Northern bishops angry over injustice

Northern bishops angry over injustice

…Blame it for unrest in the country

Catholic Bishops in the north have identified injustice perpetrated by political leaders as the major cause of unrest and crisis in Nigeria.

The Bishops urged government to work towards the promotion of peace and unity among citizens.

Archbishop of Kaduna Diocese, Dr. Mathew Man-osoNdagoso, who spoke on the promotion of injustice in governance by political leaders, described it as an ailment that had robbed the nation of the peace and unity required in advancing the development and growth of Nigeria.

Ndagoso had led the Bishops of Sokoto, Zaria, Minna, Kano and the administrator of Kafanchan in the celebration of mass organised for hundreds of victims of Kajuru crisis and their families. He urged the Federal Government to also ensure political and socio-economic stability in the country.

The Northern Catholic bishops made a donation of N2.5 million to victims and also supported Fulani communities with financial assistance.

Said Ndagoso: “We all know the story of Kajuru local government crises, especially within the last year and the two quarters of this year, we knew what happened. If there is problems between farmers and herders, it is not for us as religious leaders to take side.

“Ours is to say the truth and ensure justice is done to everybody. And we all know that we are where we are in this country because of inequality, simply because people are treated differently in terms of the provisions of infrastructural facilities.

“And so, where there are disparities and people are treated unequally, there are bound to be problems.  So, this is where we stand as religious and Catholic leaders. Our own is to give hope and also strengthen the people.”

The catholic clerics had visited the Fulani communities where they urged leaders to join hands with their Christian neighbours to promote peace and the development of the state.

Archbishop Ndagoso Ndagoso spoke with journalists after the mass saying, “as church leaders, it is our duty to give hope, console and give joy in all circumstances of life to the families of victims of the crisis.

“I can tell you that if you dig deep down it is not only the crisis in Kajuru, it is not only the crisis in the north or Niger Delta. Most of these things are hinged on injustice.

“When the Niger Delta boys were struggling to emancipate their people, money was being lifted, dollars were being harvested from their own territory. Meanwhile, the whole area was polluted, destroyed and fishermen lost their means of livelihood as a result of pollution. Yet, they see resources being carted away out of their areas.

“And here in the north, you can see it happening also. People’s lands are being taken away, ancestral lands being occupied and there is threat here and there. And nothing has been done by the government to ameliorate the plight of the people. It is the duty of government to protect the interests of every citizen.  You see, the budget given by governments in every state is based on the population of the people and for their common good. Therefore, everyone in the state is entitled to the provision of good amenities.

“But, you see it openly that resources are being channeled to communities favoured by political leaders to the detriment of others. What government can do is to ensure there is justice in governance. Once they are able to address the problem of injustice, peace would come naturally in the country.”

Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Dr. Mathew Hassan Kukah who addressed families, relations and others at Saint Augustine Catholic Church, Kufana in Kajuru Local Government Area, said the violence that occurred in the area “should teach Nigerians a great lesson not to entrust their faith in politicians, but God.”

Immaculate Conception is feast of hope for sinners, pope says

Immaculate Conception is feast of hope for sinners, pope says

Mary, conceived without sin, is a “masterpiece” who reflects “the beauty of God who is all love, grace and self-giving,” Pope Francis said on the feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Reciting the Angelus prayer with visitors in St. Peter’s Square Dec. 8, Francis focused on the feast day that celebrates how Mary was conceived in the womb of St. Ann without original sin.

Several hours after the noon prayer, the pope joined thousands of people near the Spanish Steps in central Rome to pay homage to the Immaculate Conception at a Marian statue atop a tall column. The statue was erected in 1857 to commemorate Pope Pius IX’s declaration three years earlier of the dogma that Mary was conceived without sin.

Early in the morning each Dec. 8, Rome firefighters using a truck and tall ladder, hang a ring of flowers from the statue’s outstretched arm. Throughout the day, individuals and organizations leave flowers at the base of the statue.

Photo: A firefighter places a wreath on a Marian statue overlooking the Spanish Steps in Rome Dec. 8, 2019, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. (CNS/Paul Haring)

As is his custom, Francis did not read a speech by the statue but recited a prayer he wrote for the occasion.

Nine days before his 83rd birthday, the pope told Mary that “the further we go on in life, the more our gratitude to God increases for having given us sinners a mother like you.”

“You, Mother, remind us that yes, we are sinners, but we are no longer slaves to sin,” he said.

The pope offered special prayers for everyone in Rome or around the world who feels oppressed, burdened and discouraged by their sins, those “who think that there is no longer hope for them, that their faults are too many and too great and that God certainly has no time to waste on them.”

Mary is a mother who “never stops loving her children,” he said. And in the darkest night and in the darkest souls, she can reflect the light of Christ, who alone “breaks the chains of evil, liberates from the strongest dependencies, dissolves the most criminal bonds, softens the most hardened hearts.”

Earlier, in his address before the Angelus prayer, Francis said that God always wanted Mary to be “full of grace, that is, full of his love.”

When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would bear God’s son, she “didn’t lose herself in all sorts of arguments,” Francis said. “She immediately put her whole being and her whole personal story at God’s disposition.”

“Corresponding perfectly to God’s plan for her, Mary became the ‘all beautiful,’ ‘all holy,’ but without the slightest shadow of self-satisfaction,” the pope said. “She is humble. She is a masterpiece, but remains humble, small, poor. In her is reflected the beauty of God who is all love, grace and self-giving.”

Francis prayed that the celebration of the feast of the Immaculate Conception would “help us make our whole lives a ‘yes’ to God, a ‘yes’ comprised of adoration of him and daily gestures of love and service” to those in need.

Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

After Okorocha, and the least corrupt state is…Imo, says NBS

After Okorocha, and the least corrupt state is…Imo, says NBS

…Governor Ihedioha has  restored Confidence in Governance…Aide

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has rated Imo as the least corrupt state in Nigeria. The rating was contained in the bureau’s latest report titled “The 2nd Corruption Survey Report in Nigeria”, released at the State House Conference Center in Abuja, on Friday. Imo was rated the least corrupt state in Nigeria with 17.6%, followed by Jigawa and Plateau states.

The National Bureau of Statistics conducted the survey with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime, in collaboration with other partner international agencies.

Highlights of the survey were presented by the Statistician General of the National Bureau of Statistics, Dr Yemi Kale, and the Country Representative of the UNODC in Nigeria, Mr Oliver Stople.

He said that the first corruption survey report on Nigeria was conducted in the last half of 2018, where Imo State was ranked very high in the corruption index. This was during the era of Rochas Okorocha administration.

According to him, “The NBS described the 2019 report as, ”home grown”, disclosing that data was collected from a total of 33,067 persons in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The survey was developed as a tool to assess the impact of the measures put in place by States in fighting corruption in the period since after the 2019 elections. It also gives Nigerians the opportunity to assess and evaluate the impact of those measures.

“The report gave a state-by-state record of the corruption index in Nigeria, with Kogi State leading as the most corrupt state (48%), followed by Gombe at 43%.

“The report also suggested that there is a remarkable decrease in the prevalence of corruption in Imo State in the short time span. “In the survey also, Nigerians identified Unemployment, Insecurity and Corruption as the biggest problems of the country.

Reacting to the report, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State, Chibuike Onyeukwu said that watchers are not surprised at the development because, according to him, Imo State deserves the recognition based on the leadership that has been provided by the governor as well as the proactive and result oriented policies and programmes introduced by the Governor geared towards checking corrupt practices in government as was institutionalized by the past administration.

He said, “It is on record that the past administration institutionalized corruption while their stay lasted. The decay of those ugly years were what this administration promised to rebuild and you can see that the efforts of the governor are beginning to yield desired results. The years Imo was a laughing stock are over. His Excellency Governor Ihedioha ran the election on the basis of his integrity, track record of achievement, trust and capacity.

“He demonstrated a rare courage by signing Executive Order 005 on Treasury Single Account, TSA shortly after assuming office. By this action, His Excellency, made a bold statement on his administration’s zero tolerance for corrupt practices. On internally generated revenue, the past administration declared as at May, 2019, internally generated revenue of N241m but as we speak, His Excellency has made it possible for the state to generate almost N900m on IGR alone while targeting atleast N3 billion on IGR.

Onyeukwu explained that NBS rating on Imo State, is also an indication that the Rebuild Imo project is not a propaganda. He said that the enlistment of Imo State recently by Budgit, as one of the few states who have adopted Open Budget System is also very significant of the Governor’s transparency.

“On assumption of office, Imo State ranked 34th among the 36 States and the FCT on the Ease of Doing Business. The Governor wouldn’t accept any of that. He set up a desk on the Ease of Doing Business and deliberately sourced from among the best in the country to man the sector. And the good news is that there is tremendous improvement, resulting in the manner investors are showing interest in Imo, including AfrExim Bank that is investing $50m in the state.

Onyeukwu added that at that fresh air now pervades the state, the full autonomy of local government administration in the state, award of contracts now transparently go through laid down rules and processes, such that contracts now are procured and awarded to known firms. The governor has through his leadership, programmes and policies, restored confidence in governance in the State, and his appointees are following his body language and are in conformity with his ideology.

After Okorocha, and the least corrupt state is…Imo, says NBS

After Okorocha, and the least corrupt state is…Imo, says NBS

…Governor Ihedioha has restored Confidence in Governance…Aide

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has rated Imo as the least corrupt state in Nigeria. The rating was contained in the bureau’s latest report titled “The 2nd Corruption Survey Report in Nigeria”, released at the State House Conference Center in Abuja, on Friday. Imo was rated the least corrupt state in Nigeria with 17.6%, followed by Jigawa and Plateau states.

The National Bureau of Statistics conducted the survey with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime, in collaboration with other partner international agencies.

Highlights of the survey were presented by the Statistician General of the National Bureau of Statistics, Dr Yemi Kale, and the Country Representative of the UNODC in Nigeria, Mr Oliver Stople.

He said that the first corruption survey report on Nigeria was conducted in the last half of 2018, where Imo State was ranked very high in the corruption index. This was during the era of Rochas Okorocha administration.

According to him, “The NBS described the 2019 report as, ”home grown”, disclosing that data was collected from a total of 33,067 persons in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

“The survey was developed as a tool to assess the impact of the measures put in place by States in fighting corruption in the period since after the 2019 elections. It also gives Nigerians the opportunity to assess and evaluate the impact of those measures.

“The report gave a state-by-state record of the corruption index in Nigeria, with Kogi State leading as the most corrupt state (48%), followed by Gombe at 43%.

“The report also suggested that there is a remarkable decrease in the prevalence of corruption in Imo State in the short time span. “In the survey also, Nigerians identified Unemployment, Insecurity and Corruption as the biggest problems of the country.

Reacting to the report, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State, Chibuike Onyeukwu said that watchers are not surprised at the development because, according to him, Imo State deserves the recognition based on the leadership that has been provided by the governor as well as the proactive and result oriented policies and programmes introduced by the Governor geared towards checking corrupt practices in government as was institutionalized by the past administration.

He said, “It is on record that the past administration institutionalized corruption while their stay lasted. The decay of those ugly years were what this administration promised to rebuild and you can see that the efforts of the governor are beginning to yield desired results. The years Imo was a laughing stock are over. His Excellency Governor Ihedioha ran the election on the basis of his integrity, track record of achievement, trust and capacity.

“He demonstrated a rare courage by signing Executive Order 005 on Treasury Single Account, TSA shortly after assuming office. By this action, His Excellency, made a bold statement on his administration’s zero tolerance for corrupt practices. On internally generated revenue, the past administration declared as at May, 2019, internally generated revenue of N241m but as we speak, His Excellency has made it possible for the state to generate almost N900m on IGR alone while targeting atleast N3 billion on IGR.

