I Hate To Be Reminded Of My Horrific Abduction By Gunmen - Akinola, Former CAN President - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Sunday, September 19, 2021

I Hate To Be Reminded Of My Horrific Abduction By Gunmen - Akinola, Former CAN President

            •Rt. Rev. Peter Akinola

Former primate of the Anglican Church and ex - President of the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN), Rt. Rev. Peter Akinola, is palpably worried about the increasing number of unemployed Nigerians and the dangers it posed to society. In his characteristic blunt manner, he identified some causative factors and suggested ways to address them during an interview at the premises of his Foundation. Excerpts

The burgeoning army of unemployed Nigerian Youths is a big problem in this country. What policy should be adopted to deplete the population of the unemployed?

You see as a country, we have got many things wrong, how come, our government are very quick in approving the founding and funding  of universities, and yet this universities will produce graduates who have been trained in particular fields but when you need people to work for you in those fields, you abandoned your own people and bring in Chinese on contracts and you pay them three times or four over what you would have paid Nigerian experts. So,  it is a big problem.  The beginning of the solution will be that we should begin to appreciate and put high premium on what we have. If we don't do that 10 years from now, the Nigeria unemployment market will be over crowded. It is already crowded and the crime rate will increase. As I said it before,  I say it again. Idle hand is the devil's workshop. When you have trained people, they have acquired skills or acquired education but you are not giving them jobs and there is no work to do, what do they do?  They roam the streets and commit crimes. I will pray and urge all our governments and employers of labour to put high premium on those we have trained in this country. Look, you talk of quality education, you talk of expertise, go to Houston in the United States in Texas, the best surgeon's (there) are Nigerians.  Go to London teaching hospitals. The best surgeons there are Nigerians and so it is in Asian world. So,  what are you talking about?  If you don't appreciate them here, they go elsewhere outside the country. You talk of brain drain. Why won't they go outside? Somebody wrote in the paper not long ago that a Nigerian professor of medicine is paid N430, 000:00 a month while his counterpart in Saudi Arabia is being paid N6m. Why will you wait and waste your time away here?  Why? 
So,  we have money for politics, we have money to steal, we have money to defraud but we don't have money to pay our Nigerian workers. Shame on us a country.  So,  the answer to your question will be : One,  appreciate what we have. Two, we should make provisions for people who are trained, that way our economy will boom, our country will grow.

The Centre just produce 138 graduands of various skills and vocations. What advice do you have for them as they are now released into the larger society?

We have one concern for them, which is that they should be self employed, they have been trained and groomed to be self employed. And as they are self employed, they should also work for other people,  make some money and take in other young people in their neighborhood and train them. Through that, the training will have mulplier effect.  They have been trained to be godly and proficient to their various vocations, so, we hope and pray that they will not join the bad guys out there. And they will recall every moment of what they have acquired in this place because here, we don't just teach them the skills, we also do a lot of programme towards their reformation and transformation. We do a lot of counselling, advice and preaching in the hope that when they go out there, they will be honest, godly and different from the society. That is our focus. 

Given the challenges facing the country some of them you pointed out earlier. What kind of leaders do you think Nigeria deserves at various levels in 2023?

