A major disaster which would have claimed lives and left many severely injured was averted in Calabar, the Cross River state capital, when an uncompleted multipurpose indoor sports hall at the U. J. Esuene Sports Stadium collapsed.
The incident happened at a time when the children’s competition taking place in the stadium was suspended to observe the Easter Holiday as more than 2000 children would have been crushed to death.
The structure was supposed to be one of the facilities to host the National Sports Festival by the State, which was awarded for 14 million Dollars.
Reacting on the unfortunate development, Chairman of the State’s Sports Commission, Mr Orok Duke, blamed the incident on the Contractor who besides not completing the job after being fully paid 14 million Dollars upfront, still used substandard materials.
The indoor Sport hall Chairman said, the stadium was awarded by the immediate past administration and has been under construction for over two years.
“What I have discovered is that the contractors to this project have used substandard materials and it is showing because this structure has been here for not more than three years but what we should note is that this structure was erected before the advent of Prof Ben Ayade’s government.
“And in keeping with our policy of trying to reposition sports, I had asked for permission to go after the contractor, but my principal, the governor had said he does not want to be distracted. We should cut our losses and move on because he was still focusing on hosting the National Sports Festival.
“The most frightening thing is the discovery of these substandard materials which means this was a tragedy waiting to happen.
“If it hadn’t happened now, maybe it would have happened when we had a full house with a lot of athletes.
“Being Good Friday, I can say that God just intervened because a lot of people would have been killed, especially now lots of children come to the stadium. This structure was supposed to be here for over 200 years. So we are really stunned about this development.
“The original design of the indoor sports hall had two ovals. So money was given for two ovals, but he started work on one and could not even complete it. Even at that, substandard materials were still used. It is only in Cross River that sundry contractors would walk in, cheat us and walk away without anyone going after them. It is sad for us”, Mr Duke said.
Mr Duke further called on relevant agencies to thoroughly look into the matter and act accordingly in order to serve as a deterrent.
The Christian faithful in Nasarawa state have been tasked to uphold the virtues of patience, tolerance and sacrifice as exemplified by Jesus Christ on the cross, to save mankind from eternal destruction.
The state Deputy Governor, Silas Agara, gave the task in his Easter good-will message as the faithful marked the 2017 Good Friday and Easter festivities.
According to him, the Easter season represents a period of self-denial, good neighborliness, sacrifice and higher spiritual attainment. He therefore urged adherents to sustain the spirit beyond the festivity for the good of humanity.
Furthermore, Mr Agara urged citizens to love one another and to live in peace with all, irrespective of their status, religion and ethnicity.
He rejoiced with all Nigerians and the people of Nasarawa in particular, on the solemn occasion on behalf of the Governor, Tanko Al-makura.
He also used the opportunity to call on security agencies to ensure safety of lives and property across the state during and after the celebration.
The Primate of the Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, is asking Nigerians to imbibe Jesus Christ’s sense of self-sacrifice by putting the interest of the nation above personal and narrow interests.
Speaking to Channels Television at the Cathedral Church of Advent in Abuja, Reverend Okoh said that Easter serves as a reminder that there is hope for Nigeria despite the challenges facing the country.
He added that the challenge to Nigerians at Easter, was for everyone to rally round and build the nation.
In Borno State, Christians in Maiduguri joined the rest of the world to celebrate Easter in remembrance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Worshippers at the St. Patrick Church of the Maiduguri Catholic Diocese were in high spirits during the Easter service, marking the end of this year’s Lenten season.
A Deacon of the church, Anona Augustine, advised the congregation to imbibe the lessons of Easter and live exemplary lives, especially now that the country is facing difficult times.
Also at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp set up by the Christian Association of Nigeria in the state, the Easter Sunday was observed like every other day.
One of the IDPs, Martha Musa, said: “God has been providing for us and he has been blessing us in many ways. Even this Easter food items were donated to us and we are most grateful”.
Also in his remark, the camp leader, John Ali, added: “Easter reminds us to keep faith knowing that whoever dies in Christ would rise again like Jesus did. Today, we were asked to do good works and imitate the life Jesus Christ lived and to love each other obeying all commandments”.
Although, there were no processions to mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the streets as demonstrated in other states, Christian faithful in Jos, Plateau State had the opportunity of witnessing the demonstration of the crucifixion at some of the churches where the Passion of Christ was demonstrated to the congregation.
The vicar of the Saint Matthews Anglican Church Maitama, in Nigeria’s capital city, Venerable Benjamen Idume, is asking public service holders to ensure the implementation of the 2016 budget to the letter for the good of all.
Addressing reporters in Abuja after a service held to mark the Good Friday, Venerable Idume called for prudent utilisation of the nation’s resources for socio-economic development.
He also wants Nigerians to contribute their quota to the nation’s development irrespective of their social status.
“God has blessed us with many resources. Nobody can say that Nigeria is not blessed. There are countries around us that do not have as much as we have but they are doing well,” he said.
It was a solemn mood at the Saint James Anglican Church Asokoro, as worshippers gathered to mark the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, with hymns.
