Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bomb explodes near Christ Embassy church in Suleja

A bomb planted by an abandoned car exploded outside a church in the middle of a worship service Sunday in Suleja, Niger State, wounding five people amid a continuing wave of violence by a radical Islamist sect, authorities and witnesses said.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast outside the Christ Embassy church.

The explosion happened just after 10 a.m. as the church began its service, Pastor Uyi Idugboe told journalists. Security guards at the church had noticed something suspicious by the abandoned car, prompting the pastor to call everyone inside the church before the service began, he said.

The bomb also apparently had been wrapped with a motorcycle chain, which sent metal shrapnel flying everywhere when the explosive detonated, witnesses said. The explosion tore away the engine compartment of the abandoned car and damaged four other vehicles nearby.

One person was seriously injured in the blast and taken to a local hospital, local police spokesman Richard Oguche said. Another four people suffered minor injuries, said Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency.

Authorities began to put up roadblocks Sunday afternoon to keep onlookers away and traffic snarled around the city.

While police continued to investigate, suspicion for the blast immediately fell on Boko Haram, a group that has been waging increasingly bloody attacks against Nigeria's weak central government.

Christians urged to promote peace - Most Rev. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso

KADUNA - The Catholic Metropolitan Archbishop of Kaduna, Most Rev. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso has reminded Catholics and indeed all Christians to continue to promote peace and love of Christ, whatever situation they found themselves.

The Archbishop gave the admonition at the recent ordination of 13 new deacons for the Archdiocese of Kaduna. The ordination took place at St. Matthew’s Catholic Church, Kaduna. He stressed that since Jesus Christ, the prince of peace brought peace to our world, we as his brothers and sisters should try to make peace reign in our lives and world. He urged all

The local ordinary of Kaduna also reminded the new deacons that they have an obligation as ministers of the Word of God to see to the promotion of peace in the country and that as soon as they are ordained; they must know the kind of words they utter so that they don’t cause confusion among the people they lead.

Archbishop Ndagoso stated further that “either in good or bad times, we must remain followers of Christ.” He appealed to Christians throughout the country not to allow what is happening presently in some parts of the country to provoke them into seeking vengeance, since vengeance belongs to God.

The Archbishop pleaded for good leadership among religious leaders and urged them to preach peace to the people they are leading. He also said, in order for us to be true followers of Christ, we must be ready to become fools for the sake of the gospel. He further called on the newly ordained deacons to be patient and prayerful while preparing for their priestly ordination.

The parish priest of St. Mathew’s Catholic Church Rev. Fr. Peter Babangida Audu thanked the Archbishop for choosing his parish for the ordination. He also expressed his gratitude for all those who have come to attend the ceremony.

Source: Catholic News Service of Nigeria

Cash-lite Policy: Churches move to curtail the volume of Bank-bound cash

TO reduce the volume of cash collections, some religious organisations, including churches, may have embarked on a sensitisation programme that would encourage members fulfill their financial obligations to God through means other than cash.

This is in compliance with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Cash-lite policy already being implemented in Lagos and environs.

The move is expected to help the affected religious organisations, especially those with centralised accounting system, avoid “penalty charges” on funds in excess of the N1m daily deposit and withdrawal benchmark for corporate organisations, including churches.

The policy also stipulates a new maximum daily deposit and withdrawal limits of N150,000 for individuals.

But the CBN yesterday dissociated itself from banks allegedly implementing the deposit/withdrawal limits, re-ietrating its earlier position that the stipulated “penalty charge” of N100 for every N1000 in excess of the daily benchmark, must not be applied until March 30.

Mr. Mohammed Abdullahi, spokesman of the apex bank, noted that, although no customer had reported any case of being charged, any bank implementing the policy before March 30, 2012 would be doing so illegally.

“Nobody has ever reported to us that he or she has been charged by any bank. But we have said that this thing has been suspended until March 30; so, any bank doing that is doing it illegally,” Abdullahi told The Guardian on telephone.

