You’re called to serve, not exploit the people, Onaiyekan admonishes clerics

You’re called to serve, not exploit the people, Onaiyekan admonishes clerics

Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has urged clerics to avoid taking undue advantage of their followers, saying religious leaders ought to be servants of the people, not their exploiters.

He spoke, Sunday, during the ordination ceremony of five new priests at Catholic Church of the Archangels, Gaduwa, Abuja.

Onaiyekan, who noted that clerics were in short supply compared to the people, however, hinted at his looming exit from the service of the church.

He said: “Generally, in the world, clerics are not enough. So, we are glad to have more people ordained to serve as religious leaders. “Every cleric is supposed to be a servant of truth and serve the people in humility. Among clerics, there are some who are focused on looking after young people.

“We must remind them that their calling is to holiness, and sanctity of life for themselves and the people, especially the youths and children. Their mission should be to bring them nearer to God.”

He urged the new priests to focus on God to overcome temptation, especially when they work with young people.

The archbishop advised: “Keep your focus on God. You are weak but when you work with God, you become strong. Anytime you leave Him, you will fall. So live each day with the grace of God.

“Every time I preside over ordinations, I never know which will be my last, I am saying goodbye to everyone because I am already at the end (due for retirement).”

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (NEC) OF THE CATHOLIC LAITY COUNCIL OF NIGERIA (CLCN) AT THE 141 MEETING HELD AT THE BISHOP THOMAS MC GETTRIC PASTORAL CENTRE, ABAKALIKI DIOCESE, EBONYI STATE, 12 TO 14 JULY 2019.

Preamble:

The theme of the NEC meeting was; ‘Islamization and Fulanization of Nigeria; The Role of the Church’. 

After lengthy and intensive deliberations on the theme of the meeting and the state of our Nation, Nigeria, the Council resolved on the way forward as follows:

1. That all Christians, in particular, and Nigerians in general, must pursue peace and unity in all their words actions to enhance peaceful co-existence in the nation.

2. On the agitation for the establishment of settlements by the government for ‘a tribe’ in all the states of the federation, Council strong advices the Federal Government to resist the temptation to yield to the demands by any particular tribe, religion or trade that threatens the corporate existence of Nigeria.

3. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that Nigeria is a secular state. In line with the above provision, Council appeals to the three tiers of Government and all major stakeholders not to accord supremacy to any particular Religion over others as this may further compromise the already threatened unity of the Nation.

4. The Council views with great concern the worrisome state of insecurity across the federation and the ineptitude on the part of the law enforcement agencies of Government to take appropriate action to arrest, investigate and prosecute perpetrators of the heinous crimes. Council therefore urges all concerned stakeholders in the Criminal justice sector to rise and live up to their constitutional responsibilities.

5. Council, once again, congratulates  President Muhammadu Buhari, Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces on his 2nd term. The position of Council however, is that in the coming appointment and composition of the Federal Executive Council, the President should sincerely consider the Federal Character, the diverse ethno-cultural and Religious composition of the Federation in other to balance all interest and sensitivity of the all federating units of the Nation.

6. Finally, Council advices Christians in Nigeria to unite and speak with one voice; promote holiness and righteous; strive to deepen the faith of members in God; be vigilant and security conscious in self defense to protect life and property of members and the Church; and at all times promote the call to spread the good news of Jesus Christ, in season and out of season, to the ends of the earth..      

Thomas Folu Adekoya​​Hon National President CLCN

Sir Henry H. Yunkwap KSJI

​​National Secretary-General CLCN

Communique Committee:

1. Wilfred Lawrence Idi ​​​​-​Chairman  

2. Edoga Hon. Joseph Ozioko O KSM

3. Engr. Okafor, E. C. (KSJI)​​​

4. Hon. Abhul Imem J. A. ​​​

5. Bro. Andrew T. Njie (KSJI)​​​

6. Yohanna, A.B. Sambo​​​​

7. Akintola Vincent Akinsola Akande​​

8. Barr. Chris M. Inwang​​​​-​Secretary

Governor Ihedioha reinstitutes monthly clean-up exercise, Governor’s Prize

Governor Ihedioha reinstitutes monthly clean-up exercise, Governor’s Prize

His Excellency, Governor Emeka Ihedioha CON, has reinstituted the monthly clean-up exercise in the state. He has also reinstituted the monthly Governor’s Prize for the Cleanest Local Government Area, as well as the Cleanest Autonomous Community, Primary School and Secondary School, respectively in each LGA.

