Politics

#LekkiMassacre: Our national flag has been stained with blood – Pastor Bakare

Pastor Tunde Bakare, the General Overseer of the Latter Rain Assembly

Pastor Tunde Bakare, the General Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church, in his reaction to the #LekkiMassacre said that the Nigerian State has blood on its hands.

Bakare expressed regret that Nigeria has degenerated from how it was handed over at independence.

He noted that the military had introduced a blood stain to Nigeria’s green-white-green national flag.

Pastor Bakare, in his state-of-the-nation address on Sunday in Lagos, further called on President Muhammadu Buhari to “ensure that those who ordered armed soldiers to fire on innocent citizens are fished out and made to face the full weight of the law.”

The address titled, ‘The building blocks of nationhood: A blueprint for the new Nigeria,’ reads below in parts;

“The Nigerian landscape is filled to the brim with the blood of its citizens. By its brutal repression of unarmed protesters, the Nigerian state has blood on its hands.

“That agents of the Nigerian state would resort to using live ammunition to silence fellow citizens, fellow human beings, is heart-rending. Their blood will yet speak, as truly as there is a God.”

He also noted that the #EndSARS protest shows that there is a foundational problem with Nigeria, adding that the problem had persisted through different administrations, adding that the youth is finally awake to demand a better nation.

According to Pastor Bakere, the #EndSARS protest would continue until the foundational problems were addressed.

Soldiers open fire on peaceful protesters at Lekki, Lagos
Soldiers open fire on peaceful protesters at Lekki, Lagos

“No degree of brutal repression of protesters can quench the flame of protests in the hearts and minds of the Nigerian people. Your bullets may drive them off the streets, but your bullets cannot pierce their spirits or puncture their resilience.

“One can understand why the younger generation would so heavily indict preceding generations. At independence, we inherited a promising nation, but we are bequeathing a predatory nation to the young generation. We inherited a nation whose structural foundations were built on principles of true federalism, a nation in which the diverse groups had the freedom to determine their destinies, but we are bequeathing a unitary nation, federal only in name, in which sub-national expressions are suppressed by an overbearing centre.

“We inherited a banner without stain, but we have introduced a new colour to our green-white-green: blood red.”

He further called for a new Nigerian culture where “government must jettison the leadership model of the biblical Pharaoh and Rehoboam, who ruined their nations through obstinacy.”

“Leaders must begin to listen to the people and show empathy to their plight. We need sensitive leaders who are not ashamed to shed tears with the wounded and who can tell the broken, ‘Your pain is my pain, and I will do everything in my power to lift your burden.’”

He however condemned the destruction of public infrastructure and other public properties and the looting by hoodlums, who were apparently enabled by the government who refused to ensure proper security for protesters.

“Rather than destroy, we must build; rather than revel in attacks on tangible and intangible infrastructure, from buses and police stations to palaces and state-owned cyber assets, we must protect our common patrimony. Instead of accepting a status quo that appears to leave us no choice but to go through the backdoor, we must build enduring edifices of open governance using such bricks as the Freedom of Information Act. Our conduct should at all times be moral, ethical and legal, moderated by the reality that there are no shortcuts in nation-building.”

Pastor Bakare further proposed the restructuring of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), and make it “an optional two-year programme, with the first year spent on military training for our young people and the second year spent on agro-entrepreneurship.”

He also proposed a minimum of Ordinary National Diploma for recruitment into the Nigeria Police Force.

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