The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), a group representing northern youths, has called on the authorities to immediately arrest Bishop David Oyedepo, General Overseer of Living Faith Church Worldwide (aka Winners Chapel) for supposedly endangering the lives of Nigerians by organizing a church service despite a standing order by the federal and state governments banning large public gatherings due to COVID-19.
Yerima Shettima, AYCF’s National President, made the view of the group known via a public statement on Wednesday evening.
Below are excerpts of the group’s statement:
“Pastor Oyedepo has openly shown not only his disdain for the rule of law but also the value of human life. He has chosen to endanger the lives of many of his innocent followers by deliberately refusing to be guided in face ofthis global pandemic.
“We therefore challenge Pastor Oyedepo to tell us if he did not take advantage of his closeness to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in this flagrant disobedience to Nigerian laws and the United Nation’s Charter on the safety of human lives.
“He owes this nation full explanation for being the only Nigerian to indulge in creating a gathering of the Ibadan Canaan magnitude, when the restriction of movement is respected all over world because of the current pandemic.“We therefore share the view of all prominent Nigerians that this Pastor should be promptly arrested for endangering the lives of innocent Nigerians, recklessly using religion as a cover.
“We hope the Nigerian security agencies will swing into action so that the prompt arrest of this callous clergyman would serve as a deterrent to others”.
The group stated that nobody should be above the law in Nigeria, stressing that people should not be allowed to endanger the lives of others in the name of religion. They reasoned that Oyedepo’s behaviour was a violation of the rights of his church members to life.
*** Iyke Nwabueze