From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, has deplored the uneven distribution of wealth describing it as corruption.
The cleric advised Nigerians, especially youths, to eschew violent crimes and arm struggle against the state, which he lamented was on the rise.
He acknowledged that the country was ravaged by poverty, deprivation and other social and economic inequalities but warned that they should serve as no excuse for youths to engage in any form of crime.
He stated this in a homily delivered at Our Lady, Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral Catholic Church, Abuja, where he said ongoing insecurity had threatened food supplies as farmers could no longer go to farm to plant and harvest produce. He also spoke about the nexus between the rise in insecurity and the hopelessness of youths in government fighting their cause.
“There are millions of Nigerians with grim hopes to earn their daily bread because of unemployment. It’s however no excuse to take to criminal or violent actions that threaten commercial or agricultural activities and peaceful coexistence. We must use peaceful means to appeal to government to do what is necessary. And government must respond quickly so that the large poor populations may not be forced into unending illicit or criminal activities. Corruption in the distribution of national resources must be eliminated.”
Archbishop Kaigama pointed to the recently flagged-off 774,000 Federal Government jobs in which each participant was expected to receive N20,000 for three months, querying the impact it has had on beneficiaries.
“What impact has been made? Let us know the identity of the beneficiaries and the quality of help rendered to them. We must cultivate a new and better way of living honestly and justly. When Nigerians pray, let it not be about a litany of physical/material needs, but also for honesty to take roots in the hearts of both the poor and privileged Nigerians; so that we are able to discharge our duties honestly with a very strong sense of charity and fairness.”
Archbishop Kaigama, however, accused some pastors of focusing on prosperity gospel and leaving the issue of spirituality.
“Many people want a God who acts like a magician. Little wonder, many Christians tend to shun preachers who tell the truth about genuine gospel values, such as dignity of work, honesty, justice, truth, morality repentance, charity, and follow those who market the prosperity gospel, and engage in superficial worship that call on God only when there’s a need, thus seeing God as a judge or a policeman or a generous farmer who provides meat, watermelons, onions, cucumbers, etc.
“We may, unarguably, be going through hard times in our nation but we must be careful not to complain inordinately. It’s one thing to ask God for favour, it is quite another thing to act before Him as if He owes us a debt to be paid back. We must re-examine our motive for following God. If we follow only for ephemeral desires, these desires will prevent us from appreciating the goodness of God, and will hold us in spiritual bondage.Our relationship with God must not be based on how many material things He is able to provide for us, but our genuine desire to serve Him.”