The seventh National President of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Francis Wale Oke, has asked the Presidency to disclose the true status of President Muhammadu Buhari’s health.
The PFN President noted that the President is no longer a private citizen, but belongs to Nigerians who need to know what is happening in order to know how to channel their prayers.
According to Oke, it is a very major security risk for the President to fly out of the country for medical checkup, stating that supposing those people in an attempt to undermine the nation play games with his health.
Oke stated this on Thursday at the PFN headquarters, Isolo, Lagos during a press briefing.
The PFN President said: “The PFN is praying for our President.
“For about two weeks, the President was out of the country over health matters.
“We want to assure the nation and the family of the President that we are praying for good health for him.
“However, two things are giving us concerns about our President: Firstly, we feel that the nation is not being told the truth as regards the true health status of our President.
“We ask the Federal Government and the President to leave the cards on the table and tell us what is truly happening to our President.
“The President is no longer a private citizen.
“He belongs to us and we need to know what is happening so that we will know how to channel our prayers and advice.
“We are also concerned that whenever the President wants to have his checkup, he goes out of the country.
“And that is a very major security risk.
“Does it mean our President is safer in the hands of foreigners than in our own hands?
“Supposing those people in an attempt to undermine our nation, try to play games with our President what can we do?
“Why should our elected officials travel abroad for medical checkup when money can be injected into our healthcare system so that it can compete with the ones in the countries they visit.
“Nigeria is blessed with extremely intelligent medical personnel.
“When they meet their colleagues in other countries, they beat them hands down, but we are not creating an enabling environment for them.
“How many Nigerians can afford to travel out to other countries for medical checkup?
“So please the government should invest in our healthcare system.
“Doctors go on strike and the government appears not to care.
“Let’s pay attention and bring our medical care system to such a level that when the President of the nation needs a checkup, he can just check in to any hospital in Nigeria and he will be fine.
“To see our hospitals reduced to near mortuary and then when our leaders are sick, they travel to America, Britain, Germany or Dubai, it is not acceptable.
“We wish our President a full recovery but let the Presidency tell the nation the full status of the health of the President.”
Oke celebrated the Muslim faithful on their ongoing Ramadan fasting, urging them to pray fervently for peace in the nation.
He said: “We want to salute, congratulate and celebrate with our Muslim brothers and sisters for the beginning of the Ramadan fasting.
“We believe in prayers and we want to urge them to pray fervently for our nation that everything will be well with our nation.
“We also want to urge them because they have repeated told us in the pass that Islam is a religion of peace and we want to also urge the leaders to persuade their followers to prove this not only in words but in action.
“Let’s bring an end to the Boko Haram menace because they are using the name of Islam to perpetrate their atrocity and wickedness.
“And they are messing up the religion.
“The leaders should call them to order and stop them.
“Even the bandit, somebody said they are trying to fight to defend Islam.
“We are ready to partner with their leaders in building and promoting a peaceful nation that we all can call home.
“If we don’t have peace, then security is impossible.
“So we invite them to partner with us to cooperate together to pray for the nation, to work for the peace of the nation, to end banditry, to end the Fulani herdsmen menace all over the country, to end Boko Haram menace.
“We are praying and working for peace so they should join hands with us to work for peace.
“May God bless them during this Ramadan and answer their prayers and may God bless Nigeria.”
On the issue of insecurity in the state, Oke stated that it is wrong for the government to negotiate with bandits.
He said: “Everybody should be concerned about the security situation of this nation.
“Sometimes it was confined to the North East and then it began to stretch down to the North West.
“Now, it is all over.
“South East, South Eouth is terribly affected.
“So everybody is affected.
“We want to charge the Federal Government to rise to its number one responsibility, which is to protect the lives and responsibilities of Nigerians.
“I want to also charge the newly appointed security chief to not just talk the talk, but work the talk.
“Bring your skills and trainings to bear and lets deal with insurgency and insecurity.
“PFN is of the opinion that the government should not negotiate with terrorists and bandits.
“Negotiating with bandits is admission of governmental failure.
“Bandits are not to be negotiated with.
“They are to be made to face the full force of the law.
“Why should a credible government be negotiating with kidnappers, killers, rapists and murders?
“It is not acceptable.
“It is an admission of failure.
“I don’t want to be believe that the government of Nigeria has failed.
“The government can rise up to the occasion and bring the full weight of justice to bear on the bandits.
“These are not the people to negotiate with, if anything at all.
“The government should negotiate with the youths and not to clampdown on them.
“The people they should clampdown on are the bandits.”
Speaking on the economy, Oke stated that the government should rise up and strengthen local agriculture and limit importation to the most essential things.
He said: “The PFN is very concerned about the economy situation in the country.
“The value of the naira has fallen drastically.
“The latest news now is that almost N500 is to $1.
“That is like a battered economy.
“And we heard some newspaper report,that the government is attempting to print more money in other to shock the economy.
“That is not right.
“The government should rather create jobs, they should working on uplifting the naira so it will be strong.
“The government should limit importation and promote our own production.
“Let’s produce the food we eat as Nigerians and lets also produce the materials we consume.
“In a situation where it is a consumer economy, where we just import, then we will be serving as economy slaves to other countries.
“The government should rise up and strengthen the local agriculture, limit importation to the most essential things and let us produce what we consume.
