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Christian Aid unveils 7-year plan for Nigeria

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Christian Aid (CA), a UK-based Non-Governmental Organisation, on Thursday launched a seven- year strategy plan worth 50 million pounds for Nigeria.

The CA primarily focuses on fighting poverty, solving humanitarian crisis and promoting development for the period 2019 to 2026.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that CA, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and related organisations, is partnering with other stakeholders to end poverty in Africa,

Mrs Amanda Mukwashi, the Chief Executive Officer of CA, who launched the programme in Abuja on Thursday, said that the initiative was hinged on the theme “Standing Together.’’

This, she said, would cover key programmes aimed eradicating poverty as well as promoting justice, dignity and love in Nigeria.

The plan, according to Mukwashi, would also cover areas such as democracy and good governance, health and human development, as well as humanitarian and sustainable livelihood in the country.

Mukwashi said that the NGO was committed to fighting poverty, including the economic, political and social structures causing it.

“For us as Christian Aid, we tackle those structures at the power level, we identified those structures and we deal with it.

“We at Christian Aid cannot sit comfortably in our churches when we know that our people outside there are suffering, not just in Nigeria or African countries, but in Asia, Middle East and countries of other continents, ” she said.

Mukwashi said that Nigeria had the largest programmes of the NGO when compared with its intervention in other countries in Africa, Asia, North America and the Middle East.

She said that the implementation of the strategy had the potential to lead to growth and achievement of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mukwashi stressed the need for political will and collective efforts to address poverty as well as promote increase in women participation in politics and development policy.

The Country Director, Christian Aid Nigeria, Charles Usie, while presenting an overview of the seven- year strategy plan, said poverty had robbed the people of their dignity.

He said that the vision of the NGO was to have a just, equitable and peaceful Nigerian society “where poverty is eradicated and everyone is empowered to live life in all its fullness.”

Usie said that the main thrust of the strategy would be at the local government and community level.

He said that the strategy was planned to be achieved by mobilising and empowering the poor and the marginalised to gainfully engage their own development.

“This will be done by working in partnerships and building a movement to challenge the systems that promote and perpetuate poverty, inequality and injustice’” he said.

He said that the NGO had strategically positioned itself to address the need to reach the population through quality and innovative approaches.

” For instance, in the North East, we have presence in Mugun, one of the local governments in Borno which shares border with Chad Republic. That is how far we have gone.

“We have our members of staff there and support over 70,000 people, with life saving interventions.

“We are not development visitors. We are present in the communities and working with people who suffer as a result of crisis, ” he said.

Usie said part of the strategy was to prioritise response to humanitarian crisis where ever it happened in Nigeria.

He called for the collaboration of all stakeholders in the realisation of the plan as a coalition.

The Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege, in his good will message, described poverty in the country as a huge problem, adding that a multi dimensional approach was required to address it.

Omo-Agege, represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr Otive Igbuzor, said that poverty was man-made and could be eradicated with actions from the three arms of government, private sector and civil society organisations.

“At the level of the Senate, the deputy senate president is committed to serving as a hub for reform to deal with issues on representation, oversight and lawmaking,” he said.
OBE/OOA/OJO

(Edited by Olabisi Akinbode/Mufutau Ojo)

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Christians obey govt’s directive on partial reopening of worship centres in Ondo

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Christians in Okitipupa, Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State on Sunday complied with the directive of the state government on partial reopening of worship centres in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Wednesday directed a “guided” and “syndicated” resumption of mosques and churches across the state.

The state government on March 26, directed a shutdown of all religious worship centres to curtail the spread of #coronavirus.

As part of the partial reopening of the worship centres, Akeredolu also directed that mosques and churches must be disinfected.

The governor also directed that soaps, water, hand sanitisers must be provided to worshippers as well as use of face masks and maintaining social distance, among others.

A NAN correspondent who visited churches like Christ Apostolic, Anglican, Methodist, Winners Chapel, Mountain of Fire, Redeemed Christian Church of God, among others, in Okitipupa, noted that the churches complied with government directives.

