Pope Sets New Rules for Investigating Sex Abuse

Pope Sets New Rules for Investigating Sex Abuse

Pope Francis is enacting new rules for investigating bishops over sexual abuse or its coverup, responding to mounting public pressure on the Catholic Church to improve accountability after a string of abuse scandals involving senior clergy.

The new church law, laid out on Thursday, requires all dioceses in the world to set up a “public, stable and easily accessible” process for reporting allegations of abuse, including by bishops and cardinals, that protects victims and whistleblowers. It says dioceses have to report allegations about bishops without delay to the Vatican, which must decide within a month whether to launch an investigation, take immediate disciplinary action or close the case.

The new rules seek to address complaints that the church lacked standard procedures for pursuing bishops and heads of religious orders accused of committing or covering up sex abuse. They don’t address the long-running divisions in the church over how strictly to punish wrongdoers in abuse cases. Bishops in most countries have rejected the U.S. church’s call for all abusers to be permanently removed from ministry.

The church’s troubles over sex abuse were reignited in 2018 by scandals involving cardinals and bishops in the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Australia. Growing disillusionment among Catholics threatens to overshadow the pontificate of Pope Francis, who after taking office in 2013 inspired popular hopes of a church more in tune with modern society.

The pope’s credibility has suffered from criticism that he didn’t take seriously allegations of abuse, misconduct or coverup by bishops including former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Chilean Bishop Juan Barros, Australian Cardinal George Pell and French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin.

In November, the Vatican frustrated U.S. bishops by blocking them from voting on new measures aimed at holding bishops more accountable for abuse or failing to act against it.

On Thursday the head of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, welcomed the new law, saying in a statement that it “leaves latitude for national bishops’ conferences…to specify still more to account for their local circumstances.”

But the U.S. bishops’ leading lay adviser on child protection, Francesco Cesareo, said the new legislation could stifle one element of the U.S. bishops’ proposals: the establishment of a national commission of laypersons to oversee the investigation of bishops. The pope’s new law instead gives responsibility for investigations to local bishops acting under Vatican direction.

In February, Pope Francis presided over a four-day global summit of bishops at the Vatican to address the problem of clerical sex abuse. The pope called for an “all-out battle” against abuse, but the meeting produced few specific measures.

The new rules outlined on Thursday aim to address criticism of a lack of concrete reforms. They stipulate that reporting systems for abuse allegations, whether run by church officials or outsiders on behalf of the church, must ensure the privacy and protection of accusers and victims. Such systems are common in the U.S. and other wealthy countries but less so in the developing world, church officials say.

“If enforced, there’s no doubt the new law will improve the church’s internal processing of allegations,” said Anne Barrett Doyle of BishopAccountability.org, a Boston-based group that tracks abuse cases. “But it has three obvious weaknesses: it stipulates no penalties for ignoring the law, it mandates no transparency, and it doesn’t require that abusers be removed permanently from the priesthood.”

Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops, stressed that the new law covers not only sexual abuse of minors but “abuse of authority” that forces adults to perform sexual acts. He told the Vatican newspaper the new law thus applies to the “abuse of nuns by clerics or the abuse of seminarians or novices by their superiors.”

“This sends a signal that leadership is subject not only to civil law but canon law,” Archbishop Charles Scicluna of Malta, adjunct secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said at the Vatican on Thursday. He said he would explain the law to congregants in Malta like this: “If I break the rules, you must tell the pope, ‘look, our bishop is a bad person.’”

When complaints are made against bishops, they must be referred to the Vatican right away, unless determined to be patently unfounded. The Vatican is required to decide within 30 days whether to order an investigation and, if so, which bishop or other church official will lead the probe.

The local metropolitan, or senior bishop in the region, would be the presumptive investigator, but the Vatican may choose another if the metropolitan is under investigation himself or is judged incapable for some other reason. He may draw on the expertise of laypersons in conducting the probe. The investigation must ordinarily be completed within 90 days.

