Christmas: Christian Leaders Task Faithful On Good Virtues

Christians, ChristmasAs Nigerians join their counterparts across the world to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Christian leaders have stressed the need for them to uphold the virtues of the Christianity.

At the Cathedral of Saint Michael Anglican Communion in Kaduna State, the parishioners celebrated Christmas with praise and thanksgiving.

The Bishop of Kaduna Archdiocese, Most Reverend Timothy Yahaya, expressed optimism that Nigeria would overcome her numerous challenges if only the citizens start to do things right.

He appealed to the leaders to govern with love and patriotism, just as Jesus Christ showed love to mankind.

Bishop Yahaya, however, decried the evil practices of looting of public funds, bad governance and high rate of poverty in the country.

He asked political leaders to give the people hope instead of disappointment and to use the Christmas celebration to show love and care to the masses just as Jesus did.

Way Forward

The cleric commended the anti-corruption war by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration in which some stolen public funds from corrupt public officers were recovered.

However, he noted that the war should not be one-sided, but should be holistic starting from 1960 till date.

Bishop Yahaya further suggested that the way forward for Nigeria was for leaders and the citizens to shun corruption, nepotism and hatred and begin to see themselves as one people bounded by one destiny.

God Is With Us

Meanwhile in Benue State, Nigerians have been advised to look up to God for protection and preservation for the protection of mankind.

The Parish Priest of Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Nyiman, Father Moses Aonduveer Iorapuu, gave the advice during an interview with Channels Television on the significance of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The clergyman asked Nigerians and government to wait upon the Lord who he said is with them in all situation as “exemplified in the name Emmanuel, meaning God is with us”.

In Nigeria’s capital, the Primate of Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, asked Nigerians to shun all forms of discrimination and embrace spirit of love, sacrifice and giving.

Reverend Okoh stated that the country can only experience meaningful development when its citizens live in unity,

Clergymen in other states also asked Christians across the country to be imbibe the lessons of the season.

Military Intensifies Counter-terrorism Operation In Sambisa Forest

rescued women and children from boko haramCounter-insurgency operations are ongoing in the notorious Sambisa Forest in northeast Nigeria, to clear remaining Boko Haram terrorists in the area, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, said on Sunday.

He says the army is not relenting in its counter-insurgency war.

General Olonisakin gave the assurance during an operational visit to the Theatre Command and headquarters of the Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The Chief of Defence Staff told journalists in Maiduguri that even though the “Operation Safe Corridor” initiative was open for repentant insurgents to surrender, it would not in any way suspend operations.

“There’s always a room for them to surrender. We put up Operation Safe Corridor initiative to have them surrender. That is the corridor for them to surrender and that corridor is always open.

“However, we would not wait until they surrender. That is why the “Operation Crack Down” now leading to rescue finale is in place to ensure that we take over Sambisa, clear the Boko Haram terrorists in those places and make the place safe for development,” the Defence Chief stated.

During the visit, he inspected vehicles reconfigured by military technicians in the seven Division to give a boost to the counter insurgency operations.

Gun trucks, Operational vehicles and War battle tanks were some the vehicles remodelled by the transport battalion and now set for use.

Expressing delight with the military equipment, he said: “I commend the creative efforts of our troops because most of this vehicles have been re-roled. They were not manufactured for what they are doing but they have re-roled them for operational use.

“I want to commend their efforts and also the initiative of the Chief of Air Staff to encourage this troops to do this in the prosecution of this operation.

“These vehicles are quite important and necessary to get some of them out there. They are quite expensive but the ones here that have been reconfigured to do the same which would have been procured at a very expensive rate is really a commendable effort,” he added.

More efforts to flush out the terrorists are needed in the northeast, something a cleric said should be considered paramount to ensure that Internally Displaced Persons returning to their communities do not face renewed attacks.

The Primate of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh on Sunday called for more efforts from the Nigerian Army in protecting Nigerians living in the volatile north east.

Most Reverend Okoh believes that such intensity in checking the activities of the Boko Haram in the region would quench renewed attacks by the terrorist group.

Over two million persons have been displaced in the region, with UN agencies raising fears of death of children, nursing mothers and pregnant women due to malnutrition.

Anglican Primate Wants More Protection For Nigerians In Northeast

nicholas-okoh-anglican-primate-nigeriaThe Anglican Primate, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, is asking the Nigerian government and the Nigerian Army to intensify efforts in protecting Nigerians living in the volatile north east.