NAN also reports that worshippers wore face masks, while soap, water and hand sanitisers were provided for worshippers before entering the churches.

Worshippers also observed social distancing during the  services.

Primate Elisha Akinsulere, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ondo South District, told NAN on telephone that the government had been magnanimous in reopening worship centres.

He urged Christians to continue to pray to God to give the leaders the necessary direction and to pray for God to take away COVID-19 permanently.

“We are happy for the partial reopening of worship centres. We thank the state government for the magnanimity and we will continue to pray for our leaders for the right direction.

“I urge all our brethren to continue to pray to God to help us defeat COVID-19 permanently for peace to return to our dear country and the world at large,” Akinsulere said.

He, however, urged Christians to continue to comply with all government preventive measures to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

 

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Eid-il-Fitri: Kaduna Christians salute Muslims after successful Ramadan 

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The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kaduna State Chapter has congratulated Muslims for the successful completion of this year’s Ramadan fast.

The Chairman, Kaduna State CAN, Rev John Hayab, in a statement on Saturday in Kaduna, prayed that the sacrifices made, the prayers offered and all the worship for the peace and progress of Kaduna State, Nigeria and mankind be acceptable.

He also prayed for God’s blessings and reward in abundance.

“This year’s Ramadan came at a very critical and trying moment for the entire world given the challenge and fear posed by the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

“In spite of the trying situation, we are glad that you did not allow the prevailing challenge to rob you of the joy and blessings of this Holy month.

“Therefore, we hopefully look forward to greater and more fruitful days together as we work to defeat the virus as well as promote peace, unity, and harmonious coexistence in all our communities.

“Though we have been advised by medical experts and warned by states and national governments to stay at home so that we could prevent the spread of COVID 19, the ‘stay at home’ order should not be seen as a hindrance to a strong fraternity.

“We may be socially and physically distancing ourselves from one another but in our hearts and spirit, we are together, celebrating and rejoicing with all Muslims,” he said.

Hayab explained that, amidst the lockdown, CAN Kaduna State felicitates with all Muslims in the state and wish them a blessed and prosperous life after the Ramadan and Sallah.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Christian Cleric felicitates with Muslims on Eid-El-Fitr in Kaduna

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A Christian leaders in Kaduna State, Pastor Yohanna Buru, has congratulated and felicitated with the Muslims as they mark end of Ramadan fasting and celebrate Eid-el-fitr.

Buru, the general Overseer of Christ Evangelical and life Intervention Ministry, Sabon Tasha, in Kaduna, gave the commendation in an interview with journalists at his home in Kaduna.

The cleric also urged Muslim faithful to equally remember to donate and share their foods and other edible items and drinks to widows, prison inmates, destitute, IDPs kids/orphans and the poor masses that were currently in lockdown due to novel Coronavirus pandemic.

He called on wealthy individuals, politicians, government and Islamic organisations and council of Ulamas, JNI, to equally assist the poor Muslims with food and other items, so as to make the poor celebrate Sallah like other Muslims with joy and happiness.

Buru congratulated Sheik Dahiru Bauchi, Sheik Salihu Mai-Barota and all Nigerian Islamic scholars for the successful completion of this year’s Tafsir.

The cleric said that ijn spite of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Ramadan season recorded huge success in view of the encouraging participation by various Christian organisations during Iftar period.

According to the cleric, this has enhanced inter-faith activities with other religious faithful toward strengthening peaceful co-existence among different faith base organisations.

“We congratulate you on the successful completion of the 30 days of Ramadan, the prayers and fasting you offered which include some special night prayers for peace and unity in Nigeria.

“May the Almighty answer your prayers to keep us together in peace and harmony.

“Please pray to Almighty God to bring an end to the continuous spread of Coronavirus pandemic that is killing people on daily basis and crippling every sector of human development world-wide.

