A seasoned man of God of no mean repute and Co-ordinator, Global Community Liberation Mission, Rev. Joshua Cleopas while interacting with Newsfront crew led by its Editor-in-Chief, Saviour Ekpe in company of Josephine Ekpa bared his mind on some religious and contemporal issues including the coming of Mary Slessor, her death, her effort to stop killings of twins and their mothers; implication of this barbaric act to the state and her people; the effort of governor Udom to restore the dignity and pride of twins; strides of the Global Community Liberation Mission in the state. EXCERPTS:
NEWSFRONT: Please Sir, may we know you?
REV. CLEOPAS: My name is Rev. Joshua Christopher Cleopas, from Ikot Ebom Itam in Itu Local Government Area. I am married with children and by the grace of God I am of the Assemblies of God fold.
NEWSFRONT: You are of Assemblies of God Church; can you tell us your position in the church?
REV. CLEOPAS: Well in the Assemblies of God, the Lord actually raised me to the level of District Superintendent where many churches were under me. Nationally, I rose to what we call, Evangel Corporate Ministry. Evangel Corporate Ministry is an arm of the Assemblies of God that handles major programmes of the church like the Peniel, that is, the annual national revival programme of the Church held in Oputu once a year. I have been the Secretary from 2005 – 2012; Locally, I co-ordinated Akwa Ibom State. My relationship with the church now, something happened because of my failure to run with the Vision. I faced a lot of trials and problems which caused me to decline and of course the Lord warned me severally that I should step out of the Pulpit of the Assemblies of God though still remain a Pastor. My relationship is to remain as that of Uma Ukpai. Uma Ukpai is a Pastor in the Assemblies of God but he is not handling any office. That is exactly what I am now. I am not handling any church or office in Assemblies of God right now. On the 26 October, 2014, ten groups prayed for me when they saw the hand of God upon my life and all of a sudden being passing through serious affliction. I have passed through a lot of temptations; so many men of God wrote and said that I must obey the voice of God and that led to the ten groups praying for me. The Assemblies, General Council, the two districts, Uyo and Uyo East, the Section, the CAN, the PFN, the Local church and my Section that I am in. I also co-ordinate CAN Uyo Senatorial District, I am also an Executive member of PFN, I am the Assistant Secretary, Nigerian Praise, the programme that Gen. Yakubu Gowon leads and I am the Chairman of Heads of all the voluntary Organizations in Akwa Ibom State among.
NEWSFRONT: Sir, you also the Co-ordinator of Global Community Liberation Mission, what is it all about?
REV. CLEOPAS: Like I said earlier, we started with Mary Slessor Liberation Outreach but the Presbyterian Church that had already used the name to register with the Certificate and sealed with the Corporate Affairs making it impossible for us to continue with our former name, which was registered in error for me by another people. What I am saying is that the name, Mary Slessor is not permitted to be used by any other person then we changed the name to Itu Division Liberation. On 5th of July, 2015, there was a revelation to me that the name has limited the vision of the organization. After committing the vision to God, it was revealed to us that the name be changed to Global Community Liberation Mission because the global in outlook. It is not going to be in Nigeria alone. From the vision of God, the organization would be extended to Asia, Europe and Africa. These are the three continents that I am quite convinced and sure that would benefit from this organization as shown to me by God. It is all about ministering the word of God specifically, in the area of liberating mankind from the shackle of darkness.
The Lord called me and told me He is sending me as an evangelist of the highest order to deal with the power behind powers in the land, powers in the waters, and the powers in the grave and other hot areas and battle fields. I saw a vision where the Lord took me and showed me international altars where He dealt with those powers representing those altars before me and then commissioned me to go and bring liberation to His people. That is why in our ministry, we deal with powers, we destroy altars; that is why in our ministry, we deal with powers, pull down strong holds and bring deliverance to people. Numerous testimonies that we have received attested to this. That is why we are called, Global mission.
NEWSFRONT: What are arms of this organization?
REV. CLEOPAS: We have about ten point’s agenda by the grace of God. We have what we call Global Community Outreach, Global Community Liberation Outreach, this is the one we go out to communities and some communities do invite us. We also have Global Family Liberation because God showed me the four things that bind families together and commissioned me to work on those family bonds in order to bring deliverance to them. This particular affair is done indoors although; we have not fully started it. We do it indoors for now. By the special grace of God, we will kick-start full operation and the activities well-advertised. We have Global Liberation Prayer Network where we pray every Thursday in this place. We pray for the nation, we pray for state, we pray for cities and the families. We also have Global Leadership Development used for the organization of International Conferences for leaders. We have research and documentation arm handled by the media group of the organization. We have Global Missions arm because we are taking after the vision of Mary Slessor, Samuel Bill and other early missionaries. We do not sit inside the town; we go into the interior parts of the country. Right now we have an arm in Delta state and we are expanding the work into places. We also look into the twins and women aspect of the development because Mary Slessor came for the twins and for the development of women. We also look into education aspect. We intend to have schools that will teach our children not only the secular but also the spiritual and moral aspects of life. Medical line is also one of our targets, which will gather for rural people through free treatment.
