The President of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Rev. Dr. Isreal Akanji, has expressed concern regarding the untimely decision by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and certain Western powers to covertly transfer the Ukrainian cold proxy war to Africa. This move is in response to the aftermath of sanctions imposed by the Nigerian Army on France following a coup. The Nigerian Army’s actions, backed by Russia and China, have prompted worries about initiating a conflict with a neighboring nation without mutual harm.
Rev. Akanji conveyed this cautionary message in Ibadan while speaking to journalists during the concluding event of Molete Baptist Church’s week-long 60th anniversary celebration. He urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to reconsider requesting National Assembly approval to deploy the country’s armed forces for a full-scale war, as it could potentially have counterproductive consequences.
He stated, “Presently, we are undergoing a period of hardship; in spite of this, I encourage all Nigerians to persevere. I remain hopeful that circumstances will improve.”
“Great nations aren’t built without making sacrifices, and that’s the sacrifice we’re called upon to make now.”
“I am confident that our current president has the best interests of the nation at heart. He’s working to rectify past mistakes, and for this, we must make sacrifices.”
“I firmly believe that in due time, after making these necessary sacrifices, conditions will improve. So, as a whole, I appeal to all Nigerians for patience, hope, and continued prayers, as we trust that better times lie ahead.”
Regarding Niger Republic, Akanji urged the Nigerian Government to focus on resolving challenges within Nigeria rather than engaging in warfare.
“For an extended period, Nigeria has been a supporter of Niger Republic. It would be unwise for Nigeria to take up arms against Niger Republic, particularly in the current circumstances. It would be a grave miscalculation.”
“Our president should exercise caution in all our actions. The world is undergoing significant changes, and we mustn’t rush into conflict.”
“Nigeria itself requires reconstruction. Let’s prioritize our own nation’s reconstruction and strive to avoid conflict with Niger Republic.”
“This Nigeria will become the heart of Africa, a destination sought by the entire world in the coming years. But to achieve this, we must collectively endure the challenges and embrace them.”
“War with Niger Republic should be a last resort. Our leaders should recognize that Nigerians are not prepared for war at this time; we’re focused on rebuilding our nation, and we fervently pray that God will guide us through this process,” Akanji emphasized.
Rev. Edward Alabi, Minister in Charge of Molete Baptist Church, echoed the sentiment, expressing faith in “Project Nigeria” and emphasizing the importance of peace and dialogue in relation to Niger Republic.
“I align myself with the stance of the convention’s president, being a realist and an optimistic person. I believe in ‘Project Nigeria,’ and I ask, can we handle an influx of refugees given the current economic situation?”
“We must foster peaceful relations with our neighbors. This situation serves as a reminder to our national leaders that pursuing dialogue is essential.”
“By ensuring the well-being and contentment of everyone, Nigeria can become a better place for all of us,” Alabi concluded.