“I am praying for wisdom for those who is managing our economy for them to rise up and do the job.”
On the contribution of the church to the economy, Oke said it was enormous and very glaring.
He said: “All the men that are seated with here have robust welfare packages for the needy and the poor.
“We hand out food, clothes and money to people.
“The church is actively providing for them because we are in the Ministry of compassion.
“The church is also paying the school fees of some people who cannot afford to pay for their children.
“The church is also contributing to quality education and producing educated people who have the fear of God.
“We establish hospitals where people are treated for free.
“Also, we provide for IDP camps.
“The church is doing much more.
“We haven’t said we have arrived but we urge you to acknowledge the church, so we can do more.”
In the area of security, Oke noted that that the Bible says watch and pray.
He said: “The Bible says watch and pray.
“When I go for my prayer walk in the morning, I go with security personnel because these kidnappers are looking for high prized persons.
“We are praying and we trust God, but we are asking the President of Nigeria to make those arrangements.
“Now when people’s loved ones get kidnapped and the government does not get them out, that’s why they pay for ransom because they will rather choose to buy back the freedom of their loved ones.
“When we voted President Muhammadu Buhari to power, we paid for ransom.
“When we voted for our governors, we paid for ransom and we pay for ransom every month when the Inspector-General gets paid his salary.
“The government of the day is making us pay twice.
“So, we ask the government to rise up and protect the lives and properties of Nigerians and make it unnecessary for us to pay again.”
The National Secretary, PFN, Bishop Cosmos Ilechukwu, also stated that the Hijab controversy was perpetrated by some people hiding behind religion to create anarchy.
He said: “Some people are hiding behind religion to create problems.
“Some of these school have been there for many years.
“How have they been conducting themselves before the current situation arose?
“I think that what is going on there is that some people are just trying to manipulate the religious sentiments of people to create unnecessary problems.
“Besides, it is not good and we should not impose the government of whomever to impose uniform for the school that is built by Christians and churches.
“If the school is built by a particular religion, they should be allowed to determine and dictate the culture of that school.
“If the school is not in tune by a particular religion and some other people want to impose another religion on that school, it is invitation to anarchy and I think that they should desist from that.
“PFN wants to see Christians and Muslims live together.
“This is not the first time we have been going to school together.
“We can still go to school together to take away anything that will bring division.
“Enmity should be taken out of the way and pursue our common destinies.”
On the controversies surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine, the Bishop stated that the government should soft pedal on the issue of the vaccine and comprehensively investigate allegations that have been made about it.
He said: “The vaccine has invoked deep controversy not only in Nigeria but all over.
“Our opinion on that is that we should tread with caution.
“We have read some documentary and some right up on the issue and we haven’t had any definitive answer to the questions.
“Questions like if the vaccine prevents people from being affected by COVID-19 and the answer they provided was that they were not sure, we also asked if somebody given vaccine would be immune to the virus, but the answer we got is not a definitive yes.
“I think that vaccine is not what can come up over night because it takes time.
“I will think that we should all be patient and allow the people that know what they should do to take their time.
“Also, let the vaccine take its proper evolution so that it will be something that will bring health to humanity.
“There is this idea that some of these vaccines have invisible chips in them so that when injected into people, they will be manipulated as robots.
“Anytime the public raises an issue that brings about fear, it is necessary for that to be thoroughly investigated before we proceed.
“I will advice that the government should soft pedal on the issue of vaccine and let these allegations be comprehensively investigated.
“Also, let the government make definitive statement on this and let genuine Nigerian scientists be involved in that.
“I don’t think it is fair for anybody to determine what vaccine be given, especially now that doubts have been raised on this issue.”
The National Deputy President, Archbishop John Praise Daniel, also said the PFN will ensure that come 2023 elections, the churches will become proactive.
Daniel said: “We are interested in 2023 elections, we are praying and as we are praying, we will also mobilise.
“Also, we will ensure that not just anybody again will come in to become the president of the nation.
“We have great brains in this country who are excelling everywhere in the world: the World Bank and African Development Bank, which are being led by Nigerians.
“We have the people and the manpower and I think we should go for the best.
“We must come out of these religious sentiments to determine who would rule us.
“And I think with the way our president is mobilising us, knowing that we have the number, we are about 65 million Pentecostals, we will do our best and ensure that our people are mobilised.
“Firstly to pray and ready to vote from the grassroots.
“If possible in the decision making for who becomes the Councilor and Local Government chairman.
“We are not silent, we are praying and believing God that come 2023, he will give us a leader that will unite us again.
“This country has been too divided and right now things are happening that shouldn’t be happening and I think we need the invention of God for the country to move forward.
“The kidnappings and killings are becoming unbecoming and money is not circulating and the economy is down.
“And you pick up their loved ones and make demands for ransom.
“When these monies are paid, it simply empowers the bandits to buy more weapons.
“I like our stand, which is no to negotiating with terrorist.
“We are praying and the church will become proactive.
“Also, we advice you not to travel at the wrong time of the day.
“But we believe that the menace of this kidnapping must come to an end in our nation.
“Those who have come into this country to cause havoc will be exposed by God and Nigeria will be again what God intended it to be.
“No foreigner will come and take over our nation and we are praying for wisdom to navigate all these challenges.”