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CAN Spits Fire As Boko Haram Beheads Christian Leader …Accuses Buhari Of Working With Insurgents, Wants Service Chiefs’ Sack …Atiku, Amnesty International Condemn Terrorists’ Act

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Terrorist group, Boko Haram, has killed the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev. Lawan Andimi.
The news was first broken by journalist, Ahmed Sakilda, on Twitter, yesterday.
He said, “To break some news items can traumatise. I’m battling with one of such. Reverend Andimi, abducted by Boko Haram was executed yesterday (Monday). Rev. Andimi was a church leader, a father to his children and the community he served. My condolences go to his family.”
Andimi, who was declared missing on January 3, 2020, had in a video published on January 5, confirmed that he was in the custody of Boko Haram.
Andimi had pleaded with the Adamawa State Government and the CAN leadership to come to his rescue.
He claimed that he was not maltreated by his captors as they were taking good care of him.
The cleric, who spoke in Hausa and English intermittently, urged his family not to be afraid, adding that he would return home safely if it is the will of God.
He said, “I have never been discouraged because everything is in the hands of God. God who made them to take care of me and leave me alive will touch them… So, I am appealing to fellow reverends, particularly my President, Rev. Joel Billy, who is a strong man of love that he will do his best to speak with our governor and other necessary agents for my release.
“These people (Boko Haram) have been doing well to me. They have been feeding me with what I want to eat, and they provided me with a nice place to sleep, a blanket and everything. So, they have not done anything wrong to me, and I believe that God, who made them to act in such a way, is still alive.
“By the grace of God, I will be together with my wife, children, and colleagues, and if the opportunity has not been granted, then maybe it is the will of God. All well-wishers and colleagues should be patient. Don’t cry, don’t worry but thank God for everything.”
However, the Adamawa State Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has confirmed the execution of its Chairman of Michika Local Government Area, Rev Lawan Andimi.
The spokesman for the CAN President, Rev. Bayo Oladeji, confirmed this to newsmen, yesterday.
“It is unfortunate what has happened. A statement will be issued soon,” he said.
Reacting, the Adamawa State Chairman of CAN, Bishop Dami Mamza also confirmed the incident.
The beheaded church leader served as the Local Council Chapter Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and also a pastor with the Church of the Brethren (EYN) at the District Church Council of Michika.
He was abducted when the insurgent group attacked the town on January 2 around 7:00 p.m.
Rev. Lawan Andima was 58 years old, married, and the father of nine children.
It was gathered that the Boko Haram sect executed Lawan Andimi, last Monday afternoon weeks after he was declared missing on January 3, 2020.
Mamza said that the terrorists, who earlier demanded a ransom of £2million, rejected an offer of N50million before they killed him.
The CAN chairman also disclosed that two pastors in the state were killed at the same time.
He, further, called on the Federal Government to wake up to its constitutional obligations.
Andimi’s disappearance followed a foiled attack on Michika Local Government Area in Adamawa by Boko Haram.
In a video, Andimi, while pleading with the authorities, commended his captors for treating him well.
He urged his family members to pray for his release, adding that if he is not released, maybe it is the will of God.
Also reacting, Amnesty International Nigeria condemned the murder of Rev. Lawan Andimi by Boko Haram.
In a statement, yesterday, the Director of AI Nigeria, Osai Ojigho said the organisation was appalled by reports that the Chairman of a local chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Lawan Andimi, was killed by Boko Haram.
“With this horrific murder, and an increasing number of attacks in recent weeks, Boko Haram has again shown its brazen disregard for the sanctity of life. These deplorable crimes must not go unpunished.
“It is appalling that Boko Haram followed up the killing of Rev. Lawan Andimi on Monday with an attack on his village – in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State. Targeting civilians is a crime under international law.
“Boko Haram must immediately stop its attacks on civilians. All those responsible for war crimes and other human rights violations and abuses in Nigeria must be brought to justice in a fair trial.
“The human rights group has now tasked authorities in Nigeria to re-double their efforts in ensuring the rescue of hundreds of civilians still detained by Boko Haram.
