Nigerians must stop believing prophets of doom – Prophet Abiara

Retired General Evangelist of Christ Apostolic Church, Worldwide, Prophet Samuel K. Abiara , discusses the state of the nation , issues in Christianity such as prophecies , tithing and sundry issues with Punch Newspaper.

Nigeria will be celebrating 59 years of independence next week . Where were you when Nigeria got her independence ?

I was a teenager when Nigeria got her independence in 1960 . At that time , I was living in Ibadan in present day Oyo State.

What expectations did you have at that time?

Before Nigeria got independence , we were under the British colonial administration . As a boy then I expected Nigerians would govern Nigeria well as the British governed Nigeria . There was proper security at that time and there was no cause for alarm – everything was moving smoothly.

How well do you think Nigeria has fared in relation to expectations everyone had before independence 59 years ago ?

First of all , we must thank God Almighty that the country is marching forward . Many people say the country is not marching forward , but we must not be ungrateful. We need to show gratefulness to God that Nigeria is marching forward . So , we have every cause to thank God for preserving the country up till today . We must thank God and as we thank God , He will continue to move our leaders and the country forward .

Many people believe that preachers have so much voice , yet they hardly speak against the government or the ills of the nation , why is it so?

I don’t know why people want ministers of the gospel to always speak against the government and against the people . The Bible is our compass and does not put us in darkness . It says , ‘We must respect the leaders ’, we must not criticise our leaders anyhow . Those criticising the authorities , I don't judge them , but it is not biblical to continue to criticise the government and the leaders . The Bible does not permit that . I don’t judge them but that is what the Bible says.

What does the Bible permit in this regard?

The Bible permits that we must pray for our leaders . Roman 13 : 1- 5 says you must pray for the leaders . Whether the leaders are good or bad, God put them there , so we must pray for them so that God will grant them wisdom and understanding. That is what the Bible permits. The Bible does not permit us , particularly we the preachers of the gospel , to criticise or curse the government . We must continue to pray for peace, unity , leaders and the government .
The rate of poverty in Nigeria is getting worse but most preachers live large while the church members live in poverty.

Don’t you sometimes feel embarrassed by this situation?

Many people continue to criticise the men of God whom God is using today . I believe they don ’t understand; I can ’t blame them because they do not understand. People are criticising the pastors , though I can ’ t blame them , because they do not know what they are doing.

What do you think about pastors who give prophecies that don’ t come to pass?

The Bible says that you must be careful and that some prophets come to you in the form of sheep but they are not. The Bible also says that if the men of God prophesy and that prophecy does not come to pass , as Moses said in the Bible, you must not believe that prophet. That is what the Bible says . You can ’t blame them and you can ’ t judge them because that is why we are teaching our members that they must not rely upon bad and doom vision. That is why we continue to tell the whole world that they should not listen to doom prophecies at all . This is so because the Bible says in Isaiah 40 that prophecies should profit the people . That is why Jesus said in the book of John 14 : 27 , ‘I leave you with my peace .’ So , what is supposed to come out from the men of God ’s mouth is to comfort the mission , the leaders and the people and to pray for them and not prophecies of doom such as ‘Nigeria is going to sink ’, ‘All the leaders are going to die ’. It should not be so .
If God reveals to men of God that something is going to happen in the nation , prophets, pastors , bishops , etc. should gather together and pray . That is why in CAC , when we see anything that wants to embarrass the nation and the leaders , we won ’t announce it. Instead of that , we gather to pray for peace and unity of the country . That is the reason why we are telling our colleagues to stop prophesying doom and that people must not listen to their doom prophecies . Any prophecy that does not ensure people ’s comfort or that causes embarrassment , fear and panic, must not be accepted.

There is a video of Pastor Tunde Bakare saying that he will be the next President after Muhammadu Buhari. In the past , Pastor Chris Okotie said he would win the election and become Nigeria ’ s president which never happened . Is it that they didn’ t see right or God changed His plans regarding them?

Well, it is their ambitions . Many people can have their ambition to become whatever they want to become , but when it is not the time , that will not come to pass . I don’t blame them , I don ’t judge them – they have that ambition in them . God can answer their prayers because people want something great for themselves . It their ambition and I don ’t blame them .
Why people find it curious is because they dropped the name of God , saying God said they were going to become this or that. That is the aspect we really want to look at …
It is because they want to attach the name of God to their ambition, so if they pray very well , maybe God can grant them their heart desires and if it is not the will of God , it will not be possible . So , in order that people may say God is behind them , they attach the name of God to their ambitions .