The new legislation, which takes effect June 1, also states that all clergy and nuns are required to report any evidence of child sex abuse, possession of child pornography, sexual assault of adults or coverup to their superiors or to the Vatican’s local representative. This requirement doesn’t apply to information transmitted during the sacrament of confession, which priests are forbidden to divulge under pain of excommunication. The law doesn’t expressly require the church to report abuse allegations to secular authorities, but says priests and nuns should comply with local laws.

Fr. John Okoro Charges Men to be Good Ambassadors of Christ

Fr. John Okoro Charges Men to be Good Ambassadors of Christ

Parish priest of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Ojota, Lagos, Rev. Fr. John Okoro has charged members of the Lagos Archdiocesan Catholic Men Organization (LACMO) to be good ambassadors of Christ.

Fr.Okoro made this charge while welcoming members of the LACMO 2019 Convention Organizing Committee during their joint meeting with deanery coordinators and parish chairmen in the parish on Satursday.

“Be Good ambassadors of Christ, be good ambassadors of St Joseph your patron saint. Sometimes we tend to deviate from those values that promote the church, but I know that with little advice from one another we can make a head way. I want to thank you for doing a good job and I pray that God will continue to bless you,” he said.

Photo: Rev. Fr. John Okoro (standing), and a cross section of LACMO executives during the occasion

“Be good ambassadors in loving your wives, as St Joseph loved his wife,and also his foster son Jesus. You should be good ambassadors in loving your children also. I pray that the lord will bless you in your works, your businesses and in all your endeavours, through Christ our lord,” he went further to say. President of LACMO, Mr. John Aigbokhaode had earlier inaugurated the committee.

LACMO Selects Theme, Releases Timetable for 2019 Convention

LACMO Selects Theme, Releases Timetable for 2019 Convention

Lagos Archdiocesan Catholic Men Organization (LACMO) has selected “Let’s Continue with Christ: The way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 21:3-7; Jn. 14:6)as theme for this year’s Annual Convention and Induction. This is as the organization has also released the programme for week-long activity.

Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 2019 Lagos Archdiocesan Catholic Men Organization (LACMO) Convention and Induction, NnamdiIkemunveiled the theme and programme for the convention at a meeting of members of the LACMO 2019 Convention Organizing Committee, deanery  coordinators and parish chairmen at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Ojota, Lagos, over the weekend.

The convention holds Friday, July 27 – Sunday, July 29, 2019 at St Gregory’s College, Southwest Ikoyi, Lagos. 

Explaining the choice of the theme of the convention,”Let’s Continue with Christ: The way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 21:3-7; Jn. 14:6)Mr NnamdiIkem said, “Professional fisherman know how and where to throw their nets. Peter and his fellow apostles tried that all night but caught nothing. But when Jesus the author of life said they should cast back their net to the “right side of the boat” they became successful. Most times right handed fishermen cast their nets to the left, but notwithstanding that, Peter obeyed the Lord and apart from ripping the benefits his eyes were opened to the presence of the Lord.”

Photo: Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 2019 Lagos Archdiocesan Catholic Men Organization (LACMO) Convention and Induction, Nnamdi Ikem addressing members at the meeting.

“Today, we are facing a difficult terrain that is putting stress on our ability to be good family men; good leaders of our communities; etc.,” the organizing committee chairman stated, calling on men to continue again with Jesus: The  Way, The Truthand the Life; rather than struggling alone.

The convention has two other sub-themes: “The Catholic Man as the good family shepherd” Jn.10:11; 1 Tim. 5:8; Mal. 3:13-16; and “The Catholic Man the Leader of the Family and the Community.” Jud. 6:14-16.

Other features of the convention include seminars and workshops with “Harnessing the Political Potentials of an Organization like CMO,” and “Starting and Running a Business in an Unstable Environment,” as major topics. The convention which will start with the CMO Week in the various parishes across the Archdiocese from Monday, July 22 – Thursday, 25, 2019 July will feature charity work, Holy Mass and seminars in the parishes. Meanwhile, all parishes have been enjoined to form liturgical committees to ensure adequate mobilization for the parish activities.

