By Vincent Ujumadu

THE Archbishop of the Province of the Niger and Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Alexander Ibezim, has described Nigeria as very sick, saying prayers might not even heal her.

This came as the Catholic Bishop of Awka, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor said the 60th independence anniversary should afford the people the opportunity for a fresh beginning, arguing that ideal unity is still negotiable.

Both spoke separately in their messages to mark the nation’s 60th independence anniversary celebration.

Ibezim said the trouble with Nigeria was that most people, especially her leaders, were religious without having ethical value, adding that although most Nigerians pray, such prayers were an abomination before God because those praying were sinners.

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He said: “An honest assessment of our country shows that our country is sick. Nigeria is an elderly country at 60 years, but sick. Sick in the sense that at this stage, Nigeria should have grown to a mature nation – a nation that would have been able to contain its own problems and live a healthy lifestyle. But Nigeria of today is sick – economically sick, politically sick, and spiritually sick.

“Everybody is religious in Nigeria, but religion without ethical values has no meaning because God abhors corruption and wickedness.

“The prayer of a wicked man is an abomination in the sight of God. Our political leaders should know that their time has tenure. People are crying that life is very difficult.

“I am not saying that Nigeria has not survived. I am not talking about survival, but I am talking about a nation that is sick.

“For any nation to survive, that nation must be spiritually alive. Once you are spiritually dead, you cannot be physically healthy. Nigeria should go back to God in sincerity.

“No matter the policies you formulate without addressing the spiritual decay in the system, the healthy aspect will be a dream.”

In his message, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor warned leaders to stop saying “Nigeria is not negotiable”, while they refused to do the right things.

According to Bishop Ezeokafor, leadership is about thinking and problem-solving and not a tea party.

“Saying Nigeria is not negotiable is the wrong philosophy. When people are agitating, somebody should listen to them and know what their complaints are. It is unfortunate that some people want to pocket Nigeria,” he said.

Also delivering the anniversary message, the Anambra State government said October 1st of every year usually offers Nigerians an opportunity to celebrate their independence as a sovereign nation, and to thank God for blessing Nigeria with great material and human resources.

Secretary to the State Government, Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, who delivered the message, observed that the year 2020 had been particularly challenging with the outbreak of the COVID -19 pandemic which the federal, state, and local governments have been battling with appreciable success.

He added: “The worst is not yet over. As. a result, the government of Anambra State wishes to inform Ndi Anambra that this year’s Independence Day celebrations will be low key. The usual parades and other ceremonies at designated locations in Awka, and the various local government fields in Anambra state will not hold.”



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