But is it right to mention the name of God when God has not spoken to them?

Well, that is their own ambition, but when it is time to get to that point, people will know the truth whether the Lord said so or not .

There have been widespread xenophobic attacks in South Africa , why do you think there is hatred for Nigerians?

I feel sad that this is happening in African countries. It is not good, it is very bad that people – our own brothers burnt their fellow brothers – it is the peak of hatred. I watched it and I was horrified. When their President sent a team to come and apologise , that was hypocritical . It was openly before the president and leaders of South Africa that that their youths were demonstrating and singing that all foreigners must leave their country . They all watched it but they did not check their actions. But after they killed many persons, destroyed many things and some people left their country , they started apologising . It is all hypocrisy.

Are you invariably saying that the South African leaders are in support of the actions of the xenophobes ?

Yes , their leaders support the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians and other foreigners. For me , during their demonstration, they listened to their songs that all foreigners should pack their loads and go and that they did not want them in their country . What were their president and leaders ’ reactions? Leaders must accommodate people – that is why American people accommodate people , British accommodate people , but in Africa , they do not accommodate one another . If he ( South African president) were a good leader , he would have checked the attacks. The relevant international agencies such as the United Nations should intervene in this whole thing .
I want to appreciate the Federal Government for its efforts . I also appreciate the management of Air Peace , Prophet T . B. Joshua , Apostle Johnson Suleman and others that were mentioned for their roles in bringing stranded Nigerians back home . What they did is worthy of commendation .

In the polity , there is the belief that the North has become domineering and there are talks that they want to retain power beyond 2023 . What do you think about that ?

It is not good to be in power for a long time . You must give others room to govern. Whether we like it or not , we are all going to die . If you say you want to be in power for donkey ’s years and don ’t want to quit, one day , death will come and remove the person. So , I want to advise all our leaders that as God permits them – to spend maybe four years or eight years , they must leave the place amicably and give room for other people to also lead . But when you want to be there for ages and rule by all means , they should know that power is ephemeral . It is live and let live and you cannot be in power for life .

There is issue of insecurity – Boko Haram , Fulani herdsmen , banditry, kidnapping and others . What do have to say about these?

We all know that the insecurity in the country is not good . Insecurity is not in Nigeria alone – other countries face security challenges. The US faced their challenges before and overcame , ditto Britain and God helped them to overcome . What I want to say in that regard is that Nigerians must put their minds at rest because the future of Nigeria will be good and insecurity will be a thing of the past. But many people continue to blame our leaders and others say I have never attacked the government and they wonder whether the government has given me money. No , you can never see me in the office of any politician but I understand the Bible. The Bible says that in the last days , there will be critical situations – period of challenges. There will be rumours of war , incidents all over , kidnapping , banditry , Boko Haram , etc. It is not about Nigeria alone ; it is not about this government alone , governments before this had their challenges.

But why Nigerians are really worried is because billions of naira have been spent to fight Boko Haram insurgency, yet , they are still getting stronger as if nothing is happening . Doesn ’ t that also worry you?

Yes , I am worried , but still we must thank and appreciate the government , particularly the security agencies . What worries me , which I have yet to understand is when the security agencies say they arrested criminals such as insurgents, kidnappers , bandits, Nigerians are always in the dark as to what kind of punishment is meted out to the arrested criminals . They usually show us how they are arrested and the sources of their weapons , yet we do not know how they are punished and what happens thereafter . I am worried about that . So , let the wicked people be punished appropriately so that others thinking of going into crime will learn that heavy punishment awaits them .
I urge the government to ensure that criminals are prosecuted and punished appropriately when they are convicted . Some criminals in the past like Sunday Adewusi faced the firing squad ; people saw what happened to them . That kind of punishment will dissuade others . People are not happy that some criminals get away without being punished for crimes they perpetrate .
So , if they arrest criminal , they should charge them and not to let the trial last for too long .

Another issue affecting the country is the activities of Fulani herdsmen . What do you have to say about them?

That is the work of Satan . You know , Satan can face any nation ; that is why men of God don’t have to stop praying . Satan can cause anybody to wreak havoc . So that is why we must not blame government at all , it is not the work of government alone , it is the duty of all of us to pray together to fight the devil in our prayers and work together with the government. I believe that God owns this country and we are going to overcome all challenges by the grace of God.