Onyeukwu explained that NBS rating on Imo State, is also an indication that the Rebuild Imo project is not a propaganda. He said that the enlistment of Imo State recently by Budgit, as one of the few states who have adopted Open Budget System is also very significant of the Governor’s transparency.

“On assumption of office, Imo State ranked 34th among the 36 States and the FCT on the Ease of Doing Business. The Governor wouldn’t accept any of that. He set up a desk on the Ease of Doing Business and deliberately sourced from among the best in the country to man the sector. And the good news is that there is tremendous improvement, resulting in the manner investors are showing interest in Imo, including AfrExim Bank that is investing $50m in the state.

Onyeukwu added that at that fresh air now pervades the state, the full autonomy of local government administration in the state, award of contracts now transparently go through laid down rules and processes, such that contracts now are procured and awarded to known firms. The governor has through his leadership, programmes and policies, restored confidence in governance in the State, and his appointees are following his body language and are in conformity with his ideology.

DEBUNKING THE ALLEGATION LEVIED AGAINST REV FR MAGNUS EBERE, SDV BY REV FR DAVID IHEANACHO OF AHIARA DIOCESE

DEBUNKING THE ALLEGATION LEVIED AGAINST REV FR MAGNUS EBERE, SDV BY REV FR DAVID IHEANACHO OF AHIARA DIOCESE

Considering the news that went viral on newspaper publications and social media over the proscription of Canaanland Adoration Ministries by the Apostolic Administrator to Mbaise Diocese, His Lordship Most   Rev. Dr. Lucius Ugorji on the 28th of November, 2019 as an ardent follower of Canaanland Adoration Ministries, I am writing to respond to certain allegations, assertions, false claims levied against Rev. Fr. Magnus Ebere over the statement issuance by the office of the Episcopal Vicar for the laity on December 5, 2019.

Before I move on to my responses over the false accusations levied against Rev. Fr. Magnus Ebere, SDV, I humbly wish to clarify all that the news which went viral about the proscription of  Canaanland Adoration Ministry by the Apostolic Administrator of Mbaise Catholic Diocese is a case of misplaced priority. Because the Ministry has no existence in Mbaise nation for it is now global. What Rev. Fr. Magnus Ebere, SDV runs inMbaise is a Counseling Centre; for Counseling Services only which is approved by Corporate Affairs Commission.

Your statement infers that, Rev Fr Magnus Ebere SDV is NOT an incardinated priest of Ahiara Diocese even though he hails from a community in Ahiara Diocese called Obokwu Obizi. He does not enjoy the rights and privileges of an incardinated priest of Ahiara Diocese.”

In response:  Rev Fr. Magnus Ebere was posted as an associate Parish Priest of St. Peter’s Parish, Isiala Oparanadim, Ahiazu Mbaise. So, saying that he does not enjoy the right and privilege of an incardinated priests, is a false claim.

Moving on, your statement sighted that sometime in the early 2015, that Rev Fr Magnus Ebere SDV approached his home parish priest; the late Rev Fr Jude Onyegbule of St Benedict’s Parish, UdonaObizi, and requested to be allowed to intervene in a communal crisis in his village of Obokwu Obizi.

In response: From investigations and testimonies from people there was never a communal crisis as of that time till date in Obokwu Obizi.

Also, your statement inferred that Ndinwegbu community leaders responded by petitioning the Apostolic Administrator, Most Rev L.I. Ugorji, alleging that Fr Magnus Ebere SDV was threatening their residency in their village as he planned to drive them out and resettle their entire village in another place so as to forcefully take Nwaehishianya over their communal lands for his ever-expanding ministry.

I now ask, is Fr. Magnus Ebere, SDV Government that uses power of eminent domain to drive people away from their lands and acquire them compulsorily? Your false claim on him is dead on arrival; for there is no object to treat.

Your Statement further stated that on March 13, 2019, FrEbere SDV lied to the Apostolic Administrator when he claimed that the Centre was for counseling and not for masses and other ministrations.

In response: Rev. Fr. Magnus Ebere, SDV feedback to the Apostolic Administrator is never a lie. He has been carrying out his counseling services in line with one of his counseling Centre’s mandate which is turning people’s sorrow into joy through the word of hope.  Also, he responded that the masses which he celebrate are for the upliftment of the  catholicfaithfuls who come to his gruopcounseling services. He never disputed that.

Going further, you stated that the Panel discovered that human wastes, feaces, urines and refuse of all sorts were disposed in the open places and bushes around the community thereby exposing the community to potential outbreak of dangerous diseases.

Response:  the Centre ground, facilities to curb such excess have been provided and are still being provided for people to make use of.  Fr. Ebere is someone that believes that the right should be done always.

Under your liturgical Aberrations and Abuses claims:

Number one statement stated that Fr. Ebere celebrates Holy Mass at Canaanland Adoration Ministry Centre lasts from around 9.00 a.m. on Wednesdays to around 5 or 6 p.m. in the evening of the same day.

I respond to you that his masses last just for an hour while other Counseling Centre’s activities and programmes proceed.

Number two stated that People are not testifying to what has already taken place but to what they wish and pray for to take place.  They are urged to believe to have received them already in order for them to claim them.

Our testimonies are genuine with proven facts and not as presumed. It’s because of the testimonies and solutions to many people’s problems recorded that  stand as  motivating factors that our God is still working  through the lives of His devoted children like of Rev. Fr. Magnus Ebere, SDV.

Number three stated that Fr Magnus Ebere SDV hardly uses the Catholic Church’s prescribed lectionary for his liturgical activities.

Every mass which I’ve witnessed Rev. Fr. Magnus Ebere celebrated, he used catholic lectionary.