“Since December, last year, Boko Haram has been escalating attacks on civilians, commuters, infrastructure and humanitarian facilities across North-East.”
Andimi was abducted by Boko Haram when they attacked Michika on January 3.
Initially, he was declared missing but later appeared in a video released by Boko Haram, wherein he pleaded with authorities to secure his release.
Michaka and some other areas in North-East Nigeria have been repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram.
Reacting, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle yesterday, described the killing of Adamawa State CAN Chairman, Rev. Lawan Andimi as gruesome, unfortunate and a shame on the federal government.
Andimi was abducted by Boko Haram on January 2 when the insurgents stormed the community.
Ayokunle faulted the security architecture of the country, wondering: “What has become of Intelligence gathering of our security agencies? Is this government and the security agencies still claiming that the war against these criminals in religious garments has been won despite all the killings?
“Is the government sincere in fighting these terrorists or merely paying lip service to the war against the insurgency? Is there any hope that our security is guaranteed under this government?”
A statement issued by the Director, Legal and Public Affairs, CAN, Evangelist Kwamkur Vondip said: “The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle and indeed the entire CAN leadership and the Nigerian Church are deeply saddened with the news of the gruesome murder of Rev. Lawan Andimi the CAN Chairman Michika Local Government Area and the District Church Council Secretary of the Ecclesiya Yan’uwa a Nigeia (EYN) Church in Michika, Adamawa State.
“We recall sadly that late Rev. Lawan Andimi while in captivity made a passionate appeal to the leadership of his church and the Federal Government to come to his rescue. The church did everything within her reach to secure the safe release of this pastor gentleman but it was not possible because they didn’t have the military power to do so.
“Just last Sunday, a clergyman, Rev Denis Bagauri was murdered by unknown gunmen in his residence at Mayo Belwa of Adamawa State. The church views the unabated kidnappings, extortions and killings of Christians and innocent Nigerians as shameful to the government that each time boasts that it has conquered insurgency”.
CAN said it was reprehensible and saddening that each time the government comes out to claim the defeat of the insurgency, more: “killings of our people are committed. In the light of the current developments and the circumstantial facts surrounding the prevailing upsurge of attacks against the church, it will be difficult for us to believe that the Federal Government under President Mohammadu Buhari is not colluding with the insurgents to exterminate Christians in Nigeria bearing in mind the very questionable leadership of the security sector that has been skewed towards a religion and region!
“Is that lopsidedness not a cover up for the operation of the insurgency? If not, why couldn’t the well equipped security agents of Nigeria get this man killed rescued?”
The religious body further urged the federal government to ensure the release of the prisoner of faith, Leah Sharibu and hundreds victims in the Boko Haram and ISWAP captivity before it is too late.
CAN said: “A government that cannot protect the governed is a failed government. Can the government tell us what they did since Rev. Andimì cried out to them for help?
“If the security agencies claim the terrorists are operating outside the country, why is it possible for these hoodlums to invade the country, kill, maim, burn and kidnap without any convincing checks on the part of the security agencies?
“Since the government and its apologists are claiming the killings have no religious undertones, why are the terrorists and herdsmen targeting the predominantly Christian communities and Christian leaders?
“If the security agencies are not living up to the expectations of the government, why hasn’t it overhauled them with a view of injecting new visionaries ones into the security system?”
CAN said as long as government continues to live in denial and fail to face the reality: “these criminals will not stop their criminalities. We are almost losing hope in government’s ability to protect Nigerians, especially Christians who have become endangered species under its watch”.
Ayokunle called on the International community and developed world like the US, the UK, Germany, Israel and others to come to: “our aid of Nigeria, especially, the Nigerian Church so that we might not be eliminated one by one.”
However, CAN said: “The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria Rev. Dr. Samson Supo Ayokunle and indeed the entire CAN leadership and the Nigerian Church are deeply saddened with the news of the gruesome murder of Rev. Lawan Andimi the CAN Chairman Michika Local Government Area and the District Church Council Secretary of the Ecclesiya Yan’uwa a Nigeia (EYN) Church in Michika, Adamawa State.
