A pastor in Akwa Ibom State has courted controversy after he called for capital punishment for those criticizing the governor of the State.
Rev. Richard Peters, Pastor in the African Church, Akwa Ibom State
A Nigerian Pastor with the African Church, identified as Richard Peters, who ply his trade in Akwa Ibom State, advocated for capital punishment against critics of the Governor of the state, Udom Emmanuel.
"Any destructive criticism to any government is satanic. And such person should be stoned to death," the pastor wrote on Facebook, adding that "Governor Emmanuel must succeed for eight years."
The 35-year-old pastor’s Facebook comment caused an outrage on the social media site, which prompted him to quickly backtrack. “By stone to death, I mean such person should be shunned,” the pastor wrote.
Peters said that the governor is just about two years in office and still has another two years before he will complete his first term, adding that the governor’s success, automatically translates to the success of every person from the state.
While speaking in an exclusive interview with Premium Times, the pastor said that his comment was “a wake-up call” for Nigerians to give political support to the government at all levels, from federal, state to the local government, and even to the traditional chiefs in Nigerian villages.
He gave further explanation on what he meant by “stone to death”. “I was once an English student in secondary school and I was taught figures of speech. I was metaphorically saying that the person should be rejected,” he said.
The pastor believes that the Akwa Ibom governor has been thoroughly and unfairly criticized, especially by people who felt that he was imposed on the state by his predecessor, Godswill Akpabio.
“For the mere fact that you don’t like somebody doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pray for his success. But in Akwa Ibom we have one mentality if we don’t like a particular government we see the governor and everything about him in bad light.
“Akwa Ibom people should change this mentality. The governor is doing is best for the people. And people should understand that it’s not possible for the governor to fulfill his campaign promises within one year.
“The APC government at the national level has not been able to deliver on the change they promised the people, yet I am still praying for them to succeed. Anybody that will come and tell me that (Governor) Udom has not performed, I will tell the person to go and sit down,” he said.
The cleric said there were several ways the church could reach out to the government “if there’s any part of government policies that has a negative impact on members of the church”.