Wednesday, December 26, 2012

CAN President, Oritsejafor Condemns Christmas Bombings

CAN President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, on Tuesday condemned the killing of no fewer than 12 worshippers in Potiskum, Yobe State and Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Monday when gunmen suspected to be members of dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram, attacked two churches in the Northern Nigerian towns.

Oritsejafor, who is the founder of Word of Life Bible Church in Warri, Delta state, described the incident as a “bestial act against a people exercising their rights to worship”.

He said, “It is highly disturbing and very barbaric; it is archaic. It is totally against God and anything that has to do with Him. You wonder how people will go to this extent in the name of God.

“Let us not continue to deny that there are jihadists, extremists and Islamists in this country. They are here. Let us agree that it is time for us to take certain steps to bring this madness to an end.”

He urged the worshippers in the area not to succumb to evil perpetrators by absconding their ancestral homes, stressing that doing so would be tantamount to cowardice.

Oritsejafor explained that although he was not cut out to disparage adherents of other faiths, the truth must be told.

He said, “Let me again say that I have high respect and regard for my Muslim friends and brothers. I’m not against Muslims. We need their help. We have been saying it and we will continue to say it. Not only do we appeal to them to condemn it, we are asking that they must help us take this message to the grassroots.

“We (Christians) are not their enemies. The clerics that preach in the mosques, they should help us spread this news. With this goodwill, they will be able to flush out those people from among them.”

The CAN President added, “These people are not really helping them. They are destroying their economy. When things like these happen, many (northern leaders) come out to condemn these acts. Condemning it as it is now is not enough. They must go a step further. They must condemn these acts. Nigeria belongs all of us and we must join hands together to make this nation what it is supposed to be.”

Nigerians should not lose hope – Okorocha, Clerics

Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha; Kogi State Christian Association of Nigeria Chairman Emmanuel Egbunu; and his Kwara State counterpart, Rev. James Foloranmi, have called on Nigerians to remain hopeful that the country will surmount its current challenges.

In their Christmas goodwill messages, the trio also emphasised the need for Nigerians to make sacrifice and live in harmony.

On their part, Kwara State House of Assembly Speaker Rasak Atunwa and Zaria Local Government CAN Chairman, Rev. Peter Giwa, urged Nigerians to forgive and tolerate one another.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, Okorocha advised Nigerians to shun armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism and corruption.

He said, “As Christians, we are expected to emulate Christ by showing love to the poor and the less privileged while upholding the values of Christianity.

Boko Haram Have Been Forgiven – Kaduna Catholic Diocese

The Bishop of Kaduna Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Mathew Ndagoso, yesterday said that the Church (Catholic) in the state had forgiven dreaded Islamist fundamentalist, Boko Haram, over the series of attacks on catholic churches in the state.

The cleric said they decided to forgive the sect since Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day as a peacemaker, stressing that forgiveness is one of the reasons why Christmas is celebrated.

Ndagoso said, “As we celebrate Christmas, we remember the killing of our members and bombing of our churches, particularly Saint Rita Catholic Church, Ungwan Yero, Badarawa, Kaduna. We can only pray for the souls of the departed to rest in peace.

“We thank the state government, individuals and different organisations for standing behind us during these turbulent times.

“There is nothing we can do to our enemies but to forgive them. This Christmas time. We must show love and forgive one another for peace to reign in our society.

“We should remember that over 2,000 years, during Jesus time on earth. He faced a similar persecution, humiliation and death in the hands of those that were supposed to love Him, but even at that He forgave them. He is born for our sake, and He died for our sake.

“So violence, being it religious, political, economic and social, has been there long time ago in the history of humanity.”

Yuletide: Jonathan drums support for Transformation Agenda

President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday called on the church to support the Federal Government's transformation agenda by helping to reform the attitudes of the citizenry. The president made the call during a Christmas service at the Cathedral of Advent (Anglican Communion), Life Camp, Abuja.

He said that the agenda of government could be made possible if the church, through its programmes and activities, reformed the lives of its members.

"The church has a great role to play if the transformation must be achieved because there can be no transformation without reformation.

"I want to call on the church to come up with programmes that will reform the lives of the people because what we see and hear about some Nigerians require genuine reformation of the people since reformation is critical to transformation,'' he said.

The president advised religious leaders in the country to enlighten their faithful on efforts made by government to reform the society.

Jonathan urged Nigerians to support government's programmes at all levels, noting that the continuous sabotage of its efforts would not lead the nation to greatness.

He congratulated Nigerians on the Christmas celebrations and assured them of government's commitment to making life better for them.

He said that the much-desired changes would be made in the different sectors of the economy but sued for patience.

Adeboye Urges Christians To Embrace Righteousness

The General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, on Tuesday urged Christians to turn to God and forsake their sinful ways.

Adeboye gave this advice at the `2012 Lets Go A-Fishing’, a soul-winning project of the church, that the faithful should embrace righteousness so as to attract God’s favour.

He said that any nation with the fear of God and filled with righteousness, would earn Gods’ favour.

“When God decides to favour you, it does not matter where you are, the favour of God will surely locate you.

“Once the favour of God locates you, it changes your destiny, you will get to the top and the blessing will flow to others.

“When God decides to favour you, you are empowered, it turns you into anointing and it brings you in contact with greatness. When God decided to favour David, He gave him power,’’ Adeboye said.

The cleric urged the congregation to live a holy life.

Pope slams Boko Haram, urges end to killings in Nigeria

Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday lamented "savage acts of terrorism" that frequently target Christian churches in Nigeria, during his traditional Christmas message. The pontiff prayed for "concord in Nigeria, where savage acts of terrorism continue to reap victims, particularly among Christians."

The Islamist extremist group Boko Haram has often targeted churches in its bloody insurgency, as well as police and other symbols of the establishment in Nigeria. Violence linked to the insurgency is believed to have left some 3,000 people dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces.

The violence is now worsened with the emergence of another terror group, the Ansaru, that claimed to have kidnapped French engineer, Frances Colump, in Rimi Katsina, Katsina State last week.

Pope Benedict also called for an "end to the bloodshed" and "a political solution" in conflict-wracked Syria in a traditional Christmas message that touched on several other of the world's conflict zones.

Gunmen Attack ECWA Church During Christmas Service, 6 Dead

Gunmen attacked a church in northern Nigeria during a midnight mass on Christmas Eve, killing six people including the pastor, before setting the building ablaze, residents and police said Tuesday.

“A group of gunmen came into the village at midnight and went straight to the church,” said Usman Mansir, a resident of Peri village near Potiskum, the economic capital of Yobe state.

“They opened fire on them, killing the pastor and five worshippers. They then set fire to the church,” he added, specifying that a branch of the Evangelical Church of West Africa (ECWA) was targetted.

A senior police official in Yobe confirmed the details to AFP, but declined to be named.

Yobe police chief Sanusi Rufa’i said “this is a security issue” and refused to comment further.

Boko Haram Islamists have carried out several attacks in Yobe, which borders the state of Maiduguri, where the insurgent group is based.

The Islamists are blamed for killing hundreds of people in northern Nigeria since 2009. It was not clear who was behind the latest violence.

While Yobe’s population is overwhelmingly Muslim, the commercial hub of Potiskum has a significant Christian minority. Peri is just two kilometres outside the city.


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