By Lucky Isibor,
The former chairman of Edo State Pilgrims Welfare Board and a pastor in the Church of God Mission, Rev. Humphrey Areghan has charged pastors to use their pulpits to condemn corruption in the same fashion other abominable sins like adultery, fornication and idolatory are condemned by the church.
Areghan gave the charge while speaking on the topic “The role of Religious and Traditional Institutions in Changing Social Norms and Behaviours that fuels Corruption in Nigeria,” at an Anti-corruption conference organised by the New Apostolic Church Centre for Development, NCD held Tuesday, 25th February at Vichi Gate Hotel, Benin City.
While lamenting that corruption has been domesticated in Nigeria, Rev. Areghan urged the clergymen to continually preach against little things that constitute corruption like obeying traffic rules, asking for double ration at parties, refusal to serve guests food and drinks at parties because they’re not known to you amongst others.
“The church must use the pulpit to condemn corruption just like adultery and fornication. Pastors should preach messages of conviction, not message of convenience.
“Pastors must show good examples, shun making politicians and Yahoo boys chief launchers at Church Harvests and fund raising events”, the clergyman admonished.
In his welcome address, Mr. Victor Oriakhi who spoke on behalf of the New Apostolic Church Centre for Development, pointed out that the conference is meant to discuss extensively how religious and traditional institutions can be change agents in the society by practically preaching against behaviours and social norms that promote corrupt practices and revealing true consequences that can serve as deterrence to their religious adherents.
Oriakhi admonished participants to become anti-corruption crusaders in their various organizations, and networks.
In his remarks, the Deputy Executive Director of the Africa Network for Environmental and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, Comrade Leo Atakpu disclosed that the New Apostolic Church Centre for Development, NCD a faith based organization is partnering with ANEEJ in its Monitoring of Recovered Assets through Transparency and Accountability (MANTRA) project with support from the Department of International Development (DFID) on its Anti-corruption in Nigeria (ACORN) programme.
He pointed out that the conference is looking at corruption from the perspective of changing behaviours and social norms.
“There are values that we have had over time that are now being eroded in our society. In the past so many things people do today and get away are things that were considered as wrong things in our society. If you steal chicken or goat in those days they’ll grab you, make tattoos of you, paint you with charcoal and dance with you all around the community.
“But today we have situations where people will steal the whole state and they’re being celebrated.”
On the way out of the menace, Atakpu counselled, “get the traditional leaders, get the church leaders to begin now to use their preachings, their teachings on the pulpit, using the podium to begin to alter what presently has become some kind of acceptable norms in the church, even in the society, our traditional places of worship.
“We believe that some of these habits if reprimanded by the religious leaders, then we begin to get some where. The church, the traditional institutions must not give titles to corrupt persons amongst them. They should not give front pews, front chairs to the corrupt”.