In case you are just tuning in, let me keep you up to speed. They say fifth generation of wireless communication technology, known as 5G, was launched in China in November 2019 to weaken our immune system and infect us with the coronavirus. They say Bill Gates, the Antichrist, will then plant chips in our bodies to vaccinate us against the virus. They say he would then start controlling humans — the whole seven billion of us — through the chips using 5G. They say the world is on lockdown so that the 5G can be installed. They say the pandemic is a hoax after all. They even say the lockdown in Lagos and Abuja was to lay 5G cables for the coming of the Antichrist.
Let us say I did not go to school but, as my grandmother (God rest her soul) would say, “I may be uneducated but I have a brain.” For one, South Korea launched 5G in April 2019 and did not record a coronavirus case until January 2020. Also, we don’t need any lockdown for 5G to be installed because it rides on fibre optic cable — which we have been laying across Nigeria for over 15 years! In fact, MTN and Globacom have laid nearly 20,000km of fibre optic cable all over Nigeria without any lockdown. Meanwhile, 5G is not a cable. You don’t lay it underground. You only upgrade to 5G by installing radios, antennas and nodes on existing masts — not by digging the ground, dummy!
True, Gates, in 2015, spoke about a possible pandemic, but isn’t that fairly predictable? It’s like saying there will be religious conflict in Kaduna state or flood in Lagos! Incidentally, President Barack Obama warned about a pandemic before Gates. Epidemics and pandemics are as old as the human race. The Plague of Justinian killed 25 million people as far back as AD 541-542. We have had the Black Death, the Asiatic Flu, the Spanish Flu (during which churches and mosques were closed down, as Pastor Sam Adeyemi has helped us dig out) and, recently, SARS. China has been the epicentre of epidemics since 1855. Any idiot can predict epidemics. You don’t have to be the Antichrist.
If people are genuinely worried that the 5G technology can cause health problems such as cancer, I can understand. We can begin to have an intelligent discussion around that. Fears have been raised, and are still raised, that the radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation that mobile phones or phone masts transmit can cause cancer. So far, no scientific study has backed this claim. All studies by reputable scientists have concluded that the radiation is non-ionising and does not have enough energy to damage DNA and cannot directly cause cancer. But to suggest that electromagnetic radiation can create a particle with genetic material is a completely different proposition altogether.
I accept that new technologies tend to get some people paranoid — and they begin to hallucinate. This is common in Christendom. Any new thing has to be linked to the “end times”. For context, the Bible talks about a time when the entire world will unite economically and politically — one currency, one religion, etc — under the Antichrist. People will voluntarily align with the Antichrist and get the “666” code as pass to do business in his kingdom. People won’t be deceived into accepting the mark of the beast. The Bible says the Antichrist will eventually engage in a final war with Jesus Christ in the Battle of Armageddon and will be routed. That is the context.
Not surprisingly, Christians have invented several Antichrists to enforce the Apocalypse. Nero Caesar, the Roman Emperor from AD 54-68, was once named the Antichrist — based on the numerical interpretation that “666” is the equivalent of his name and title in Aramaic. In 1992, I read an article in the magazine of the Nigerian Christian Corpers Fellowship (NCCF) declaring the credit card as the universal transaction tool that the Antichrist would use to control the world. Christians were asked not to use the “evil” cards. When the World Wide Web (www) began to gain ground, eschatologists said the Apocalypse had finally arrived. The world was now electronically one!
With his Microsoft Windows operating system a monopoly on PCs, Gates was appointed as the new Antichrist. His name amounted to “666” in the computer code, they said, similar to what they said about Nero. It seems Gates did not perform well as the Antichrist. He soon fell out of favour. Pope John Paul II was also a nominee. The end-time experts said the pontiff was working hard to unite the entire world under the Roman Catholic Church, after which he would rule as the Antichrist and Jesus would come and finish him off. The Pope also failed to perform. Instead, he died. Other names have been touted, including Obama, Saddam Husseina and Osama bin Laden.
Anytime an epidemic or war breaks out, the next thing we hear is that the world is about to come to an end “as predicted by the Bible”. Prophets have used the epidemics in centuries gone by — such as the bubonic plagues — to declare the end of the world. The Gulf War of 1990/91 was also supposed to end it all. But it seems we have finally found the answer. According to a popular pastor who said he took his inspiration from a 1984 movie rather than from the Spirit of God, 5G is the latest Antichrist tool in town. Conspiracy theories are easy to propound: just join unrelated events together, adjust the facts and speak some clean English. You are set to go.
I must confess that I find the 5G technology astounding. It is said to be 20 times faster than the current 4G LTE. That means you can download a two-hour movie in three seconds! This would normally take six minutes on 4G and 26 hours on 3G. Some of these end-time pastors will soon start asking us to download their messages “in just one second” for $10 each using the 5G technology! Also with 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) will explode. It will enable smart homes and driverless cars. We are told that doctors can perform surgeries virtually. Videos won’t buffer. This is mind-boggling! But as a layman, I would rather seek more knowledge on it than mystify or demonise it!
