By Longtong Ibrahim
Jos (Nigeria) – Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) Church has decried the silence of Nigerian Government and the International Community toward calls to assist the Church over Boko Haram insurgency, which has affected about 70 percent of its members spread across the North Eastern part of the country.
President of the Church, Rev. Dr. Samuel Dante Dali made this known at the 68th EYN annual convention at the EYN Annex Headquarters, Bolder Hills in Jos.
Rev. Dante lamented that, despites all efforts in gaining the government attention, the Christian Board and the international community, it yielded no results as they were told the insignificant number of members of about one million could not attract government’s attention.
He said the EYN church being the predominant church in the North East has been the most hit of the Boko Haram insurgency, stating that about 70 percent of its members have been displaced from their homes and scattered across the country, and beyond. This Includes 356 pastors, 346 assistant pastors, and 1,390 Evangelists and the relocation of the Church Leadership headquarters to Jos, Plateau state, he added.
“In 2009, the tsunami of Boko Haram gradually swept across our territory and drowned many of our members. Most of our churches and properties were destroyed while most of us were flushed out into unknown bushes, mountains and strange places where most of us are living as refugees or internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).”
“We have lost so many precious lives and properties which are irreplaceable. We have lost a total of 1,674 worshiping centres. Our medical and educational institution like KBC, CSS, Michika, Madu, Lassa, Chibok, Literacy Centre, and Mason Technical School and most of the medical clinics have been destroyed or closed down for an indefinite period of time,” he lamented.
Rev. Dante further added that the essence of the convention was to bring delegate from all parts of the country and the church abroad to encourage each other especially during the insurgency period; pointing out that the church in its own capacity have located the victims affected and assisted them in various means.
He said the church has made a five year plan and constituted a disaster management committee saddled with the responsibilities of purchasing food and other materials for distribution to the IDPs, purchasing Land, and construction of settlement centers for IDPs; and also organizing seminar and workshops on trauma healing, peace building and reconciliation; adding that the church hoped to rebuild the churches and properties destroyed as soon as the security situation of the country improves.
The President however thanked the Christian bodies in Nigeria, the Church of the Brethren in America and other mission partners for supporting the church through financial and material means to aid the displaced victims; and further called on its members not to relent in contributing to the rebuilding of the new EYN.
In his remarks, Rtd Cpt. Paul Thahal thanked the missionaries who established the church in 1923 and called on all Nigerians to live in peace irrespective of religious and cultural affiliation.
During the convention, 34 couples took an oath to serve as Probational Ministers to assist in church leadership in the Local church Councils; while 13 Pastors were ordained and were later admonished to be steward of God’s people and property.