“We recall sadly that Late Rev. Lawan Andimi while in captivity made a passionate appeal to the leadership of his church and the Federal Government to come to his rescue. The Church did everything within her reach to secure the safe release of this pastor gentleman but it was not possible because they didn’t have the military power to do so.
“Just last Sunday, a clergyman, Rev Denis Bagauri was murdered by unknown gunmen in his residence at Mayo Belwa of Adamawa State.
“The Church views the unabated kidnappings, extortions and killings of Christians and innocent Nigerians as shameful to the government that each time boasts that it has conquered insurgency.
“CAN deeply sympathises with the immediate family of Late Rev. Andimi, President and members of EYN Church, the government of Adamawa State and the entire Nigeria Church.”
CAN also wondered what was the essence of SIM card registration if the authorities cannot use it to track down these killers who rely on phones as a mean of communications to do their criminalities?
“What has become of Intelligence gathering of our security agencies?
“Is this government and the security agencies still claiming that the war against these criminals in religious garments has been won despite all the killings?
“Is the government sincere in fighting these terrorists or merely paying lip service to the war against the insurgency?
“Is there any hope that our security is guaranteed under this government?
“Can the government tell us what they did since Rev. Andimì cried out to them for help?
“If the security agencies claim the terrorists are operating outside the country, why is it possible for these hoodlums to invade the country, kill, maim, burn and kidnap without any convincing checks on the part of the security agencies?
“Since the government and its apologists are claiming the killings have no religious undertones, why are the terrorists and herdsmen targeting the predominantly Christian communities and Christian leaders?
“If the security agencies are not living up to the expectations of the government, why hasn’t it overhauled them with a view of injecting new visionaries ones into the security system? As long as the government continues to live in denial and fail to face the reality, these criminals will not stop their criminalities.
“We once again call on the International community and developed world like the US, the UK, Germany, Israel and others to please come to our aid of Nigeria, especially, the Nigerian Church so that we might not be eliminated one by one.
“We cannot loose hope on divine protection and the power of our Lord Jesus Christ to expose those behind the sponsorship of terrorism in Nigeria and to get Nigeria safe from the arms of the criminals. We shall remain constant and not bow to the antics of terrorists and their sponsors. We know that very soon, God will unmask these ungodly and wicked elements amidst us and their collaborators in Jesus Name.
“We urge all Christians to set three days apart this week to fast and pray for Nigeria.”
The Kaduna State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev John Hayab has condemned the killing of the chairman of CAN in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Rev Lawan Andimi by Boko Haram, saying it’s a “sad day for the church in Nigeria.”
In an interview with newsmen, Hayab said it is not enough for the government to “condemn” the killings but the government must take concrete steps to protect the lives of Nigerians.
“The news of the killing of Rev Andimi by Boko Haram has added to sorrows, pains and suffering that the church is facing in Northern Nigeria. This sad news is coming just a day after our dear President Buhari met with the British Prime Minister.
“What other evidence do those in authorities in Nigeria want from us to convince them that our members, Pastors and fellow citizens are no longer safe?
“We have said the condemnation of atrocities without any concrete action is not good enough,” he said.
The CAN chairman said people living in the northern part of the country are living in fear of their lives because of the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists and other security challenges.
“How do you expect a person living in fear to do something meaningful for himself and his country?” he asked.
He added that the killing of the cleric was “another sad day for the Church in Nigeria and for the country at large especially for those who care and value human lives.
Our condolences to Rev Andimi’s wife, children and the church in Northern Nigeria. Let us not give up our salvation is near.
“We are calling on the Federal Government and our security agencies to God and to fellow citizens about the state of insecurity. We are praying for divine intervention since no one knows who is the next target”, he said.
Nevertheless, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has reacted to the beheading of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Chairman in Adamawa State.
Reacting to this development, Atiku said the killing was saddened, saying there was a compelling need to re-calibrate the nation’s security architecture.
“This development saddens me. There’s a compelling need to recalibrate our security architecture.
