Mark, others to attend Onaiyekan’s consecration, visit Suntai

President Goodluck  Jonathan is sending an official delegation headed by the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark to represent the Federal Government at the formal consecration of Archbishop John Onaiyekan as a Cardinal of the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican tomorrow.

This was confirmed by a statement signed by the special adviser to the president on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati.

Other members of the delegation are the Chief of Staff to the President, Mike Oghiadomhe, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, the Minister of State (FCT), Oloye Olajumoke Akinjide and the Chaplain of the Presidential Villa Chapel, Venerable Obioma Onwuzurumba.

It will be recalled that Archbishop Onaiyekan’s elevation to the College of Cardinals was announced by the Vatican on October 24, this year.

President Jonathan has also mandated members of the delegation to stop over in Hanover, Germany on their way back to visit Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State who is receiving treatment there for injuries sustained in a recent plane crash.

The delegation which is scheduled to leave Abuja today is due back on Sunday.

Gunmen kill traditional ruler, 20 others in Zamfara village raid

Gunmen suspected to be armed robbers have killed 20 people in Kaboro village in Zamfara state northwest Nigerian. Local Government spokesman, Nuhu Salihu Anka, said on Wednesday.

12 men armed with guns stormed Kaboro village early on Tuesday morning, demanding money before shooting and hacking people to death, local residents said.

After several people had been killed, the area’s chief appealed to the gunmen to stop firing, but they turned their weapons on him instead, according to the spokesman.

“They were all shot to death while the village head was slaughtered with a sword,” local government spokesman Salihu Anka told Reuters by phone.

At least 27 people were killed in June when suspected armed robbers attacked several villages in Zamfara.

This killing comes on the heel of Sunday’s attack on a Catholic Church in another north central state, Kaduna.

A suicide bomber drove a jeep full of explosives into a church in Kaduna, about 70 miles (113 km) from the Zamfara border, killing eight people and triggering reprisals that killed at least two more.

 

Pope appoints Kukah to Vatican’s Pontifical Council

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Hassan Kukah, as a member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, Vatican City.

Matthew Hassan Kukah with the Pope Benedict XVI

The 13-member Council is the highest decision and policy-making body for the Council for the Holy Father.

Kukah’s appointment is coming after the appointment of the Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan as a Cardinal.

The Bishop has recently had sundry of appointments and awards.

In May, the President of the Conference of Bishops of English and French speaking West Africa appointed Kukah as the Chairman of the Commission on Culture, Inter-religious Dialogue and Ecumenism.

In February, he was elected Chairman of the Commission on Inter-religious Dialogue for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria.

He had earlier served the Council in five-year tenure when Francis Cardinal Arinze served as the President of the Council.

He was a delegate at the just-concluded Synod of Bishops for the New Evangelisation in the Vatican.

Pope appoints Nigerian archbishop into vatican position

Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Lebanese and Nigerian clergymen to a Vatican department aimed at countering growing secularisation in a sign of attention to two problematic regions for the Catholic Church.

The Vatican said the Archbishop of Beirut of the Maronites, Paul Youssef Matar, and the Archbishop of Jos, Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, would be joining the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization.

Despite the raging conflict in Syria, which has also raised tensions within Lebanon, the pope is expected to visit Beirut on September 14-16 with a message calling for peaceful coexistence between religions in the region.

Thousands of people have been killed in Jos in recent years in clashes between the Christian and Muslim communities including a suicide attack on a Catholic church in March in which a dozen people were killed.

Benedict created the pontifical council for new evangelisation in 2010.

 

EASTER TRAGEDY: 38 die in Catholic and Deeper life Churches

At least 30 persons have been confirmed dead as a Catholic church building in Adamgbe, Mbayongo Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue state collapsed on Saturday night while parishioners were worshiping during the Easter vigil night.

Eyewitnesses said the number of casualty was high because help could not reach those trapped on time.

The church, St. Roberts Catholic church collapsed in the middle of the service held to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ night.

Eyewitnesses said the number of casualty was high because help could not reach those trapped on time.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Alaribe Ejike, who confirmed the incidence said that
the worshippers died when the Church collapsed on them.

He said the speculations that the incidence was caused by an attack as reported by some foreign
media agencies is a lie.

Mr Ejike assured the people of the state of the readiness of the police to protect the lives and
property of citizens.

Eight die at Deeper life retreat

Eight persons have also been confirmed dead during the Deeper Life Easter Retreat in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

The camp where the worshippers assembled at Eyenkorin, on the outskirts of Ilorin, reportedly collapses on Friday due to a heavy rain accompanied by thunderstorm leaving eight dead and several others injured.

This was said to be as a result of a heavy downpour, accompanied by thunderstorm.

Eyewitnesses said a pillar of the camp venue collapsed, leading to the crashing of the worship centre on worshippers.

Seven persons were reported dead on the spot while a pastor of the church, who was on his way to donate blood for the severely injured, was hit and killed by a vehicle on his motorbike.

Suicide bomber attacks church in Jos as reprisal claims more lives

The restive north central city of Jos in Plateau State has been rocked by another bomb blast. There was a loud explosion at the St. Finbarr’s Catholic Church located  at Mai Diko road at the Rayfield area of the city.

A suicide bomber had tried to drive into the church premises, but was stopped by security operatives stationed at the entrance. The bomb went off during the scuffle that ensued. Security agents were however seen at the scene of the blast trying to find clues that could lead to the unearthing of the culprits’ identity as well as trying to maintain peace and order.

Officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) were at the scene evacuating victims of the blast from the scene to nearby hospitals.

Members of the Young Boys Scout filled the casualty list as they were deployed as security in the church.

Confirming the Incident, the Northern Zonal Director Of the NEMA, Danjuma Alhassan Aliyu told Channels Television via phone that three people were confirmed dead and so many with injuries.  An eyewitness however said that the  bodies at the scene of the blast were up to 11 including those that were shattered as a result of their proximity to bomb.

The blast occurred at about 11a.m at the Church located adjacent to a popular bar called Stefans.

Members of the Joint Task Force were however pelted with stones by angry youths who believed they had arrived late to have prevented the attack.

A bombing at Church of Christ In Nigeria (COCIN) in the tensed city two weeks ago killed three people and injured nearly 40.

The Islamist militants group, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for  that attack.

However, no group has claimed responsibility for the recent attack.

REPRISAL ATTACKS

Angered by the bomb attack, youth from the church launched a reprisal on the muslim coummunity killing 10 people  the health commissioner for Jos, Sati Dakwat had reportedly said.

“The situation is bad. Several were killed in the reprisal attacks, more than 10,” Mr Dakwat told Reuters, after a bomb blast in a Catholic church in the city killed about a dozen people.

In the past decade Jos has become the main flashpoint for tensions between Nigeria’s Christian and Muslim communities.