TB Joshua’s response to Christmas Day bombings
As the world awoke to commemorate Christmas Day, a deadly explosion in a local church marred celebrations for the nation of Nigeria. The brutal attack in the capital of Abuja that left 50 dead and scores more injured has again brought to the fore the underlying political and religious tensions in the most populous African state. However, a church based in the commercial capital of Lagos is determined to restore peace in the region through an unusual but practical means – an extraordinary display of charity to their Northern neighbours.
Whilst most exchanged gifts together and ate festive food, Christmas was celebrated in The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations based in Ikotun Egbe, Lagos in an uncommon way. A massive humanitarian outreach was organised, culminating in tens of thousands of bags of rice being sent to less privileged communities across the entirety of Nigeria and several millions of Naira of aid given.
A total of twelve trailers filled with rice alongside a cash gift of N12,000,000 were sent to the following states: Yobe, Plateau, Borno, Kaduna, Niger and Abuja, to various less privileged communities there. Each state received roughly 4,000 bags of rice and N1,000,000. Prophet T.B. Joshua, the head of the ministry and well known for his extensive philanthropic activities, sent a simple message with each gift: “We should love our neighbours as ourselves; we are sons and daughters of love; we should let love lead.”
In Yobe, Nigeria the gifts were sent to a centre of skill acquisition for the blind, leprous and physically challenged in the troubled city of Damaturu. The North-Eastern city has been a hub of violence in recent months, with recurrent bomb blasts and gun fights on the streets causing many residents to flee for safety. Hajiya Nafisa, a local resident shed tears upon seeing the gift, expressing hope that it would result in peace in her community. “All of us with disabilities express our gratitude. We are praying that God Almighty will give us peace in our country, Nigeria. Whoever you may be, we are one and the same and we should live together in unity without causing problems to each other.”
Emir Ali Kaka, head of the crippled community in Damaturu advised those present, “We, the beneficiaries of this gift should receive it in peace and live in peace without fighting one another and causing trouble in the name of religion.” “If we continue to receive this kind of gift, by the grace of God, there will be a reduction in poverty and hunger in our country,” opined Mohammed, a secretary of the blind community in Yobe. “I encourage everyone to continue assisting people, without thinking whether the person is Christian or Muslim. We are all Nigerians; please, do not let us have these negative thoughts towards our fellow brothers.”
In Plateau, Nigeria, the two trailers arrived amidst much rushing and rejoicing in a local community for the less privileged. Jos, Plateau’s capital, was the scene of much bloodshed during religious riots in 2001 and was again subjected to worldwide media attention during violent clashes between Christians and Muslims in 2010 that left several hundred dead. “Look at the way we have all gathered here today,” marvelled Abdulahi Mohammed Abdul, the General Secretary of the less privileged community. “Nobody is afraid of coming here. Both Muslims and Christians are doing things together because of the peace this gift from TB Joshua has brought to us.”
“This shows that there is love among us,” added Abubakar Abdulrahman, a local chief in the area. “The person who sent these gifts is a Christian, yet without discrimination, both Muslims and Christians are beneficiaries of these gifts. I call on the privileged in society and charitable organisations to emulate T.B. Joshua and Emmanuel TV so that there will be peace in society,” he said, speaking in the local language of Hausa.
Hadiza Kasimu, a physically challenged indigene of Nasarawa, believed such acts would form the framework for peace in the area. “We thank God for this beautiful day and for bringing us together in love, joy, peace and unity. We should stop fighting each other in the name of religion. In the light of gifts like this, we should stop fighting and embrace one another.” Lt. Umar Lawal, an army personnel who lost his left arm in service and was reduced to begging on the streets, was speechless. “If there is a word that is better than thank you, I would say it. There are a lot of us who live here without food, shelter or hope – nobody cares to know how we live. Today, I know somebody cares about me; somebody knows how I feel with my disability; somebody is praying for me.”
Trailers packed with rice also reached the volatile capital of Borno, Maiduguri, arriving at the Molai General Hospital for the Lepers. Tensions are still high in the city which was a scene of major religious violence that left over 700 dead in 2009 after attacks from the extremist Islam group Boko Haram.
As the rice was offloaded, one of the blind beneficiaries spoke emotionally. “As I am touching this rice as a blind person, I want to show the entire world that T.B. Joshua has imparted love and peace. We are facing many security challenges in this state but with such a gift, we hope this will bring more love to the people in our state, especially those living with disabilities and the less privileged.”
Al Waje, the secretary of the organisation admired that the gift originated from someone he had never met or previously known. “He has sent these gifts to us because of God, not for any other reason. He has never seen us and we do not know him. Without even looking for the assistance of this man, he has come to us.”
Lagos, Nigeria was not left out of the festive benevolence as the sum of N4,000,000 was given to the Ilupeju Old People’s Association along with another trailer load of rice. A less privileged community in Agege named ‘Gidan Kwano’ also received N300,000 and 500 bags of rice, as did the Oko Baba Destitute home in Ebute-Metta.
The SCOAN is well known for its charitable endeavours, especially due to the popularity of its Christian television station, Emmanuel TV.
Tawia Acheampong – London, United Kingdom
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