Number four stated “According to testimonies received by the Panel, Holy Communion during masses at Canaanland Adoration Ministry activities is not restricted to Catholics only.  FrEbere SDV keeps mum about who is qualified to receive the Holy Communion at the Centre thereby leaving the door open for non-Catholics to sacrilegiously participate in the Eucharistic communion.”

In response: Before the reception of the Holy Communion, announcement is always being made to the hearing of everyone that the reception of the Holy Communion is meant for the only baptized and practicing Catholics who are in the state of grace as it is being carried out in every Catholic Church. So, Fr. Ebere is exonerated of your claim that he keeps mum about who is qualified to receive the Holy Communion at the centre.

Under Abuse of the Sacraments claims:

Statement read “On April 21, 2018, Rev Fr Magnus Ebere SDV and his collaborator, Rev Fr Peter Ohaegbuchi SDV of St Peter’s Parish, Isiala Oparanadim gathered 116 couples from the two ecclesiastical provinces of Igbo land, namely Owerri and Onitsha and claimed to have witnessed to their weddings at St Peter’s Parish Isiala Oparanadim without following the canonical procedures for admitting couples to this sacrament.

Response: For the salvation of souls, administration of sacrament of matrimony is being carried out enmasse by various parishes in the catholic Church annually precisely for individuals cohabitating already with regards to aged people, those financially incapable to solely handle the activities that goes with wedding  just like  St Peter’s Parish, IsialaOparanadim, AhiazuMbaise. The process has been in place before Fr. Ebere due to his priestly responsibility to the parish and his benevolence style moved to take it up as a point of duty and as a concerned Catholic in sponsoring the aforementioned number of couples involved by providing the necessary things for the wedding. It’s worthy to note also that the wedding was not officiated by Fr. Ebere.

Abuse of the Pulpit Claims:

Your statement read that FrEbere SDV frequently rains down curses on his perceived opponents. Very often he announces during his talks that certain individuals will die within a certain period of time for going against his will.

In Rev .Fr. Magnus Ebere SDV’s ideology and philosophy of life, he doesn’t believe in creating enmity with anybody. He preaches and practices love. Every word he utters on the pulpit is biblical. To what you tagged:  frequently rains down curses on his perceived opponents, is your misunderstanding.

Let me clarify you with some of these bible verses for you to understand that he’s not out of place with pronouncements he makes on the pulpit:

“He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made, His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate” (Psalm 7:15-16)

“Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein, and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him” (Proverbs 26:2).

“He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breakethan hedge, a serpent shall bite him” (Ecclesiastes 10: 8).

“Let the wicked fall into their own nets whilst that I withal escape” (141:10).

The above bible verses, Fr. Ebere reference them most times while he prays during counseling activities and pogrammes.  So, you proscribing that he rains curses on his perceived opponents, is a big lie against God who he references on the pulpit.

Abuse of the Sacramentals Claims:

Your statement stated “Every one of his sacramental he invests with mystical powers of healings and blessings. During his liturgical activities, there are countless testimonies praising the miraculous powers of his sacramentals. Some of his sacramentals he claims could serve as bullet proofs, powers that ward off evil spirits, cure incurable diseases etc.

In response to that, our catholic faith makes us believe that once an item like rosary, medals, anointing oil etc. is being blessed by a catholic ordained priest, it carries the power of undoing any demonic influence in the lives of believers. The healing power of Sacramentals is also written in the book of Act of Apostles 19: 12, “So that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cursed and the evil spirits left them.” As an ordained Catholic Priest and one in whom God blessed with a special grace, as you stated above, how can you alleged that the anointing oil, bangles and other  blessed  sacramentals by your fellow priest have mystical powers?  With your statement, you’re indirectly telling the whole world that we the catholic faithful are using mystical powers. And of which I can never believe you because I know the Catholic Church which I belong to.

Abuse of Prayers Claims:

Your statement stated that Rev Fr Magnus Ebere SDV is in the habit of ascribing divine powers to himself.  He teaches people that he could pray for them and they receive what they desire from God; that he teaches people that he could pray for them and they receive what they desire from God; receive what he usually describes as double or triple portions of material things or money; He teaches that he sees visions, performs miracles, prophesizes.

In response to that, let me take you to the  book of Acts of the Apostles 2:15-18, which says, “For those are not drunk, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams . And on My manservant and on My maid-servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.” Also, in the book of Mathew 10:6-8 reminds us of the power Jesus gave to His disciples to heal the sick as read, “But go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead and cast out devil.” With the above bible verses, how then can a Catholic priest who I assumed that passed through the rigorous process of theology raise such assertions against his fellow priest who God called for a special work in His vine yard? It is quite embarrassing. Fr. Ebere has discovered himself in Christ Jesus. In his own part, he is fulfilling the Prophesy of Prophet Joel which says that in the last days people will prophesy, see visions and dream dreams nothing more.

Fraudulent Claim of a Papal Mandate:

Your statement read that Rev Fr Magnus Ebere SDV often tells his followers that his authority came directly from the Holy Father Pope Francis.

In response to that, Fr. Ebere has never been fraudulent and publicly uttered that the authority of his operation came from the Holy Father. Rather, as one who always listens to the Papal’s message most times makes it as a point of reference in many of his talks.  In quoting Pope Francis, he references often the Pope’s general speech to the audience after his election to the Papacy in 2013 as he urged Catholics to leave their comfort zone to search for lost sheep.  He further  references the Holy Father’s  speech to the catholic  “we must not be contented o remain in the enclosure of the 99 sheep; we have to step outside, to search for the lost sheep,“ which  also referring to one of  his Counseling Centre’s mission, and  Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep.

