We live in a world where justice is not practiced. The rich trample upon the poor with the weight of their power and money and the poor have no voice anymore and cannot be remembered in history. The rich buy the lands of the poor at exorbitant prices so that they may not get money to take back their lands again. The poor become an everlasting victim of the big brothers, the rich. The white people of Britain took the land of the Zimbabweans to farm and President Mugabe fought back and took back the lands from them and he gave them back to his people, they gave him many names but he didn’t bulge because the Africans don’t sell their lands. It is inherited. The same thing is now echoing in South Africa where 70% of the lands belong to the white farmers. It is creating ripples. Africa is trying to know what Justice is all about. Look at places like Libya, Congo, Sudan, Syria; Yemen, Somalia, Indonesia, Venezuela and even Nigeria are all facing Injustice. There are numerous of unjust structures that create poverty. Numerous refugees migrating to other developed countries is a reflection of bad governance
We also had a complicated issue in Argentina, about Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory in the south-west Atlantic Ocean which the British claimed as its own in 1765 and established control over it. Argentina continued to press its claim to the islands but UN saw it as a colonial problem that needed solution by both countries. After a sober reflection, Argentine troops set foot on the islands and Britain dispatched a military force to eject them. There were casualties on both parties, about 650 Argentines died while 255 British people died too. The dispute came again in 2009. In May, Britain rejected a request by Argentina for talks on the future sovereignty over the islands. Argentina is seeking social justice in an unjust society. Pope Francis knows about this case. The world knows what Mandela went through to make South Africa be what it is now.
All over the world, social justice is violated. Many people today violate justice. God who owns the world says, “Live and let others live”, but man says No. People inflict injustice on their neighbours. Look at what happened in Benue; the persistent killings even in Plateau state. One would ask if we can get a man in power to fight for Justice. The governor of Plateau state on hearing of the molestation of the Igbos in Plateau state left Abuja immediately saying he would shed his blood to protect the Igbos because they develop anywhere they are. He imposed a curfew. He is an Avant-garde of Justice.
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The government of the world continues to inflict hardships on their subjects. There is war all over. Refugees are all over. It is pathetic to see Syrian refugees and their little children running around to seek better places in Europe. Bad governance creates war and misery. Divine law is superior to man-made laws where fickleness of opinion often produces error, division and clash of selfish interests create conflicts. But where social justice is maintained, peace reigns among the governed.
Everybody has a right to live including the unborn baby in the mother’s womb. Man has a right to food, shelter, medical care and the social services. He has a right to security in cases of sickness and inability to work, widowhood, old age and unemployment. He has also a right to migrate but you cannot be an immigrant in your own country. He has economic rights to work and improve his economic condition. He has a right to build industries that will create employment and government will collect its taxes thereby helping to develop the nation.
The commissioned tomato paste industry by the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, was built by Chief Eric Umeofia (Ikuku-OmaAmichi) the president and CEO of Erisco Foods Ltd, the first plant of its kind in Africa and the fourth biggest tomato plant in the world will help to drive the Nigerian economy. Everybody has a right to work but the dignity of human person must be safe-guarded. When we work we transform the society and create jobs for people. Man must be paid a just wage. Man has political rights. One of man’s rights is right to take active part in public affairs and contribute to one’s part in the common good of the citizens. Man cannot be a passive element in the social order. Infact the human person is entitled to a social juridical protection of his rights, not rights meant to a few. Most of these things are not observed in Nigeria due to the level of injustice and political hatred some have on other tribes.
A political society should be ordered very well to benefit the society, in keeping with human dignity and grounded in truth. It should protect the vulnerable and downtrodden. The Judiciary should be independent and not be influenced by the Presidency. The Cosmopolitan cities of the world maintain the same order. The history of degradation and dehumanization of people is rampant among the African leaders. An American presidential aspirant, Mr. Crux was discriminated by Donald Trump that he was not born in America but in Canada and has no right to vie for American presidency. That was bad politics. Instead of building bridges Trump builds walls. There is need to live anywhere and develop the area where one lives. Urgent reforms are needed and programmes undertaken must help to reduce inequalities and discrimination. “Work must be seen as the mission of sharing in the creation of the super refined world” (Catholic social teaching by Kevin E. Makenna). Also true development cannot consist of the accumulation of wealth at the expense of the development of the masses. We must be on the side of the poor and the powerless. The poor, the traders, mechanics, business men are contributors to social development and justice. Depriving them of their rights to live and right to sell their goods to earn a living is against social justice. Poverty has increased in the land because of the government of today. They have no proper plan to fix the country but citizens must not continue to be chronic complainers but must try to work together to fix the country.
Social justice is necessary at this very time, justice from those in power, justice from those who are under authorities. Those under authorities should not do underground work to destroy what is there or dethrone their masters or undermine the integrity of the authorities. Authority comes from God. It is given. You cannot take it away from someone. Those who do not respect authorities when they are in power will experience hell during their turn. Their subjects will create hell for them and that will be the time nemesis will rule their life. We all are called to promote social justice and not to sabotage it. If the JDPC in the Catholic Archdiocese do their jobs very well there will be less Injustice in the church and all sectors.
By VERY REV. MONSIGNOR LIMINUS UKAH
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