The Catholic Bishop of Jalingo Diocese, Most Rev. Charles Hammawa, on Wednesday appealed to Jukun and Tiv people in Wukari Local Government of Taraba to stop killing each other and embrace peace.
Hammawa made the appeal during a peace meeting he convened for Jukun and Tiv stakeholders at the St. Charles Boromeo Pastoral Centre in Jalingo.
The Nigeria News Agency , reports that the two group have engaged each other in attacks that cost many lives and led to the destruction of many settlements.
“Peace is the only panacea for development; America owes its massive growth to its ability to keep the peace.
“I am on my knees begging you. I beg you, in the name of God, to stop the killings.
“The time for peace is now; if we defer it till later it might be too late,” he said.
He urged them to develop the spirit of give and take because no people could live in isolation.
“You must forgive one another, accept one another and love one another. You must must work toward a prosperous society that will offer hope for your younger ones,” he said.
The Bishop appealed to the warring groups to see their diversities as stepping stones to greatness and move away from the destructive path to avert its dangerous consequences.
Editing by Joe Idika and Ephraims Sheyin
Catholic Archbishop urges media practitioners to be agents of evangelisation
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most. Rev. Adewale Martins, on Sunday urged media practitioners to be agents of evangelisation through their news reporting.
The Archbishop made the call in his homily at a virtual Mass celebrated at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos, to commemorate the 54th Anniversary of the World Communucation Sunday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that this year’s theme of the World Communication Sunday by His Holiness, Pope Francis is: “The Value of Storytelling and its Importance in Shaping Lives’’.
Adewale said that stories had influence on people’s behaviour, adding that there was the need to find truth in the stories being disseminated.
According to him, there are stories that build people together and there are also stories that create division.
”It is in this face that the Holy Father calls us to isolate the truth that we hear and let it guide us.
”This truth also challenges media men and women to speak the truth that comes to them.
”So what we hear or watch in music, movies and news, influences our actions and inactions,” he said.
According to him, media practitioners should also be conscious of the influence their stories have on the role model people choose.
He said that media practitioners’ stories should direct people to the right model, just like the miracles of Jesus was designed to teach his followers to take care of the needs of people.
Adewale, however, charged journalists to see themselves as those the Lord had called upon to be agents of evangelisation, bringing people closer to God.
”Let it challenge us to bring new disposition of God to people.”
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
COVID-19: Safety rules compliance, only way out- Methodist Archbishop
The Chairman of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), Enugu State, Most Rev Christopher Edeh reiterates that observation of all precautionary measures against Coronavirus (COVID-19) is the only way to combat the virus.
Edeh, who is also the Archbishop of Methodist church, Enugu Diocese, said this during a sensitization tagged ‘Wear Your Face Mask’ in Enugu on Sunday.
The cleric urged christian faithful to ensure they wore face masks and maintain physical distancing in public places including churches, markets, offices and other crowded places.
He also advised church leaders not to allow anyone enter worship places without masks, washing of hands and use of hand sanitizers.
According to him, coronavirus is real and the only way we can fight this evil scourge is by complying to all the hygiene protocols from the federal government and other relevant agencies.
”Please stay at home if you are not on essential duties, wear your face masks when leaving your house and maintain physical distancing as well as washing your hands all the time.
”It’s cheaper and safer to follow the rules than contracting the disease and spending all you have to save your life,” the archbishop said.
The cleric used the occasion to distribute face masks to some churches he visited including Central Methodist Church, Uwani, Baptist Church, New Haven and some Anglican churches in the metropolis.
The CCN comprises Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Salvation Army, Presbyterian, Qua Iboe and United Evangelical churches.
Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
No pastor can predict end to Coronavirus — Bishop Bamidele
Bishop Mike Bamidele, the General Overseer of Victory Chapel International Church, Osogbo, said no pastor could predict the end of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Bamidele declared this at a news conference to announce the 2020 Pentecost Day Celebration.
According to the Bishop, pastors who had earlier predicted the end to the virus but which did not come to pass, needs to check the spirit that they are operating with.
Bamidele said what could put an end to the virus was for people to seek God’s intervention and also to exercise faith in God.
“There is no specific date the virus will end but the day any man is healed by exercising faith in God, that is the day the virus will end.
“I do not know the kind of spirit those who predicted the end of the virus are operating with but for me, an end has come to the virus the day Jesus died on the cross,” the bishop said.