To this effect, His Excellency has approved the appointment of a Planning, Sensitization and Implementation Committee for the July, 2019 clean-up exercise as follows;

1. H.E. Dr. Ikedi Ohakim – Chairman

2. Commander, 34 Artillery Brigade – Deputy Chairman

3. Hon. Alex Emeziem – Secretary

4. Commissioner of Police, Imo State – Member

5. Chairman, State Council of Traditional Rulers – Member

6. Coordinating Chairman, LGAs – Member

7. SUG Presidents; IMSU, FUTO, Fed. Poly. Nekede, Imo State Polytechnic, AIFCE, FECOLART – Members

8. Chairman, CAN, Imo State – Member

9. Chairman, NURTW, Imo State – Member

10. Chairman, NUT, Imo State – Member

11. Chairman, NLC, Imo State – Member

12. Chairman, PFN, Imo State – Member

13. Chairman, COREN, Imo State – Member

14. Chinedu Chukwuonye – Member

15. Okechukwu Opara – Member

16. Prince Eze Ugochukwu – Member

17. Rex Okoro – Member

18. Mrs. Beatrice Nkwo – Member

The Committee is charged with the following mandate;

1.      Source for sponsorships/Partners, including, but not limited to;

a.      Banks

b.      Hotels

c.      Construction companies

d.      Telecom companies

e.      Transporters

f.        Other businesses

2.      Organize “Ihedioha Green Volunteers”.

3.      Create and manage brand materials, publicity and media

4.      Organize and manage the evacuation of refuse and dump sites

5.      Enforce total compliance

6.      Recommend and organize Governor’s Prize

7.      Audit and handover for August committee, etc

His Excellency further directs that action should be concluded immediately on the above task.

Chibuike Onyeukwu

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

July 15, 2019

Popular Christianity in Nigeria is not working

By: Rev. Fr. George EHUSANI Lux Terra Leadership Foundation

At a time when people imagine that I should be very proud of, and be fulfilled in my priestly ministry; when everywhere I turn people run over to meet me, and tell me that they watch my programs regularly on TV; at a time when I have become some sort of petty celebrity; it is at this time that I find myself becoming discouraged, disillusioned, distressed and feeling like giving it all up, abandoning this whole enterprise, and going to some monastery – away from all these distractions, and rather investing in my inner growth and the much-desired communion with God, through contemplative prayer and the practice of solitude.

The truth is that I have been going through some crisis on account of which I have been asking myself whether all my teaching, preaching, writing and social advocacy engagements amount to anything at all in the Nigerian setting. I observe that the Nigerian society is not changing for the better, and people are not being radically transformed in our Churches. Though we claim to be very religious, though our Churches are crowded and we host noisy worship sessions, though some of us can quote passages of the Scripture effortlessly from Genesis to Revelations, and though we host numerous night vigils and deliverance sessions, Nigerian Christians are not being transformed in any significant way, and consequently we are not equipped to transform our society for God.

The spiritual formation of most of us Christians has often left large areas of our lives more or less untouched and unredeemed. Like the iceberg which has only about 10% of its dimensions above the waters, and the remaining 90% underneath the surface, there are layers and layers of the life of the average Nigerian Christian that seems unreached by the Gospel of Christ. Like other Nigerians out there, who have never encountered Jesus Christ, and who have never benefited from the grace of baptism and confirmation, or the sustaining power of the Sacraments, Nigerian Christians live with anger and bitterness, fear and anxiety, wickedness and hatred, resentment and un-forgiveness, self-indulgence and addiction to the pleasures of the flesh, selfishness and greed, vanity and vain-glory, and we are stuck in fetishism, occultism, and primitive superstition.

Jesus says in Matthew 7:20 that “By their fruits, you shall know them.” But Christianity as a mass movement in Nigeria is not working. Popular Christianity in Nigeria which features mega Churches and a huge gathering of thousands of people, is not working. That religion characterized by the noise-making enterprise which we call prayer; the one that features regular deliverance services, multiple healing miracle crusades, so-called “powerful men of God,” dashing celebrity preachers, swaggering motivational speakers, flamboyant Gucci pastors, designer suit evangelists, jerry coil prophets, private jet owning overseers, fashionable Church choirs and trendy Gospel singers, etc.,

– that religion is not working!