Gunmen kill priest, five others during mass

Gunmen kill priest, five others during mass

Gunmen killed a priest and five churchgoers during mass Sunday in an attack on a Catholic church in Dablo, northern Burkina Faso, security sources and local official said.

“Towards 9.00 am, during mass, armed individuals burst into the Catholic church,” the mayor of Dablo, OusmaneZongo, told AFP. “They started firing as the congregation tried to flee.”

The gunmen managed to trap some of the worshippers, he added. “They killed five of them. The priest, who was celebrating mass, was also killed, bringing the number of dead to six.”

The attackers set fire to the church, several shops and a small cafe before heading to the local health centre, which they looted and burnt the chief nurse’s vehicle, said Zongo.

A security source said between 20 and 30 gunmen carried out the attack.

Sunday’s attack was the latest of a series carried out against Christian churches in Burkina Faso.

Last Sunday, gunmen killed five people in an attack on a Protestant church in the small northern town of Silgadji.

Lagos Catholic Archdiocese To Mark Archbishop Martin’s 60th Birthday In Style

Lagos Catholic Archdiocese To Mark Archbishop Martin’s 60th Birthday In Style

The Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos has unveiled activities to celebrate the 60th birthday of Most. Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, the Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos.

Four days of celebration have been earmarked to commemorate the event, beginning Monday, May 27, and running through Saturday, June 1, the D-day of His Grace’s birthday.

According to Mr. Peter Nwanze, Chairman, All Purpose Committee, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, organisers of the event, the activities included Children’s Day with the Archbishop on May 27; Visitations of the Archbishop to Mother Theresa’s Home in Ketu on May 28 and other charity establishments; Celebration with the elderly residents at Regina Mundi Home and Choral Competition by the Music Commission on May 29 as well as the grand finale on June 1.

Speaking further, Nwanze stated that the grand finale would commence with the Holy Mass at Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos at 10 am.

Two books titled ‘Grace to Live’ and ‘Voice of the Shepherd’ would be presented during the reception.

These events had been packaged to further highlight Most. Rev. (Dr.) Martins’ Episcopal motto ‘Called to Serve in Love.’

The Archbishop, who was born on June 1, 1959, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, and was ordained a priest on September 18, 1983, had over the years continued to demonstrate his passion for service through compassion and love.

THE SCAPULAR DEVOTION IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION

THE SCAPULAR DEVOTION IN THE ECONOMY OF SALVATION

On July 16, 1251, the Blessed Virgin Mary, accompanied by a multitude of angels appeared to St. Simon Stock, the Father General of the Carmelite Order. Holding in Her hand the Scapular of the Carmelite Order, She gave the Scapular to him and said:

“This shall be to you and to all Carmelites a privilege that anyone who dies clothed in this (Scapular) shall not suffer eternal fire; and if wearing it they die, they shall be saved”.

When you are enrolled in the Brown Scapular (invested with the Scapular) by a priest, you are by that act admitted into the extended family of Carmel, popularly known as the Scapular Confraternity.

Catholic theologians and authorities like St. Robert Bellarmine and Pope Benedict XIV explain the promise to mean that anyone dying wearing the scapular will receive from the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the hour of death, either the grace of perseverance in the state of grace or grace of final contrition.

Prof. Michael Ogunu

Comte Paul Biver, in his life of Father Lamy (1855 – 1931), quotes the following from Father Lamy’s writings:

The Blessed Virgin told me (Fr. Lamy) that many Christian men and women escape hell through her intercession. She often promotes repentance when the soul is being reft from the body. At that moment of extreme distress she obtains for them a feeling of love of God and repentance.

Our Lady has made a promise of salvation to all who die in her family of Carmel. To die in the Family of Carmel, one has to be validly invested in the Habit (Garment) of that family, that is, the Brown Scapular, and perseveringly wear it.