He believes in the Pope’s view of the Catholic Priests and the faithful to leave their comfort zones and go out there and win lost souls back to God.  And with that believe, as a catholic faithful and as an ordained catholic priest, he has rise up to that call of the Holy Father. Due to his proactive response to this call by living his comfort zone and in search for the lost souls, some catholic faithful and priests has misconstrued him.  They labels it that FrEbere misleads his followers by telling them that he owes no allegiance to any human authority; that he often tells his followers that the authority of his operation came directly from the Holy Father Pope Francis. Notwithstanding, when a person’s speech is misunderstood, the interpretation or reporting of it accurately is inevitable. So, let just   assume that they misunderstood him when he was quoting the Holy Father.  But it’s quite appalling that the writer, whom I assumed is learned, could misunderstand Fr. Ebere’s direct statement to another thing.

Fr Magnus Ebere’s over-inflated Ego Claim:

Your Statement read that Fr. Magnus Ebere, SDV is saying that he is the richest priest in Mbaise, that he claims that he would never be poor again in his life, that he will be the first priest to own a helicopter or an aircraft in Mbaise, that he moves about in a tinted and siren-equipped Hillux Van that is usually preceded by a security vehicle and some others.

In response: From your reasoning by quoting most of his statements, it clearly shows that you don’t really know the personality of Fr. Ebere, SDV. Fr. Eere has not said such and if at all he will say such he will never use Mbaise as his limit; And that also indicates and exposed the falsehoods behind your Statements about him. Rev. fr.Ebere Magnus, SDV is a teacher, life coach, an Optimistic person, a motivator and a source of inspiration to many youths.  He uses most of such statements in motivating and inspiring God’s people most especially the youths that come for his counseling services.

And from all indication of your statements, to the conscience of us the readers it portrays envy, jealousy, insecurity and personal vendetta against the priest.

Your statement read that Fr. Ebere SDV is setting up Canaanland A dorational Ministry in a manner of an independent Church; that he has his CWO organization called the Destiny Women;  also that they usually wear the E-Dey Work uniforms for their activities. He also has the Men’s group, the Youth Group etc. also that FrEbere SDV does everything at Canaanland Adoration Ministry Centre which a normal parish does even though it is very far from being canonically erected as a parish or a chaplaincy.

In response: Your statement about the aforementioned groups (our women, men and youths) is a blatant lie.  It is totally far off from your apparent allegation; that it is the same as in Parishes and chaplaincy. These groups were formed in regard to his counseling centre’s   vision of raising great women, men and youths that will become embodiments of solution providers in the world through different  soul uplifting  activities and programs which he initiate for them.

Untruthfulness, Disrespectfulness and Disobedience Claims:

Your statement also read that the activities of Fr Magnus Ebere SDV and his Canaanland Adoration Ministry in Ahiara Diocese are marked by three dangerous words, namely, Untruthfulness, Disrespectfulness and Disobedience.

In response:   of what sort can your assertions be factually classified as Fr. Ebere’s Untruthfulness, Disrespectfulness and Disobedience?  Going all through your statements and of which I have responded to most of them, from all indications, it shows that the panel set by the Apostolic Administrator enquire about the legalities of Fr. Ebere’s activities in your diocese with their findings and of which your write-up is subjected to, with all this inclination of character assassination to his person, it vehemently means that the diocese have the hidden agenda of indicting him. Never- the-less, it is a norm in the Ahiara Diocese of using all possible machineries in stopping any rising priest with a special grace.

In conclusion of my response to all the irrelevant long statement to directly indict your fellow priest, has clearly shown us the perception of one filled with rage against the Grace in this young priest because of his achievement so far thus exposing the unnecessary strife, politics, acrimony, envy, pride, jealousy exhibited by the priest as a result of feeling insecure and unable to measure up to standard. What more can be scandalous that the priest in which am certain the writer is fully involved marched out carrying empty coffin with the inscription of Bishop Okpalake on it. Is such not an act of been dangerously disrespectful, disobedient and untruthful to the Holy Father? Then have you considered the demeaning lifestyle of immoral acts portrayed by some priest scandalous, which other heinous deceit can be compared to such low standard shameful character to the flock. It is also worthy of note to be acquainted that some homilies by priests have become so boring or a means of storytelling, or criticisms thus driving the congregation away from the church.   Rather than this antagonistic statement Fr Magnus Ebere SDV should be acknowledged for his help in bringing back the scattered flock, as a result the crowd seen is not just because of Mass nor Adoration but of the counseling word which builds their faith the more and also provide answers to their challenges.

We are Praying to God to help all our Priest and appeal that Priest should build more love in supporting each other rather than inciting unnecessary Envy and hatred against each other. Our appeal to Fr Magnus Ebere SDV is to focus more on the mandate and vision of Canaanland Counseling Centre. All this while, we appreciate his silence towards all those false accusation against him. It shows maturity of the highest order of him. We also urge him to forgive as our Lord Jesus Christ forgave all those that accused and persecuted Him. For Jesus forgave them on the ground that they don’t know what they are doing. And we appeal to suIch priests like (Rev. Fr. David Iheanacho) the writer of such uncharitable lengthy false accusation to use their time to pray and plan on how to live good life than wasting their time in n their fellow priests.

NNEWI: Fire victim priest gets UNN alumni posthumous award

NNEWI: Fire victim priest gets UNN alumni posthumous award

Rev. Fr. Dr. Edmund Nwagbara, who lost his life in a fire incident in Nnewichi–Nnewi, Anambra State, has received a post-humous Distinguished Service Award from the University of Nigeria Alumni Association (UNAA).

Fr. Nwagbara of St Peter Claver’s Catholic Church, who died in his Parish house on November 16, was penciled down for the award before death struck.

The University of Nigeria Alumni Association at her 25th Biennial Convention and 103 National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at Nnewi, Anambra State, praised the starling qualities of the departed priest, which gave rise to the post-humous award.

Speaking at the ceremony, President of UNAA Nnewi Branch, Ndubuisi Okoli, described the deceased priest as devoted and unassuming.

Late Photo: Rev Fr. Dr Edmund Nwagbara Awarded

He said: “Late Fr. Nwagbala had the ability to associate with people of all classes who devoted his time in taking care of the sick, the poor and the less privileged.