Bamidele, who noted that the virus was evil from hell, warned that nobody should blame God for it.
The cleric said the churches would continue to support government with prayers for an end to the virus, adding that government should be commended for their efforts so far in containing the spread of the disease.
Speaking on the Pencecost Day, the bishop, who is also the convener of the programme, said the programme would be held online and it would be aired live in all the radio stations in the state on June 1.
He said there would be prayer for those who were affected with the virus and all other diseases, adding that people would also be allowed to call in during the programme.
The bishop said the programme would hold between 10a.m. and 3p.m. with pastors from other states in attendance.
The cleric added that the people would be empowered supernaturally during the programme for breakthroughs in all areas of their lives.
Bamidele, however, said the Pencecost Day should be declared as public holiday by Osun State Government and the United Nations.
He noted that if the state government could declare a public holiday for Muslims to celebrate Hijrah and for traditional worshippers, the same should be declared for Christians to celebrate Pentecost.
Bamidele said since the Pencecost Day was the 50 days after Jesus resurrection, it should be declared as a public holiday for the sake of fairness and justice.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
COVID-19: Archbishop Martins urges FG to encourage herbal cure
Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos has appealed to the Federal Government to allow traditional medicine practitioners use local herbs and roots to cure Coronavirus pandemic currently ravaging the world.
Martins made the appeal during a news conference held at the Holy Cross Cathedral hall in Lagos on Wednesday, ahead of the commemoration of the forthcoming 54th World Communications Day.
He said that traditional herbal medicines had their own healing effects, pleading with the government to give credence to their producers for them to use the products as cure for the virus.
“Herbal medicine has its healing effect and I think it is important that government gives local practitioners and researchers opportunities to research into the use of our local herbal roots and come up with remedies from them for this Coronavirus pandemic.
“We have heard these local remedies curing different types of diseases before, and it is only appropriate that they are given a chance to prove their efficacy at this point in time.
“We understand that there is the need for test and validation of local herbs. Madagascar has developed its own and was embraced by the Federal Government.
“That has created the urgency for our government to pay attention to the development and promotion of our own indigenous herbal products and remedies offered by others that will lead to an end toCOVID-19 pandemic in our country ,” he said.
He said that it was a great concern that the numbers of infected people were increasing daily, adding that it was a measure of relief to some extent that people were submitting themselves for test.
“This is an indication that more people are being tested for coronavirus which means that those who have the virus are being identified and treated.
“This is a sign of hope and by the grace of God, we shall see the end of this pandemic,” he said.
He also appealed to the government to do everything necessary for the people to continue to receive palliatives at this critical period.
He said that people were not earning as much now as they used to earn before the outbreak of the pandemic in the country.
The archbishop speaking on the forthcoming 54th World Communications Day, said that the words of Pope Francis were very important, adding that it was also relevant to the current happening all over the world.
According to him, the pope says we need to make our own, the truth contained in good stories.
“Stories that build up, not tear down; stories that help us rediscover our roots and the strength needed to move forward together.
“Amid the cacophony of voices and messages that surround us, we need a human story that can speak of ourselves and of the beauty all around us.
“A narrative that can regard our world and its happenings with a tender gaze.
“A narrative that can tell us that we are part of a living and interconnected tapestry.
“A narrative that can reveal the interweaving of the threads which connect us to one another,” the pope was quoted by the Archbishop as saying.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Peter Dada (NAN)
Disease control bill will negate rights of citizens – Archbishop
Archbishop Samson Benjamin, the General Overseer for Resurrection Praise Ministry for Africa Worldwide, on Saturday said the proposed Disease Control Bill would negate the rights of Nigerians.
Benjamin told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that he was totally opposed to the Bill which seeks to promulgate the vaccine.
“I am also absolutely against the vaccine that wants to be introduced into Africa from abroad. I do not believe it is best for us and we will resist it.
“Some of us resisted the Disease Control Bill that was brought to the House of Representatives because it took away all your right as an individual.
“The Quarantine Law of 2004 gives you a Civil Right and your Human Right, but the Bill takes away such rights and gives the power solely to the government,” he said.
Benjamin however thanked the House for listening to the cries of the masses and putting the Bill aside until it is properly scrutinised and ensures safety of health.
On COVID-19, he said that social gatherings, events and parties should still be on hold until we began to see a drop in the rising figure daily.
“I would urge our leaders to have a rethink and reconsider their ways of beating this virus instead of calling for religious gathering.
