Banditry, Kidnapping For Ransom, Blood Sheds Must Stop – Rev Fr Onyema

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*says religion must not be used to divide
By; NICHOLAS DEKERA, Kaduna


Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna, Reverend Fr. Stephen Onyema, has said  that insecurity occasioned by terrorism, banditry, kidnapping for ransom and blood shed must stop in Nigeria.
Speaking during breaking of fast in Kaduna on Friday, organized by the Catholic Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria, (CAMPAN) Kaduna chapter, Rev Fr. Onyema said, “banditry, kidnapping for ransom and blood shed are not part of us, neither are they part of our culture and customs, hence such devilish acts must be condemned by all.
He averred that the Lenten season and Ramadan are periods of fasting, praying and alms giving, adding that it is also a time to repent, relent, return and be redeemed. 
He urged Nigerians to use the periods of Lent and Ramadan to seek the face of God for an end to evil and terrorism in the country and Kaduna State.
“Let us use this season to pray for all those who are still in the hands of kidnappers, that God will bring them back to us safe and sound.
“We must pray for the conversion of the perpetrators of these evil acts.  Both religions must pray for the peaceful repose of the souls killed in our nation and state.
“We must seize the opportunity to pray and promote the common good of every Nigerian.
“Every human being is believed to have come from one God.  In our diversity, we still  believe in one God the creator and maker of all things. Every human being is believed to be political and spiritual.
“Dear friends, our diversity should be seen as a blessing not a curse. It should be seen as  an educating and uniting force in our nation, institutions and state.
“No man is an island, we all need each other to make progress in life. We all need each other to  build a better nation.
“We have over three hundred tribes in Nigeria and three major religions. We must not be seen competing with each other. We must support one  another in every possible way. 
“Religion must not be used as a dividing line. Very soon elections will be around the corner, please let us encourage people to vote competence and credibility, other than party, religion and ethnicity.
“We must put the Nigerian project first. We must push for the unity and success of our nation above personal interests,” he stated.
While looking forward to making the event an annual one, the Director of Social Communications, appreciated the initiators and organisers, saying it is first of its kind.
He also commended the Catholic Social Center Management for providing CAMPAN with a conducive environment for the event.
Speaking on Christian perspective, a Director of Christian-Muslim Peace Unity and Development Initiative, Mr. Diji Obadiah, said what brings peace and peaceful coexistence in any given society is when people love one another as the scripture enjoin us to do.
He urged Nigerians to tolerate and  respect one another, share with kindness, and think positively.
In his contributions, Chairman of Interreligious Dialogue Commission, Catholic Archdiocese Kaduna, Honourable Philip Yusuf Arage, said the Catholic Church has been involved in dialogue for over seven years, adding that dialogue is not an option, but imperative.
The chairman who disclosed that he is one of founders of “Cross News” a Catholic Church news digest, said just before the event, the church finished a synod on solidarity.
He said all through the programme, they were able to get opinions of African traditional leaders, Muslims, people from other beliefs, and those who do not belong. 
He added that the coming together of people with different faith at this point in time that Nigeria is about to go through elections with attendants serious campaigns, they need to be bridge builders.
“On March 28, 2022 the church had programme on dialogue and security, and we were able to invite people from different faith, Commissioner of Police, DSS, 1 Div, among others. I’m happy to see the breaking of fast is also coming on board.
“For us to continue in peace, the role of the fourth estate of the realm can never be overemphasized.
“Media practitioners are not to underestimate their value and number because the power of living in peace and successfully holding the economy of the country rests on communication, it is a vital aspect,” he said.

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