AFRICA/NIGERIA - On the occasion of the start of Lent, the Bishops have multiplied their appeals for peace and reconciliation

Friday, 4 March 2022 peace   reconciliation   bishops   lent  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - Building peace through mutual forgiveness and education. This is the appeal launched in their Lenten messages by various Bishops in Nigeria. "Our leaders here in the north should make education their first priority rather than struggling for political powers", said His Exc. Mgr. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso, Archbishop of Kaduna, northern Nigeria, where the movement Boko Haram (which means "Western education is prohibited") was born, whose violence continues to destabilize this area of the Country.
"The Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East is simply because of lack of education, the northern part of the country has held power more than any other part of this country and if there is any part of this country that should enjoy education, it should be the north and here we are, we are worst in almost everything", denounced the Archbishop.
But violence (physical, verbal and psychological) is also on the rise in the south-east of the country (see also Fides, 2/3/2022), as stated by His Mgr. Peter Ebere Okpaleke, Bishop of Ekwulobia, Nigeria.
The Bishop of the diocese in the south-eastern part of Nigeria notes that "aggression and intimidation are elevated to a lifestyle and a technique for survival.
Yet at the center of our Christian vocation is the enthronement of a "civilization of love", as Pope Saint John Paul II formulated it". Msgr. Ebere affirms that "for us it is therefore necessary to review our attitude towards violence on the one hand, reconciliation, mutual respect, cordiality and solidarity on the other". A conversion that begins to manifest itself in the language used because - recalls the Bishop - "Words are the windows of our heart".
The Archbishop of Lagos His Exc. Msgr. Alfred Adewale Martins, during the first broadcast of the Lenten reflections entitled: "A return trip", on the occasion of Ash Wednesday, invited politicians and lying preachers to repent. Msgr. Martins also asked corrupt public officials, and those who commit violent crimes and kidnappings, to repent while they are in time.
Finally, the Archbishop invited the faithful to pray for peace in Ukraine. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 4/3/2022)