NIGERIA – Christians must speak truth to power – whatever the consequences

Christianity Today | Jos, Anglican Archbishop Ben Kwashi | Aug. 19, 2019

Ben Kwashi
Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi at camp for the displaced near Jos, Nigeria.Andrew Boyd/Release International

There are times when the people of God must speak truth to power. Whatever the consequences. Someone must call for change. If not us, who?

I had an early baptism of fire in 1985 when the Commission for Education decided to build a mosque right next to an Anglican church – St Michael’s in Zaria. They had already begun to bring tipper trucks to the site. I wrote to the Minister to say that if they allowed the mosque to be built, there would be chaos. They would be calling for blood to flow.

But they chose to read my letter as an incitement. The government set up a high-powered Commission of Inquiry. They believed I was the one threatening bloodshed and they gave me twenty-four hours to come before the police commissioner, the commander of the army, and others.

The elders of the church, who were senior and respected figures in society, followed me to the chamber. I was surprised to see them, but they came because they didn’t want this small boy to be intimidated.