March 25, 2016

Good Friday: Clerics, politicians preach sacrifice, forgiveness

A cross section of worshippers at the closing service of Kingdom Life Conference.

What Nigerians expect from leaders— Archbishop Martins
Aviation authorities caution against exploitation
As IGP orders security beefed up nationwide

By Our Reporters

AS Nigerians join the rest of Christians across the globe to mark the solemnity of Good Friday, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death as part of the Easter celebrations, clerics and politicians have called on Nigerians to imbibe the virtues of peace, love, sacrifice and forgiveness which are the lessons of Easter.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, directed all Zonal Assistant Inspector General of Police and state commands’ Commissioners, to take all necessary measures in ensuring security for worshippers, travellers, picnickers and all citizens across the country before, during and after the festive season.

While urging Nigerians to emulate and adopt the selfless lifestyle of Christ, the IGP equally urged worshippers to make conscious effort to know fellow members of their congregation, as this would make it easier to know a stranger in their midst.

A statement by Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olabisi Kolawole, quoted the IGP as advising operators of motor parks, shopping malls and recreational centres to work very closely with police and other security agencies to strengthen general security.

Gov Oshiomhole

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, in an Easter message through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Peter Okhiria, said: “As we join Christians all over the world to celebrate this Easter, I urge the faithful in Edo State and Nigeria at large to imbibe the core values of Christianity and the lessons of the season which are sacrifice, love, sharing and forgiveness of sins.

“We should remember that the progenitor of the Christian faith is also known as the Prince of Peace and we should, therefore, embrace peace with all men and maintain the peace which we have enjoyed in the state in the past years.

“As we celebrate, we should not forget to extend a hand of fellowship to the less-privileged among us, as Christ taught us to love our neighbours as our ourselves.

“Our modest achievements have been due, largely, to the prayers and support of the faithful, and I urge you, in my last Easter message to you as Governor of Edo State, to extend the same level of support to my successor.

“I extend my appreciation to the Muslim faithful and people of other faith in the state for the love they have generously showered on me and the prevailing peace in the state, and I appeal to them to continue to maintain this peace now and beyond the life of this administration.”

Govs Mimiko, Okorocha

mimiko2Similarly, Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State called for sustained prayers, sacrifice, cooperation and understanding from the governed to enable government serve them better even in the face of the current economic realities.

In his Easter message, the governor said it was a period for sober reflection and challenged Christians to be more prayerful, imploring them to assist government by making more sacrifices.

Mimiko said: “Jesus’ life exemplified sacrifice. He lived and died for humanity. No sacrifice could be greater than this. We can engage in winning and drinking. But it is also a period to emulate Christ and reflect on what sacrifice we can make to move the society forward.”

On his part, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State urged Christians to pray more than they had done in the past, for the progress, unity and prosperity of the state, her citizenry and the nation at large.

The governor called on Nigerians, including the leaders, to love and understand themselves to appreciate the beauty of living together as a people.

He said with such love and understanding, Nigerians would begin to see certain developments in the country as national challenges.

Its significance

Also, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, through the Director of Social Communications, Rev. Monsignor Gabriel Osu, said: “Good Friday is a day of deep penitence, when Christians are expected to reflect on the life and death of Christ, who paid the supreme price for the redemption of humanity.”

Monsignor Osu also enjoined Christians, and indeed all Nigerians, to continue to pray for the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in its effort to rid the nation of corruption and reposition the dwindling economy for good.

On the significance of the season, he said: “On Good Friday, we re-enact the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. It is a day when we are expected to fix our eyes on the Cross at Calvary. On this day also, no Mass is said in the strict sense of the word.

“Rather, we undertake a special the service called the Mass of the Presanctified, because Communion (in the species of bread) which had already been consecrated on Holy Thursday is given to the people.”

… Archbishop Martins

The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Archdiocese, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, on Wednesday, during the Chrism Mass at Saints Michael, Raphael and Gabriel Catholic Church (Archangels’), Satellite Town, Lagos, urged Catholic priests to ensure that the values and virtues of the church are preserved.

According to the archbishop, Chrism Mass is an opportunity for every priest to renew their priestly vow and commitment to God while rededicating themselves to the service of God and humanity, noting that the renewal should be kept fresh and the light should shine incessantly in them so that they shepherd the people of God in the right direction.

He said: “There is too much despondency, poverty and suffering in the land and if care is not taken to remedy the situation, the people will one day stand up and revolt.

“The suffering masses expect policy implementation that will improve their living standard vigorously; Nigeria cannot afford to go back to the era of deceit.”

Archbishop of Owerri

In his message, Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Dr. Anthony J. V. Obinna, decried what he called “inhuman invasion of other lands, unjust wars of conquest, reckless genocide, colonial and local enslavement of peoples.”

Archbishop Obinna was also disturbed that “often, enough heart-breaking news is now what bombard us every day in our newspapers, radio, television and on the Internet with a real war of opinions in the social media.

“Blinded or overwhelmed with so much evil, brutality, sin and shame in our common world, it is difficult to see God and Jesus in our world.”

Glo message

Also, leading telecoms provider, Globacom, charged Nigerians to hope for a brighter future as they celebrate this year’s feast of Easter.

In a statement in Lagos, Globacom said while the occasion called for sober reflection, especially considering the challenges the country was facing, Nigerians should not lose hope because great things still lie ahead.

According to Globacom, Nigerians should be inspired by the gospel of the resurrection of the Saviour to know that adversity did not have to be permanent and that with faith there was victory at the end of affliction.

The company reminded Christians of the lessons of the season, which are “love, humility and sacrifice,” and encouraged them to hold on to their faith and live a life of humility and sacrifice as exemplified by Jesus Christ at his crucifixion.

as FG warns airlines against exploitation

In another development, the Federal Government, yesterday, warned airline operators against taking advantage of the heavy traffic during the Easter period to exploit travellers through arbitrary increase in fares.

In a statement in Abuja, the Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, said the warning became necessary in view of some of the airlines’ penchant for unwarranted inflation of air fares during festive seasons, thereby causing untold hardship for air travellers.

According to the Minister, “rather than cause problems for the travelling public, the airlines should devise better means of improving their services in terms of customer comfort, safe and timely flights, more effective information dissemination and network expansion.”

He also directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to closely monitor the activities of airlines to ensure strict compliance with all operational rules and guidelines.

This came as NCAA said it would not hesitate to sanction airlines that flouted passengers’ rights on both domestic and international operations during the Easter celebration.

NCAA spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, said the objective was to ensure that passengers were protected from maltreatment.

Adurogboye urged passengers to report to the Consumer Protection Directorate, CPD, whenever any of their rights is abused by an airline and assured that the regulatory body would swing into action.