by Simon Utsu
If churches in Nigeria could act more like charities and build more centers that will carter to the needs of these ‘black sheep’ of the society, lots of destinies would be remoulded and lots of innocents lives saved.
Last week, I was ‘opportune’ to witness a group of urchins fight each other like their lives depended on it. They fought, broke bottles and exchanged several blows. At the end of everything, I couldn’t recognise any of them. Their faces were so swollen that one could have thought they were survivors of a bomb explosion. What baffled me was that they were all in a jovial mood moments earlier when I walked past. Another baffler was the fact that I saw them next day moving around, together with their swollen faces like nothing had happened. So it means their default mode is violence?
Earlier on in the same week, I was going to work somewhere in Victoria Island when I noticed a real estate project that a colossal branch of a very popular pentecostal church was embarking on. The church had their name and the nature of the project inscribed on a board outside the massive expanse of land. They were going to build a highrise structure that would have apartments for rent and also sections for offices. This project from my estimation is going to gulp a minimum amount of 5 million US dollars. I was vexed (not like Judas). Was there really any need to embark on this kind of project I asked myself.
The area boys I spoke about earlier have a fundamental psychological problem. When a child grows up on the street, missing parental care in the process, an unhealthy gap is created in his thought process. Right becomes wrong and wrong becomes right. In Europe and say America, such people sometimes end up as junkies and are usually suicidal. In Nigeria, most of them turn to crime to find solace and pay back those who had a more fortunate upbringing than they did. Note that most of these urchins lack willpower; which is either given in large quantities by divinity to the would be greats at birth or is given in normal quantities to the would be successful at birth.
Willpower can be defined as the strength of will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes, or plans. Parental care is important as it helps in sustenance and renewal of the willpower of their children.
Where does the church come in? Now, if churches in Nigeria could act more like charities and build more centers that will carter to the needs of these ‘black sheep’ of the society, lots of destinies would be remoulded and lots of innocents lives saved.
These centres will act as counselling centres, vocational centres and provide welfare and health packages. From the spiritual point of view, we all know God is the master healer. Their continuous presence in such centres would expose them more to God and the psychological healing and renewal of will power which they so need will occur.
I made this argument with a colleague and she even shocked me further by telling me that the church parish under review has real estate scattered overseas which they usually advertise during Sunday services for interested buyers. I didn’t believe that though. She then subtly jumped to their defence when she mentioned that the had built a hospice and three other welfare homes around Lagos. I then retorted that they needed to do more of that. Before a church embarks on a frivolous project such as this, they should have built at least one hundred welfare centres. Three is not enough especially when you consider the rate at which the number of urchins are increasing.
Simon Utsu tweets from @simonchairman
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.