“One very good way of reaching out to our followers for spiritual edification is to utilise the internet to continue to propagate the Word of God,” he said.
The archbishop advised that the kits brought from China be tested for efficacy before they are given out for public use.
“We are getting it wrong if we focus solely on the economic implication rather than the mortality rate, because it is the people that will revive the economy and not the other way round,” he said.
Besides, Benjamin urged the government to put to good use all the donations and contributions that have been given to us by international bodies.
“We are in a serious situation in our country regarding the virus and the government can not handle it alone therefore I call for support for the government.
“I also urge people to live appropriately and obey the government directives at all time in order to prevent the spread of the virus and prevent another lockdown,” the clergyman added.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
COVID-19: Catholic Bishops offer 425 clinics as isolation centres
The Presidential Task Force (PTF), has advised State governments to set up isolation centres with a minimum of 300 beds in their states, to strengthen the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Mustapha said that the isolation centres should include wards and Intenesive Care Units (ICUs).
“This will help accommodate levels one and two cases. However, with the increase in numbers, we are beginning to experience a shortage of bed spaces in the isolation centres, especially in the high-burden areas.
“We are conscious of the need to take care of different categories of persons like those living with disabilities, terminal conditions and other underlying factors co-morbidities,” he said.
Mustapha disclosed that the Catholic Bishops have volunteered over 400 of their clinics across the country as isolation centres.
“Catholic Bishops Conference has volunteered all the 425 hospitals and clinics nationwide for adaptation and use as isolation centres.
“Governors are encouraged to please approach Catholic Bishops in their states to access these facilities,” he added.
“Unfortunately, such choices cannot be made by individuals; it has to be collective and we are all resolute in stamping this scourge out of Nigeria,” he noted.
He appealed to Nigerians to continue to comply with all guidelines.
“You must take personal responsibility for your actions,” he declared.
Mustapha, who noted that May 10 marked the end of the first week in the ease of restriction phase, reminded Nigerians that they were still in Phase One of the three-pronged fortnightly strategy.
“I am also sure that Nigerians have equally focused on the pandemic and have done their assessment of progress made, especially as it relates to compliance,’’ he stressed.
He said that one gratifying outcome of the assessment that the PTF had undertaken as stakeholders was the convergence of thoughts on the level of compliance with the guidelines and how individual and collective responses could improve or jeopardise the ability to contain the virus.
“During the first week, the country generally witnessed increased number of positive cases. This is attributable to our expanded capacity for testing with the opening up of more testing centres and laboratories.
“As at today, there are 23 laboratories nationwide, including private laboratories; we shall continue to engage with more private laboratories,” he explained.
He said that the PTF had continued to review the relevant policy and protocols so that actions and decisions would be most effective.
“We are working toward taking COVID-19 positive cases out of circulation to avoid the spread of the virus.
“We have recognised a significant role for community ownership, guidance, acceptance and implementation and the PTF will introduce appropriate inclusive policies in the coming weeks.
You will all be apprised of developments on this in due course,” he said.
As a further cost-effective measure, he reminded sub-national authorities that the Nigeria Institute of Architects had pledged to provide free services targeted at modifying, designing and supervising all COVID-19 related projects nationwide.
“We urge that this offer be taken up speedily,’’ he urged.
“They have received threat to lives, experienced detention by patients they are actually nursing to health and suffered other forms of harassment.
“Let me underscore the fact that these frontline workers constantly put their lives on the line to make sure persons infected are provided with the best care possible to enable them become healthy citizens again.
“It is therefore inhuman and unacceptable that patients engage in acts of locking them up and making demands that these frontline officers, most of the time, do not have the capacity to address,” he said.
He said that on the overall, the PTF was identifying and assessing all low to medium and high burden areas with a view to assessing and modifying their strategy.
This, he said, would involve drilling down from all tiers of government to community level.
“This mention serves as a notice to traditional religious and community leaders to brace up for deeper involvement as we develop the protocols to strengthen community ownership in the National Response.
“While we continue to work on all options, the PTF wishes to repeat the dangers inherent in lack of compliance with guidelines issued.
“We must always remind Nigerians that Mr President took a painful and difficult decision to ease the restrictions by approving revised measures that will maintain a balance between the safety of Nigerians and some level of economic activities.
“The main goal is to sustain means of livelihood, especially for the poor and vulnerable who depend on daily means of subsistence,” he said.
