Kenyan religious tragedy: Nigerians feared among victims as more bodies are exhumed
It may well be that Nigerians could be among the victims of the Kenyan tragedy, where no fewer than 95 people suspected to have died of starvation have been pulled out from their graves, as at Wednesday, given the make up of the membership of the church,
Devotees, from Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda among other countries, reportedly made up the cult group, known as Good News International Church, said to have been formed by Paul Mackenzie Nthenge, a taxi driver-turned radical pastor, who has been arrested for encouraging his members to find God through starvation.
The identities of corpses recovered from mass graves in the 325-hectare (800-acre) bush around Shakahola forest near the coastal town of Malindi have not been revealed, reports say, quoting a Kenya Red Cross official, Hassan Musa, who confirmed that 311 people, including 150 minors, had been reported missing to its support staff in Malindi, hinted that not all the victims were Kenyans.
“We are talking about people mostly from Kenya, but also from Tanzania and Nigeria. Some have been missing for years,” he said.
A missionary, Pastor David Odunayo, said he was not surprised that Nigerians might be among the members of the church, considering the fact that Nigerians are well-travelled. He, however, said fasting should be done according to the scripture.
The provost of Reuben George Theological Seminary, Pastor Gabriel Aina, berated the indoctrination of worshippers by Nthenge, noting that his actions were unbiblical and a fulfilment of the prophecy that many would depart from the faith in the latter days.
“It is the spirit of error. Paul prophesied that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits. The departure does not necessarily mean that they will leave the church but they will be led astray, people would be seduced to do things that are contrary to the words of God,” he said.
Pastor Aina, a minister with the Gospel Faith Mission International, urged worshippers to be like the Berean Christians, whom the bible said, “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what they were taught was true. People can only be free from errors when they know the truth.”
It was not clear last night if the Federal Government of Nigeria was making efforts to assist affected Nigerians.
Enquiries made from the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs yielded no positive response as officials confided in Daly Trust that they would need time to reach out to relevant departments and the Nigerian High Commission in Kenya.
As the discovery of dozens of bodies buried in Shakahola forest has prompted calls for a crackdown on fringe religious outfits in the largely Christian country, Rhoda Onyancha, Coast Regional Commissioner, told reporters: “We had five exhumations which brings the total number of those who lost their lives to 95.”
At the state-run Malindi Sub-County Hospital, whose morgue is already stretched well beyond capacity with dozens of bodies, families were desperate to know if their loved ones had been found.
Teenager Issa Ali was taken to Shakahola in 2020 by his mother and told AFP he was beaten by Nthenge when he tried to leave, until his father rescued him.
“The last time I saw my mum was in February,” the soft-spoken 16-year-old said.
“She was so weak the last time I saw her.”
Onyancha said Wednesday that 39 people had been found alive so far in the bush around Shakahola, while 22 people had been arrested.
The majority of the dead were children, according to three sources close to the investigation, highlighting the macabre nature of the cult’s alleged practices which included urging parents to starve their offspring.
Executive director of the rights group Haki Africa, Hussein Khalid, who tipped off the police about Nthenge’s activities, told AFP the pastor’s Good News International Church appeared to require children to starve first, followed by women, and finally men.
He said 50 to 60 percent of the victims were children, whose bodies were found wrapped in cotton shrouds inside shallow pits.
Kenya’s President William Ruto has vowed to take action against rogue pastors like Nthenge “who want to use religion to advance weird, unacceptable ideology”.
Nthenge who is known for his radical doctrine has been arrested in the past.
The televangelist had been arrested in 2017 on charges of “radicalisation” after urging families not to send their children to school, saying education was not recognised by the Bible.
Nthenge was arrested again last month, according to local media, after two children starved to death in the custody of their parents.
He was released on bail of 100,000 Kenyan shillings ($700) before surrendering to police following the Shakahola raid.
Nthenge is due to appear in court on May 2.
BREAKING: All clear for Tinubu! S’Court dismisses PDP’s double nomination suit *Says, PDP a busy-body
For being a meddlesome interloper and a busy-body in bringing a case that was none of its business, the Supreme Court, on Friday slammed a N2million fine on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over its suit demanding that the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the February 25 presidential election be vitiated.