“I sympathise with the family of Pastor Lawan Andimi and the entire body of CAN in Nigeria. May the soul of the deceased Rest In Peace”.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari administration has come under attack over the reported execution of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Lawan Andimi.
This was made known, yesterday by a journalist known to have access to Boko Haram, Ahmed Salkida.
His killing has since raised diverse reactions from Nigerians on social media.
Some Nigerians called on Buhari to sack service chiefs and stop telling lies about the eradication of Boko Haram.
Some of the comments read; @Akeemrahman “Sack all the service chiefs now; they are ineffectual and not knowledgeable enough to stop the wanton waste of innocent lives.”
@Godday_Parker “Where are those northerners that said Christians are not being persecuted in Nigeria? It’s time the nation disintegrated. May the blood of these innocent souls being spilled every day be upon all those who contributed to Buhari’s re-elections.”
@Godswilluv “Are we to keep suffering this concurrent mayhem just to keep one Nigeria. These Islamic Jihadists have massacred the chairman of CAN in Michika, Adamawa State. Once again I ask is keeping unworkable Nigeria more precious than humanity.”
@IkeBright “Tomorrow they will come and tell that some repentant Boko Haram members are undergoing rehabilitation.”
@Adeoluwa5 “Despite all the calls made. May the Lord grant his family the heart to bear the loss.”
@Martinluther_Charles “And our president is busy setting Boko Haram prisoners free there is something they are not telling us.”
@Felixakponwei “Yet there is a pastor as Vice president without any say! Sometimes, we find it very sad to understand the atrocity of the so-called leaders on a disguise as the government of the day. Human blood means nothing to them. If Christians are not careful what happened in turkey years back will repeat itself here in Nigeria. My sincere condolences to the family of the pastor! God we need you in Nigeria more than before, come and wipe away the so-called evildoers in Jesus Name.”
@Jahson “So sorry, so Buhari could not rescue this man, oh! My God, so they have killed this man, and Malami is fighting over the establishment of Amatekun and they cannot provide simple security to Nigerians, may his soul rest in peace.”
@PeterIroegbu “Yet the security outfit being floated by some regions is being frustrated by the government. I guess their preference is that we all have our throats slit in our sleep. Nigerians wake up and learn!…the danger is much closer than we think, evil under the guise of government.”
@King Saldee “This is barbaric, after I watched his video praising how they treated him and calling for stakeholders to pay his rescue no one did something about, later the hypocrites in authority will start lamenting how they put in the effort to rescue him with made-up stories!
@AllenEke “Any government that failed to secure the life of her citizens should be asked to resign. What are we waiting for?
@AliSubi “We thank God that the clergyman held on to his faith. He hasn’t denounced his faith. We sympathize with his family and the entire Christian community in Adamawa State.”

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S’Court Judgement On Bayelsa: RSG Condemns Attacks On Peter Odili, Family …Bemoans FG’s Silence On Threat To Ex-Gov’s Life

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The Rivers State Government has condemned the cowardly attacks on the former state Governor, Dr Peter Odili and his family, especially his wife, Hon Justice Mary Odili, for performing her official duties as Justice of the Supreme Court in effort to further deepen democracy and promote the rule of law in Nigeria.
The condemnation was contained in a statement, signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, shortly after the State Executive Council (SEC), in Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The state government, which described the attacks as unacceptable and unfortunate, said it would not fold its hands and watch lawless Nigerians attack the former First Family of the state with impunity, and cautioned those involved in the dastardly act to retrace their steps and find more noble things to do to give their lives meaning.
The statement reads in full, “The Rivers State Executive Council at its meeting held on Wednesday, 19th February, 2020 at the Government House, Port Harcourt, reviewed the recent attacks on the residence of the former governor of Rivers State, Dr Peter Odili as a result of the Supreme Court judgment that nullified the election of David Lyon as governor of Bayelsa State and resolved as follows: ‘That the Rivers State Executive Council observed that the Federal Government seems not to show interest in the sponsored threats to the lives of Dr Peter Odili and members of his family.