Many Saints, Popes and theologians have strongly declared their acceptance of the Scapular Devotion. Among them are St. Robert Bellarmine, St. Peter Claver, St. AlphonsusLiguori, St. John Vianney, St. John Bosco, Popes Gregory X, Sixtus IV, Leo XI, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, Benedict XIV, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Pope Sixtus IV granted to members of the Scapular Confraternity all the privileges, indulgences, graces and favours which are granted to the Cord of Saint Francis, to the Rosary of Our Blessed Lady, or to any Confraternity whatsoever, “so that they do enjoy them as much as if they were really members of these sodalities, by reason of their communication in privileges with the Order of the Carmelites”.

Pope Benedict XIV, writing as a private theologian before his election as Pope, wrote: “Let no one ever dare to reject the devotion to Our Lady of Carmel, which the Roman Pontiffs have enriched with so many and such great indulgences, for by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, God has worked many miracles for the advantage of those who practice this devotion”.

In his letter to the generals of the Carmelite Order on the occasion of the Seventh Centenary of the Brown Scapular, Pope Pius XII clearly revealed his approval and high opinion of the Scapular devotion. The following two paragraphs are taken from the letter:

“There is no one who is not aware how greatly a love for the Blessed Virgin Mother of God contributes to the enlivening of the Catholic Faith and to the raising of the moral standard. These effects are especially secured by means of those devotions which more than others are seen to enlighten the mind with celestial doctrine and to excite souls to the practice of Christian life. In the first rank of the most favoured of these devotions that of the Holy Carmelite Scapular must be placed — a devotion which, adapted to the minds of all by its simplicity has become so universally widespread among the faithful and has produced so many and such salutary fruits”.

“For not with a light or passing matter are we concerned but with the obtaining of eternal life itself which is the substance of that Promise of the Most Blessed Virgin which has been handed down to us. We are concerned, namely, with that which is of supreme importance to all and with the manner of achieving it safely. For the Holy Scapular which may be called the Habit or Garment of Mary, is a sign and pledge of the protection of the Mother of God”.

Pope Paul VI, during Vatican Council II, sent a message to the International Marian Congress in explanation of paragraph 67 of Lumen Gentium:

“You will make known our will and our exhortations which we base on the dogmatic constitution of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II, which is in complete conformity with our thought and indeed upon which our thought is based.

“That one ever hold in great esteem the practices and exercises of the devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin which have been recommended for centuries by the Magisterium of the Church” — (#67). And among them we judge well to recall the Marian Rosary and the religious use of the Scapular of Mount Carmel… a form of piety which is adapted by its simplicity to the spirit indeed of everyone, and is most largely widespread among the faithful for an increase of spiritual fruit”.

Pope John Paul II in his letter to the Superiors General of the Carmelite Order (Fathers Joseph Chalmers and CamiloMaccise) on the occasion of the Carmelite Marian Year, dated 25th March 2001, says that “The Scapular represents a synthesis of Marian Spirituality. It nourishes the devotion of believers, making them sensitive to the loving presence of the Virgin Mother in their lives”. One of the truths which the sign of the Scapular brings out, according to the Pope, is “the continuous protection of the Blessed Virgin, not only along the pathways of the life, but also at the moment of passing into the fullness of eternal glory”. “For a very long time”, says the Pope, “I too have worn the Carmelite Scapular”.

On July 17, 2011 at Castel Gandolfo, Italy, Pope Benedict XVI praised wearing of the Scapular and asked Mother Mary to wrap us in Her mantle, noting that the Scapular is a “particular sign of union with Jesus and Mary”. The Pope commented on the use of this devotion when he addressed Polish-speaking pilgrims gathered at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo to pray the midday Angelus. “For those who wear it, it is a sign of filial abandonment to the protection of the Immaculate Virgin”, he said. “In our battle against evil, may Mary our Mother wrap us in her mantle”.