Let us be honest with ourselves: Nigerians are not being transformed for Christ in any significant way. We Nigerian Christians cannot show that we are better than our forebears who never heard about Jesus Christ. With all our feverish activism and massive Churches everywhere, we cannot demonstrate that we are better than people of other religions in godliness and holiness, in love and unity, in mercy and forgiveness, in gentleness and patience, in civic discipline and social morality, and in the practice of justice and the promotion of peace. Our marriage and family lives are often not better than the marriage and family lives of others in our environment who have never heard about Jesus Christ. There is nothing to show that the rate of marital infidelity and general promiscuity among Christians is any less than what obtains in the secular society. The young people in our Churches often do not behave better than other young people in their towns and villages or in their schools and colleges.

Though we profess Christianity and are sometimes ready to go to war in “defense” of our religion, we have often remained greedy, avaricious, corrupt, undisciplined, fraudulent, adulterous, fetish, superstitious, exploitative and oppressive of the poor in our midst.

The majority of us Church-goers do not demonstrate any serious commitment to the Kingdom values and the eternal salvation that Jesus came to inaugurate with his life, death, and resurrection. Not at all. Nigerians seem to have settled for a brand of Christianity that the Apostles Peter and Paul will not recognize. We seem to be stuck with the material world and are pursuing all that promotes our physical existence with consummate passion. We seem to devote all our energies to the pursuit of this-worldly ultimate goals, and as such transcendental goals and values have little consideration in the daily choices we make in our private and public lives.

I sense that in the eyes of many who attend liturgical services at Lux Terra Chaplaincy, and in the eyes of some others who watch our programmes on television, I am often no more than an entertainer whom they watch every Sunday, as a number of my so-called fans are often not prepared to open themselves up to the transforming influence of the Gospel of Christ which I attempt to preach. True, we are not making any significant progress by way of individual or group transformation in Christ. All we seem to be doing is simply moving chairs around in a Titanic. We must come to recognise that Christianity as a mass movement has failed to make any significant impact in Nigeria and among Nigerians

In recent times I started becoming discouraged and distressed about this embarrassing reality and asking myself serious questions bordering on the purpose and meaning of my own numerous activities in the face of this sobering reality. And this is one reason why I went away on a 21-day retreat. And in the course of the retreat, I sought the face of God, trying to discern his will in my confusion. I came back from the retreat determined not to spend the rest of my active life simply oiling the wheel or servicing structures that may not deliver any goods. Yes, I came back determined not to spend the rest of my life along the path of such shallow, hollow and mediocre religiosity.

I came back convinced perhaps more than ever before that the Gospel of Christ is the most potent force for individual and social transformation. I have taken a close look at the Acts of Apostles, and seen once again how the early Christians gave loud, courageous and radical witness to the life of Jesus Christ, and I am convinced that (even in the Nigerian environment of today) with the power of the Holy Spirit poured out to the Church on Pentecost day, we can submit ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, and He will set us on the path of authentic Christian discipleship. We must start thinking of doing a few things differently. It was Albert Einstein who said that you cannot solve a problem with the same level of consciousness that created the problem. And in education, I learned that if one has been teaching a class for a long time and they keep failing, it is either that all the students are idiots, or the teacher needs to re-examine his methodology. So we need to stop for a moment and ask ourselves what this whole enterprise of going to Church in Nigeria is all about.

On my part, I want to begin to do something different. I want to commit my life anew to the Lord and to the mission of the Gospel and request those who want to journey with me to re-commit themselves and their families anew to the Lord. Yes, as Amos 3:3 says, “Do two people travel together on a journey without first agreeing?” I would like to set in motion soon some modalities and processes aimed at achieving this “agreement” among those who worship with me, to travel together along the path of a more authentic Christian life. I would like to explore the building of new Christian communities in the form of the household Churches of the New Testament times. This means that large numbers are not of primary importance in this new approach. Perhaps we could end up with no more than 20 or 30 families at the Lux Terra Chaplaincy. And that would be okay. I urge those who are interested in this enterprise to start reading something about “Christian Covenant Communities.” Perhaps a discussion on this concept will be the starting point…

Inflation drops to 11.22% in June – NBS

Inflation drops to 11.22% in June – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has released the consumer price index, which measures inflation stating that the index dropped year on year from 11.40 per cent in May to 11.22 per cent in June.

The bureau said the June inflation rate of 11.22 per cent represents a decrease of 0.18 percentage points over the rate recorded in May.

On month-on-month basis, it said the index increased by 1.07 per cent in June 2019, noting that this is 0.04 per cent rate lower than the 1.11 per cent recorded in May.

The report reads in part, “The CPI which measures inflation increased by 11.22 percent year-on-year in June 2019.

“This is 0.18 percent points lower than the rate recorded in May 2019 (11.40) percent.”