Just as the lessons of the period signify sacrifice and obedience, the supervising priest of the church, Venerable Princewill Ireoba, urged Christians in Nigeria and indeed all over the world to emulate the virtues of Christ for peace and stability in their nations.
He also called on Christians to emulate the teachings of Jesus Christ, as shown through his life of sacrifice and obedience.
Easter is a time for sober reflection and that is the mood at most churches.
Many hope that the attitude of Christians all over Nigeria will be one that will contribute positively to the nation’s development.
Christians globally on Friday commemorated Good Friday, the Friday before Easter Sunday and the faithful in Lagos were not left out as they re-enacted the crucifixion procession.
In a procession that took the faithful from Saint Denis Catholic Church, Ilaje-Bariga through major streets to the Saint Dominic Catholic Church in Yaba, Lagos, songs and prayers were offered at the 14 Stations of the Cross which signify the important points of Jesus’ journey to the cross.
One of the most significant events in the journey of Jesus Christ was his trial, crucifixion on the cross of Calvary and eventual resurrection which set the stage for his redemption of believers.
The man who played the role of Jesus Christ at some point fell and he was stripped of his clothes. In all, there were 14 major stations on his journey to the cross.
He was then crucified alongside two criminals at Calvary.
As spectators watched the procession, devotees wailed as Jesus was taunted, bruised and flogged.
The Pastor of Saint Dominic Catholic Church, Reverend Father Felix Onemeghie says Nigerians should learn from the humility and sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Christians the world over will again gather on Sunday to mark the resurrection of the crucified Christ.
On this day, Christians commemorate the passion or suffering and death on the cross of Jesus Christ. This is an observance that involves people fasting and praying.
Many church services were held in the afternoon, usually between noon and 3pm to remember the hours when Jesus hung on the cross.
The General Superintendent of Holy Spirit Misson, Bishop Charles Ighele, has attributed the prevalence of vices in the country to evil spirits.
The cleric, while speaking about the relevance of Good Friday celebration in relation to Nigeria stated that Christians have misinterpreted the religion for mere good works and sober reflection which has caused the essence of it to be lost.
“A day like this is a day for Christians to connect to what happened on the cross. The power of the believer flows from the cross.” He said.
Talking about the many vices prevalent in Nigeria, he stated that “every society is controlled by a dominant spirit,” as well as geographical areas.
He citied San Francisco as the headquarters of homosexuals; Las Vegas as the headquarters of gambling. He added that “Nigeria as it is right now is being controlled by dominant spirits of corruption, of violence… Nigeria is becoming a factory that produces criminals.”
He attributed the surge in crime the country is currently experiencing to the dominant spirits of crime, violence and corruption.
He accused most politicians in governance as being violent men who attain power by killing and hiring thugs in the bid to maintain hold on power.”
He stated that President Goodluck Jonathan, who looks like a non-violent man cannot vouch for those around him who can perpetuate violence without his knowledge.
However, he expressed hope for the nation saying that a man with the right spirit can change a nation.
Why do people call the day when Jesus was put to death “Good Friday”? My daughter said she didn’t think it ought to be called this and many people around the world have also wondered why a day as tragic as the day the son of God was killed should be called “good”.
What could be more tragic than putting the sinless Son of God to death? Even Pilate, the Roman governor, publically declared, “I find no basis for a charge against him” (John 18:38). But what appeared at first to be a tragedy was in fact a triumph – because by His death on the cross Jesus Christ purchased our salvation. We were separated from God because of our sin, and because we were sinners we have no hope of eternal life.
God is pure and holy, and even one sin – just one – would be enough to keep us out of heaven. But by His death on the cross, Jesus Christ became the perfect and final sacrifice for our sins – and because of that, heaven’s door is now open to all who put their faith and trust in Him.
And that’s why we can call the day on which Jesus died “Good Friday.” In fact, it was the greatest Friday in the history of the human race, because on that day Jesus Christ won our salvation. At one time, the Bible says, we were “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). But now we have hope, because Christ died for us.
Today, as Christians around the world celebrate what happened on that first Good Friday may this truly become a “Good Friday” for you, as you open your heart and life to Jesus Christ. “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
As part of activities to mark Good Friday, liturgical services will be held in most orthodox churches across the Christian world.
There will also be stations of the cross often prayed either in the church or outside, and a prayer service may be held from midday to 3.00 p.m., referred to as the three hours’ of agony of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The eating of meet is prohibited on Good Friday by some in the Christendom. The general belief is that eating of any form of meat today will be like feeding on the flesh of Jesus Christ.
Politicians should learn from Jesus leadership style
The Primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, the most Reverend Nicholas Okoh reminded religious and political leaders in the country of their role as servant leaders, and not rulers who take advantage of the people.
Mr Okoh gave this charge at the Maundy Thursday service at the chapel of the Advent in Abuja in preparation for Easter.
“It is not proper for them to lord it over their constituencies,” he said.
“Some of them give no account of their stewardship to the people. They don’t come back to ask for anything until the next election. But the real thing is that these people sent them there, they are entitled to be informed,” the Primate added.