Most Reverend Okoh believes that such intensity in checking the activities of the Boko Haram in the region would quench renewed attacks by the terrorist group.

His request is coming amidst resurging suicide attacks in some communities in the northeast area after heightened counter-terrorism operations had decimated the sect that is pushing for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the region.

Addressing reporters after a Diocesan Confirmation Service in Abuja, Most Reverend Okoh stressed that the military must not relent in fighting insurgency.

He says it is obvious that Boko Haram terrorists have no plans of backing down and are intent on unleashing terror in the country.

“When this thing started, I did say that war against insurgency is not a 100 mitres dash. It is a marathon race. So, the country must be prepared. That is why when they put a date and say December (for end to activities of Boko Haram), I was not very enthusiastic because from experience, we know that terrorists are not people that will submit so easily.

“That will give you an indication that they are not ready to submit. If they are ready to submit, why did they not release the girls at once.

“They want to use the girls to continue to negotiate either for money or for their own people,” he said.

The Anglican Primate further expressed fears that displaced persons that had returned to their communities in the northeast were at risk of being attacked without adequate military protection.

“The people who are really in danger now are those displaced persons who have returned to their villages.

“We cannot be sure that Boko Haram will not emerge from here and there and attack them again.

“So, the government must continue to emphasise that there should be no relenting.

“The military must continue to do their very best to protect the people who have returned to the villages because Boko Haram is a battle that we don’t know when it will end,” he added.

With the fresh waves of suicide attacks by Boko Haram in communities in the northeast, analysts say Boko Haram is staging a fight-back after taking advantage of the rainy season to recoup.

What Anglican Primate Wants Buhari To Do About Corruption

nicholas-okoh‎The Primate of the Anglican Church, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has given his opinion on how the Nigerian government should address corruption in the oil-rich nation.

He made the comment in reaction to the arrest of some judges few weeks ago by security operatives.

The judges were alleged to have been involved in corrupt practices and misconduct.

But the Primate says only the court can find the judges arrested guilty of any crime.

“It all depends on what eventually is said about the judges concerned.

“If they are found guilty, then it will not affect anything because the crusade would have been a right one.

“If they are found to be innocent, then the call will be for the government agencies in charge to take it easy so that they do not blackmail the government they are trying to serve,” he said.

Addressing reporters at the Anglican Women’s Conference in Abuja on Saturday, Most Reverend Okoh said that the fight against corruption was an indictment on all Nigerians.

He explained that corruption cuts across the entire system in Nigeria and that the government should extend the fight against corruption to the grassroots.

 

“The crusade about corruption is an indictment on all of us, because what I have continued to appeal to government is that after the top echelon the crusade should be spread down the line.

“If you go to even the most local market, you will find corruption there. They people selling groundnut they are involved in corruption.

“The university teachers are involved in corruption those of us in the church in one form or the other. So, no one is actually spared.

“What it means is that we have all been sensitised and every nook and corner of the country should be focused to ensure that we produce a better generation after our own that will be free from corruption,” he emphasised.

The government had extended its anti-corruption war to the judiciary, arresting some judges, whom the Department of State Services (DSS) said were suspected for corruption and misconduct.

Since their arrests on October 7 and 8, diverse reactions trailed the action, with the latest from the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The leadership of the NJC in a statement on Saturday condemned the sting operations carried out by the DSS against some judicial officers, saying it was a clear assault on the independence of the Nigerian Judiciary.

It said it had started investigation into complaints it received against the judges.

Believe In Buhari’s Promise, Anglican Primate Tells Nigerians

nicholas-okoh-primate-of-anglican-communion-in-nigeriaThe Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has asked Nigerians to believe in President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise of better days ahead.

Most Reverend Okoh gave the advice while speaking with journalists on Wednesday at the diocese of Osun Northeast of Anglican Communion in Otan Ayegbaju, Osun State.

He says progress of Nigeria depends largely on unity.

The primate further emphasised the need for all Nigerians to work towards national development.

Prerequisite For Development

The clergyman, who noted that peace was a major prerequisite for development, urged political leaders and others to do away with the idea of supremacy.

“Nigerians should believe the President. They have no choice. He knows better than everybody, so what he is saying to them that recession will be short-lived, they should believe and look forward with hope.

“Unless we have unity, we will not make progress. It is a prerequisite for development, both the east, the West and the north and south must all learn to respect one another.