During her final vision (appearance) at Fatima (in Portugal) in 1917, the Blessed Virgin Mary held the Brown Scapular in her hands. When in 1950 Lucia (one of the three children to whom Our Lady appeared) was asked why the Mother of God held the Brown Scapular in her hands, she answered: “Because she wants everyone to wear the Scapular”. When pressed for a further explanation, Sr. Lucia said “Because it is our sign of consecration to Her Immaculate Heart”.

“In admitting me into her Family of Carmel, Mary promises me three great favours” says Fr. Chaignon, S.J. “She will protect me in danger, she will help me to die well, and she will promptly aid me after death”.

The Scapular is a sign of our special adoption by the Mother of God. The first and greatest privilege it brings us is that it envelopes us in the special love of Our Blessed Mother. It makes us “Hers” in a very special way.

The Scapular makes us not only the servants of Mary but also the “sons (and daughters) of her choice”. From the moment we are enrolled in it, we are dedicated to her in a special way and have a special claim upon her protection and intercession. Through her intercession, she protects us from evil, shields us from the attacks of Satan and helps us to overcome temptation and sin.

The scapular is a sign of our consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. By wearing the scapular, we pledge our whole life to Mary — we totally surrender to her all that we are and all that we have. The Scapular should be a constant reminder that we belong to her at all times and in all places. It should be a constant reminder to the absolute purity of Mary and of our duty to imitate her. It should separate us from all that is not holy and inspire us to greater and greater purification of our lives. A life that is consecrated to Mary should always bear the good fruit of love, charity, kindness, meekness, gentleness and prayerfulness. As St. Louis de Montfort puts it: “The most perfect consecration to Jesus is nothing else but a perfect and entire consecration of ourselves to the Blessed Virgin”.

For more than four centuries, the scapular has been known as “Mary’s sacrament”. The scapular is not only an assurance of salvation after death; it is even now a powerful means of grace. In instituting such a simple but complete devotion, Mary continually binds herself, as it were, to intercede for us.

Pope Leo XI recognized one aspect of the sacramental quality of the scapular when he said, on its being accidentally removed from him at the moment of his Papal investiture: “Leave me Mary, lest Mary leave me!” So did St. John Vianney when he called the scapular one’s safeguard against temptation. Blessed Claude de la Colombiere, the renowned Jesuit and spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary said, “Because all the forms of our love for the Blessed Virgin and all its various modes of expression cannot be equally pleasing to her, and therefore do not assist us in the same degree to reach heaven, I say, without a moment’s hesitation, that this scapular is the most favoured of all”. He also adds, “No devotion has been confirmed by more numerous authentic miracles than this scapular”, and “No other devotion renders our salvation so certain”.

Let us not conclude, however, that the scapular is endowed with some kind of supernatural power, which will save us no matter what we do or how much we sin. We might apply here what St. Alphonsus says about devotion to Mary in general: “When we declare that it is impossible for a servant of Mary to be lost, we do not mean those who by their own devotion to Mary think themselves warranted to sin freely. We state that these reckless people, because of their presumption, deserve to be treated with rigour and not with kindness. We speak here of the servants of Mary who, to the fidelity with which they honour and invoke Her, join the desire to amend their lives. I hold it morally impossible that these be lost”.

Saints and Pontiffs often warn us of the foolhardiness of deliberately living in sin because of Mary’s Scapular Promise. Pope Pius XI warned all the faithful that “although it is very true that the Blessed Virgin loves all who love Her, nevertheless those who wish to have the Blessed Mother as a helper at the hour of death must in life merit such a signal favour by abstaining from sin and labouring in Her honour. “One can take it as certain”, says John Haffert, “that if a person continually sins because of Mary’s Scapular Promise, he/she shall not die in the Scapular. To lead a sinful life while trusting in the Scapular Promise is to commit a sin, the horror of which borders on sacrilege; its punishment will not only be eternal but far worse than if one had led a sinful life without making the Mother of God an excuse for crucifying Her Son”. It is clear from the words of St. Alphonsus and the Pontiffs that a certain measure of fidelity is required on the part of those who wish to gain the special love and protection of Our Lady.

