By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—THE growing level of devastation and sorrowful narratives coming from Imo people, is now giving the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Dr. Anthony J. V. Obinna, sleepless nights.
Archbishop Obinna made his feelings known in his 2018 Lenten pastoral message titled “Take heart! God cares for you”.
“As I travel across the length and breadth of the Archdiocese, I see the devastations and hear the sorrowful narrations of the losses sustained by our people”, Obinna said.
He said it was sad that this year, his usual practice of opening the market year with Holy Mass and prayers, inside Ekeukwu Owerri market failed to hold.
“I am also saddened by the fact that many other people, their businesses and business locations have been adversely affected. I commiserate with you all, our traders in Ekeukwu Owerri Market, New Market in Owerri, and in other markets across the state that have been demolished”, Obinna said.
The cleric equally commiserated with the mechanics who have lost their business locations, the commercial tricycle operators, who have been hampered in their businesses, as well as all others who have been displaced without adequate arrangements for compensation and resettling.
“My heart also goes out to persons and communities whose landed properties have been forcefully taken over, as well as those in the allied services, whose jobs have been adversely affected. I also think of our workers, retirees and pensioners, whose wages and entitlements are unjustly slashed, delayed or not paid at all. I equally remember all those who are inconvenienced by the dispossession, dislocation and demolition inflicted upon you all”, Obinna said.
The fiery Archbishop urged the citizenry not to despair in the face of these sufferings, stressing that “our heavenly Father never abandons us, for He is our strength in diversity, our health in sickness and our comfort in sorrow.”