“There should be no idea of anybody trying to dominate one another, we must all cooperate and work as one in order to enhance national progress,” he emphasised.

On the economic situation of the country, Most Reverend Okoh stressed that recession was not peculiar to Nigeria alone and should not be allowed to destroy the country.

“Recession is not only a phenomenon in Nigeria. It happened in different countries depending on the state of the economy but it’s not enough to destroy the nation.

“All the people need to do is to stretch their imagination beyond the recession and make progress,” he advised.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to see beyond economic recession in order to make progress.

Adebisi Akande Says Military Takeover Of Missionary Schools Truncated Morality

adebisi-akandeA former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Adebisi Akande, says the takeover of missionary schools by the military government altered the norm and morality that the missions had established in Nigerian schools and the society at large.

Mr Akande described missionary schools as institutions for moral instructions, saying that a decision to take over schools from the missionaries was equivalent to an attempt to expunge morality from the lives of the Nigerian children.

Mr Akande, who was a former Governor of Osun State, gave the opinion at the commissioning of a block of 10 classrooms built in his honour by the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Osun Northeast Diocese in Otan Aiyegbaju, in Osun State, southwest Nigeria.

According to Mr Akande, the consequence of the takeover of schools is evident in the society.

Akande said: “Whether in Islamic Madaris or in any evangelical learning centres, all missionary schools known to Nigerians were institutions for moral instructions”.

He related the pain Nigerians suffer today to what he called military interventions in governance.

He urged the missionaries to run schools side by side with other educational stakeholders in order to enable the society have a choice in producing future players in the employment markets.

“Where free education is the public policy, as it should be throughout Nigeria, let the government concerned grant-aid to the missionaries to the tune of tuition fees payable by the pupils in public-government-owned schools,” he requested.

In his speech, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, described religion as a tool to promote peace and sustain religious tolerance.

nicholas-okoh-primate-of-anglican-communion-in-nigeria
Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh

Most Reverend Okoh said with a Christian faith building a school in honour of a Muslim statesman, Nigeria would soon get out of religious crisis.

He described Mr Akande as a Muslim by practice, but a Christian in mind, going by his contributions to the Christianity without any iota of discrimination.

Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who commissioned the schools, stated that it was not a surprise that a strong Christian Church, Anglican Communion, honoured Akande, a Muslim, with a block of 10 classrooms.

He said the Yoruba race is known for religious tolerance from time immemorial.

Governor Aregbesola noted that the advent of formal education in Nigeria was traceable to the Muslim and Christian missionaries, saying that education has been part and parcel of faith.

The Governor urged parents to live up to their responsibility of supporting their children with moral and adequate training needed to make the education functional and impactful.

Anglican Primate Condemns Attacks On Nigeria’s Oil Pipeline

Minimum WageThe Primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has condemned the recent attacks on the nation’s oil pipeline by the Niger Delta Avengers.

Most Reverend Okoh spoke on Friday at the 2016 Synod of the Church held in Abuja.

Further condemning the situation with huge potential of affecting the nation’s revenue that largely depends on crude sales, he, however, called for a ceasefire by the agitators in the interest of national development.

The Primate also urged the Federal Government to collaborate with host communities to secure oil pipelines.

“Nigeria is fighting too many battles at this time,” Most Reverend Okoh said.

His condemnation of the attack on pipelines came a day after a gas pipeline operated by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in the region was attacked.

A spokesman for a local community group and a witness in Niger Delta region confirmed the attack to Reuters new agency.

The group, Niger Delta Avengers, has claimed some of the attacks on some pipelines on the region.

The attacks have affected the crude oil production of the nation at a period of volatile oil price, with a drop below 1.6 million barrels per day.

The attacks had forced U.S. oil major, Exxon Mobil Corp, to suspend exports from Nigeria’s top crude stream.

Days before the company suspended exports, militants attacked a Chevron platform.

After the attack, Chevron Nigeria Limited shut its Okan offshore facility, with resources deployed to respond to a resulting spill.

 

Easter Celebration: Clerics Task Nigerians On Good Virtues

Nicholas-OkohThe 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.

 

Anglican Primate Urges Nigerians To Pray For Nigeria’s Well-Being

Primate of the church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas OkohThe Bishop of Abuja and Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has advised Nigerians to pray for the well-being of the nation.

Speaking in Abuja at the 2015 Episcopal visit and service on Sunday, Reverend Okoh said that the challenges being faced by Nigeria as a nation can be surmounted by the collective prayers of all well meaning Nigerians.