He warned Nigerians against seeing the ease in restriction of movement as an excuse to lead the lives they were used to, pre-COVID-19 days.
“I wish to reiterate that the world today has completely changed from what we used to know and if we want to continue living the old ways, the cost will be enormous.’’
He disclosed that the PTF would soon inaugurate the Thisday Dome treatment and isolation facility, adding that it would add 270 beds to the isolation capacity in Abuja.
“This is a private sector-driven initiative and we commend the efforts of ThisDay, NNPC, Sahara and its partners,” he said.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)
COVID-19: Archbishop urges FG to provide more PPE for health workers
Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, has appealed to the Federal Government to provide additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers to reduce spread of Coronavirus.
Kaigama made the call while speaking with News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.
The Archbishop said that facilities should be made available for health workers who were risking their lives to treat sick people and patients.
“That I have malaria may not be COVID-19 and that I have fever, I should be well received in the hospital.
“Government is quite formidable in the way they try to combat the virus.
“The only thing we advise is to do things a little better, to restructure the way they are responding so that we have adequate testing facility and enough facilities for the health workers,’’ Kaigama said.
According to him, doctors are afraid when they hear that someone has fever, cough and sore throat and so face masks should be easily available to protect themselves too.
Kaigama said those people that tested positive should be provided with good isolation centres to hasten their recovery.
“If the isolation centres are not conducive, people will not be willing to open up when they are suspected to have the virus,’’ he said.
Kaigama called on churches, corporate organisations, groups, and individuals to support the effort of the government.
Edited By: Razak Owolabi/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
COVID-19: Archbishop Kaigama urges religious bodies, organisations to donate health facilities
Kaigama made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.
“We made an offer, I do not have any evidence showing that the offer we made has been accepted,” he said.
Kaigama said Nigerians have shown strong resilience in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, saying, “ we have shown concern, unity of purpose and commitment to fight the disease”
He described the COVID-19 as a strange disease which required collective discipline and commitment to tackle.
The clergy urged Nigerians to adhere to measures established by regulatory authorities to tackle the spread of the virus.
“The disease is everywhere, let us stay at home, avoid unnecessary traveling, ensure good hygiene and stay safe,” he said.
Edited By: Azubuike Okeh/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
COVID-19: Archbishop Kaigama harps on equity in distribution of palliatives
Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, has emphasised on equity in the distribution of palliatives by the three tiers of government to ensure most Nigerians benefit, especially the vulnerable group.
Kaigama, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja, said that the three tiers of government should focus on daily workers who had been affected mostly with the lockdown directed by the Federal and State Governments to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“The daily workers who have to sell groundnut, etc, cannot do that now, they are locked down at home. This is what the governments should take into consideration.
“I don’t know how government is going to do it but I believe it can be done.
“When there are such emergencies, the government should sit together and look at strategies to use and it should be able to respond; that is the reason why they were elected into office.
“If am to offer any advice, they should work on the structure we have.
“There are 774 local governments in the country, if there are palliatives; they can be distributed along the bases, from the Local Government to the district and to villages to families.
“This should be done on the basis that people are transparent, honest and sincere in their dealings,’’ the Archbishop said.
According to him, a lot is being done; people are donating toward this and towards tackling the whole COVID-19 disease.
He commended the contribution of private sector, corporate bodies and individuals for supporting the federal government in its fight against COVID-19.
“I am quite impressed that individuals are coming up.
“I have seen people on television making donations, seeing organisations making substantial donation through the government and some directly to the people.
“For instance, I choose to direct my intervention directly to the people, namely poor people directly, giving them food stuff and materials and face masks.
“We bought food items worth millions of Naira, we gave to whoever we felt was in need, we assisted them, our charity does not have religious affliation.’’
In addition, Kaigama said he was impressed with the level of compliance with the lockdown order by Nigerians in spite of the hardship and hunger.
“From my assessment, many people are making effort to comply; those that can afford to feed themselves, they can stay at home.
“Those that live on daily income, it will be difficult to stay at home. These are the ones that are suffering and we feel they should be given a very special consideration.
“When people are hungry they lost their sanity so we must sympathise with those who are at home and they have no means of getting anything to eat.
“The government should target them, find out where they are and do something. The government cannot satisfy everybody, that is why we are calling on individuals, if you see hungry neighbours, feed him or her.’’
The Archbishop said it was the duty of every Nigerian to care for one another, noting that government intervention will not be able to reach everybody.