NEWSFRONT: You did talk about Mary Slessor project. What do you mean by that?
REV. CLEOPAS: I am not a Presbyterian Church member, so I may not know much about Mary Slessor but her impacts especially in the area of humanity is what we are copying. It was in 2003 when I held a prayer programme in a particular local government and the Chairman of the local government was involved, the chiefs there were involved. We were in West Itam Secondary School where we have the 20th Anniversary Hospital, a deity called Awa Itam actually lived there, we took the prayer there by the leading of God. Three days, many top men were there like the former SSG, Mrs. Grace Ekong came, Linus Asuquo, the former Hon. Commissioner for Science and Technology came and other top men of God came. On the final day, the Chiefs were there and when we prayed, the Chief handed over the land to God and we dealt with Awa Itam. That is why you see the development in that axis by the grace of God. It was there that I had a revelation. In that revelation, I led a team of intercessors into a hall. There we met with some white men and they said to us we are men from Scotland. We are representing Mary Slessor. On hearing that name, though Physically, I didn’t know much about her but on hearing that name we were so touched. The awareness was so much that we did offend the woman when she was here on earth in this part of the world. Immediately, we went down on our knees and we raised a passionate cry and asked those white men to forgive us for whatever evil we did to that woman and after that prayer, the white man, the Spokesman from that Scottish team said to us I want to tell you the secret of what happened to your land. He said that the ‘symbol’ of blessing of the land was taken to Scotland, but because you have come, prayed and pleaded for forgiveness, the symbol shall be brought back. There will be no land that will be blessed as your land. We jumped for joy but the joy was short lived because some elderly men emerged from behind us. They were not in that room when we entered but they just emerged suddenly with bows and arrows and they shot the spokesman twice at the head and the man fell down and the rest of the white men declared war against us. I ran from Uyo in that revelation to my compound in my village in Ikot Ebom Itam before I finally woke up. The following day, we went for a programme, while planning for the second day event, violent occurred physically two men stood up and God said they represent the two arrows and violently and aggressively attacked one of the men that went there with me and scattered the meeting, though I didn’t have that understanding, that their action was to destroy and stop the fulfillment of that revelation and when I came back, I was amazed. Another thing happened; a leader from my end called me and told me that he has positioned a tape recorder to monitor me, which gave rise to my giving up of that prayer. I stopped that prayer and for ten years, that prayer was not held anymore. The implication of the revelation is that the way we treated Mary Slessor actually provoked God and when she died, instead of Akwa Ibom to do something about it, the body was taken to Calabar and then eventually, Scotland hounoured the woman by immortalizing her in their currency and from that time, the symbol of that blessing was taken away. And again that woman came to salvage our children that God gave to us as twins and to the dignity of the mothers of twins that were thrown into the forest. She also fought slave trade but we were not kind to her, a lot of stories we heard of things that were done to this woman because she stayed longer here than any other place and that actually led to God taking away the symbol and our action in that revelation was that of repentance which physically if we must regain that symbol of blessings.
NEWSFRONT: What is this symbol and what is its significance?
REV. CLEOPAS: Well the symbol, like I said earlier is in my house, we did not know the symbol at first but we have a magazine that we wrote and we gave it to the Scottish when they came. In one page of that magazine I wrote, Mary Slessor, a symbol of blessing of Akwa Ibom state. This happened when I did not know anything about the symbol. I only knew in that revelation when they said that the symbol was taken away. The symbol would be brought back only by prayers. That was why we went to all the communities that Mary Slessor ministered when she was alive and organised community prayers. A place like Ikpe Ikot Nkon in Ini Local Government Area where she also lived, people did not use to eat their fish, snail or anything from water, but after the prayer, God sent fire and it consumed a tree. We are told that that tree existed for centuries, older than everybody in that community even those that died, and that tree was a custodian of destiny of people because the chiefs there opened up their hearts and the people were so open, they repented openly for God and God had to judge that tree by sending fire from the top to the bottom and from that time, they started eating their fish, snail and other sea foods. People are no more dying the way they were dying before. They did not have light before but now; they have electricity in that community. They are no more sacrificing to the idol before they farm or harvest their farm produce. Well a lot of things happened there. Why we believe that was the symbol is that the symbol is 10 pounds and Mary Slessor’s image is used at the front of the money. They are still using that money till today. At the back of the money the names of the communities where she worked in Cross River, Akwa Ibom, and Abia States are all listed behind that money till today.