My daughter and I usually discuss creation and evolution. One day I told her: “Do you know a time will come when we will be able to travel from London to Lagos in one minute?” She laughed and asked: “How?” I replied: “I don’t know either. We have not discovered it yet. Wi-Fi existed from the foundation of the world. We only discovered it years ago. Maybe in another 300 years, we will discover how to fly from Lagos to London in one minute.” If someone had said in 1902 that a trip between Lagos and London would be done in six hours instead of one month, it would have sounded like the 5G/Antichrist thing. I accept that new technologies look like witchcraft.
When the jet was invented and you could travel from London to Lagos in just six hours, some end-time pastors must have said that the aeroplane was invented by the Antichrist; that by flying into the skies, humans were trying to challenge God like they did with the Tower of Babel. Look at Skype. You would be in Nigeria and be video-chatting with someone in Australia! Some end-time pastors would have described that as a witchcraft app which Christians must not touch. We are already doing laser operations, so 5G-guided surgeries should not be that strange. We are using drones to do incredible things. Technology is making everything look like magic. It must be the Antichrist at work!
With 5G and COVID-19 currently the hot topics, my brethren have gone back to the drawing board — or is it the cinema hall — and have come up with movie-inspired prophecies. The mantle of the Antichrist has been returned to Gates, who, they said, wants to give us digital identity chips under the pretext of vaccination against the coronavirus. We will then become zombies and he will begin to control us, using AI. So, we have been told to reject COVID-19 vaccines. This is the same way many northern children were stopped from taking the polio vaccine with the conspiracy theory that the US wanted to sterilise Muslims. Let us just say the “5G vaccine” is the Christian version.
When a pastor told me “vaccine digital ID” would eventually be a requirement to “buy and sell” under the Antichrist, I asked him: “Did you register for BVN?” He said yes. I said: “Then you already have a digital ID!” He screamed: “I’m finished!” The Antichrist has got him, poor soul! You cannot operate an account in Nigeria today without a BVN. If you ever gave your fingerprint to get a visa, be assured you already have a digital ID. If you have a mobile phone, you have technically received a “chip” that gives out your location per time. If you use an ATM or the autocorrect function on your phone, you are already under the influence of AI. Stop deceiving yourself!
Finally, let us now agree that these are the end-time signs. And so what? Why should any pastor be jittery, running scared and spreading panic? Pastors have been preaching that Jesus Christ is coming soon, so shouldn’t they be happy that their prophecies are about to be fulfilled? Are they afraid to go to heaven or what? What’s the point? Jesus said: “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” He did not say panic or resist it. Even then, can any preacher stop the Antichrist? Does the Bible say the mark of the beast will be given to you under a pretext? Some pastors certainly have more trust in movies than the Bible.
I’m not really worried if these myths and old wives’ fables are being spread by internet layabouts. But pastors? Many Christians are so gullible that, no matter the level of their education or exposure, they are easily misled. Pastors need to be careful. As Apostle James wrote, “we who teach will be judged more strictly.” When pastors, who are supposed to be led by the Spirit of God, are misleading the people, the only scripture that comes to mind is what Jesus said in Matthew 18:6: “If anyone causes one of these little ones — those who believe in me — to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…
I was very disappointed that a role model like Funke Akindele could so brazenly violate the COVID-19 social distancing rule and even celebrate the defiance on social media. There is a point people are missing: if it is all about your life, you can die if you want. But this is a communicable disease that can overwhelm the health system and cause mass death. In New York, somebody dies every three minutes. They have run out of morgue spaces, so they are keeping dead bodies in refrigerated vans. They are short of body bags and coffins. They have had to engage contractors to bury the dead in mass graves. Those who think this is a joke need to have their heads examined. Ridiculous.
A day after Katsina state announced its first COVID-19 death, the state government lifted the ban on Jumu’at prayers — one of the measures taken weeks ago to slow the spread of the pandemic. “The Jumu’at Imams should, however, avoid prolonged sermons in order to discharge their followers within the shortest period,” the government said — as if the coronavirus needs to listen to a long sermon before striking. Even in Mecca, the home of Islam, Jumu’at prayers remain suspended. Talk about being more Catholic than the Pope. Many of the states are also relaxing social distancing rules because of Easter celebrations. We definitely think COVID-19 is a respecter of persons. Continue.
If you were wondering why the national assembly leaders have been crying over the Social Investment Programme (SIP) which they claim did not touch their constituents, let me whisper something into your ears: it was reportedly very difficult, in fact impossible, for them to manipulate SIP because of the way enumeration was done and how the benefits were distributed directly to the beneficiaries. Politicians have been complaining forever and ever. Finally, they are getting what they want: the ministry of disaster management, humanitarian affairs and social development has finally asked them to “nominate” monitors. Very short story but you get the gist? Juicy.
In the early hours of April 9, 2015, my friend, brother and mentor, Mr Oronto Natei Douglas, drew his last breath after a seven-year battle with cancer. It’s five years now since he left us in midstream, a year to his 50th birthday. The pain is still fresh in the heart. He was a man with passion, an environmental rights activist who stood for something in his life. He was one Nigerian who built bridges, made friends across board and touched the lives of ordinary people. He established libraries in several places and awarded scholarships. Of all the people cancer has murdered in this world, Oronto gave it one of its toughest fights. He was a great soul till the very end. Memories.