There is culture of get-rich -quick in Nigeria today . Many people blame the church for the way it has always emphasised on prosperity and materialism at the expense of salvation. What is your position on this trend ?

It is the truth , but not all the pastors and ministers of God preach only prosperity . They preach but people don’ t understand. All these pastors and bishops you are talking about , after they preach salvation , they will also say that you need prosperity. You know , when you are not prosperous , you can never help the church and poor people . To help the poor , some of these pastors have foundations . Some others help people without making a noise and so on . It is just that many people don’t understand and you can never please them all . So , it is the usual practice in most churches that after preaching salvation , they will tell the congregation that our God is God of prosperity.

Tithing has become a subject of controversy among Christians today ; what is your position on this ?

The Bible did not put us in darkness on this matter . Those criticising giving of tithes and offerings should study the Bible very well . Everything that your pastors , bishops , ministers tell you about tithes should be done because it is biblical . In Malachi 3 : 10 , it is written there . God said if you want my blessing , bring all tithes into my house in order that the food will be there and the poor and so many people will be blessed through it. God further said that when you do that, the doors of blessing will be open to you. Those who neglect the voice of God do not want His blessings . So , it is those who are not versed in the Bible that will agree to that but those who understand their Bible believe in it. Those who fail to pay their tithes will close their doors of blessing .
The argument against it is that Jesus did not dwell on tithes and that many men of God talk about tithes because they benefit them …
It is not about the benefits . It is the word of God . Abraham paid tithes in his own time to the high priest . Those criticising tithing do so because they see some men of God prospering . It should not be so , tithing is biblical .

You advised church members of COZA to stand by their pastor, Biodun Fatonyinbo , after he was alleged of rape . You were criticised by some people for that . Why did you say that ?

In the Bible, one woman was brought before Jesus. The accusers said they found her committing adultery and that in the Law of Moses ; she was to be stoned to death.
Jesus said to the accusers , if you do not commit any sin , you should first of all stone her to death. Each of them left the woman and Jesus said to the woman , ‘where are your accusers ?’ The woman said they were all gone . Jesus asked the woman, ‘ is it true?’ She confessed to doing it and said she did it because she did not have any job . And Jesus said , ‘I pardon you, don’ t do that again ’. That is why all the young pastors are our sons and when any pastor falls , we are in a position to help them .
The Bible says if any person falls, those of us standing must use hand of love and peace to raise him up . We do not support the act of sin but if by mistake, Satan pulls anyone of them down, our job is to use the hand of love to raise them up and pray for them . It is biblical . And they should go to the presence of God to ask for forgiveness . Who are we to say we do not agree when God pardons somebody? When God pardons the person it becomes the problem of the person who refuses to pardon . Because of my peaceful disposition , I have received many awards in the US , Canada and across the globe . Is it bad to make peace? I am a man of peace .

Also, the Bible says in Exodus 20 : 16 : ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour ’ Galatians 6 : 1 -2 says , ‘Brethren , if a man is overtaken in any trespass , you who are spiritual restore such a person in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted . Bear one another ’s burden , and so fulfil the law of Christ .’

What can the Federal Government do to reduce the rate at which many people travel out of this country ?

That is actually one big issue confronting the country . Our doctors travel in droves out of this country and other people too . The government should find a way to stop this trend . It is worrisome . For the doctors , the government should pay them good money to keep them in this country . Secondly , what happened in Ghana should be followed . Before in this country , many Ghanaians flooded Nigeria but when a good government came to that country , they fixed Ghana. Today in Ghana, water is there all the time, power supply has improved, businesses are thriving , among others .
I travelled to one European country , I did not see a single policeman there , yet the place is very peaceful and there no visible signs of criminal activities there . If our government can try more to provide jobs , water , security, good roads and electricity , why will people travel to places where they are not wanted ?

That is why many people still believe that the problem of this country is due to leadership failure . Don’ t you still think so ?

The government is doing its best but I want them to put in more efforts . Also , with the rate of insecurity in the country , it has become expedient to have state police . Members of the National Assembly should work towards the actualisation of state police . If we have state police , apart from creating more jobs , they will be able to comb hideouts of criminals and insecurity will reduce to the barest minimum . That is my candid advice to the authorities .
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