From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, has advised Nigerians, especially the youths, to eschew violent crime which, noticeably, is on the rise across Nigeria lately.
Archbishop Kaigama, though, admitted that there is poverty, deprivation and other social and economic inequalities in the society, but that shouldn’t be excuse for violent crimes and arm struggle against the state.
Archbishop Kaigama, in a homily delivered at Our Lady, Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral Catholic Church, Abuja, pointed at the nexus between the rise in insecurity in Nigeria and hopelessness of youths in the ability of government to push for their interest.
He said: “There are millions of Nigerians with grim hope 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 in the economic system.
He asked: “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, leaving the issue of spirituality and others. “Many people want a God who acts like a magician. Little wonder, many Christians tend to shun those 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 a 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.
“It’s not uncommon today that most people move from one church, religious house to another in search of signs and wonders, miracles, breakthroughs, favours, etc, and not because of their faith in God. They tend to forget to count their blessings and blame God for their misfortunes.
“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.”