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Nigerians have been told to weep rather than make merry, because our country, which last Tuesday clocked 59 years since its independence from British Colonial rule, has nothing to show for it. Nigerians should instead fast and pray on this year’s Independence Anniversary Day.

His Grace, Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri expressed this view, last Sunday, September 29, while preaching the sermon at the Eucharistic celebration to mark the country’s 2019 independence celebration.

The prelate said that those great hopes cherished in the hearts of Nigerians as they won independence from Britain, on October 1, 1960 have not been realized till date, but instead, over the years, the country has been emptied of the greatness associated with her. “This is a day for weeping for Nigeria not a day for celebrating or eating and drinking unnecessarily because Nigeria is an endangered country, Nigerians are an endangered people. This is the truth, it’s difficult to travel across Nigeria today as we used to do in those days even within the same state, you are afraid you may lose your life. There is danger everywhere even though, we still travel.

The prelate who revealed that as a Junior Seminarian at the time the country gained her independence in 1960, he literally swore that he was going to use his talent to serve Nigeria and to help Nigeria become great,” said: “Today, it is not because of Nigeria that I serve. I don’t serve Nigeria because Nigeria deserves it. I serve Nigeria because God has given me blessings, talents and opportunities to serve his people in Nigeria.”.

Archbishop Obinna stated: “That is why we are being challenged that now we have the opportunity to rebuild Imo, we must avoid extravagance, extra enjoyment in a way that is distasteful…”

He said that God is placing this challenge before all of us in Nigeria and in Imo State, that we cannot continue living foolishly, eating and drinking recklessly when so many people are starving and dying of hunger.

The Most Rev Obinna regretted that there are so many programmes aimed at alleviating the poverty of the people but they have not gone an inch deep.

According to him, there is plenty in Nigeria but because of the way this plenty is being used, there is so much oppression, so much bitterness, so much kidnapping and so many killings.

He said that other countries provide social benefit scheme even for the unemployed, so that every month something could be given to those who don’t have access to the normal sources of survival. The prelate regretted that Nigeria lacks a good foreign image, as she is being rated the most corrupt country in the world, adding “If we bother about Nigerians internally, if there were love, peace and a sense of generosity across Nigeria, if we had self-respect, other countries would respect us.

He condemned double standards by our security personnel, stressing that neutrality should characterize their operations no matter the position held by anyone in the society, since no Nigerian is above the law.

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