A group, Igbo Board of Deputies, a Non-Profit Company, on Tuesday, issued a one-week ultimatum to Pastor Tunde Bakare, the General Overseer Of Citadel Global Community Church, over alleged inflammatory comments about the Ndigbo in a sermon delivered to his congregation in April 2022.
The group has asked that he withdraw the statement and apologise on the pulpit of his church, or they would take legal action against him.
This ultimatum was contained in a letter served to Bakare by Okeke Attorneys, solicitors to the group, as sighted by Ripples Nigeria.
Bakare, in his sermon posted on Youtibr, had claimed that the first Prime Minister of Nigeria, Tafawa Balewa, cursed the Igbo before he was killed during a coup.
According to the cleric, this hex was part of the reason the Igbos have repeatedly failed to attain the pinnacle of political leadership in Nigeria.
Bakare had said, “Why should anyone in this country say the Igbo man cannot be president of Nigeria? I was at Imo State and I told them the reason why the Igbo cannot rule Nigeria and I want to remove the curse today.
“Do you know what happened? The day Tafawa Balewa was killed, they removed his turban, poured wine on his head, forced him to drink it, and then shot him. In the process, he cursed them saying, ‘none of your tribe will ever rule Nigeria.
“I want to break the curse today because this generation of Igbos was not part of those people. By the authority of God’s word, I reverse the curse of Tafawa Balewa over the Igbo generation. Henceforth, the Igbo’s will have access to the throne like any other Nigerian”.
In response to Bakare’s statement, the Igbo Group stated that “it had waited patiently for the Lenten and Easter seasons to pass before writing to you.
“Your hate speech and premeditated desecration of a very sacred and holy Lenten season; it being the bedrock of aired and viewed right at the heart of Lent; it is very obvious that your speech on the day was well thought out, planned, and desecration of a very sacred and holy Lenten season; it being the bedrock of aired and viewed right at the heart of Lent.
“Your hate speech and intentional incitement to ethnic cleansing of Nigeria’s Igbo people was broadcast and viewed precisely in the middle of Lent.
“These remarks were made at a particularly delicate and tense time in Nigeria’s history, when insecurity and assassinations are rampant.”
“We are advised that your own account of the 1966 military coup and in particular the death of the then Prime Minister of Nigeria; Alhaji Tafawa Balewa is false because you were not present and therefore cannot qualify as a credible witness,” the letter further stated in response to Bakare’s narration regarding what happened with the late premier.
Consequently, the Group implored Bakare to “recant your statements using the same pulpit within 7 days from the date hereof. Failing which, we have instructions to approach the appropriate forum, both local and international, for all available legal relief. These actions shall be at your account.”
The letter copied 75 bodies and individuals including United Nations Human Rights Commission; International Criminal Court; International Court of Justice; the President of Nigeria and the Christian Association of Nigeria.
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