“He was fully devoted to his priestly calling, giving attention to ensure the spiritual and temporal growth of his parishioners.

Episcopal Consecration: All roads lead to Assumpta Cathedral, Thursday Dec. 12

Episcopal Consecration: All roads lead to Assumpta Cathedral, Thursday Dec. 12

As the countdown to the Thursday December 12, Episcopal Consecration of Rev. Msgr. Moses Chikwe, as the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese begins, Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri, venue of the historic events is already wearing a festive look.

Information available to The Leader shows that the Principal Consecrator will be no other than His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri and Metropolitan of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province.

The Co-consecrators are: Their Lordships, Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji, Bishop of Umuahia/Apostolic Administrator, Ahiara Diocese and Most Rev. Augustine Ukwuoma, Bishop of Orlu Diocese.

His Holiness Pope Francis will be represented at the consecration by the Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, His Grace, Most Rev. Antonio Guido Filipazzi.

Most Rev Moses Chikwe

Most Rev Moses Chikwe

Rev. Msgr. Anthony Njoku will present the Bishop-elect. He will be assisted by Rev. FrsCyriacus Akoronye and Bertrand Ujunwa. According to the programme, Rev. Frs. Eustace Okere and Leslie Eluchie will read out the Papal mandate in English and Igbo respectively.

The epoch-making event is expected to attract a mammoth crowd of Christ’s faithful, both Catholics and non-Catholics, including Catholic bishops from various dioceses in Nigeria. A reception will follow after the Mass at the ObiriOdenigbo/Jubilee Hall within the Assumpta Cathedral premises.

A press release issued by Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Oha, Archdiocesan Chancellor/Secretary and Barr. Anthony Emeana (KSJI) Chairman Organizing Committee said Thursday’s Episcopal Consecration will be preceded on Wednesday December 11 by Rosary/Vespers/Benediction, gala night, dinner with cultural entertainment.

Born on April 3, 1967, Most Rev. Moses Chikwe is the last of the ten children of late Mr. Moses Nwamadi Chikwe and Mrs.Anthonia Nwaobiara Chikwe of Umuehihie Uzoagba in Ikeduru LGA, Imo State. He was ordained Catholic priest on July 6, 1996 at the Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri by Archbishop Obinna.

It would be recalled that on October 17, 2019, His Holiness Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Moses Chikwe the Auxiliary Bishop of Owerri Archdiocese, assigning him to the Titular See of Flumenzer.

OPINION: An open letter to President Buhari on Police “checkpoints”

OPINION: An open letter to President Buhari on Police “checkpoints”

By ChuksIloegbunam

Dear Mr. President,

Travelling from Lagos to Anambra State on November 9, 2019, I counted 67 “checkpoints” mostly manned by armed men of the Police Mobile Force along the 371 kilometre stretch from Sagamu to Asaba.

Travelling the same route again on Thursday, November 28, 2019, I counted 64 “checkpoints”. I was on each occasion behind the wheel, meaning that my calculations may have missed or added a number of “checkpoints”.

On November 30, 2019, however, Chief Tony Onyima, a respected journalist travelling as a passenger, counted 60 checkpoints on the same tortuous stretch, noting the precise location of each and every roadblock. This means that, on average, there is a “checkpoint” every 6.28 kilometres of the way. It suggests that the notorious stretch boasts more “checkpoints” than Hanoi and Saigon combined ever did all through the 20 years of the Vietnam War.

I lived in the United Kingdom through a third of the three decades of the Northern Ireland Troubles. Not on any single day throughout this period did Armagh or Belfast or Downpatrick or Enniskillen or Londonderry or any of the roads connecting these Northern Ireland cities bear one hundredth of the roadblocks on the Sagamu-Asaba expressway.

Strangely enough, there are less than 20 “checkpoints” on the Asaba-Sagamu side of the expressway, demonstrating clearly that the multiple roadblocks on the other side are in praise of Corruption!

Inside Onitsha, the multiplicity of “checkpoints” wears an extortionate hat and blows an ear-tearing whistle. Every day starting from about 3 pm, a traffic gridlock is created by bribe-taking soldiers and policemen and women at the Niger Bridgehead. The traffic jam lasts until about 9 pm, ensuring that all goods-carrying vehicles, all cars, all buses, all trucks and all trailers are tolled. The tailback runs the span of the quivering 54-year-old bridge that was never designed to bear such dead-weight. At the other end, the tailback extends as far as the perimetres of the Premier Breweries. On a daily basis!

You will notice, Mr. President, that in this letter, the word “checkpoint” is always in quotation marks. That is because neither inspection nor clearance takes place at any of the numerous stops imposed on innocent and hapless Nigerians by security men and women under Your Excellency’s watch. Not on one occasion in all my journeys on that highway did I find a policeman or a soldier or a Customs officer or an Immigration officer or an officer of the Civil Defence Corps bothering to inspect the underside of a vehicle. Not once did I ever see any of these “checkpoint” champions lift a bonnet to inspect what is under it. All they do is train assault rifles on innocent and hapless Nigerians, intimidate them, scream commands and bark orders upon their unfortunate heads, speak at them rudely and spitefully, and then stretch out their hands to collect bribes. Once money changes hands, the vehicles are waved on.

This scandalous trend goes on in the full view of everyone at hand, including foreigners. How does it feel, Mr. President, that the military you enlisted in 58 years ago, and which served meritoriously in The Congo and many other troubled parts of the world, is the same force that has men in uniform collecting bribes in broad daylight, in order for their fellow nationals to purchase the freedom to drive on roads built with their taxes?

The nature of these “checkpoints” is a cause for serious concern. Barricades are made of tree stumps, tree trunks, logs, sawed timber, debris from dilapidated buildings, disused tyres, sand-filled drums, twisted steel from accidented juggernauts, even planks spiked with nails. When your security personnel abandon any of the “checkpoints”, they do not bother to remove these obstacles, or take with them the debris they painstakingly assembled in the first place. Because the abandoned debris lack luminosity, vehicles plunge into them mostly after nightfall with predictable consequences.