Religious sources say, with the N1m benchmark for corporate bodies, it has become increasingly difficult to remit cash accruing from tithes, offerings, and other collections to designated bank accounts, as some branches of banks are already applying penalties to deposits and withdrawals in excess of 150,000 and N1 million as the case may be.

They also expressed discomfort on the penalty applied to the excess deposits, as the funds are meant for the use of the church.

A source hinted that, as a way out, leaders of some of the religious groups may be exploring the possibility of acquiring Point of Sale (PoS) machines for payment of tithes and offerings, while others have asked their members to consider making payments in cheques and bank drafts to reduce the volume of bank-bound cash.

Specifically, a leader in a Lagos Church requested that members, who have current accounts,should pay tithes with cheque.

“We will prefer Manager’s Cheque so that it would be easy for us to manage,” the leader announced after a church service.

Although the Lagos pilot project, which started in January, has a “window” period of three months, there has been what many refer to as miscarriage, by some bank branches, of the information handed down by their headquarters relating to full implementation of the deposit and withdrawal aspect of the cash-lite policy in Lagos.

While the some banks claim they are yet to start applying charges on excess deposits and withdrawals, some of their branches insist on the daily limits and apply the penalties as “appropriate.”

Source: The Guardian

Lent: Church canvasses aid for the needy

Kaduna - The Catholic Diocese of Kaduna Province on Sunday called on the faithful to contribute toward improving the lives of the less privileged in the society.

Rev. Fr. Michael Gadache, the Provincial Organising Committee Chairman, made the appeal in an interview in Kaduna at the launch of Lenten Campaign for the diocese.

Gadache said that arrangements for the event had reached their zenith as the faithful and other dignitaries were being sensitised to brace up for the success of the programme.

Meanwhile, Mr John Bagu, the Chairman of the Local Organising Committee,said that Rev Fr. Peter Babangida would preside over the event at the St. Pius X Catholic Church, Unguwar Romi, Kaduna South Local Government Area.

Bagu said the priest would deliver the day’s sermon on “No handy cause is unjust’’.

The chairman urged the faithful to donate for the sake of the needy and the provision of social amenities for other members of the society by the church.

He reminded the faithful that no good deed for human beings would go unrewarded by God as “the hands that give shall receive in multitudes.’’

Bagu said a book presentation, unveiling of banner and a fund raiser would feature on the occasion.

On his part, Archbishop Matthew Ndagoso of Kaduna Diocese urged the faithful to make generous donations and contributions to the needy and the church to enable them to be self- reliant.

He recalled that N12 million was realised during the 40-day fast last year and the proceeds used to provide social amenities for the church and the underprivileged.

Ndagoso said that the event would be held simultaneously in the 52 Catholic dioceses and vicariates of the church across the country on Feb. 26, with St. Pius X Catholic Church hosting the Kaduna activity at 10a.m.

The archbishop urged the faithful to honour the event being organised by Justice, Development and Peace/Caritas of the church.

He said lent was a period for sober reflection and renewal of faith and trust in God.

The archbishop renewed his call for the return of mission schools to their original owners as part of strategies to revive the country’s falling standard of education and morality.

Ndagoso said only the provision of “quality education’’ would solve the country’s socio-economic and political problems.

He said the provision of quality education would produce responsible, self-reliant, committed and patriotic citizens.

“It is an accepted norm all over the world that education is the bedrock of political, social, economic and even religious growth of any nation.

“It is in fact the key to the integral development of the human person,” he said.

According to him, the current national challenges of insecurity, youth restiveness and corruption can be overcome with sound education.

“I once again use this period of reflection to call on governments, especially at the state levels to hasten the process of returning schools to their owners in states where the process has begun and to encourage those states, especially in the northern part of the country to borrow a leaf from their southern counterparts.

“This is not a matter where sentiments of any sort should be allowed to rule. It is the future and the common good of our dear country that is at stake. Sound reasoning should and must be allowed to prevail,” Ndagoso said. (NAN)


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