It was this last weekend. In Kubwa, Abuja, Nigeria. She was out of her house very early morning as usual. She was proclaiming the gospel of her Lord Jesus Christ. To make it efficient, she was using a megaphone. This would make everybody hear her voice whether they liked it or not. It was compulsory. There was no hiding for you. You must hear this gospel. If you didn’t, her Lord would condemn her for it. She never knew she would become a martyr.
I’m in Abuja as I type this. And I interacted with a few people who live in that area. The area has become extremely dangerous nowadays. Eunice wasn’t the first person killed in that area in recent times. Being outdoors in the area very late at night or too early in the morning has become a suicidal attempt recently. Some bandits have taken over the area. So every dweller of the area had noticed this and adjusted their movements accordingly.
Eunice, just like many Christians, believed that the protection of Christ was fail-proof. If you’re a genuine child of God, and you’re doing God’s work, you would be protected. She was a member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and Pastor E. A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Church, recently announced that he would take the gospel to Turkey, a nation supposedly dangerous to Christians. The announcement was ostentatiously made to showcase how God’s protection could be sufficient for you to take the gospel even into the den of terrorists. He went and came back safely and this encouraged more members to be fearless in their work of the gospel. But Baba hasn’t gone to Sambisa forest to deliver the gospel. It didn’t matter though.
And even if you would be killed, you still must do the work of the gospel. Jesus wasn’t afraid of death threats. He still delivered his message to those who didn’t want to listen. Whether they wanted to listen or not didn’t matter. They must be told. Apostle Stephen did the same. Even as he was being stoned to death, he still kept preaching the gospel. Apostle Paul didn’t cower to death threats. And Peter. And James. And every single Christian martyr in human history. They didn’t fear death threats.
And Evangelist Eunice knew that if these people had not dared security threats for the sake of the gospel, if they had not endangered their lives, she herself might not have been blessed with the glorious gospel. So she also needed to play her part. But she was hacked to death in the early hours of Saturday. She was a martyr. She’s no less a martyr than Jesus, Stephen, Paul, and everybody else.
But in another dimension, she wasn’t a martyr. No. She’s not a martyr. The eras of martyrs are over. Martyrdom belongs to our past. It belongs to the era when people didn’t have freedom of religious expression. It belongs to the era when not all lives mattered. It belongs to the era where people killed for all manners of reasons including blasphemy. It belongs to the era where extrajudicial killings were the order of the day. This is 2016. And this is democracy where we’re guided by modern laws and modern law enforcement agents. Every life matters now. We don’t do martyrs anymore. Right now, the greatest asset is human life which must be protected above anything else. Nothing is no longer worth dying for. If you’re calling this unfortunate woman a martyr, you’re planning to take us backwards a couple of centuries.
Her General Overseer was in the same Abuja yesterday. Pastor Adeboye held a crusade at the National Stadium. He didn’t say a single word about this woman. He said the usual words, asked people to drop their offerings, and walked away. The present Vice President of the country is her pastor. A senior pastor in his church. He also hasn’t said anything. This woman would’ve won more souls who would’ve joined the church. She had contributed her quota for the expansion of the church. What will the church do for her now? Even if her reward was in heaven, would she have lost the reward if she had been more security-conscious?
We still have security issues in the nation. Our communities are not policed tightly enough. Banditry goes on unchecked. Militias keep rising in the different parts of the country. If every citizen provides their own electricity and water supply, it shouldn’t be too much if they take their own security into their hands too. Jesus won’t save you. You’ll have to save yourself. Don’t move around in dangerous hours in dangerous areas. Don’t become a nuisance to people. When people are sleeping, don’t use a megaphone to scream anything into their ears. If folks don’t want to listen to your message, walk away peacefully. Don’t enrage them with your stuff. They’re zealots. Don’t be a zealot too. When zealotry meets zealotry, this is the kind of thing that happens. An unfortunate death.
One other woman was killed in the same part of the country. Click here to read about her. Folks around that place are religiously intolerant. The government needs to do something about that. The killers must be brought to book. Security needs to be tightened. Religious leaders need to teach their followers to be wise (to not become a nuisance with their message) and to be tolerant to members of other religions (to stop killing people). This is why the Kaduna state governor’s action in regulating religious preaching is in order. Such actions should be taken in religiously volatile areas. We should all get angry by this death. And we should ask the President to do something about this ugly trend.
My heart goes out to the family of this dead evangelist. She was a wife and a mother. And a daughter. And a sister. I wish that everybody who’s bereaved can find the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.
Update 18:57 July, 12th, 2016
Pastor E. A. Adeboye was reported to have visited the bereaved family before heading for the crusade. Well, he still didn’t say anything about her at the crusade. Secretly visiting a bereaved family isn’t the same as openly talking about it at the crusade ground. What’s wrong with even canceling the crusade as a mark of respect for the woman? He still hasn’t impressed me.
And we’re still expecting Pastor Osinbajo’s statement concerning this.