It is the teaching of our holy faith that no one can merit the gift of final perseverance. We have no insurance against the loss of the state of grace. It does not follow that, because we are in the state of grace today, tomorrow will find us the friends of God and heirs to his kingdom. We do not know the time of our death. We can never be sure that death will come when we are in the state of grace. This depends upon divine providence. Strictly speaking, a person could live for years in the state of grace and have the misfortune to fall into grievous sin. If death overtook him before he had chance to go to confession or to make an act of perfect contrition he would be lost.

One of the greatest means of final perseverance we have is devotion to our Blessed Mother. It is the constant teaching of the Church that devotion to God’s Mother is not only a means but a pledge of eternal salvation.

When we are enrolled in (invested with) the scapular we become affiliated to the Order of Carmel. We participate in the spiritual treasure of Masses, prayers and good works of the Order. Enrolment in the Scapular makes us members of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a big family of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the world. When we belong to the Confraternity, we have thousands and thousands of brothers and sisters in Carmel praying for us always; and when we are dead and forgotten by our nearest and dearest, they will continue to intercede for us until we reach the gate of heaven and the arms of our Blessed Mother.

The mother of God showed a vision of hell to the three little children of Fatima and said to them: “Pray, Pray very much, and make Sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to Hell because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them”.

The sinner who wears the scapular has a whole world-wide Confraternity praying for him. “There is a second reason”, says Fr. Schultz, C.S.S.R., “why those who wear the scapular will save their souls; they will never be without the help of prayer”.

Even though we have the assurance of Mary’s special help and the support of Carmel’s unceasing prayer to plead our cause before the tribunal of divine justice, we should not tempt even the multitude of Our Lady’s tenderest mercies. Those who wear her scapular should be the first to give her the homage of their whole lives and to call her blessed at all times. The scapular is not simply the mark of a special devotion to her. It is the sign of a life lived in her.

A Scapular is made up of two rectangular pieces of brown cloth, which are linked together by two cords so that it can be won around the neck. The scapular must be won constantly (day and night). It can be worn underneath one’s clothing. The blessing and conferral of the scapular are attached to the wearer for life. After having received the initial blessed scapular, subsequent scapulars which are used do not need to be blessed nor conferred again.

Unfortunately, in Nigeria and some other African countries, most of the scapulars people wear, especially youths and women, are not genuine scapulars. Many people have round their necks, not the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel but the devil’s scapular. In an attempt to make Catholics realise this, a certain Catholic bishop reportedly told scapular wearers among the congregation in a certain Church ceremony to come out and drop their scapulars in a container. The good scapulars were separated from the bad. When the bad ones were ripped open, satanic emblems, hairs, and occultic insignia were found in them. Satan’s scapulars are very small, hard and plastic covered. Wearing them is a mark of covenant with the devil. Catholics should be very careful in their choice of the scapulars they buy and wear. Genuine scapulars made by Carmelite nuns can be obtained from the Carmelite Monasteries or through the writer.

Our Lady has given us a powerful gift of Her Scapular. The Church has recommended its use and the Saints have worn and promulgated the sacramental.

Let us gratefully receive Our Lady’s precious gift and wear it as a constant reminder of our total giving of ourselves to Her and Her Divine Son, for, as St. Barnard has said,

“Following her, thou strayest not;

Invoking her, thou despairest not;

Thinking of her, thou wanderest not;

Upheld by her, thou failest not;

Shielded by her, thou fallest not;

Guided by her, thou growest not weary,

Favoured by her, thou reachest the goal”.Prof. Michael Ogunu is the first Nigerian lay member of the Carmelite Order. He is the National President of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites in Nigeria and the Provincial President of the Secular Carmelites in Ghana. For more information about the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, you may contact him through his e-mail address (mogunu@yahoo.com) or by phone (08035020068/+2348035020068).

