Felix Ikem, Nsukka
The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Most Rev. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, has said that the greatest prisoners are those harbouring sins and evils in their hearts.
Bishop Onah said this, on Wednesday, in Nsukka, when he visited inmates of the Nsukka prison to celebrate Christmas with them.
In his words, “If you are harbouring evil in your heart the devil will keep you a prisoner forever and St. Paul tells us that ‘the worst prison is to be a prisoner to sin; if you are free in Jesus Christ, no one can keep you; there is no law against you. If we live by the spirit we should also walk by the spirit.
“If you don’t free yourself, even when you are released from prison you will be worse off.
“Why some people are here locked up is because of sin; either their own sin or the sin of another person.
“It is clear to me that some people here are innocent. I will always tell the prisoners; you are not the worst criminals in Nigeria; there are people worse than you and some of them are moving around with sirens.
“Some of you are here because you are poor; you don’t have anybody to talk and speak for you. However, the greatest prisoner is the person harbouring sin and evil in his heart,” he said.
Bishop Onah urged the inmates to pray for those they think are their enemies, stressing that when Christ was being crucified, he continued to say: ‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they do.’
He also charged them on the need to utilise the time they have while in prison to learn something new that would help them once they were out of prison.
“Learn something new. There are some who can sing well; some who can sew clothes and so on. Learn from them. Llearn how to read and write. Get out of this place better than you came.
“If you came to prison because of something you did, promise yourself that once you leave the prison you will be a different person.
“No matter how hard your life is, it is better that you decide where to sleep than somebody tells you where to sleep. That is what freedom means.”