parastatals and see the level of corruption going on. Specifically, go to Passport Office, and you would be ashamed to talk about corruption fight. If you go there, it a different story from what it used to be. It is either there was no passport booklet or lamination paper and you would keep going, but immediately you give them money, the booklet would surface. Before, it was within two days you got passport. Corruption is more pronounced now. We are looking at the corruption of the past, but not looking at the present level of corruption.
Why would there not be corruption when people have not been paid salaries, and you are saying that these people would not be involved in corruption if they get the opportunity? If you don’t want corruption, you have to take care of the people.
When we talk of corruption, the first thing that comes to the mind of the average Nigerian is the Police. It is not about police now; it is a cankerworm in all the parastatals. How much is the police collecting from the road, N100 or N500. I’m talking about real money. Go to some establishments and see corruption live. Do you blame them when they have bills to settle and they have not been paid salaries, but that is not an excuse to indulge in corruption?
The corruption fight seems to be one sided, and even at that how many have been convicted. We are watching and praying for the nation.
Source : The Sun