NELOC News: Can we meet you?
Guest: I'm Pastor Hezekiah Olujobi. I was born on August 8, 1963 to a Christian family. My mum was a junior sister to Late Apostle Ayo Babalola, the man whom God used for the revival in Nigeria and Africa in 1930. I was also ordained as Pastor in Christ Apostolic Church in 1995. I'm happily married with Victoria Mojisola Olujobi, a father of four children, the Director and Coordinator for Centre for Justice Mercy and Reconciliation, a Christian non Governmental Organisation based in Ibadan, Oyo state, Nigeria with focus on the welfare of people languishing in Nigerian Prisons in Awaiting Trial and on Death row without a just cause.
NELOC News: What inspired the CJMR?
Guest: The vision of CJMR was born from my personal experience as an ex inmate who had gone through the process of prison incarceration for six consecutive times in 3 different Prisons in Nigerian. I had my encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ during my detention period for six years in Agodi prison on 16th August, 1989 and I gained my freedom on 3rd of March, 1993 (I was remanded in the prison on 27, January, 1987 on allegations of armed robbery) over an offence I knew nothing about. After my freedom, I decided to proceed to the Bible school but very unfortunately I was turned down because I didn't have school cert. I later opted for another Bible school for Evangelist and Prophets which had no extra condition or requirements other than your calling. Shortly after I completed my one year training, I was posted to Pastor a church and I was ordained as a Pastor. Two years after my ordination as a Pastor and as Pastor of a church with fast growing number, I heard a voice from the Lord who instructed; "Go back to where I called you to go and bring out others who are still walking in the darkness. For this reason I have caused you to walk in the darkness so that you may bring the captives to the knowledge of saving grace". This was my entry point to the ministry.
At the initial stage I did not have full concept of what the ministry will look like than to go to the prison and preach, but along the line, the purpose of the ministry unfolded itself. I visited prisons and in the cause of my interaction with many of them who were later released, I realised that the same problems that I faced were the same factors responsible for their cycle of incarceration. I decided to provide them a room in my 3 bedroom apartment at the time. I identified their problems and I moved to solve them. In that process, I saw the need to advocate for many of them who had no lawyer. I connect them with some Christian lawyers who offered them free legal services, especially those detained without case files in the Ministry of Justice. I looked for the police officers in charge of the case and I persuaded them to forward the case file to the ministry of Justice for prompt action. For those wrongfully sentenced to death, I re-investigated their stories and connected them with lawyers to file their appeal to the Court of Appeal and even to the Supreme Court until they get their freedom. For those whose cases had gone to the Supreme Court with proven evidence that they are wrongfully convicted, I personally wrote the Governor and the Board of Mercy and they were released
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NNI: What are your achievements so far?
Guest: By the grace of God, CJMR has over 300 beneficiaries that have gone through our Halfway Home and over 200 beneficiaries of our legal intervention. His freedom was made possible as a result of our pressure on the Governor since 2008. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009 but our further investigations revealed that the man did not know anything about the death of his girlfriend. We have over 5 people who have been set free from the death row as a result of our intervention.
Pastor Hezekiah Olujobi, Convener CJMR
NNI: Is there a Biblical history for human Rights?
Guest: God himself is a Human Rights Activist. God hates injustice as recorded in Proverbs 31: 8-9 "open your mouth and plead the cause of those appointed to death. Isaiah 58: 4-8 also says".... make your voice to be heard in the high Places, let the oppress go free.... You can see that God is a human rights activist. He want people to be fairly treated
NELOC News: What's your greatest challenge sir?
Guest: Challenges of getting adequate funding to mobilise the volunteers. Adequate funding to bring justice to the poor incarcerated. Adequate funding to even pay for the Halfway home which was due since. When you make appeal to the churches you will have little response. My greatest challenges is not money but people who can listen to my ideas so that those ideas will not die, government who will admit that there is error in the court proceeding which the affected poor whose rights have been denied should be given fair compensation. Definitely when you are treading unfamiliar terrain, not many people will like to go far with you. I strongly believe that when we get more individual who can reason that prisoner deserved attention we can have a better justice administrative and poor people can have access to Justice
NELOC News: What do you think about the concept of change sir?
Guest: Change is necessary when the former is no longer relevant and functional. Where old practices no longer bring positive results, there is need for a change. Change of clothes will be possible if a mad man can come to his senses that this cloths is no longer fit for him
NELOC News: How have you managed family with all these? Especially during your detention period?
Guest: I got married after my freedom. I got married on the 13th of December, 1997.
NNI: Can you share your Salvation experience?
