.religious violence in Nigeria

By Chidi Nkwopara, OWERRI

The President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, has expressed regret that despite God’s abundant human and material resources, the nation “has remained a potentially great country”, after 62 years.

Archbishop Ugorji stated this in his homily during a Pontifical Mass at Maria Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri, as part of the activities to mark Nigeria’s 62 independence anniversary.

His words: “After 62 years of independence, Nigeria has remained a potentially great country because all its attempts to soar to great heights have been frustrated by the increasing social ills that bedevil it.

“These include endemic bribery and corruption, squandermania, flamboyant display of status symbol amid a rising sea of poverty and destitution, the adulation of wealth, abuse of office, ethnocentrism, religious bigotry, criminal and mindless looting of public funds, flagrant disregard of human dignity and rights, and a host of other ills.

“At the root of these social ills, is that many in our society simply follow the crowd, swimming as aimless floaters, without a mission or project, except perhaps, that of unmaking themselves.

“Having no regard for the moral law and values of authentic existence, the majority of our people are disrupting the fine moral network of social interaction and are standing on rotten foundations.

“We are deeply sunk in a moral crisis in our country. There are sick and dead consciences everywhere. Moral laxity and decadence have deeply wounded, distorted and violated the sacredness of the human person in our country.

“The inner being of the average Nigerian is desecrated by great spiritual corruption, fraud and dishonesty. The moral fabric that holds society together is being weakened by moral and spiritual bankruptcy, as many of our people occupy themselves passionately with falsehood and self-deceit.”

While saying that most people in our society have lost the sense of moral right and wrong, and thus behave as they like, regardless of the consequences of their actions, the cleric also expressed regret that in school, the average Nigerian child wants to cheat in order to pass the examination.

Ugorji said: “At work, the average Nigerian chats, trades or socializes excessively without applying himself seriously to his work and expect to receive his full salary at the end of the month without any qualms of conscience.

“On the streets and highways, he drives recklessly, disregarding traffic rules without worrying that he could cause an accident that could claim human lives. He dumps refuse everywhere, defacing the environment and without worrying that littering garbage that way endangers public health.

“If he has an opportunity to steal public funds, an average Nigerian does so to the best of his ability and remains insensitive if how his action has reduced the masses to crushing poverty and destitution.

“Many of our countrymen are trying to turn our country into a jungle. Although many churches, mosques and prayer houses are springing up in the nooks and crannies of the country, most of our people are tending towards impiety; for spirituality without morality is spurious if those practising it are wanting in proper moral behaviour.”

In his own speech, Governor Hope Uzodimma thanked God that despite the many challenges facing the country, we are still alive and Nigeria has remained intact.

His words: “Every country in the world has their challenges. We must stand up as a nation, to tackle our problems. We must brace up to the collective challenges of our time.”

While pleading with the populace to differentiate between politicians that came to serve and those who refused to work, Uzodimma however assured Imo people that he has come to serve.

“We should condemn evil whenever and however it rears its ugly head. I will continue to do my best to leave Imo better than I met it.
He said: “There is no reason why a responsible government should fold

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