Some of your “checkpoint” operatives never bother to don uniforms, creating the problem of distinguishing between real security personnel and plain criminals and impostors. The only uniformity in their presences is the ubiquitous assault rifle. Some of them appear in sweat shirts, or in T-shirts, or in overcoats in the sweltering heat. Some others have their name tags pinned upside down. Most have no name tags. A good number screen their eyes, bandit-like, behind very dark googles. Others have their felt hats turned front backwards. Occasionally an errant member of the lot is seen straying across the road, wielding a half-full or half-empty bottle of liquid content, or puffing away, regardless.

The cost to the nation of this lamentable aberration is enormous. It could be that the aim is to kill the Nigerian spirit and subjugate the peoples. Still, the unintended consequences of this terrible blight deserve to be stated. Many of the vehicles on the roads are articulated, underscoring their propensity to topple on uneven terrains and cause avoidable destruction and aggravated traffic jams. Many of the vehicles are tankers bearing highly inflammable and combustible liquids and substances liable to ignite at the slightest impact with other vehicles, or because of heatwave, unimaginable developments that could reduce whole kilometres of the freeway to a conflagration, only for such a calamitous result to be sacrilegiously ascribed to “an act of God.”

These “checkpoint” operators on Your Excellency’s watch are under the sun day-in and day-out, collecting “rogers” and pocketing same, unaware that they are pocketing other collateral damages as well. They wear no protective masks over their mouths and noses. Therefore, they inhale in large, dangerous doses carbon monoxide and other toxic agents which could trigger pulmonary conditions that, even if latent in them, could manifest in their offspring as full-blown cases of asthma, bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, pneumonia and lung cancer. Some of them court skin cancers, given the sun’s fiery rays on uncovered portions of their skins for at least eight hours every day.

These “checkpoint” personnel are not equipped with ambulances. They have no first aid boxes and, therefore, administer first aid to no one, including themselves. They are not known to offer care to the distressed. They bear no walkie-talkies, and no other forms of radio communication exists between any particular checkpoint and another.

If the enthronement of repression is the aim of these roadblocks, its failure is a fait accompli and it is expected of someone of your knowledge and international exposure to point this out. There are many questions you could ask the conjurers of tyranny, like these: Where is Adolf Hitler today? Where is Benito Mussolini today? Where is Augusto Pinochet today? Where is Nicolae Ceausescu today? Where is Anastasio Somoza today? Where is Muhammed Zia-ul-Haq today? Where is Joseph Stalin today?

If the examples of non-African dictators are too far away for comfort, you could ask those attempting to strike a match beside an ocean of gasoline what became of Macias Nguema? What became of Hastings Banda? What became of Mobutu SeseSeko? What became of Omar Al-Bashir? What became of Idi Amin? Indeed, if your “charity” of questions does not begin at home, you could end it here in Nigeria by asking what became of SaniAbacha?

If the point is that the Police can only stand on the clay feet of Corruption, there is a sensible alternative in disbanding the disreputable outfit with immediate effect.

Mr. President, you told Nigeria and you told the whole world that “We have to kill Corruption or Corruption will kill Nigeria.” As a matter of fact, you converted that proposition into a mantra. How, then, can this preposterous multiplication of roadblocks be consolidating itself under your very watch? Why should there be 60 road blocks on the Lagos-Anambra road when, on December 6, 2019, I counted only 16 of them on the 404 kilometre stretch from the border town of Obollo-Afor in Enugu State to Abuja?

There are hardly any reported cases of terrorism in the southern half of Nigeria. Why, then, should each of the three geopolitical zones that make up the south of the country have 200 times more roadblocks than the North East geopolitical zone that is the theatre of Boko Haram terrorism? The distance from Abuja to Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State, is 444.5 kilometres. I haven’t been on the road myself. But commercial drivers that ply the route promise me that there are no more than 15 “checkpoints” on it.

Medecins Sans Frontieres reported on October 15, 2019 that “Criminal groups and extreme violence in the northwestern state of Zamfara, Nigeria, have caused tens of thousands of people to flee their villages and seek shelter in the town of Anka.”

On December 7, 2019, The Punch reported that “A fresh attack of gang violence in Zamfara State has left at least 27 people dead.” Despite this mayhem that has continued unabated in Zamfara for many years now, the roads leading into the state are not cluttered by the Corruption of “checkpoints.”

There are other negative consequences of this clearly unsustainable germination and growth of “checkpoints”, this cardinal sin against Nigerians. The power directly behind the “checkpoint” dehumanization of Nigerians is the AftomatKalashnikova 1947 – the AK47. It follows that those currently using this deadly weapon to exert overlordship on the rest of society will, after their service years, devise means of privately stockpiling the weapon for the purposes of perpetuating their accumulation of filthy lucre.

Dear Mr. President, why should the seed of tomorrow’s national instability be continuously sown and watered today under your watch? Why should today’s lesson to those in uniform and under arms be that the dividends of crime are enormous?

How would you feel, Mr. President, to watch video clips of Nigerian soldiers pocketing bribes and casually handing change to those who produce higher denominations of the Nigerian currency than is the standard fare for kickbacks? The distance between Abuja and your hometown of Daura is 532 kilometres. By road it should be covered in eight hours. How would you take it if your wife and your children did the journey in 18 hours because there are “checkpoints” every five minutes, with your family ordered out of their vehicle at each point, verbally walloped, their vehicle documents “examined” multiple times, and money extorted from them? It is often said that when a commoner’s hearse is on the way to a cemetery, it looks like it is bearing a piece of wood. Nonetheless, it is trite to state that your wife and your children are not more human than my wife and my children.