NEWSFRONT: How was the symbol finally unveiled?
REV. CLEOPAS: Presbyterian church did not know much about the symbol only my team and I knew things about it and why we believe that was the symbol was because other things came fulfilling: first, the Presbyterian church involved my team with Mary Slessor Gold Award. Secondly, they appointed my team as their National Intercessors. I told you that we went to that hall with Intercessors and for God to fulfill this revelation; we were given official standing as intercessors during the Centenary celebration of the Presbyterian Church last year, 2015. Thirdly, these men came from Scotland. Fourthly, they came as Mary Slessor’s representatives from Scotland for the Centenary celebration of the Presbyterian Church which they told us. Fifthly this meeting was to be held outside, they held the meeting in the field, but when it came to our turn, they said, your issue should be done inside; they took us to a church where Mary Slessor pastored for 15 years in Okoyong before she came to Akwa Ibom and that was where these entire event took place. Sixthly, the repentance I saw in that dream happened physically. Our people knelt down physically as I was talking, because when the man stood up, this man is the number one Preacher in Scotland; number one both to religious sector and the government. He is the Chaplain of government Churches in Scotland. Though Scotland uses the Christian Church Constitution, Scotland is of the Christian church, so he came as the number one man and he said this is my first time of coming to Africa and he brought out that symbol just single note not in a bundle, he said: I brought the gift from Scotland to Nigeria and he handed it over to us. The Lord said that was the symbol and immediately, we all knelt and brought repentance the way we did in that revelation and the man declared that we are forgiven.
NEWSFRONT: How did your team get in contact with the Scottish?
REV. CLEOPAS: They came because of the Centenary celebration of the Presbyterian Church.
NEWSFRONT: After the forgiveness and repentance, what was the next step?
REV. CLEOPAS: Immediately, we knelt down, everybody wept sore, I stood up and presented our souvenir to them on behalf of Akwa Ibom State and I presented two awards; I told them it was a kind of restitution because when you offend somebody you do something to appease the person. I told them if you have forgiven us, accept this gift from us. We presented that token the post humour award to Mary Slessor and another award to the representative of the Church of Scotland and they received it and the man declared that we are forgiven. They said, only God alone forgives, but because you have come, I stand in the name of the Lord, I declare that all your sins are forgiven. It was a great joy.
NEWSFRONT: The sins against Mary Slessor or …?
REV. CLEOPAS: (cuts in) Mary Slessor, other missionaries, the killing of twins, their mothers and the slaves we sold. These four groups of people were our target and they said all your sins are forgiven.
NEWSFRONT: Now, what is the benefit of the exercise to Akwa Ibom State?
REV. CLEOPAS: Yes, number one. The significant, Akwa Ibom people have lived in this Land for over 500 years; forget about the declaration of the State creation. We migrated from Aruchuku to Ikono and then to this place, if you trace back you will notice is over 500 years am talking about years of blood of the twins; curses of mothers, slave trade and these curses hovered around Akwa Ibom State and this brings about disunity among us. For instant, how can two brothers succeed when we kill the two brothers that came to us through Divine providence? The twins that were killed were symbols of unity, strength the Bible say, can two walk together except they agreed? And for killing the twins we have destroyed unity that’s why two bothers cannot do business in Akwa Ibom and end well. They must scatter in the middle of it. It’s not so with Yorubas, the Igbos; these people from the onset welcomed the twins, celebrated twins and you could see what God is doing there. We don’t celebrate twins and in most places, we kill missionaries. Our forefathers worshiped Idols and they see missionaries as enemies to their Idols and because of that, they antagonized and killed some of them, poison some of them, used Ekpo, masquerades, witchcraft to destroy some of them and this brought a lot of curses, blood bath to Akwa Ibom State. We were swimming in the midst of the Ocean of blood in Akwa Ibom and we still kill the woman and even after her, we still killed more of them. Now forgiveness has something to do with blessing, to release the people. This is exactly what happened. Sir from that day, which is 17th January, 2015 heaven opened as far as those issues are concern, Akwa Ibom is no more guilty of the blood of twins, curses of mother, blood of missionaries, curses of slaves we are no more guilty. The man said when the symbol is brought back, there will be no land that will be blessed like Akwa Ibom; so we have entered into the season of blessing already; these are the blessings and more of these blessings like I told Akwa Ibom people that day, that in that revelation witchcraft scattered us, scattered politicians, scattered our businesses, scattered the religious leaders, scattered royal fathers, scattered students, scattered people, that is why when we raise to a level, we fall; we don’t have political leaders in Akwa Ibom, compare to other tribes; if you go to Yoruba, Hausa you will see leaders even those that have been politician for many years, they are still being hailed as leaders, celebrated by their people, but here we don’t have anyone that we could call the father. We don’t respect our leaders, so we abuse them. Sir, we have to deal with blood that politicians killed, we have to deal with the blood that student shed, some will kill people to make money. There are so many things to deal with, but for this aspect, God has settled all.