“We should remembered that Islam and Christianity teach us to forgive one another, we should also remember that we are from one family, Adam and Eve.

“We worship one God, we all believe in paradise and hell, we believe in the holy books which are Bible and Quran, as well as believe in the day of resurrection.

“Therefore, we must be our brothers keeper.

“I wish you all happy Sallah and may God bring an end to COVID-19,” he said.

Buru called on Muslim scholars to pray for God’s intervention in order to bring an end to insecurity challenges bedeviling peace and stability across the nation.

The cleric also called on Muslim and Christian preachers to pray for Nigeria military that are on peace mission across the globe.

Edited By: Abiodun Esan/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Cleric cautions Christians against unguarded utterances

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Pastor Olusegun Aiyedogbon of Christ Foundation Bible Church in Ilorin on Thursday cautioned Christians against unguarded utterances saying such could stir conflict among people.

Aiyedogbon gave the advise in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Ilorin.

He also urged  parents to avoid  cursing or calling their children names when they were angry.

The Cleric said that many lives and dreams were cut short because of anger and untamed tongue.

“We can be entangled and held captive by our words. Words that are not thought through before spoken can be a bomb waiting to explode in the future.

“We should weigh our words, speak less and listen more; some people speak too much and end up becoming fools.

“Many times Jesus refused to speak when he was asked some questions in the Bible. He was only trying to tell us that there is wisdom in controlling the tongue.

“So, we must learn to control our tongue especially in anger. When a man talks without caution, he is left without defence because words cannot be withdrawn once spoken.

“Many people have lost their lives and marred their future, nations have been torn apart and families broken with unguarded words and out of anger. We must be very careful.

“Do not curse anyone, especially as a mother or even father; don’t curse your children, it may be the reason the child may never succeed in life.

“Even the Bible says life and death are in the power of the tongue.

“Let us keep speaking positivity to our children, families, friends and the nation especially at this times, for God’s healing,” he said.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Sinach becomes first African to top Billboard USA Christian songwriters chart

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Gospel singer and songwriter, Osinachi Joseph a.k.a Sinach has become the first African to top the Billboard USA Christian songwriters chart.

Sinach, is a senior worship leader at Loveworld Ministries (Christ Embassy) and is known for hit songs including `Way Maker,’ `He Did it Again,’ `I know who I Am,’ among others.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Billboard USA is the music industry standard record chart for songs published weekly by Billboard magazine.

The chart rankings are based on sales (both online and physical), radio play and online streaming.

According to Sinach, she’s been number one on the chart for seven weeks.

Expressing her gratitude to God, she said that she is the first black person and first African to achieve such feat.

Other songwriters on the list are Jason Ingram, Matthew West, Lauren Daigle, Chris Brown, Steven Furtick, Jeff Pardo, Paul Mabury, Hank Bentley and Ethan Hulse.

In 2017, Sinach was inducted into the Bethlehem Hall of Fame alongside Dwayne Johnson, Pope Benedict XVI and a host of other internationally recognized celebrities.

She is married and blessed with a daughter.

Edited Ekemini Ladejobi

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Christian group distributes palliatives to 1,500 less priviledge in Ibadan

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No fewer than 1,500 less privileged and six orphanages benefitted from palliatives distributed by Youth Christian Circle (YCC) of St James Cathedral, Oke-Bola in Ibadan.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that among the items distributed as palliatives at the Church premises in Ibadan on Monday were Yams, Rice, Beans, Garri and Semolina.

Chief Bisi Ilaka, the Chief of Staff to Gov. Seyi Makinde, commended the group for the gesture, saying the effort was laudable.

“This is a challenging moment for all of us. There has never been a time like this. I think this is a very wonderful gesture.

“They are distributing this to 1,500 people and six orphanages which is quite laudable. If individuals replicate these across the state, I am sure we will take the steam out of the situation,” he said.

He urged well-meaning Nigerians to replicate this, saying imitation is the best form of flattery.

