Keep praying for government, Osinbajo tells Christians

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on Sunday, urged Christians to continue praying for the government in the present situation.

Osinbanjo said this in Abuja at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) first 2020 plenary meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).

The Vice President, who was represented by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amechi said: “it is difficult to speak in this place, honestly. We need to pray for government.”

In his remarks, the President of CBCN, Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze, told Christians to speak with one voice and condemned the killings in the country.

He also called on the government to accept the fact that the country is under siege and finding a way to put an end to insecurity.

While frowning at the way some government officials were handing the security situation, the clergyman urged Christians to be hopeful and pray for peace in the nearest future.

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“Our nation Nigeria needs the light in this moment of darkness. The darkness is so noticeable that even the blind can feel it. We live at a time, a very difficult time in the life of this nation that we all know. In the coming days, we shall examine how the word of God can be a light for us. How can the word of God be a light for us? As a church let us continue to pray for Nigeria and the church. We all should be working for peace.

“We are praying for our brother in the northern part of the country. We can imagine what you are going through because of your faith. The faith you believe in will grow faster than the terrorists who are killing and holding our Christian brothers and sisters hostage. Our Christian values are more important than anything in life. As a church, we cannot forget the kidnapping and killing of our reverend father.

“Our eyes are still filled with tears. Their blood shall never be in vain. Government officers pass-through federal roads and they see what is going on with heavy security. This is a clear sign that all is not well. What government can do is to accept this fact and work on it. Government must work to tackle terrorism in the land. The present of terrorists in our land poses serious danger to the nation.

“When word of God is one and the same. Our God will not fail us. We must never lose hope in Nigeria, we must continue to be hopeful. Our hope will not fail us. Hope is not about the present but about the future. We are hopeful that the future will be better. We have to collectively raise our voices in condemnation of recklessness in government and abuse of power, the killing of innocent people and the insecurity of our lives and property,” the Bishop said.

On his part, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Reverend Samson Ayokunle, called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to rest until peace is restored across the country.

Ayokunle, who was represented by Pastor Garuba Umar, advised politicians to always be of good behaviour and emulate the church in all their endeavours.

His words: “the bishops have been able to speak and spearhead the teachings of the Catholic Church in Nigeria. I wish our political class can come here and borrow a leaf from you all on how to conduct a transition process that is free of rancour, acrimony, violence and abuse. The church has a lot to offer our politicians if they could come down from their high places and our country will be a better place. Permit me to commiserate with you all on the death of a seminarian and a good Shepard in Kaduna State who was kidnapped and killed. His death was a tip of the iceberg for what the security architecture has become.

“The country has become a no man’s land. As the terrorist, kidnappers and others have taken over when our security operatives appear powerless. All well-meaning Nigerians including the House of Representatives have been calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to overhaul the security agencies with the aim of injecting new blood, with new ideas in them.”

The Archbishop of Abuja, Most Revd. Ignatius Kaigama, during the homily, said solutions and peace will continue to elude the country if the people do not repent, change their ways and turn to God for help and healing.

He called on Nigerian leaders to brings both Christians and Muslims together no matter the situation and avoid complacency or lack of interest.

He called on the government not to play politics with religion and security situation in the country.

He said “in contemporary Nigeria perhaps one of our biggest temptations is one of believing in our country against all odds. For quite a while now, it appears that it is our country’s destiny to always dance on the edge of the perilous precipice. Otherwise, how does one explain the uninterrupted movement from one crisis to another? If it is not the murderous insurgents ravaging rural communities and lives in the North East, then it is the herdsmen laying waste towns and villages and leaving tales of death and destruction in their trail.

“Most recently, the wanton kidnapping of citizens for ransom has taken a brutal and deadly turn with very grave and sickening consequences. Although those in authority continue to assure the populace that they are doing everything in their power to arrest the ugly trend, permanent solutions and peace will continue to elude us if we do not repent, change our ways and turn to God for help and for healing.

“In moments such as these, our leaders must strive to bring us together and use all the resources we can muster to confront our common challenges. They must avoid any impression that suggests complacency or outright lack of interest in the plight of innocent victims. The trend of resorting to self-help is indicative of the distrust of the government and its security agencies who are seemingly overwhelmed by criminals. All these calls for concerted and harmonious efforts from all leaders – political, traditional, religious to work together to pull our people away from the precipice.

“This is no time to play politics of division or to exaggerate fault lines of religion, ethnocentrism or region to further set one segment of the country against another. This is not the time to bicker about who could be the best president, the best minister or the best army chief. It is equally shameful to reduce our misfortunes into an argument about what faith has suffered more.

“Isn’t it shameful and regrettable enough that dozens die every day, regardless of whatever faith they belong to? When we allow such rhetorics of division to dominate the socio-political space in the face of a grave danger, then the terrorists and criminals carry the day. We cannot afford to give people without conscience the honour of dividing us further or determining our daily discourse. In normal climes, terrorism and violent criminality are very hard to rout out. With disunity, distrust, fault-finding and finger-pointing, the hope for solutions is dead on arrival.

“Yes we cannot pretend that all is well with Nigeria. But neither can we give up hope of overcoming our challenges and of building a united and prosperous nation. We cannot afford to give in to the culture of disillusionment and even despair, of grumbling and perpetual lamentation.”

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