Oyedepo denies inciting Christians against Muslims, says trending video is old stuff
Founder of The Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo, has denied reports quoting him as inciting Christians against Muslims, explaining that he spoke in a video currently trending online during the heat of the Boko Haram crisis.
The video depicted the Winners Chapel General Overseer as laying curses on those attacking Christians, and charging the people to rise up and defend themselves against those fomenting crisis in Nigeria. Many have misunderstood him as speaking to the killings in Southern Kaduna.
But Oyedepo, while reacting through the chairman of the church’s editorial and media board, Dr. Sheriff Folarin, stated that the video was old and has no connection with the recent killings in Southern Kaduna.
Stressing that he cannot make such utterances at the moment in light of the challenges the country is experiencing, the cleric noted that mischief makers were circulating the video to make it look as if he was commenting about the recent happenings in southern Kaduna.
Oyedepo maintained that he has not made any comment, “either in private or public”, about the crisis in Kaduna state, which he described as his second home.
Folarin said in a statement, “The video from which the quotes were taken is a 2015 video at a Sunday service in the heat of the Boko Haram crisis, when churches, including our northern assemblies were under frequent attacks. This was before the present administration took office.
“The message bears no relevance to today’s happenings; not even developments of 2016. The reporter(s) made the 2015 message look like a 2017 church service message. The trending video is NOT a 2016 or 2017 video.
“To this end, we can unequivocally and authoritatively say that this quote, the report and other similar reports do not fit the context of the Kaduna crisis or any developments whatsoever in the last one year.
“Bishop Oyedepo has not said, either in private or public, anything related to the Southern Kaduna killings: not now, not hitherto. If there has been anything done, it has been prayer for peace and unity of Nigeria. The intent of the original author(s) or fabricators is best known to them.
“For the records and for posterity, Bishop Oyedepo will not say any of those things in view of current dire straits in which Nigeria has found itself. There are too many problems at hand, which require divine intervention. He will not add to the throes and utter such divisive words.
“As a father of the nation and a Pan Africanist in his own right as a religious leader whose ministry spreads across the continent and beyond, he is a huge believer in the corporate entity called Nigeria and has been a messenger of national love, hope, peace and unity.
“While he feels for the victimised people across the length and breadth of the country and his heart goes to them, he has always worked with government at all levels to keep Nigeria safe and strongly unified.
“The Living Faith Church Worldwide (Winners’ Chapel International) has never been a Yoruba church, or a Southern Nigeria church; it has always been a church for all Nigerian church, a platform where all persons of all walks of life bond in the name of Jesus Christ. For those who may not know, Bishop Oyedepo’s first major break in Christian ministry was in Kaduna, his second home, where he is a friend and father to millions of people of all religious and ethnic backgrounds.
“Indeed, our church has been a catalyst for the Nigerian hope and dream and with its two universities and numerous secondary and primary schools nationwide, the church has made it possible for Nigerians to come closer as one people to rebuild our fatherland.”