From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, has challenged the Federal and State Governments to its responsibilities of providing security for Nigerians irrespective of political, religious, ethnic and other differences.
Archbishop Kaigama’s outburst was, perhaps, in response to the recent invasion of some communities in Southern Kaduna by unknown armed men which resulted in death of over 30 people.
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Archbishop Kaigama, in his homily delivered at the Our Lady Help of Christians, Dagba outstation, Garki, Abuja, raised concerns that government is fast loosing its relevance which is security and welfare of the people as recommended by the 1999 constitution.
He said: “I find myself in your outstation church today purely by divine providence. I was supposed to had travelled to Taraba State on Saturday for a peace conference, but due to flight issues, I could not travel. I did not know that God was preparing me to make an unplanned visit to your outstation, Our Lady Help of Christians, Dagba.
“I am happy to see you and to pray with your small community, made up of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the North East and other residents of this locality. God bless you all.
“Halfway into Lent, we are enjoined during this fourth Sunday to rejoice. In whom or in what should do we rejoice? The Church asks us to rejoice in the love and mercy of God whose arms are always open to welcome us back to Himself especially, and also, Easter, the day of Christ’s victory over sin and death is nearer than when we started Ash Wednesday.
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“Last Friday, March 25, all of us in the Archdiocese joined in prayerful solidarity with the Holy Father and the universal Church for world peace during which he consecrated Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
“We continue to affirm that the path of war is the path of irrationality which leaves the ugliest scars on the face of humanity. Wars never end conflicts; instead, they destroy the very lives, dignity and freedom of human beings they claim to defend.
“Jesus, in disarming Peter at His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane disarms every soldier on the march to war. St. Athanasius of Alexandria said, “Christians, instead of arming themselves with swords, extend their hands in prayer.
“As we continue to pray for forgiveness, reconciliation, healing and peace in all troubled regions of the world, we identify with the people of Kagoro community in Kaduna State who suffered yet another brutal attack on March 20, 2022, by yet to be identified gunmen, leaving not less than 34 people dead, with over 200 houses and 32 shops razed down. Enough of this violence and bloodshed.
“How much more can this and similar atrocities in parts of Nigeria take place before decisive actions are taken by the authorities concerned? Having prayed fervently for Ukraine, let us pray for Southern Kaduna and those areas in Nigeria where killings, kidnappings, banditry seem to have become normal phenomena.
“We implore the help of our Blessed Mother to bring these killings and destructions to a rapid and definitive end, so that we can truly rejoice not only today, but always.”