Stephen Ojapah msp
“Assyria will not save us, we will not ride on horses; nor will we say again, ‘Our god,’ To the work of our hands; For in You the orphan finds mercy (Hosea 14:3). We will not rely on Assyria for protection and help. The Israelites frequently sought the alliance of the Assyrians, and are often reproved by the prophets for so doing. We will not ride upon horses we will not implore the help of Egypt, as we did formerly, nor depend on horses brought thence, or on any of our military preparations. It was chiefly on account of their cavalry that the Jews and Israelites courted the help of Egypt, having no cavalry of their own. This is the first part of the people’s repentance. It consists in their renouncing all dependence on foreign alliances, and on every arm of flesh.
The second is, their renouncing every species of idolatry and image-worship, expressed in the next clause, neither will we say to the work of our hands ye are gods. This is often spoken of in the prophets, as an introduction to that state of the church which is to commence from the time of the conversion of the Jews (Hosea 2: 17), and Isaiah (1: 29). For in the fatherless we find mercy. Thou art the helper of the weak and friendless; of us, who are unable to help ourselves, and are exposed to the injuries of others, having none to defend us. God never fails to be the helper of all that are destitute of strength in themselves, and destitute of help from others: and who, being sensible of their helpless condition, look for it from God, who hath sufficient power, mercy, and wisdom to help.
Alliances, have always been part of the international method of forestalling crisis. The League of Nations, an organization for international cooperation established on January 10, 1920, at the initiative of the victorious allied powers at the end of World War 1. Although the League was unable to fulfill the hopes of its founders, its creation was an event of decisive importance in the history of international relations. The League was formally disbanded on April 19, 1946; its powers and functions had been transferred to the nascent United Nations. The central, basic idea of the movement was that aggressive war is a crime not only against the immediate victim but against the whole human community. Accordingly it is the right and duty of all states to join in preventing it; if it is certain that they will so act, no aggression is likely to take place. Such affirmations might be found in the writings of philosophers or moralists but had never before emerged onto the plane of practical politics. Statesmen and lawyers alike held and acted on the view that there was no natural or supreme law by which the rights of sovereign states, including that of making war as and when they chose, could be judged or limited. Many of the attributes of the League of Nations were developed from existing institutions or from time-honored proposals for the reform of previous diplomatic methods. However, the premise of collective security was, for practical purposes, a new concept engendered by the unprecedented pressures of World War I.
As a student of International affairs and diplomacy, one of my favorite courses was: World Peace and the United Nations. The one single question the course tries to answer is; how far has the United Nations gone in bringing about peace in the world? The historical antecedents are there for everyone to judge: The war, in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The most brutal of wars still occurred with the presence of the UN. It is certainly obvious that there is something deeper than human alliances that man needs to bring about peace in the world and peace in our hearts.
We are not prophets of doom, but the situation in Nigeria is calling for an alliance with God to avert the impending doom. We have seen how human interest has not yielded any fruits in forestalling crisis between states and worse still, within a nation’s borders. The crisis in our dear land is fast taking an international dimension, where certain countries and individuals both within and out of the country are more than happy to offer their financial and logistical support for the violence in Nigeria to continue.
For years, Nigerians have complained about helicopters who come to drop food and ammunitions for Boko Haram fighters in the bush, and now bandits; and no one seem to take such complaint seriously. Some weeks back, in a village called Arina, Shiroro LGA in Niger State. It is alleged that the locals used a ‘meta-physical’ approach to ground one of the helicopters that came to drop food items to the bandits, by using swarms of bees. This news has been totally denied by the Niger State Government. But the general premise of helicopters dropping arms and ammunition to bandits and Boko Haram cannot be disputed, it has been confirmed by thousands of eyewitnesses. The common man cannot afford helicopters in Nigeria. The elites are mostly the ones that own them. To a very large extend, they have shown reluctance in tackling the issues of insecurity. As a people of faith, we certainly turn to God for help and alliance. As practical people we call on the United Nations, and good people everywhere in the world, to let God use them avert the impending doom hovering over Nigeria.
In kwimo village of Niger State, the Bandits visited the village, on the 4th of May 2021 and chased away everyone, carted away hundreds of cows, kidnapped lots of women and destroyed the convent of the Sisters of our Lady of Apostles (OLA). The bandits took hours unchallenged, destroying lives and properties. Prior to this carnage, the sister in charge of the convent in kwimo called on the military for assistance, and she was given very flimsy excuses as to why they cannot protect them. One of such useless excuses was the lack of authorization from Abuja, the headquarters. Almost saying to ordinary citizens that ‘they have been ordered not to protect them’.
The Israelites, understood very perfectly, how unreliable the alliance with Assyria was. Psalm 127: 1 says: “If the Lord does not watch over the city in vain does the watchman keep vigil. In vain is your earlier rising and going later rest”. Alliance with human beings sometimes would mean;tThe world standing by and watching while you burn, despite the international treaties and agreements that is put in place to forestall lawlessness. Dear Lord, have mercy on Nigeria. And save us from the total collapse that steers us in the face right now.
Fr Stephen Ojapah is a priest of the Missionary Society of St Paul. He is equally the director for Interreligious Dialogue and Ecumenism for the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, a member of IDFP. He is also a KAICIID Fellow. ([email protected])