Interesting film about Igbos that claim to be Jewish (claiming descent from one of the 12 “lost tribes of Israel”. They practise Judaism, rather than Igbos’ traditional Christianity. However not everyone believes this claims, with some alleging it is just a myth.
Excellent piece in the Economist about Nigeria’s culture of celebrity mega-rich pastors and mega-churches. Preachers such as TB Joshua and David Oyedopo are household names with Forbes estimating the latter’s wealth at $150 million.
Churches and prayer are big business in Nigeria, and it is common for church members to pay 10% of their salary in tithes to the church every week. The mega-churches are like corporations and have their own broadcasting facilities, overseas offices, TV stations and PR machines. Faith Tabernacle and Christ’s Embassy are expanding into Ghana, Liberia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It is odd that Christian preachers are rich in a religion started by a poor carpenter’s son born in a manger…
The rise of prosperity preaching has to be contextualised against the background of Nigerian society where spectacular wealth disparities exist with millionaires living next door to peasants, and people seeking get rich quick schemes at every opportunity. In seeking wealth – the churches and congregation have the same goal…
“Prosperity churches” are big business in Nigeria and some of Nigeria’s preachers are among the country’s richest and most famous people. Celebrities in their own right with private jets and fleets of luxury cars and mansions.
Two bomb blasts have been reported during Christmas service in Nigeria. The first blast was near at a Catholic church near the Nigerian capital Abuja. Reports say about 20 people were killed.
The first blast was near St Theresa’s Church in Madalla. A second explosion struck the Mountain of Fire Ministries church in the city of Jos.
Attention will inevitably be focused on Boko Haram. Were they responsible for the latest bomb blasts?
I thought I’d conclude the weekend with two interviews with army officers from very different generations. The first one is with Lt-General Jerry Useni (rtd), the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory in the Abacha regime. Useni was Abacha’s right hand man and a close friend of his. In this interview, Useni claims that the January 1966 coup was an Igbo coup, and that Abacha could have killed former President Obasanjo if he wished.
The second interview is with Major-General Saleh Maina, GOC of the 3 armoured division of the army in Jos. Maina has been under intense criticism recently, and was accused by Christians of pro-Muslim bias in his handling of the recent Jos religious violence, and of ignoring text message warnings about the violence. Here, Maina conducts a very robust defence of himself and gives a detailed account of the Jos violence.
Another day, and yet more violence in Jos.
News outlet are reporting that several hundred people have been killed in the city of Jos in Plateau State. The New York Times claims as many as 500 people have been killed – so far. Many of the victims are women and children and were murdered with machetes.
What is the Violence About?
Jos has been the scene of much violence recently. The violence is a mixture of religious clashes between Muslims and Christians, politics and the “settler” versus “indigence” dichotomy in Nigeria.
Settlers v Indigenes
Jos lies on Nigeria’s religious “fault line” between the mainly Muslim north and mainly Christian south. The city has a mixed ethnicity population. However there has been tension between settlers and indigenes. The indigenes are the mainly Christian Birom ethnic group and other Christian groups. The settlers are Hausa or Fulani Muslims, who migrated to Jos from further north.
Settlers have limited rights to state facilities such as education, scholarships, bank loans and employment. Being an indigene is a key that unlocks full entitlement to such benefits. Thus settlers are aggrieved because they feel excluded, and some indigenes regard settlers as encroaching on their land.
These differences are amplified by political disputes in Plateau State. The Plateau State Governor, Air Commodore (retired) Jonah David Jang, is a Birom Christian, and a member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. His political rivals are the mainly Muslim All Nigeria People’s Party. Thus political rivalry in the state also takes on an ethnic and religious dimension.
Jos residents claim the latest violence was perpetrated by Fulani men who first fired shots to sow panic, then cut down fleeing residents with machetes.
Watch this space. Previous violence in Plateau State forced the federal government to depose the former Governor Joshua Dariye and impose a state of emergency in the state.