“Don’t say it is the duty of government. It is your duty.
“We are 200 million, if we all decide that one Nigerian will take care of two other Nigerians, I think it will go a long way.
“Taking care doesn’t mean you will give everything, it means being ready to share little with them to help someone in need,’’ he said.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
COVID-19: Archbishop Kaigama advises FG to revamp health sector
Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, has advised the Federal Government to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic and fix the health sector, education and the social systems.
He said that as the country plan to gradually ease the lockdown, it should also plan to fix some lessons learnt from the pandemic.
“We can see that running away from our country has not done us any good.
“We have hospitals here that are not adequately equipped, we have medical personnel that are so many and well gifted but they don’t have all it takes to render medical services.
“I have been to one small village in America; you have more than 20 Nigerian doctors, why?
“It is because the facilities are there, they receive adequate attention about remuneration and what have you.
“So there is a brain drift. We have engineers; we have scientists, doctors, health workers who are drifting to get greener pasture so this should give us food for thought.
“Why should our politicians and those in authority fly abroad? Why do we neglect our hospitals and clinics?
“We neglect out health facility and slightest headache we fly abroad, something is strong.”
“Those who have worked and laboured for us; our heroes; they become helpless, no money to take care of themselves in their old age, no pension coming.
“This should be a serious food for thought. Our leaders should look inward now that the oil price has gone down since we depend a lot only on oil.
“We have abandoned agriculture, we have abandoned mineral resources. We must decide to revive these sectors.
“We can run this country with all the blessings that God has given us. We are so blessed with human and natural resources so we can surprise the world with what we have.’’
Kaigama told NAN that it would be an opportunity to start all over and surprise the world if we assemble all our resources- human and natural and do it right.
“The world will be coming to Nigeria and asking for help rather than us going abroad and also borrowing and borrowing.’’
According to him, COVID-19 is a message that God is giving to humanity as a whole, saying “God is establishing a lesson that He is God Almighty.
“We should be aware of that and that human beings have common humanity, created by God and we should realise the supremacy of God.
“Secondly, God made us with our different culture, characteristic and we should not forget that one thing bind us – our common humanity.
“The Americans have 10 fingers and Africans have 10 fingers, so we have common humanity, it is only the complexion that is different.
“Our difference should not separate us, we should help and support one another,’’ he said.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
Archbishop Kaigama distributes palliatives to vulnerable Nigerians
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Ignatius Kaigama, has distributed the first phase of a multi-million Naira palliatives for vulnerable Nigerians to cushion effects of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
At the event in Abuja on Saturday, Kaigama said that this difficult period required goodwill and show of love to relieve the hardship and suffering of vulnerable people.
Kaigama expressed optimism that the government would support the church’s effort in alleviating the challenges faced by the vulnerable and less privileged citizens.
The cardinal also charged organisations and philanthropists to intensify efforts in reaching out to the poor around them in this trying times.
”What we are giving out today was donated by the people of God in the Church and not from the government, we are still optimistic that government will reach out with some relief, as we have not received anything from the government,” he said.
The archbishop noted that the world was “fighting a war but a very different kind of war and it’s no deceit, it is very real and it will cripple us in many ways.”
”Let no one deceive himself or herself, Coronavirus is real and is a threat to humanity and everything we stand for,” he added.
Also speaking, the Catholic Women Organisation, Abuja Archdiocese, (CWOAA), said the association would raise N4 million to assist indigent and vulnerable members.
The President, CWOAA, Mrs Mary Imaezue said the association felt the pains of its members and wished to offer some palliatives to help the indigent members, especially Parishes in more vulnerable areas.
Imaezue said her organisation would contribute the sum of N500,000 which would be drawn from its purse, to the project and appealed to Catholic faithful, spirited individuals and parishes which were yet to assist their needy members to key into the project.
Earlier, Imaezue had directed all CWOs at Parish levels to reach out to their vulnerable and indigent members in kind and cash as palliative measures.
She gave the assurance that the CWOAA would work with Parish CWO Presidents to ensure equitable distribution of palliative items to deserving members.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
Archbishop Kaigama mobilises palliatives for vulnerable Nigerians
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, His Grace, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, says the Church is mobilising to distribute palliatives to vulnerable and less privileged Nigerians to cushion the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown.
Flagging off the first phase in Abuja on Saturday, Kaigama said “we are in difficult times”, but hoped that the palliatives would go a long way to relieve the hardship and suffering of the people.