“That the Rivers State Executive Council condemns the barricading of the residence of Dr Peter Odili at Maitama, Abuja by sponsored thugs of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“That the Rivers State Executive Council wondered why Dr Peter Odili’s family should be singled out for the unwarranted attack, when the judgment that ousted David Lyon as Governor of Bayelsa State was a unanimous decision of a five-member panel of Supreme Court Justices.
“That the Rivers State Executive Council warns the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva and the National Chairman of APC, Adams Oshiomhole and their hired agents to desist from the sponsorship of violent attacks against Dr Peter Odili and members of his family.
“That the Rivers State Government will hold Timipre Sylva and Adams Oshiomhole responsible if anything happens to Dr Peter Odili and members of his family.
“That the Rivers State Executive Council noted that in the past Rivers State suffered unfavourable Judicial Pronouncements and never resorted to self-help as being promoted by APC Leaders in the case of Bayelsa State.
“That the Rivers State Government will employ all legal means to protect Dr Peter Odili and members of his family.
“That the Rivers State Government will protect Rivers State Indigenes who are serving Federal and State Judicial officers.
“That the Rivers State Government warns that should this harassment and intimidation continue, it will have no alternative than to retaliate.
“That the Rivers State Government will defend the lives and property of Rivers people at all times. Enough is enough”, the statement added.

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NUPENG Shuts Filling Stations In Rivers …RSG Cautions Consumers Against Panic Buying

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Barely 48hours after stakeholders averted proposed strike over seizure of petroleum tankers by personnel of security agencies, including the Army, the leadership of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Employees (NUPENG) has succumbed to pressure, and directed filling stations in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and its environs to shut down operations following fresh disagreement between tanker drivers and security agencies in the state.
But in a swift reaction, yesterday, the Rivers State Government has called on members of the public to avoid panic buying of petroleum products as it has taken steps to resolve issues leading to the protest by petroleum tanker drivers in the state.
Most of the filling stations monitored across Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor local government areas in Rivers State, yesterday, were discovered to have complied with the fresh directive to embark on strike over the arrest of some tanker drivers and seizure of their vehicles.
The shutdown of operations has led to fuel scarcity and resurgence of black market in Port Harcourt and its environs.
Also, black market operators have taken advantage of the development to make brisk deals.
Our correspondent, who monitored the industrial action by the filing station operators, reports that queues have continued to build up in most filling stations in the state capital.
The majority of the filling stations were said to have stopped dispensing fuel to motorists and other consumers since midnight on Tuesday after another tanker was said to have been seized by the Task Force on Illegal Parking.
Our correspondent, who monitored the situation in Port Harcourt, yesterday, observed that Tonnino Filling Station, Jet Filling Station and Royal Dynasty Filling Station on Ada-George Road, as well as some filling stations on Port Harcourt-Aba Road, and the few between Rumuomasi through Elekahia, were all shut down.
Also, Eterna Filling Station and Forte Filling Station located along Peter Odili Road were both shut down.
Our correspondent also tracked a Toyota Sienna and Hiace buses populated by NUPENG strike enforcement team, monitoring compliance with the directive within Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor LGAs.
The two buses were seen criss-crossing the roads, monitoring all filling stations from Aba Road through Waterlines, and from Rumuokalagbor-Elekahia through Nkpogu to Peter Odili, and onward to Port Harcourt Township through Eastern Bypass.
Speaking on the action, the National Treasurer of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Employees, NUPENG, Comrade Alex Agwanwa, explained that the action was due to the inability of security agents to respect the understanding they reached with the union, last weekend.
Agwanwa, who is also the chairman of the United Labour Congress in Rivers State explained that between Sunday and yesterday, more trucks have been arrested alongside the drivers by security agencies.
“Instead of maintaining our understanding, they decided to arrest more trucks. As we speak, 27 trucks carrying legal products have been arrested. It is unacceptable.
“This matter has been on for the past two years. We did not want it to get to this stage but here we are,” he added.
The NUPENG official maintained that the filings stations would remain shut until all their members and trucks seized by the security agencies are released.
