by Zakariya Musa
Joel S. Billi, president of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) visited Nigerian Vice President Yomi Osinbanjo on Nov. 16, at the Presidential Villa in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja.
In more news from EYN, the church’s disaster relief staff continues its distribution of food to internally displaced people (IDPs). EYN had another successful Sunday distribution in which relief materials were conveyed to IDPs in Jalingo, Taraba State. Some 250 people were aided with food items including rice, Maggi cubes, salt, and cooking oil. However, many people went home empty handed as the number of IDPs is still high in the state.
Meeting with Nigeria’s vice president
Rev. Billi in an interview highlighted the mission to the “number two citizen” of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, “to congratulate him for being elevated to be the second person in Nigeria.” He said the EYN leadership intended to make the visit last year, but could not due to some protocol and procedures.
“Secondly, we were there to thank and encourage him for his maturity and good leadership he has displayed when he was Acting President when the President was in Great Britain undergoing medical treatment,” Billi said. “Solely, the whole nation was on his shoulders and he led Nigeria aright, so we were there to say kudos to him for representing Nigeria and for standing firm. Nigeria was almost shaking because of the uncertainty of the sickness or ill health of the President. He was able to stabilize the nation, despite the news that was flying on social media here and there, some very inciting and some irritating.
“Then we were there to thank the regime for the 103 Chibok girls that were recovered from the hands of Boko Haram terrorists, to plead and request them [the Nigerian leadership] to make an extra effort to bring [home] more or all of the remaining school girls and all of the abducted women, children, old, and young people who are still at large,” Billi said. “We don’t know their whereabouts so we were there to request him talk to his leader, the President of this great nation. We informed him on our members and other Christians and even non-Christians that are still displaced. We did mention the huge number of our members who are still displaced in Minawao, Cameroon. We said we want them to bring these members back to Nigeria.”
Billi said that he was able to bring to the notice of the Vice President the reoccurring attacks on several communities in the north east, mentioning some of the volatile Local Government areas in Borno and Adamawa States.
On the team [who joined Billi in the meeting] were Daniel Y. C. Mbaya, EYN general secretary; Zakariya Amos, administrative secretary; Samuel B. Shinggu, spiritual advisor; Wakuma D. Mshelbwala, director of Finance; Suzan Mark, director of the Women’s Ministry; Safiya Y. Byo, director of Education; and Zakariya Musa, head of EYN Media.
EYN leadership has so far visited two of the three state governors of the states most affected by Boko Haram--Borno and Adamawa States--and is committed to meet the Yobe State governor, who turned down a courtesy call last year. The courtesy call would have been part of the “Sympathy, Reconcilation, and Encouragement” tour the church leadership carried out within and outside Nigeria when it met its devastated members.
-- Zakariya Musa serves as head of media for Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).