JAMB to prosecute 100 suspects, delists 76 exam centres

JAMB to prosecute 100 suspects, delists 76 exam centres

JOINT Admissions and Matriculation Board has delisted 76 Computer-Based Test Centres for various infractions during the recently concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, raising fears that results from those centres may be cancelled.

JAMB announced the delisting just as it appointed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria to prosecute about 100 persons allegedly involved in various malpractices during the UTME that held between April 11 and 18.

JAMB Registrar, Prof. Is-haqOloyede, disclosed this on Friday in Abuja while speaking on ‘Admissions into tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria’ at the 23rd annual seminar of the Nigerian Academy of Education.

The board had on April 22 said no fewer than 100 UTME candidates were arrested nationwide by operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the police.

Oloyede, speaking on Friday, narrated how some of the malpractices their Closed Circuit Television Cameras caught exam cheats in some CBT centres, saying professional writers hid in toilets and later replaced the UTME candidates who pretended they  went to the toilet to ease themselves.

The registrar did not name the SAN leading the prosecution reportedly for security reasons; he did not also state any day the 2019 UTME results would be released.

Professor Ishaq Oloyede, JAMB Registrar
Professor Ishaq Oloyede, JAMB Registrar

Oloyede said, “When we were watching the clips, we called our staff to come and answer questions. These were clips of people, our own staff, who did what was not right. It (malpractice) is not just a matter of the past, it is still present.

“We see a lot. But we have problems. If I were to be punishing every member of staff of JAMB that is committing infractions, I will not focus on the assignment. I will be going from one disciplinary committee to the other and my attention will be diverted.

“Today, we have no fewer than 100 in police cells across the country who were caught for examination malpractices. I have appointed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria who is a former solicitor-general to help me oversee all these so that the suspects can be brought to book. My director of legal matters asked me, ‘what offences should we charge these people for; for multiple registration?’ And I said, why can’t we go to the Examination Malpractice Act?  So, my problem has started by having to draft the charges, despite the fact that we have evidence against them.”

The registrar noted that the 76 delisted centres in 2019 were from a total of 741 registered centres, as against 22 delisted centres among 630 registered centres in 2018.

Oloyede added, “Another thing we saw was malpractices by substitution. A candidate did biometric verification and came into the hall but a professional writer or mercenary had hidden in the toilet. So the candidate would now stand up and said he or she was going to the toilet, only for the professional writer to come back from the toilet and replace him or her.

“The real candidate will remain in the toilet. So our CCTV watchers from Abuja caught that and said the person who went to the toilet was not the same person who came back. And we quickly had to call the security operatives to pick up that person. And they are saying I am a witch. They don’t know that it is technology that is aiding us.” – Punch

Transition: Ihedioha harps on peace, harmony in Imo

Transition: Ihedioha harps on peace, harmony in Imo

The Imo State Governor-elect, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, has reiterated his commitment to ensuring peace and harmony in the state.

He gave this assurance during a courtesy visit of the Transition Committee to Governor RochasOkorocha at the Executive Chamber, Government House, Owerri, Monday.

Barr. Chris Okewulonu, who led his team on the visit, also enjoined both committee members to interface without any rancour or bitterness.

He maintained that the overall essence of the committee was to among other things, ensure smooth and successful handover of power in the state come May 29, adding that the entire Imo people expect nothing but positive results from them.

“In the course of our meeting, certain issues were looked at which are germane to us. These issues proved the fact that this opportunity should be used to bring about harmony and peace in Imo State.

“And we took that decision against the backdrop of what has happened in the past.  

“We felt that this opportunity given to us, we should be able to change the narrative, we should be able to use it to make Imo to be greater than it is today. We want to use this opportunity to make sure that there is peace, there is harmony in Imo State.

“So one overriding consideration that dominated our mind, the committee members, in the course of our deliberations is that the peace and development of Imo State is the most important thing for all of us. Moving forward, the overall and overriding interest of Imo people will continue to play in our minds.”  