Even if I tell you, will the robbers,  pen robbers who call themselves politicians, will they listen? We have been saying this for years but who is listening?  In a country where election results are written before voting take place. It is a mess. For Nigeria to have the kind of leader we need, first and foremost they must stop rigging, every vote cast must count. Can that happen?  When your voting is full of fraud what do you expect them (the politicians) to do when they get to power?  This is a country where you borrow money to campaign, to bribe people for election, when they get to office what do they do? They want to recover the money they borrowed and even make profit . We know people in this country and you know them too that before they got into government, they were neither here or there but six months down the road in government, they acquire fleet of houses and fleet of cars.  I call them pen robbers. I call them vulnerable honourable. Until we repent on all these evils, the kind of leaders we need across all levels will not emerge. The kind of leader who will be firm, who will stand on godly principles, whose Yes is Yes and whose No is No. Ah ...ah ! Where is that possible in Nigeria? Who will not compromise his standard.  Let me tell you this. Abacha in his days bad as he was, I was never his fan, he appointed a committee to give Nigeria a vision that would guide the work of the government in years to come. That was vision 2020 and Chief Shonekan was the chairman of that committee and they laboured day and night for six months to produce a blueprint for government , where is it? It's thrown away. If we had followed that, if any leader will just take that as his manifesto, ah... ah, we will emerge but where is the leader in this country who has passion for Nigerians, who has passion for better society, who has passion for good Governance, where is he? Where is that leader?  All what some of them are concern is how to steal, steal and steal. It is unfortunate.
So,  for me, the kind of leader we need in this country will be a man or woman who is God fearing, who has passion for Nigerians and Nigeria and who will do whatever it takes to lead regardless of what the enemies will be saying , regardless of what his political party will be saying. We need a leader who will stand firm to the principle of truth and righteousness and take all Nigerians as his own people. When the President got there, he said he belonged to nobody and belonged to everybody but it is left for Nigerians to judge if he is now the president of the Fulani alone or President of all Nigerians. 

Kidnapping and banditry are on the increase. Sir, what would be your advice to the government in order to address the challenges of insecurity bearing in mind that you were once a victim of abduction by gunmen?

I hate to be reminded that I was once a victim of kidnapping. (The retired primate of the Anglican Church and his driver were on Tuesday December 24, 2013 pounced upon by gunmen as the were leaving Peter Akinola foundation’s office off the Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

The Daily Crucible recalls that the four-men gang blocked his car, and dragged him and his driver out at gun point. A member of the kidnap gang afterwards, took over the steering and drove while another gang member pinned the cleric and his driver with their faces down on the floor of the jeep. Two other gang members also followed from the rear in a car obtained for the operation.
"The gunmen with a hectoring tones asked for ransom in dollars, threatening that failure to offer the foreign currency would attract summary death. I told them am a retired pastor living in the village without the type of money they were demanding and that I live on pension, that I’ am building the centre with the help of friends around the world," he told newsmen at the time).
My God whom I serve have brought me out of the kidnappers' hands.  Alleluia! Again, I repeat. Unemployment, idleness and lack of what to do lead people into crime. If people are gainfully employed,  there would not be thinking of kidnapping. Because they are not gainfully employed to be doing the works they are supposed to be doing but which were given out to expatriates, they resort to crimes.  It is a crime against Nigerian people when you bring Chinese to work in this country and take jobs or contracts Nigerians could competently handle. It is a crime.  I repeat, it is a crime (being committed) by our governments against Nigerian people.  Why do you train them in the first place? Why make budgets for education sector in the country (if you will not make use of products from our education sector)? Until we make these people (the unemployed) gainfully employed,  this trend of insecurity will continue. What they are doing is bad,  two wrongs cannot make a thing right. It is not good but we will also appeal to these people who have become devil's workshops to do a rethink because those they are kidnapping are also Nigerians like them (as colleague - citizens). That is my submission. They should look for jobs to do however little or majority of them who have no skills can come to our centre to acquire skills,  we will train them, they will be gainfully employed and be happy afterwards. To our governments, bringing outsiders to do the work Nigerians can do is a crime against Nigerian people and they must repent. 

President Muhammadu Buhari has written the Senate, seeking approval to borrow the sum of $4,054,476,863 billion dollars to execute some projects. Sir, what is your take on this ?

Borrowing is immoral, he who goes a borrowing goes  sorrowing. We are borrowing money to do what? The one they have borrowed before what can they show that they have done with it? If we can see the work of the money you borrowed before, no problem but you borrowed money and we don't see commensurate results. It's a crime against Nigerian people. END.

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