CAN prays for devt of Ijaw land, Niger Delta

By Luminous Jannamike

President, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, His Eminence, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, has said next year’s elections would give Nigerians the opportunity to turn around the fortunes of the nation.

He also decried the spate of insecurity across the nation, saying Nigeria’s precarious situation has reached a point in history where the value of human life had diminished abysmally in the land.

Okoh, who stated this while speaking at the ongoing Second Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, in Orlu, Imo State, noted that hardly a day passes without reports of needless killings, lamenting that thousands of civilians and even members of law enforcement agencies had been kidnapped, abused and murdered in cold blood.

While maintaining that it was an aberration, the CAN president told the high-powered body of clerics that kidnapping for ransom had become a very lucrative criminal enterprise.

He said: “As I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, children were not allowed to see dead bodies, but now even the sensibilities of the children are no longer protected. All kinds of crime and wickedness are available almost for free on the social media.

“Nigeria now ranks high as one of the most terrorised nations of the world. This practice has progressively evolved over time and it has drastically reduced our national pride among the comity of nations.

“It is sad to note that those whose duty it is to guarantee the safety of our lives and property appear to be helpless in the face of real threat and advancing forces of darkness eclipsing the land.

“My consolation and confidence, however, is always the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ assured also that He will not allow the gates of hell to prevail against his church in Nigeria.”

Describing Nigeria as a country of great potential, Okoh, nevertheless, stated that the nation’s bane over the years had been a lack of patriotic, visionary and committed leadership.

He said: “This has become manifest in the brazen embezzlement of public funds, entrenchment of bribery and corruption in almost every aspect of our public life, falling economic fortunes and joblessness among the youths that now confront us on a daily basis.

“Impunity, executive recklessness and political brigandage are tearing our nation apart.  As a result of long closure of our federal universities, our nation suffers another bout of brain drain that is unprecedented. Nigerian lecturers are being absorbed at a high rate by Ivy league universities in the western nations,” he said.

The CAN President stressed that in all of these, the people should not lose hope.

He added: “2023 general election is one valid chance that we have to turn around the fortunes of Nigeria for good.  I urge you my dear revered fathers in the Lord to continue to support election monitoring team set up by the Christian Association of Nigeria to do a good job.”

“I also request that you continue to use your highly-revered positions as Bishops and clergymen to remind your parishioners and, indeed, all Christians in Nigeria on the danger of not participating actively in partisan politics as this is where all the decisions that affect our life, choice of worship and economy are decided.”

Archbishop Okoh condoled the leadership and laity of the Catholic church over the death of the Bishop of Zaria, Most Rev. George Dodo; the numerous kidnappings, gruesome murder of many Catholic priests and Reverend Sisters and the senseless killings of worshippers in the sanctuary by terrorists recently.

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