Also, in his speech, Governor Okorocha appreciated the calibre of personalities that made up the Governor-elect’s Transition Committee, stressing that he has no doubt that they would deliver for the overall interest and good of the state.

He also promised to provide a friendly and healthy atmosphere for the committee to operate and function while stating that his desire was to see the incoming governor succeed.

The Governor-elect’s team was thereafter taken round on a facility tour within the Government House. All the 31-member team of the Governor-elect and the 21-member team.of the State Government were present.

Bible brings God’s breath into the world: Pope Francis

Bible brings God’s breath into the world: Pope Francis

Pope Francis on Friday meets with the Catholic Biblical Federation on the occasion of their fiftieth anniversary, telling them the Bible is not a beautiful collection of sacred books to study, it is the Word of life to be proclaimed through the streets of the world.

In order to highlight the fruits of its 50 years of activity, the Catholic Biblical Federation has been holding an International Biblical-Pastoral Congress this week under the theme “Word and Life, Biblical Animation of the life and pastoral activity of the Church”.

And it was on this theme of “Word and life” that the Pope dwelt on in his remarks on Friday to those gathered in the Vatican’s Clementine Hall.

The word of God is alive

He told them that, “The word of God is alive”; it does not die or even age; it remains forever, adding that it was “the Holy Spirit, the life-giver, who loves to work through Scripture.”

Photo: Pope Francis meets with Catholic Biblical Federation (Vatican Media)

“The Word brings God’s breath into the world”, underlined Pope Francis, “it infuses the heart with the warmth of the Lord. All the academic contributions and volumes that are published are and cannot but be at the service of this”, he said.

 The Word of life to be sown

But the Pope also pointed out that, “the Bible is not a beautiful collection of sacred books to study, it is the Word of life to be sown…”

The Pontiff emphasized that in the Church, “the Word is an irreplaceable injection of life. That is why homilies are fundamental”, he said. Preaching, he continued, “is not an exercise in rhetoric, nor is it a set of wise human notions. Instead, it is a sharing of the Spirit, of the divine Word that touches the heart of the preacher, who communicates that warmth, that anointing.”

Pope Francis expressed the hope that there would be “a new season of greater love for Sacred Scripture flourishing on the part of all the members of the People of God”, so that it would deepen our relationship with Jesus.

The Pope explained that the Word “gives life to each believer by teaching them to renounce themselves in order to proclaim Him.” He went on to say that, “in this sense it acts like a sharp sword which, entering into the depths, discerning thoughts and feelings, brings to light the truth, wounds to heal.”

The Word and the Church

A Church that lives by listening to the Word, said Pope Francis, “is never satisfied with its own security. She is docile to the unpredictable novelty of the Spirit.”

He also painted a picture of a Church that feeds on the Word, and lives to proclaim it. The Word of God, said Pope Francis is the “best vaccine against closure and self-preservation”. In conclusion, the Pope said, the Word of God and life should embrace each other and should not be without one another. He also prayed the Bible would not remain in a library but would be proclaimed through the streets of the world where people await it.www.vaticannews.va

Lagos Gets Seven New Quasi Parishes

Lagos Gets Seven New Quasi Parishes

The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos,Most Rev Dr Alfred Adewale Martins,has announced the elevation ofseven Mass Centres of Quasi Parishes.

He made this announcement duringthe 2019 Chrism mass held lastThursday at Holy Cross Cathedral,Lagos.

They newly created parishes are: Holy Trinity, Ewowa (former outstation of Corpus Christi, Egbin, Ikorodu); Blessed Virgin Mary, Ewelepe (former outstation of Corpus Christi, Egbin, Ikorodu); and Church of the Assumption, Agboroko (from St Augustine, Iba); and St Hilda, Obadore (from St Augustine, Iba).

Others are St Stephen, Pacific Estate;and Madonna Catholic Church,Egan;both from St John Igando; and Church of Annunciation, Ishefun (Outstation of St Patrick’s, Igbogila).