In another week, the mass movement of Ndigbo from all parts of Nigeria to the South East geopolitical zone will commence in earnest. It is an annual pilgrimage for the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Meanwhile, the AkanuIbiam International Airport in Enugu was shut down in August for “repairs”. Yet, repairs did not commence at the airport months after its ill-conceived and mistimed closure. Air travel would have accounted for at least a sixth of the hundreds of thousands travelling East this month. With the airport shut, about the only means of travel for South East pilgrims this Christmas is the road where armed men and women under your watch, capricious as ever, are impatiently waiting to administer subhuman treatment to them, such treatment as never happened even in the Transkei at the height of South Africa’s apartheid dispensation.

Ordinarily, it should take about six and a half hours to travel from Lagos to Onitsha. With all the “checkpoints” the journey now takes anything from three to four hours more. Given the hundreds of thousands going to travel from the South West to the South East, it means that most of them, including toddlers, the old, the pregnant and the infirm, will be subjected to close to 18 hours of inhospitable travelling conditions simply because of the desire to be with their loved ones during Yuletide. Why should Nigerian citizens be sentenced to this prejudicial treatment of orchestrated delays, wanton extortion, even incarceration and, in extreme cases, coldblooded murders?

Dear President MuhammaduBuhari, remember that during the first quarter of 2017, when the Kaduna Airport was shut for runway repairs, special trains fully manned by security personnel were provided that guarded rail travel for Abuja destined travellers compelled to use the Kaduna Airport. The least you can do is to treat all Nigerians with equal consideration. I urge you today to halt this abominable rot and rash of “checkpoints” on our highways. Order an immediate dismantling of these brazen Nests of Corruption. It will be more melodious music in Nigerian ears than any Christmas and New Year’s messages you plan to give.

Thank you.

Iloegbunam, veteran journalist and author of “Ironsi: Nigeria, The Army, Power and Politics” wrote in from Abuja

2019 NBS Report: Imo least corrupt state in Nigeria, Kogi most corrupt

2019 NBS Report: Imo least corrupt state in Nigeria, Kogi most corrupt

The measures put in place by the administration of Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, governor of Imo State, to combat corruption seem to be yielding positive results as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has rated the least corrupt in Nigeria.

This was disclosed in the Bureau’s latest report titled: “The 2nd Corruption Survey Report in Nigeria,” released at the State House Conference Center in Abuja, on Friday.

Ihedioha made the fight against corruption one of the cardinal goals of his administration and has worked hard at making the state corruption-free.

NBS’ report says the efforts are succeeding.

Imo was rated the least corrupt state in Nigeria with 17.6%, followed by Jigawa and Plateau States. The National Bureau of Statistics conducted the survey with the support of the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime, in collaboration with other partner international agencies.

Highlights of the survey were presented by the Statistician-General of the National Bureau of Statistics, Dr. Yemi Kale, and the Country Representative of the UNODC in Nigeria, Mr. Oliver Stople.

Kale said the first corruption survey report on Nigeria was conducted in the last half of 2018, where Imo State was ranked very high in the corruption index. That was during the era of Senator Rochas Okorocha’s administration.

The NBS described the 2019 report as “home grown,” disclosing that data was collected from a total of 33,067 persons in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory.

He said: “The survey was developed as a tool to assess the impact of the measures put in place by states in fighting corruption in the period since after the 2019 elections. It also gives Nigerians the opportunity to assess and evaluate the impact of those measures.

“The report gave a state-by-state record of the corruption index in Nigeria, with Kogi State leading as the most corrupt state (48%), followed by Gombe at 43%.

“The report also suggested that there is a remarkable decrease in the prevalence of corruption in Imo State in the short time span.

“In the survey also, Nigerians identified unemployment, insecurity and corruption as the biggest problems of the country.”

Keep Imo Clean, Gov. Ihedioha Tells LG Chairmen, ENTRACO.

Keep Imo Clean, Gov. Ihedioha Tells LG Chairmen, ENTRACO.

…Orders Closure of Hotel, Pure Water Company over attack on ENTRACO officials.

Ahead of the yuletide and towards improving the sanitation in the state, Governor Emeka Ihedioha CON, has charged Chairmen of Interim Management Committees, IMC and Chairmen of ENTRACO in the 27 local governments in Imo State, rid it of filth and ensure a healthy environment

He also warned that he will not hesitate to take appropriate actions against any LGA Chairman or ENTRACO official, who fail to keep his or her LGA clean.

This is also as the governor has ordered the immediate shutdown of hotel (M2 International Guest House, Amakohia and Tapa Pure Water, Orji over attack on ENTRACO Enforcement Team on Illegal Dumping of Refuse who was on their lawful duties.

At a crucial meeting with the LGA Chairmen and ENTRACO officials held at the Government House, Owerri, Monday, Governor Ihedioha, declared as unacceptable the current state of sanitation, particularly in the state capital, Owerri and harped on the need to adopt strategies to improve on refuse collection and disposal across the State, especially during this festive period.

The governor charged Alex Emeziem, Special Adviser on Sanitation and Environment and General Manager, ENTRACO and his team to immediately ensure that there is improvement on the sanitation in the state.

“We must make Imo very clean and healthy. Therefore I want to see a rapid improvement on our culture of sanitation to rid the state of dirt.

The governor warned that his administration will not tolerate any form of attack on any government official on his or her lawful duties. He further charged citizens to be law abiding and cooperate with the government to deliver on its promises.

While stressing the need for ENTRACO to ensure self-funding to carry out their activities, he vowed never to put the state under further debt burden, adding that citizens should as a matter of civic obligation comply with the payment of sanitation levy to enable ENTRACO discharge its mandate effectively.

He also urged them to generate revenue for their activities and programmes, noting that all over the world, refuse management which include refuse collection, gathering and disposal, has become big business venture, and urged the LGA Chairmen to involve the youths within their domains, to take active part in refuse disposal.

He also directed LGA Chairmen to set up ENTRACO units in the 27 LGAs as part of measures to ensure effective waste management across the State.