The Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria, Cardinal John Onaiyekan has called on Nigerians to promote mutual trust and not allow evil people sow seeds of discord and misery in the land. The Cardinal made the call in a homily he preached at the funeral Mass of the late emeritus Bishop of Makurdi Diocese, Athanasius Usuh. The Mass took place recently at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Makurdi, Benue State in Nigeria.
Reflecting on the state of the nation, Cardinal Onaiyekan emphasised the importance of unity in the life of the country and the need for all Nigerians to cooperate with the government in the fight against corruption and other vices that plague and stunt development in Nigeria.
“It is beautiful to see this large crowd gathered here in peace, with no fear of violence or mad attacks. Let us thank God for the measure of peace we still enjoy here and in most parts of our nation.” He added, “Considering the horrible things taking place all over the world these days, and sometimes here too in our nation, we should not take peace for granted. Rather we should all do our best to promote mutual trust, to build peaceful living together and give no room for evil people to sow discord and misery in our land,” the Cardinal emphasised.
Stressing that it is paramount and urgent for government at all levels to take the fight against corruption seriously, Cardinal Onaiyekan encouraged Nigerians to cooperate in the fight against corruption till victory is achieved.
“But we cannot win this and other battles if the nation is not united as one under God,”Cardinal Onaiyekan said. He continued, “Whatever tends to tear us apart must be vigorously addressed. This is particularly so in the area of religion, whether it is attacks by herdsmen in farmlands or the gruesome murder of preachers or violent invading of places of worship by fanatics…” The cardinal advocated that concrete, visible and convincing action must be taken urgently, to turn round the dangerous path that leads towards religious polarisation in the country.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Kasujja delivered a message of condolence from Pope Francis and another from the Holy See’s Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Archbishop Kasujja described Bishop Usuh as his acquaintance of about six years. He came to know Bishop Usuh as a “man of serenity and optimism even in the face of great pain and sickness.”
Archbishop Matthew Ndagoso of Kaduna, speaking on behalf of Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) stated, “Bishop Usuh was a father and made many contributions to the CBCN.” Archbishop Ndagoso lamented that Bishop Usuh’s great sense of humour which electrified the Conference would be greatly missed by fellow Bishops.
The current Bishop of Makurdi Diocese, Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe CMF, in his address, thanked all those who supported the late Bishop during his trying moments of sickness, and also all those who stood by the diocese during the time of bereavement.
(CNSN NewsOnline, Nigeria)
Source: Vatican Radio