…Cautions FG on suppressing agents of positive change
By Constaincia Uruakpa
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Most Rev. (Dr.) Ignatius Kaigama, has cautioned the Federal Government not to suppress the voice of citizens and youths in the streets. Archbishop Kaigama gave the admonishment in a message delivered during the dedication of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Nyanya, Abuja. Archbishop Kaigama said the seed of Christian faith that started in Nigeria, like a mustard seed, continues to grow, despite some subtle anti-Christian policies/strategies, as well as unfavourable social, economic and political atmosphere in the country. The Archbishop prayed that Nigeria will mature beyond the polarization, based on religion and tribe, so as to be a shining light of social integration for Africa. He said: “As we celebrated Democracy Day, we saw agitated youths on the streets clamouring for positive change. Suppressing their voice or scaring them away is not a solution, but responding positively and creatively to those reasonable demands of theirs.”
Archbishop Kaigama expressed his worry over the country relying on oil as the primary source of national revenue, adding that this constitutes the major source of quarrels about injustice and marginalisation. He advised that the country should focus more systematically on farming and animal husbandry; which can help to reduce the number of unemployed youths on the streets, as well as stop the needless hostility between farmers and herders. He implored Nigerians to truly rededicate themselves to God, and to show respect to one another, identify with the poor, and practice genuine forgiveness and reconciliation. Also, in a sermon he delivered recently at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Archbishop Kaigama asked the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to wake up to its statutory responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians. According to the Archbishop, the wake-up call became necessary, following an alarm raised by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State that an unprecedented food shortage looms, as a result of the persistent bandit attacks on farming communities.
While condemning the challenges posed by insecurity, Archbishop Kaigama called on the government to make conscious efforts to alleviate the people’s suffering. He said, “Today that farmers cannot go to the farm for fear of bandits and kidnappers, children are not safe in school and youths are frustrated to the point of desperation, leaders must wake up to their responsibilities, to help heal the trauma of poverty, the psychological stress of insecurity and the fatigue of daily life. “As Jesus identified with the sick, the suffering and downtrodden, our leaders must make conscious efforts to alleviate people’s suffering. While urging Nigerians to remain patriotic and support the efforts of those in power to overcome the challenges, Archbishop Kaigama insisted that they must first be exemplary, selfless in service and sensitive to the needs of people under their care, especially in the use of public resources.