Some filling station attendants, who spoke with The Tide said their services were withdrawn following directives from the leadership of the joint body of petroleum marketers in Rivers State.
The Chairman of the Licensed Filling Station Owners in Rivers State, Comrade Sunny Nkpe, who spoke with The Tide on the issue, said the action was taken because of the violation of an agreement reached by all stakeholders on the matter, which shelved the earlier planned strike.
He said their members were still facing intimidation and arrests by the state task force on illegal parking and other security operatives.
On his part, the National Public Relations Officer of NUPENG, Comrade Chinedu Ukadike, said the decision reached on February 16 for security agencies and the state government to release the union’s trucks in detention by February 17 was yet to be carried out, hence the directive to withdraw of the services of members.
He further claimed that the arrests were unnecessary and carried out without proper investigation.
He said, “Most of these trucks are carrying our products. If they continue to hold our trucks in detention, what do they want us to sell?”.
Some motorists, who spoke with our correspondent, lamented the situation, stating that it was difficult for them to operate due to scarcity of products.
A commercial driver, Akanimo Abel, said he bought a liter of fuel at N350 from black market operators.
He said, “My business is badly affected by the strike, the strike took all of us by surprise, and we did not expect it. We thought all the issues have been resolved. I want the issues to be resolved once so that normal business can go on.”
Another commercial taxi driver, Chris Agbogu, said the strike has caused grave difficulties to the users of the products, adding that he was finding it difficult to buy enough fuel to enable him do his business.
In reaction to the surprise strike by tanker drivers and filling station owners in the state, the Rivers State Government, yesterday, advised members of the public to avoid panic buying of petroleum products as it has taken steps to resolve issues leading to the protest by petroleum tanker drivers in the state.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Energy, Dr Peter Medee, who gave the advise in an interview with newsmen in Government House, Port Harcourt, said the lingering protest was as a result of several threats by the union that they want to go on strike.
“There are catalog of what they actually requested that we do, and we have been making efforts to see what we can do to resolve those things”, he said.
He explained that the state government had approached the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army on some trucks seized by soldiers and that the GOC had graciously approved release of those trucks.
“Unfortunately, some of those trucks were handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigation.
“There are processes that we have to take to get those ones that were sent to EFCC released, and we are in the process of getting them done”, the commissioner said, adding that the trucks at the 6 Division have already been released.
On the trucks impounded by the state task force on decongestion of roads, Medee said they had also made efforts to get them released, and also gone to the prison to release members of the union that were imprisoned, while those in police custody for wrong parking have also been released.
“What I am saying in essence is that we are making several efforts. Now, we have started engaging directly with their national leadership because we have seen that their union people in the state are beginning to show lack of understand of the sensibility of government”.
He noted that the government of Chief Nyesom Wike was very careful with the ease of doing business initiative because it was his vision that nothing should hinder business activities in the state, hence the need to thread with caution.
The commissioner further stated that the Federal Government was battling with oil theft, which was why a lot of trucks involved in sharp practices were being impounded daily by security agencies.
He gave kudos to the union leaders for declaring that they would not support any of their members involved in illegality.
“However, we expect the union to understand and bear with us. All the efforts we are making are gradually paying off. We are releasing the trucks. We are releasing their members that were arrested.
“We are not ignoring them. We are doing our very best to make sure that the problem is resolved, and I can assure you that in a short time, whatever you are seeing will be over.
“My advice to Rivers people is that they should avoid panic buying, relax, we will definitely handle this problem”, the commissioner assured.

 

Chris Oluoh, Taneh Beemene & Benice Iragunima

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Tribute To Bishop Matthew Kuka’s Homily

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Like a vote of thanks, a tribute is meant to give praise and honour to whom such is due; especially in an environment where people live in fear to say the truth, or tell an emperior that he is dressed like a clown, or behaves like one. Anybody who is acquainted with Bishop Matthew Hassan Kuka would testify that he is an ideal human being and also a shining light of what a Christian should be.
