The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has urged the Federal Government to further strengthen the peace and security of the nation.
Most. Rev. Augustine Akubeze, CBCN President, said this during the opening ceremony of the second plenary of CBCN in Abeokuta on Sunday at the Sacred Heart College Hall.
Earlier in the day, the bishops were joined by Catholic lay faithful, priests and leaders of other Christian denominations at the opening mass for the plenary meeting held at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Cathedral, Itesi Abeokuta .
The conference which converged the presence of all Catholic bishops in Nigeria in Abeokuta addressed the state of the nation among other pertinent issues affecting the Catholic Church and the country at large.
Akubeze said that it remained the duty of the government to protect the constitutional rights of its citizens and also ensure peace and effective security.
He said that adequate security of lives and properties would bring about peace and would eventually lead to sustainable development.
Akubuze also the Catholic Archbishop of Benin Archdiocese condemned the recent killings of some Catholic priests in some parts of the country.
“Only recently we heard of the burning of Rev. Fr. David Tanko of Jalingo Diocese to death and only recently we heard of the killing of a priest in Enugu Diocese.
“We Catholic priests and faithfu must preach daily the message of peace and justice. It is part of the message of Christ. It is part of the mission of the church.
“As missionaries, we must be harbingers of justice and peace in our land.
“We are just interested in living our lives peacefully without any fear of being kidnapped for ransom or being driven from our home land.
“Every government that fails to protect the constitutional rights of her citizens has failed. The leaders of a country should ensure peace and security of his people,” he said.
Also, the Chairperson of the conference, Prof. Catherine Eromosele, decried the continued keeping hostage of Leah Sharibu.
Eromosele said that she had spent no less than 1,980 days in the custody of Boko Haram, and urged the Bishops to keep her matter and others abducted alive.
Eromosele appealed to the Catholic clerics to urge the Federal Government to do all that is possible to ensure their release without further delay.
In his remarks, Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun lauded the Catholic Church for contributing to the development of the state and the country at large.
He called on the church to continue to pray for the peace and unity of the country.
He added that the present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari would not disappoint Nigerians by fulfilling his electioneering.
Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti and his Plateau counterpart, Simon Lalong and the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi attended the events.
Also, Prof. Pat Utomi, Mr Jimi Agbaje, the Alake of Egba Land, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo were among the dignitaries at both the mass and the opening ceremony. (NAN)
Ash Wednesday: Be Sensitive to Plight of Nigerians, Cleric to Political Office Holders
Rev. Fr. Christian Oji, the Parish Priest, Holy Family Parish Ologo in Enugu North Local Government Area of Enugu State, has appealed to political office holders to be sensitive to the plight of Nigerians.
Oji, who made the appeal in his Ash Wednesday sermon, advised politicians to use the lenten period to end the current economic hardship facing Nigerians.
The priest said that the political class appeared to be insensitive to the people’s sufferings, adding that the challenges facing the country were not natural but man-made.
“This is as a result of wrong policies, corruption, wickedness and insensitivity of many political office holders.
“I call on our leaders to have a rethink and come back to Christ, who is the giver of knowledge to seek wisdom to rule Nigeria.
“They should do everything humanly possible to change the face of Nigeria because people are really suffering, while the country is going down.
“Unless they take action now, something drastic may happen in future but we don’t pray for that.
“I call on them to rise and emulate Christ by making efforts to change Nigeria,” the clergyman said.
He also spoke on the meaning of the Ash Wednesday, being the beginning of Lent.
According to him, the event signifies that we are nothing but ash and ash we shall return.
“It is a period where churches all over the world come together to make preparations to undergo 40 days retreat bearing the cross with Christ.
“Ash Wednesday as the beginning of Lent, runs through 40 days before Easter, and today serves as the beginning of those 40 days of intensive retreat among Christians to reflect the passion of Christ.
“It signifies that we are nothing but dust and we are going back to dust, and it also makes us understand that apart from Christ we are nothing.
“Therefore, Christians are expected to engage in spiritual activities of fasting, praying, abstinence and alms giving,” Oji said.
He said that the message of Ash Wednesday and Lent was for humanity to give their lives to Christ.
“With the spate of insecurity, economic hardship, it is time that Christians came together to pray fervently for God to take control of this country.
“We should pray to God to intervene and deliver this country from going into self-destruction,” he said. (NAN)
Christmas: CAN Youth Wing calls for Sober Reflection
The Youth Wing, Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN), has called on Nigerians to use Christmas as a moment of sober reflection to redirect all thinking and actions towards nation building.
The Chairman of YOWICAN, Enugu State, Mr Chekwube Ani, made the call in a Christmas message made available to newsmen in Enugu on Sunday.
According to Ani, Christmas should not be a time of festivities alone.It should be a moment of deep sober reflection.
He said: “We should take out time in this season to evaluate ourselves and the society to see how much we have appreciated and promoted the salvation work of God.
“The gift of Jesus, whom we celebrate His birth during Christmas, is for reconciliation and salvation of mankind.
“This gift of Jesus was borne out of love and is for all men, John 3:16. Therefore, let us take this season to reconcile with our maker and demonstrate love to one another as God did to us.
“As we celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ this year, let us be mindful of who we celebrate; what He represents and what He does.”
Ani also appreciated Gov. Peter Mbah, for the massive work done in security, health, education, agriculture, road construction, water project, tourism and other infrastructural works ongoing around the state.
He said: “We pray for Grace to sustain this great work. Also, we urge the people of Enugu State to support the government for more dividends of democracy.
“Congratulations to His Excellency, Peter Mbah, on his recent victory at the Supreme Court. Indeed, our tomorrow is here with great expectations.” (NAN)
Yelutide: Gov Nwifuru Pleads for Assistance to the Less privileged in Ebonyi
Gov. Francis Nwifuru of Ebonyi has called on political office holders to use this period of Christmas to identify with the less- privileged to enable them celebrate the season with ease.
Nwifuru made the call on Sunday, during the 2023 Special Bazaar and Thanksgiving service held at the Government House Chapel in Abakaliki.
The Governor said the thanksgiving is in deep appreciation of God for divine, providence, protection and expressed gratitude to God for seeing the state through 2023.
He enjoined Christian faithful to always pray for the state and avail themselves of the opportunity for “God’s spirit to rest on them” and advance His mission for mankind.
“Everyone has reasons to be thankful to God, if not for anything, at least, for life.
“We are thanking God for so many things. You can look at what brought you from where you were to where you are now.
“We are also thanking God for life and sound health. It is only when you have not gone to the hospital that you will not thank God,” Nwifuru said.
He encouraged various political actors to close ranks and work with his government to move the state forward.
Earlier, the State Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Father Joseph Origbo, said to execute God’s assignment, “man must understand his mission, backed by divine identity which ultimately birth results.”
Reports says that the special thanksgiving service attracted officials from various ministries, departments and agencies of government .
NAN also reports that the event featured former governors, members of national assembly, and members of the state executive council. (NAN)
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