Earlier, Otunba Reuben Famuyibo, the President of the group, said the effort was to cushion the economic effect of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the state.

“We divided the beneficiaries into two groups. A part was given to church members and the other to the public. We also identified and shared to some orphanages and schools.

“We also shared to some mosques since it is not only for Christians, but people of the state,” he said.

Also, Mr Aderinsola Omowon, the General Secretary, said that the palliatives were distributed to identified vulnerable people as part of effort to alleviate their sufferings.

“We sat down as a society and our elders advised us to look at what we can do to help alleviate the pains of the lockdown. We gave the church about 500 and the public 1,000,” he said.

He said that the group also distributed 200 face masks donated to them by Suave Empire located in the Bodija area of the city.

Some of the beneficiaries told News Agency of Nigeria that the gesture was highly commendable, urging other groups and individuals to emulate such.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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 Lockdown: Christian faithful happy over reopening of churches in Anambra

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Some Christian faithful in Anambra have expressed satisfaction with the reopening of churches after the state government relaxed the lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano on Saturday, April 25 on its statewide broadcast, lifted the ban on congregational worship in the state.

NAN reports that the churches observed breaking of church services into four sessions of 6.30 am to 7.30 am, 7.30 am to 8.30 am and 8.30 am to 9.30 am duration of service with less than 50 persons in attendance.

Also the social distancing, wearing of face masks and washing of hands and use of sanitisers at the entrance of the churches were maintained.

Some of the faithful who spoke to NAN said they were glad to be back to worship in their various churches after the closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mrs Victoria Nwosu of the Church of the Pentecost, Awka, said that she was grateful that the church had been opened to communicants after the closure since late March due to the pandemic.

Nwosu said that she missed the fellowship and prayed that God would not allow such plague to befall the country again.

Mrs Ifeoma Obi, also a parishioner said that she was happy to fellowship with other members and prayed that the virus would soon be history.

Mr Chibuikem Daluchukwu said that it was a great joy for him to be in church to worship God in his usual temple and prayed that God would keep the country safe from the deadly coronavirus.

Daluchukwu appealed to the government to always review its decision before execution, as closure of prayer houses was not very sound though it was done to save lives.

“If God does not watch over the city, the watchmen watch in vain; prayer houses remain a place to talk to God in times of distress like the coronavirus.

“I feel that its closure may have negative effect on people’s spirituality,” he said.

In a sermon, Anglican Cleric, Rev Echezona Obioha of Church of the Pentecost, Awka, charged shepherds to hold welfare of their sheep as a top priority.

Obioha in his sermon on Sunday entitled, “The Good Shepherd” taken from John 10: 11, urged well-meaning people to be their brother’s keeper at this period of Coronavirus pandemic.

“I am the good shepherd, the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep, says the Lord” the cleric said.

He reminded the congregation that as Jesus Christ was a good shepherd to all His followers, it was expected that leaders in the country should be good shepherds to their sheep.

Echezona encouraged leaders in the country to enthrone good governance by making policies that would benefit the people at all times.

“Good leadership will transform a nation to achieve a sound growth and development in all sectors of the economy like in health, education, infrastructural developments amongst others,” he said.

He also urged the sheep to be good followers by abiding by the law of the land and performing civic responsibilities to the country.

Edited By: Josephine Obute/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

 

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COVID-19: Archbishop Ibezim urges Christians to pray, trust in God

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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.

He said that the faithful should not fear COVID-19, rather they should keep hope alive as the pandemic called for faith, hope and fervent prayers by Christians.

“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.

News Agency of Nigerian , reports that since the outbreak of coronavirus, Christians had been advised to stay at home while they worshipped through online service and other broadcast means.

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)

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Lockdown: Archbishop Adewale Martins tasks Christians on charity, mercy

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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.

The mass was broadcast  live on Channel 198 on DSTV to enable Catholic faithful to be part of it from their homes, due to government’s stay-at-home order to curb  COVID-19 spread.

“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)

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