Anybody reading the homily of Bishop Kuka titled “For a Tormented Nation and a Besieged Faith”, carried by The Tide newspaper (Friday February 14, 2020), would be deeply touched by the message contained therein. In the language of the Catholic Church, a homily is a speech or advice given at a special religious ceremony, in this case, burial of a Seminarian, Michael Nnamdi, in Kaduna, murdered by kidnappers recently.
Maybe Michael was not the first or only Seminarian kidnapped in Nigeria for a ransome, but from the Good Shepherd Seminary, Kaduna, that incident was a shock. His death was a greater shock, both to Catholics in Nigeria and across the globe, with a total of 3,305 persons lighting candles shortly before his burial on the February 5.
An ancient sage once said that it is to those who understand the world, not those who disfigure it; those who strive to liberate humans from plight and enslavement, not those who aggravate them, that we owe our loyalty.
We live and intermingle in a world where there are noble and ignoble people and where those who strive to ennoble the status of mankind stand in danger. Yet, the likes of Bishop Matthew Kuka should not be lacking in every society, for they provide courage to the stooping spirit of man. Not only are humans standing in a moment of decision, moment of separation of the darkness from light and moment of rudderless navigation. In the words of Bishop Kuka: “Today, our years of hypocrisy, duplicity, fabricated integrity, false piety, empty morality, fraud and pharisaism have caught up with us”.
Truly, Nigeria is at a point where we must call for a verdict; a time to confront and dispel the clouds of evil that hover over us; for we have practiced madness for too long. Kuka, in his homily recalled how, in Chatham House in London, Buhari said: “If I am elected President, the world will have no reason to worry about Nigeria. Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa … And I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front”.
Bishop Kuka spoke the whole truth and on behalf of Nigerians that “this President has displayed the greatest degree of insensitivity in managing our country’s rich diversity. He has subordinated the larger interest of the country to the hegemonic interests of his co-religionists and clansmen and women … Today, in Nigeria, the noble religion of Islam has convulsed …”
Unfortunately, Islam is beginning to earn an unpleasant reputation through the instrumentality of bad politics. It is true that Muslim scholars, traditional rulers and intellectuals have continued to cry out helplessly, asking for their religion and region to be freed from chokehold. Bishop Kuka tells us that “neither Islam nor the North can identify any real benefits from these years that have been consumed by the locusts that this government has unleashed on our country. The Fulani, his innocent Kinsmen, have become the subject of opprobrium, ridicule, defamation, calumny and obloquy”.
Is it a hate speech to say that this administration is “running the most nepotic and narcissistic government in known history”? Or that “the North still has the worst indices of poverty, insecurity, stunting, squalor and destitution”? does the fact that The Sultan recently lamented the tragic consequences of power being in the wrong hands, not indicate that all is not well with Nigeria currently?
Similarly, we are told that “the Northern Elders who is 2015 believed that General Buhari had come to redeem the North, have now turned against the President.” Is it not true that things fall apart when politicians use religion to extend the frontiers of their ambition and power? Why do kidnappers separate their victims and force Christians to become Muslims?
Apart from the killing of Late Seminarian Michael Nnamdi by his kidnnappers, had there not been similar killing of Christian clerics by kidnappers and terrorists in recent times? Should we accept the logic of a presidential spokesperson that since more Muslims are being killed than Christians, then there is sense in senseless killings? From the homily of Bishop Kuka that “killing Christian and destroying Christianity is seen as one of their key missions,” it become obvious that kidnappers and terrorists are out on a definite purpose.
The fact that His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto and the Emir of Kano, two most powerful leaders, have expressed their unhappiness over the situations in the country. But in spite of the obvious provocations and trends, Bishop M. Kuka can still tell the world that “we have no vengeance or bitterness in our hearts…Trials of every sort come our way, but we are not discouraged…”
Bishop Matthew Hassan Kuka has aptly shown through his homily that he has a clear understanding of the problems of this country, one of which is the use of religion as an instrument of political power. While not suggesting the use of violence or vengeance on the part of Christians, he has asked the current administration to run an inclusive system where everyone would have a sense of belonging and contribute to build up Nigeria.

 

Bright Amirize

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