The main opposition party, had claimed that Kashim Shettima, being a candidate in a Senatorial election in Borno and as well as the running mate to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate in the election, amounted to double Nomination, which is forbidden by the law.
Based on that, the prayed the apex court to declare the ticket null and void and the votes recorded for it in the election, through which they were declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), wasted, a prayer, which if it had succeeded, would pave the way for Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the party in the election to take over from Tinubu as the 16th President on Monday, when he is due to be inaugurated.
But the court, while dismissing the prayers, which originated from the Federal High Court Abuja, and travelled through the Court of Appeal, before it, agreeing with the positions of the lower courts which dismissed them on the ground of lacking in locus standi to institute the case.
But, Justice Adamu Jauro who read the Judgement, not only held that the PDP acted as meddlesome Interloper and a busy body as it is an internal affair of the APC, ordered the main opposition party to pay N2milllion, for its troubles, after establishing that its arguments tended to misleading the court, which was “sad”.
The court, which said it was aware of the case of Uche Nwosu, former governorship candidate in Imo State, the court, held that it did not applay in the instant case, as it agreed that Shettima withdrew his senate nomination on 6th July 2022 and was subsequently replaced and therefore, was no longer a candidate for the Senate before he picked up the running mate ticket, thus, making the allegation of multiple nomination untenable.
On the other hand, the court, held that Nwosu in his case, got nominated by two political parties for different positions, and having not being on all fours, PDP suit, was bound to fail right from the trial court, to the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court.
Accusing the PDP of attempts to use the social media to set a trap for the apex court to blackmail it, which he said was “painful, unfortunate and uncalled for,” the court said a political party had no right to challenge the action of another party, or the decision of INEC, in respect of another party, adding that for a person to have locus standi to challenge the nomination process of a political party, the person must be a neutral person and an aspirant to that position, and a member of the party.
Nigerians must allow the love they share abroad resonate at home – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is worried that the level of love Nigerians abroad share among themselves is not replicated at home, adding that a situation where they are quick to become friends outside and enemies at home, must be stop. The former President, who acknowledged how Nigerians in the diaspora were making the country proud in their different areas of endeavour, told participants at an evening reception held at New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, that Nigerians in the diaspora must conduct themselves as good citizens wherever they domiciled.
Obasanjo, whose views were captured in a statement by, Kehinde Akinyemi, his spokesman, expressed satisfaction over the unity exhibited among Nigerians in the United States of America, urging them to reciprocate such togetherness when they are back home.
The former President, said to have spoken on behalf of a delegation of eminent traditional leaders and academics that included the Olowu of Owu Kingdom, Oba Saka Matemilola, was quoted as saying: “Nigerian nationals are often very united when they are abroad, but something else when they return to the country, therefore, I want to urge all to be good citizens, not only where you are, but when also you come home to Nigeria.”
Uproar, social media exchange of fire, over Ooni’s handshake with Pete Edochie, KOK
The exchange of handshakes between veteran actors Pete Edochie and Kanayo O. Kanayo with Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyey Ogunwusi Enitan, has spurred a flurry of reactions on social media, The Nation, is reporting.
The paper, which reviewed the viral video shared on Thursday, where Edochie and Kanayo approached Ooni’s table at Elizabeth Jack Rich’s 40th birthday party on Tuesday and exchanged Igbo “cultural” handshakes with the monarch, acknowledged the different meanings being read into it.
Social media users on Twitter took to the comment section of the video with some knocking the actors for disrespecting the tradition by exchanging handshakes with the monarch, while others praised Ooni for showing respect to the Igbo culture.
Man of Letters said: “Igbakeji Oorisa?! It’s acceptable that he received the cross-culture respect handshake with Pete Edochie because the man Pete carry, but what’s his excuse for doing it with Kanayo O Kanayo??”
Kelvin Odanz said. “Is this ceremony holding in the Ooni palace? I mean, if an Igbo man (from a culture that doesn’t bow to another man) meets the Ooni in the UK for instance, is it disrespectful if he chooses to greet the respected Oba in a way he was brought up to respect dignitaries?”
Another user Onyemauchi tweeted: “This man supposed be King for him community”
Another tweep tracesorba wrote: “Igbos don’t bow down to any man, An evolved or wise man is their our own Chi.”