Guest: Prior to my encounter, I had opened my mouth to deny the existence of God three times in my life. The first time was when I was much younger, at about 15 years. That afternoon I was in a prayer meeting with my parents. In those days at the CAC, there used to be observations of the hours of prayer. That day we were observing fasting and prayer, I just opened my eyes and I saw my dad sweating, praying, the voice just whispered to my ears "Why do people closed eyes in prayer? You open eye you cannot see God, you want to talk to him you have to close your eyes, don't you see that these people are foolish. Since that day Satan sew the seed of that rebellion thought in my heart. The Second time I was in an operation, it was during the raining and heavy thunder, fear gripped my heart, but after the rain stopped I went away with the goods, as I collected the money, the memory of the event flashed through my mind about three times, I said within me again "is there God? The third time was when I was in the prison. I have been reading the Bible, but I woke up one day to use the book of Revelation to clean my buttock, the reason why was any time I read the book of the Revelation I always have a bad dream, and moreover any questions that often arise in my mind I could not find any answers to those questions, one morning I ended up tearing the book to clean my buttock. After I finished the Revelation I turned on the book of Job, the reason was all the questions God asked Job there was no answer to them, I used the book of job to clean my buttock.
My salvation took place during my detention on August 16, 1989. I have been using the Bible to clean up my buttock because there was nothing to clean, many people used to tear their clothes to clean and many used the Bible to smoke. On 4th of August, 1989 I was still on the toilet while reading through the next chapter of the book of Job 40:1-14 before I used it to clean my buttock. While reading through, my conscience was struck. When those questions were directly to me
“Should the one who is fighting the Almighty find fault with him? Let God’s accuser answer.” Job Acknowledges His Limitations. Then Job replied to the LORD. He said: “I must look insignificant to you! How can I answer you? I’m speechless. I spoke once, but I can’t answer; I tried a second time, but I won’t do so anymore.” The LORD Continues to Interrogate Job. The LORD answered Job from the wind storm and told him: “Stand up like a man! I’ll ask you some questions, and you give me some answers! Indeed would you annul my justice and condemn me, just so you can claim that you’re righteous? Do you have strength like God? Can you create thunder with a sound like he can?” Can You Save Yourself? “When you have adorned yourself with exalted majesty, clothed yourself with splendor and dignity, dispensed the fury of your anger, made sure that you have humbled every proud person, stared down and subdued every proud person, trampled the wicked right where they are, buried them in the dust together, and sent them bound to that secret place, then I will applaud you myself! I’ll admit that you can deliver yourself by your own efforts!”
I could not proceed to use the chapter to clean my buttock, but I needed to clean my buttock. So I decided to tear the book of Jude that day and I cleaned my buttock but shortly after that, a strange sickness struck me.
This was the point of my encounter with my maker. I was in a severe pain and headache for 3 days, whenever I want to pray the devil will bring the records of my sins to my memory, I will say within me "this sin is too much to be forgiving" I was Pilling it up in silence, I was in a severe pain and fever all of a sudden I exploded in tears, it was as if I saw the accuser with the records of my sin by my left side and I was standing before the judge waiting for the verdict but all of a sudden I busted into prayer asking Jesus to forgive me, the Bible says "though we do not know how to pray but the spirit interceding for us with groaning which cannot be explained"
You know I was in a cell with over 100 lucked up inmates, some of them came to me to comfort me, some were making jest of me but along the lines I slept off, that was around 2 pm and I woke up around 4 pm during the final counting, it was the noise of the crossing iron bar that woke me up but I couldn't get up to go out to be counted, when the wader came in he tab me to ensure I was not dead, I can hear someone telling him that "he is sick,". But before I was interrupted from my sleeping I had a dream I was in a class room, I saw a handwriting of the black board with these words
"Job - Jehovah
Jude - Jehovah
John - Jehovah - Jesus"
I was meditating on the dream before the warder came in to wake me up. When I lay again in meditation on the dream on what it meant, I came to sense that these three books are the books that I used to clean my buttocks. Then I heard a spirit conversing with my soul- The voice of the spirit in my soul.
What is the Alphabet letter that starts the name, Job?, I responded "J"
What is the name of God?, I responded "Jehovah"
In the same way he asked of the Alphabet of Jude and John in the same way I responded. The voice in a gentle manner asked me" what is the Alphabet letter that started with the name of Jesus? I said "J" all of a sudden my sense of understanding opened and I heard the gentle voice that said to me "there is no finger behind these books than the hand of I, Jehovah, Jesus"
The evening of the 16th of August, 1989 was the evening of my encounter with our Lord Jesus Christ. That night, I slept and I had a dream of seeing Jesus full of the circle of the moon, in the morning the man sitting by my side and a very good friend named Denis called me, he said he had a dream, as he narrated his dream lo and behold it was the same dream that I had. Subsequently, I had another dream where I saw the angels of God formed Jesus in every direction of heaven. Often time my common dream of fellowship in heaven is always on Friday night / Saturday morning.
This is my story of Salvation. Thanks for the refreshing of memories.
Guest: Aren't you inspired with all these? The youth should put themselves under the instructions of their parents and they must learn to be contended with what they have