From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke has decried the increasing rate of violence in Nigeria and appealed to the citizens to show love to one another instead of hatred.
Delivering his Easter Message titled “Be Your Brother’s Keeper”, at the Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity, Onitsha yesterday, Archbishop Okeke said Jesus Christ accepted the Cross to save the human race.
He noted Jesus Christ suffered and died to win eternal happiness for humans who are his brothers and sisters. In other words, he implied that Jesus died to give life while he also died to be His brother’s keeper.
The Archbishop regretted that today in Nigeria, there is too much violence ranging from battle with kidnappers, bandits, killer- herdsmen, Boko Haram insurgents, not to mention, political violence coming from those who see political office as do or die battle.
Archbishop Okeke who also celebrated Easter with the inmates of Onitsha Correctional Services called on all Nigerians and all men and women of goodwill to be their brother’s and sister’s keeper.
“If you believe that there is only one God who created all human beings then stop killing others because they are your brothers and sisters. The blood of our brothers and sisters being killed by herdsmen, by bandits, by Boko Haram and kidnappers are crying to God for vengeance. If we want a glorious future, let us work for it today. If we want a better country let us be our brothers’ keeper”
He also urged the government to look into the country’s security structures.
“As the saying goes, if you build good walls around your house or your palace and fail to build the character of your gateman – if your gatemen are murderers and thieves, then you are still living with the enemy in your palace, your beautiful walls notwithstanding. In the spirit of Easter, following the example of Christ who sacrificed himself to save mankind, let us make the necessary sacrifices to be our brother’s keeper. When we become our brother’s keeper, we will share in the victory of Christ who triumphed over suffering and death and rose from the dead.” He said.
Also addressing the inmates of Onitsha Correctional Centre, the Archbishop asked them to ensure that they leave the prison walls better and reformed than the way they came.
He prayed for the Correctional Services authorities and other security agents in the state who recently lost some of their personnel to gunmen attack while on official duty urging the perpetrators to stop such dangerous development.
He presented various items to the inmates including food items, a live cow, cakes, detergents, toiletries and other household provisions.
Chaplain of the Maximilian Kolbe Chaplaincy, Rev. Fr. Nonso Okpalugo and the Controller Prisons, Anambra, Mr Emma Nwakaeze commended the Archishop for his unflinching care and support for the welfare of the inmates over the years.
They also expressed optimism that the multi-million naira skill acquisition centre provided by the Archbishop to the inmates will commence full operations soon.