He advised parents to train their children in order to help them attain biblical discipline, character development, perseverance and endurance in addition to developing the habit of prayer and fasting that will purify them in words and deeds.

Corruption: Primate Urges Buhari To Improve Welfare Of Workers

Nicholas-OkohThe Primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has advised the government to improve on the salary and other allowances of civil servants if it must succeed in the fight against corruption.

He identified poor remuneration of public servants at all levels, as one of the reasons for the high rate of corruption in Nigeria especially in the public service.

The Anglican Primate gave the advice during the enthronement of the new Anglican Bishop of Kaduna Diocese, Rt. Reverend Timothy Yahaya.

While commending President Buhari’s commitment to the fighting corruption, Bishop Okoh maintained that “when public sector wages are too low, employees may find themselves under pressure to supplement their incomes in unofficial ways by embezzling public funds meant for developmental purposes”.

He also expressed optimism that the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents would soon be over.

It was a day of celebration, as the Cathedral was filled to capacity with members of the clergy, the church and well-wishers present to witness the enthronement of Rt. Reverend Yahaya, as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese.

The choir offered beautiful renditions to the admiration of the congregation.

The enthronement of Bishop Yahaya follows the exit of the former Bishop of the diocese, Idowu Fearon, who was appointed the Secretary General of World Anglican Church early this year.

The new Bishop in his message assured the congregation that he would lead the diocese with the fear of God and ensure the growth and development of the Church.

He also stressed the need for the diocese to invest its resources in building more schools and hospitals to compliment the effort of the government.

Until his appointment as the Bishop of Kaduna Diocese, Rt. Reverend Yahaya was the Bishop of Jalingo Diocese in Taraba State.

Anglican Primate Asks Churches To Support Anti-Corruption Fight

Nicholas Okoh on Anti-CorruptionThe Anglican Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, has urged churches nationwide to give wide support to President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘Anti-corruption Agenda’.

The Archbishop described the behaviour of some public office holders as a huge disappointment to Nigeria, emphasising that Nigeria had garnered enough international support to enable her address squarely the rot in the system.

According to him, the church has always been in the vanguard of anti-corruption crusade.

“The Church has been preaching and teaching that people should live right.

“When you live right, there will be no need for anybody to set up any panel or court against anybody.

“If you take what belongs to you and I take what belongs to me, then there is no cheating. But a situation where someone takes what belongs to everybody and appropriate it and then others are deprived, that is a bad situation,” he stressed.

Addressing reporters after a meeting of church leaders in Abuja on Tuesday, the Primate, who is also a member of the National Peace Committee for the 2015 general elections, said that the President’s commitment to ensuring peace, stability and accountability across the nation should also be encouraged rather than criticised.

He stated that putting the Boko Haram experience in the north-east behind would be a thing of joy.

“Definitely, Nigerians will appreciate putting the matter of Boko Haram behind us because it has affected our economy, friendship, movement and everything,” the Anglican Primate said.

He also wished the administration of President Buhari well.

President Buhari has said his administration is committed to ‘killing corruption’ in Nigeria and recovering stolen funds from public office holders in the last administration.

On Monday, a traditional ruler, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, urged President Buhari to prosecute anyone that had looted Nigeria’s funds.

The Sultan, who spoke at a Summit organised by the Nigeria Police Force, advised that anyone found culpable of corruption should not only forfeit their asset, but should also go to jail.

 

National Peace Committee, Buhari Discuss Nigeria’s Peace

Muhammadu-BuhariThe National Peace Committee for the 2015 General Elections, headed by former Head of State General Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd), has held a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

At the meeting held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday, talks were focused on how to sustain the peace that Nigeria had got after the general election.

The committee had brokered the signing of the peace accords between President Buhari and his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, ahead of the March 28 presidential poll.

Addressing reporters after the meeting, which lasted for about an hour, the catholic Bishop of Sokoto State, Bishop Matthew Kukah, said the peace committee had a role to still nurture the peace which Nigeria had got following the general elections.

The meeting is coming barely three days after former President Jonathan, had paid a secret visit to President Buhari at the residence.

Present at the meeting were General Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III and President of the Christian Association of Nigeria Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.

Also in attendance were Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Reverend Nicholas Okoh, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Cardinal John Onaiyekan, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mrs Priscilla Kuye and Senator Ben Obi.