NEWSFRONT: With what you’ve said so far, what was the reception of the governor like, how did the government receive the vision?
REV. CLEOPAS: What happened was that a person from Ikpe Ikot Nkon that saw the miracle that took place and heard the testimony that we said that the symbol was returned, I was not the one that informed the Governor, a woman went to the Governor and told the Governor that there was something she wanted the Governor to hear that will bless Akwa Ibom, I just came back from a programme at Uma Ukpai’s place, on Wednesday 10th June,2015 some minutes past 11 in the night and I had a call telling me that the Governor wants to see me the following day. So when I went there and met the Governor, what God told me before I left, God said to me to bring solution to this land. On arrival, he asked me to tell him what happened, I told him the very revelation as I told you and I told him about the fulfillment of the revelation and also went further to tell him that Akwa Ibom must practically appreciate God for what God has done, how do we do this? We must celebrate the early missionaries by naming two Streets in Uyo after Samuel Bill and Mary Slessor. Secondly, repair their Routes, the Road to Ibeno, the Road of Use Ikot Oku in Ibiono Ibom, where Mary Slessor lived and the Road of Obot Itu where the hospital is built. Thirdly, let him gather the twins from the 31 local government of the state in a representative capacity, gather the mother of twins, gather the missionaries and the families of the slave victims, let him stand for the first time as number one citizen of this state and welcome them officially and celebrate them to counter their previous rejection by our forefathers. The spilling of the blood of the twins, the blood of their mothers, missionaries, slaves will be forced to silent in Akwa Ibom State and let him constitute a committee between the government and the church to handle these matter. I was surprised when the governor said to me, man of God, there will be no committee this matter is an urgent matter and it will be treated urgently. When I met the Personal Assistant to the governor on Religious Matters, he gave a suggestion that chiefs should be part of this team, I then went to the then chairman of the state traditional rulers Council, Edidem Silas and on hearing this, he said, man of God, what you are telling me, I do not want to hear it alone you will address all the Paramount Rulers in the state, a date was fixed and I was also invited. I addressed all of them, I told them it was the chiefs that killed the twins and their mothers, that the tradition they made permitted the killing of the twins and they must also stand publicly and tell the world that they will no more kill them, no more let them give the right of the twins and so on and they should ban the issue that Nko ewa Adiaha ndien edoh (there should be abolition of sacrifice before a first daughter is married) The chiefs came because the way we arranged it, the chief will hand over the twins to the governor and the governor and then the pastors will pray and bless the land so that was how they received it. The governor gave an order that all government functionaries should be there and we celebrated them and the governor also pronounced what we called the redemptive seed of 10million naira for the twins, which he said was not a personal donation but from the government. The money was shared among the twins that were there while we only removed tithe unto God. Again he prepared a state banquet for that vision to show the extent he took the vision, he did not play with the vision.
NEWSFRONT: What is the solution to all these?
REV. CLEOPAS: Every community should turn away from idolatry, no more sacrifice to idol, all the evil traditions should stop, henceforth shedding of blood should stop, cultism should stop; all these things hinder blessings. our blessing has been restored but there must be free landing for the blessing to flow that was why God asked us to go round to call people to repentance of whatever they did, turn away from these things, they should worship the Lord and believe God for the blessing to continue.
NEWSFRONT: What are some of the challenges you face in ministry in recent times?
REV. CLEOPAS: They are enormous, but the pressing ones are equipment for outdoor programmes and buses to convey people and equipment to and from venues of progrmmes as we travel to communities. It may interest you to know that we hire all equipment we use during our programmes. We really need help.
NEWSFRONT: Thank you, Sir.
REV. CLEOPAS: Thank you.