He assured that the palliative would be used to support rural parishes, prisons and orphanage homes during the lockdown.
Kaigama expressed optimism the government would send something tangible to the Church to support the vulnerable and less privileged.
The Cardinal charged well meaning Nigerians and organisations to intensify efforts in reaching out to the poor around them as it would go a long way to alleviate sufferings at this critical time.
”What we are going to be giving out today was donated by the people of God in the Church and not from the government.
“We are still optimistic that government will reach out with some relief, as we have not received anything from the government yet,” he said.
The Archbishop noted that the world is “fighting a war but a very different kind of war and it’s no deceit, it is very real and it will cripple us in many ways.
”Let no one deceive himself or herself. Coronavirus is real and is a threat to humanity and everything we stand for,” he warned.
Mrs Mary Imaezue, the President, Catholic Women Organisation Abuja Archdiocese (CWOAA) said the association raised N4 million to assist indigent and vulnerable members of the organisation.
She said that the association felt the pains of her members and wished to offer some palliative measures to help the indigent members, especially in Parishes in more vulnerable areas because of their peculiarities.
Imaezue said the organisation would contribute the sum of N500,000 to the project and appealed to Catholic faithful, spirited individuals and parishes which were yet to assist their needy members to key into to the project.
Earlier, Imaezue had directed all CWOs at Parish levels to reach out to their vulnerable and indigent members in kind and cash as palliative measures.
She assured that the CWOAA would work with Parish CWO Presidents to ensure equitable distribution of palliative items to deserving members.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
Archbishop of Canterbury, Amb. Horsfall, others condole with Buhari over Kyari’s death
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, has expressed sadness over the passage of the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
He stressed that occupants of such strategic position “need to be trusted…and willing to have your interests most closely at heart.”
The Archbishop, who is a personal friend of the President, said: “The fact that you entrusted Abba Kyari with your messages to me and to others demonstrates the faith you have in him.’’
“I am sure that his death is a significant blow to you personally, as well as to your government.
“This letter therefore brings my condolence at the loss of a man who struck me as remarkably intelligent and thoughtful…”
He also extended his commiserations to Malam Kyari’s family.
The pioneer Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Chief (Ambassador) Albert Korubo Horsfall, also sympathized with President Buhari on the loss of his Chief of Staff.
The Oil and Gas Trainers’ Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) in a condolence letter signed by its President, Dr Mayowa Afe to President Buhari, described Malam Kyari as “a trusted friend, dependable ally and a man of uncommon loyalty…”
He also acknowledged his contributions to strengthening the “economy and the Oil and Gas Industry.”
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)
Lagos Bishop, 2 others docked for violating lockdown order
Bishop Samson Benjamin, General Overseer of Resurrection Praise Ministries for Africa, was on Wednesday charged with violating the Presidential Lockdown Order before an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Benjamin alias “Jehovah Sharp Sharp” was arrested on Tuesday in front of the Chinese Embassy in Lagos where he allegedly led some unspecified number of people to protest the alleged mistreatment of Nigerians in China.
Benjamin was arraigned alongside Jerry Abel and Samson Mustapha on a three-count charge of violating the stay-at-home” order and conduct likely to cause breach of peace.
Officials of the Chinese Embassy allegedly sent a video clip of the alleged invasion to the police, which prompted the arrest of the defendants by officers of the Victoria Island Division of the Nigeria Police.
The defendants were thereafter taken to the Force Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Panti, Yaba Lagos.
During proceedings on Wednesday, Dr Jide Martins, a Director in the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution, told the court that the defendants had on April 21, led a protest to the Chinese Embassy located at No. 161A, Idejo St., Victoria Island Lagos.
Martins said the defendants’ actions contravened the COVID-19 Regulation and is punishable under Section 5 Quarantine Act and Section 122 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2015.
“The defendants conduct was also likely to cause breach of the peace which violates Section 168 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2015,” he said.
The Magistrate, Mrs Yewande Oshin, granted Abel and Mustapha bail in the sum of N500,000 each with two sureties each in like sum, while Benjamin was granted N1million bail with two sureties in like sum.
Oshin ordered that one of the sureties must be a cleric of a church with minimum of three branches.
She adjourned the case until May 5 for mention.
Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Peter Ejiofor) (NAN)
Covid-19: Bishop Kwakpovwe cautions against fear virus, conspiracy theories
Bishop Chris Kwakpovwe, Publisher of Our Daily Manna, on Tuesday warned Nigerians to desist from peddling unverified information and conspiracy theories on the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kwakpovwe, who is the founder and senior pastor of Manna Prayer Mountain (MPM) Ministry Worldwide, stated in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.
He cautioned Nigerians to avoid fear mongering as well as abuse or overdosing on ‘Chloroquine’ as treatment for the coronavirus.
The bishop, who is also a pharmacist from the Obafemi Awolowo University, said that all the conspiracy theories were devoid of facts, baseless and lack scientific backing.
He said that he had seen a lot of fear and panic among Nigerians occasioned by many of the conspiracy theories, pointing out that the falsehoods were being peddled by “medically un-informed pastors and ‘over-night scientists”.
The bishop said that there was no scientific proof that connects 5G to Coronavirus.
He added that that there was also no biblical passage or verse that directly points to 5G, saying that there were so many other good things that also have some side effects.
“For example, there are very useful medicines or drugs that have terrible side effects. It does not make them evil.
“So also is technology. All these are conspiracy theories that should not be encouraged. It is fear mongering and we should try as much as possible to stay away from unfounded claims.
“Avoid anybody; pastor or politician who throw fear at you are actually digging your grave, because when your immunity is broken down via fear, then any disease can get you quickly.
“The fear virus may be as deadly as the Coronavirus, because fear breaks down your immunity. Be positive, trust God, we shall overcome this together,” he said.
Kwakpovwe explained that the best thing to do in the middle of the pandemic was to remain level headed, avoid unverified theories, so as not to come to harm by using drugs without prescriptions or others not approved for use.
“I advise people not to rush into buying or even overdosing on the much publicized HydroxyChloroquine, because it remains yet to be certified as the cure for Coronavirus.
“Accelerated clinical trials are on, but results may not be forthcoming till April 2021. There could be some glimmer of hope by June 2020. However, avoid using local and unverified local herbs.
“The best solutions for now are: Practicing social distancing, imbibing healthy habits like hand washing and cleaning frequently used surfaces,” he said.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
Kyari: Catholic Archbishop, Methodist Prelate, others condole with Buhari
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama and the Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Samuel Uche, have commiserated with President Muhammadu Buhari on the death of his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, said in a statement in Abuja that the condolence messages of the two religious leaders were contained in separate letters addressed to President Buhari on Monday.
In a letter of condolence, on behalf of the priests and all the Catholic faithful of Abuja Archdiocese to the President, Kaigama extended heartfelt condolences to the families and relations of many Nigerians who have lost their lives to the Coronavirus pandemic
The cleric encouraged the president to ‘‘stand strong in faith in these trying times and continue to work resolutely’’ with his team within the resources and possibilities available.
While pledging the support of the Catholic Church to the fight to curb the spread of the virus, Kaigama prayed ‘‘that Nigeria and Nigerians will pass through this difficult time with sobriety and equanimity and come out with a greater and genuine sense of love for God and neighbour.’’
On his part, the Methodist Prelate prayed God to console the President and family of the deceased.
The President also received separate messages of condolence from Chief Bisi Akande, pioneer National Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Alhaji Bashir Tofa, presidential candidate in the June 12, 1993 election,
Others who sent their condolence messages included Sen. Adolphus Wabara, former President of the Senate, the President, Nigeria Olympic Committee, Mr Habu Gumel, and the Soun of Ogbomosholand, Oba Oladunni Ajagungbade III.
Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
COVID-19: Archbishop Ibezim urges Christians to pray, trust in God
Anglican Archbishop Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger and Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Reverend Alexander Ibezim, has charged Christians not to fear coronavirus but be fervent in prayers and trust God for total protection.
Ibezim said this in a sermon during a service he officiated at Our Saviour’s Anglican Church, Awka, on Sunday, transmitted online to the faithful.
“I am optimistic that very soon the story of coronavirus would be in the past, to God’s glory,” he said.
The cleric said that the coronavirus had given lots of hardships to the people and reiterated his call on the faithful to go on and seek the face of God and distance themselves from any ungodly act.
Ibezim reminded the faithful of the precautionary measures put in place by Anambra government which included regular hand washing with water and soap, regular use of hand sanitiser and keeping social distance.
He also called on other Ministers of God to continue to pray for their flock and the nation.
NAN reports that the Archbishop officiated the service with few of its diocesan workers and some media practitioners only.
Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Lockdown: Archbishop Adewale Martins tasks Christians on charity, mercy
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Adewale Martins, on Sunday urged Christians to show more love and mercy to their neighbours this period of COVID-19 affliction on Nigeria.
Martins said in a sermon in Lagos that such acts would demonstate faith in God and help Christians to access God’s mercy.
He gave the sermon at the celebration of Divine Mercy Mass at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos.
“As we celebrate divine mercy today, the message is for us to renew our faith in the mercy of God,” the archbishop said.
He said that there was the need to completely trust in God’s mercy at all times.
The cleric said that God, by his mercy, would forgive repented sinners who asked for forgiveness.
He advised christians not to condemn or judge any sinner but pray for the person to change.
According to him, God demands deeds of mercy which are to arise from love of God and show of mercy to neighbours through deeds, words and prayers.
He said: “Say a word of mercy to everyone, pray for your neighbours and do good to them to show that the love of God is abundant.
“During this lockdown, we have seen our people showing love by making donations and providing relief items for the poor.
“We commend our parishioners who have provided for the poor.”
He advised those in charge of distributing palliatives provided by governments to ensure that the items would get to the right people.
Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)
Lockdown: Don’t abandon your flock, Bishop Ibezim urges priests
Most Rev. Alexander Ibezim, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Awka, has called on priests in the diocese not to abandon their members who were passing through various hardship caused by the Coronavirus Disease and the prevailing lockdown.
Ibezim made the call in his Sunday sermon, entitled “This sickness is not unto death” delivered through electronic media.
He said that there was hunger and starvation in the land under the current lockdown, adding that members of the diocese needed their care and prayers more than ever.
He, however, pointed out that the lockdown was a hard but informed choice being that it was an effective means of stopping the spread of Coronavirus and possibly eliminating it from human existence.
According to the bishop, if there was any time the parishioners should be catered for, it is now.
“Our priests and pastors should keep praying for their people, at the same time assisting them with foodstuffs to ensure they don’t die of hunger.
“Christians should continue to have faith in God in the midst of the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic. It would soon be over,” he said.
Ibezim, who cited the Book of St. John, noted that even though the bible was not specific on the nature of sickness he suffered, Lazarus’ resurrection was a proof to God’s power over sickness and death.
He said that some of the challenges humanity was facing today, including hunger, deprivation, isolation and fear were not far from what happened in the days of old.
“In this time of COVID-19, when there are deaths everywhere, I encourage you not to give up, there’s still hope for you, your business, career and studies in the midst of adversities.
“All our prayers, aspirations and crying to God is not in vain, as Jesus raised Lazarus up, so he will lift you up.
“Lazarus sickness resulted in physical death but by the time Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already spent four days in the tomb, it was an impossible situation, yet Jesus raised him up.
“This sickness of Coronavirus, hunger, isolation and poverty is not unto death, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, the timetable of your life is not in the hands of your enemies,” he said.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Peter Ejiofor) (NAN)
COVID-19 provides opportunity to develop Nigeria’s health sector– Bishop Oke
Oke said this in a statement issued by his media office in Ibadan on Sunday.
The renowned cleric, who is also the Presiding Bishop of the Sword of Spirit Ministries, Ibadan, also commended government at all levels for their efforts in containing the spread of the virus.
“Indeed, in Nigeria, God has been so good to us. This is because as deadly as the coronavirus disease is, our country has not recorded a high rate of deaths.
“Yet, with all our inadequacies, God, by His mercy, has been keeping us safe. Even developed countries with better facilities are recording heavy casualties on a daily basis.
“So, one of the lessons we should learn as a fall-out of this pandemic experience at the end of the day is for our government at all levels to ensure the rejuvenation and the development of our infrastructure, with particular attention to the health sector.
“At least, with a time like this, the take home lesson for all us should be that not all the time do money, position and influence work. God is the ultimate,” he said.
According to Oke, Nigeria is blessed with both mineral and human resources while bad leadership in the past had been its bane.
While commiserating with President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian government on the death of the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, he said rejuvenating the health sector would help immortalise him.
“Alhaji Abba Kyari’s loss is indeed painful.
” However, his death as a result of the disease should be a wake up call for all those concerned to do the needful by ensuring that our healthcare system is rejuvenated while other sectors do not suffer neglect.
“Thank God, we have the resources to take care of all these,” he said.
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)