Page 1

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...turning lives to Christ

Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

The family is under siege - Rev Fr. Kingsley Idaewor

Developing A Family Financial Management Habit

Nazareth:

A model for family life

The future of humanity depends on the family… Archbishop Adewale Martins

When ‘’good’’ people leave ‘’bad’’ people to play politics, bad people will make laws which good people must obey PAGE 36-39»


$ ($    ( " %'&    "   ! We’ve been called a “ticking time bomb.â€? #"we’re not a “lost generation.â€?

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Contents

Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

3

Will All Catholics Go To Hell? PAGE 5 Boko Haram Insurgency, an anomaly in Nigeria`s socio-religious environment PAGE 8-9 Church Position on Rights of Gay People Explained PAGE 46» Quality Education Right of all Citizens - Papal Nuncio PAGE 11

PAGE 18-22»

What the Gun Cannot Kill PAGE 12-13 How Catholic Priest abducted by gunmen escaped death PAGE 31-32

Developing A Finding career Family Financial Battling a Barbaric Culture direction Management PAGE 29-30» Habit PAGE 40-42» PAGE 14-15»

Family PAGE 34-35»

Nazareth: A model for family life Publisher Remi Emeka Njoku

When ‘’good’’ people leave ‘’bad’’ people to play politics, bad people will make laws which good people must obey

PAGE 36-39»

...turning lives to Christ

©Copyright all rights reserved

Published by Economic News Associates Ltd Suite B2, Glory Shopping Complex, 229 Ikotun- Idimu Road, Council Bus Stop Idimu, Lagos, Nigeria. Phone: 07080129333

CEO/Editor in Chief Chris Okeke Editor Innocent Duru Design/ Production Kelechi Okoro-Emmanuels Admin Tim Eto

Finance Vivian Njoku Contributors Dr Ezeh O. Godwin Mark Ogu Chidi Ajah Okechukwu Nwobu Monsignor Francis Ogunmodede Rev. Fr. Bonaventure Ashibi Rev. Fr. Kingsley Idaewor Rev. Fr. Innocent Ikhazoboh Opogah Rev. Fr. James Chiemene Rev. Fr. Michael Afrifa

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Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

Editorial Suit

Welcome Brethren in the vineyard of the Lord.

T Remi Emeka Njoku

We also want to use this platform to continually serve as well as educate the Catholic faithful on contemporary, incisive, burning issues and the position of the church on such issues. Nigerian Catholic Reporter

his maiden edition of the Nigerian Catholic Reporter may come as a surprise to many considering its distinctive characteristics and rich content. You will however be quickly comforted that as an appreciative maiden prepping up for her suitors, promoters of this niche publication have taken the pain to serve you the word of God refreshingly, pleasurably and differently using the Lagos Archdiocesan Year of the Family 2014 as a launching platform. Besides, the launch period was carefully chosen to coincide with the Easter period. As you are aware, the Easter period is the most important season in the Christian calendar. The period evokes feelings of well-being and morality after Christians had gone through the rigours associated with the piety of the Lenten season in the quest for righteousness. It is a season of unbridled optimism; it is the world’s most exciting Christian season when religion, leisure, commerce and festivities fuse into one grand orgy of celebrations. Brethren, you will recall the words of a former American cabinet member, William Bennett, who said that the most serious problems afflicting our society today are manifestly moral, behavioural and spiritual and are therefore remarkably resistant to political solutions. It is on this premise that the editorial board of the Nigerian Catholic Reporter has carefully chosen to anchor this maiden edition with a reflection on the basic truth about our morals and spiritual life using the family as a platform, more so, when the Archdiocese of

Lagos has chosen the year 2014 as the Year of the Family. We were particularly excited with the homily from our Lord Bishop, the Most Reverend Alfred Adewale Martins at the inaugural ceremony last February, hence our resolve to use his invaluable homily as our maiden edition’s cover. We strongly believe it will be worth your time not just to read, but to reflect upon and practice on daily basis and that you will be richly blessed by it. We also want to use this platform to continually serve as well as educate the Catholic faithful on contemporary, incisive, burning issues and the position of the Church on such issues. Some of these issues include Gay/Homosexuality that is currently tearing the Church apart, and attempts by a few to redefine the uniqueness of the family in ways that do not reflect God’s plan for the family, the barbaric culture of female genital mutilation. You will also find so many carefully chosen interesting articles on personal finance, the family and catechesis which would lift your spirit. All these were made possible because we believe that human relations will be better ordered where there is wholesome respect for God and his will. It is also our belief that God is in the business of making changes in our society using the supernatural agents of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. He is changing people, local churches in communities, cities, states and nations. Be a part of this change by contributing your quota towards the crusade to rid our nation of all forms of vices as we progress on our way to salvation through Christ Jesus. Amen.


Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

The Question

All Catholics in the world will go to hell because they worship Satan and are led by an Anti-Christ Pope who is a friend of the devil. The Catholic Church is a counterfeit church set up by Satan and Catholics bow to idols and crucify Jesus every Sunday when they eat bread claiming they are eating Jesus’ body. They are not Christians and have never been. They don’t know Jesus. They believe that when they eat bread on Sunday, they are eating the body of Jesus. It’s ritual. Pope Francis is an Anti-Christ who does the job of the devil and that time is fast approaching when the Catholic Church will pledge allegiance to Satan. They don’t believe in heaven. They believe in purgatory, the purgatory that they invented. That church, the Catholic Church has been there for Satan and at the right time, they will declare for Satan.

No The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Adewale Martins

?

Will All Catholics Go To Hell?

Yes:

Rev. Chris Okotie, Pastor, Household of God Church

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: In the first instance, such a statement would have been driven either by ignorance or ill will, but I would rather insist that that kind of statement was made in complete ignorance of what the Catholic Church is all about. With the teaching of the scriptures and tradition that have guided the Catholic Church all these centuries, one would have expected that before a statement that evaluates a group of people is made, effort would have been made to understand what they are about, know the values they stand for and from their own point of view rather than that of the person talking. I think that would have given him the opportunity to make a proper evaluation. But that evaluation is derived from complete ignorance of what the Catholic Church is all about. And in any case,

it is certainly not Christian way of life for anyone to condemn others to hell just by his own fiat. Judgment belongs to God and it is only God that can decide where anyone goes. And so, that statement was certainly made in a way that is really rather crass, not thoroughly thought-out before it was made. His comment that Catholic Church is a counterfeit church set up by Satan, where they bow down to idols and crucify Jesus every Sunday when they eat bread claiming they are eating Jesus’ body made it clear to me that Rev. Chris Okotie is completely ignorant of what the Catholic Church stands for. The Catholic Church is one that was founded on the rock of St. Peter - Church which Christ Himself founded and from which other churches separated, for one reason or the other. And so, if one is looking for a counterfeit church, it is certainly not the one everybody separated from. Such statement doesn’t really tell a good story about a genuine man of God. Rev. Chris Okotie, saying that at the Eucharist, we are killing Christ every time we go to mass is also complete ignorance. Each time a Catholic goes to Mass, he or she does so to receive the Word of God, as explained in the homily. And in addition to that, he or she receives the blood and body of Christ, as Christ Himself reflected in the Gospel according to John, that ‘unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you cannot have life in you and whoever eats my body and drinks my blood, has eternal life’. These are spiritual quotes, which anybody that is really interested in knowing the truth would be able to find out. And I would advise that what one doesn’t understand, one shouldn’t speak too loudly about. Rather one should first of all make efforts to understand what one wants to say.

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Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

Entrepreneurship

People think we are a lost generation but we think we are generation enterprise - Gerald Kierce Generation Enterprise is an incubator programme that integrates so-called unemployable youth into local economies as entrepreneurs, employers and community leaders. The model is innovative and adapts silicon valley learn start –up methodology to bottom –of-the –pyramid markets and reduces the risk of starting new street-youth-led businesses. In this interview, Gerald Kierce the chief marketing officer of the organization and Bunmi Otigbade spoke with Chris Okeke and threw more light on the modus operandi of the organization and its achievements so far Otigbade Your experience in Nigeria Since I came to Nigeria my experience has been great. I have actually seen first time, how many of the entrepreneurs we are partnering with have completely changed their lives. Some of them have seen more than 50 per cent increases in income, some of them have bought houses, they have got married, they have increased their personal savings they have bought and created new shops and hired people into the company. We have seen this incredible transformation from people that used to work in the streets and don’t have jobs or have odd jobs and having difficult times. Through Generation Enterprise we are training them, we are providing them with business skills that they learn, we have actually been able to improve their situation and that has particularly

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been impactful with me because coming from Washington DC I have always had a passion for International Relations and International Development and I have always had particular passion with Africa. Most of my College friends in University back home were from Africa, Malawi, Kenya and Nigeria and I always want to come to Nigeria. When I came to Nigeria I had first hand information on the poverty level but also the opportunity. I think that has been very impactful, seeing that people are ready to work but need a push like partners that believe in them to really make things happen and I think we gonna see a movement right now that redefines how we think about our generation. People think we are a lost generation but we think we are generation enterprise a generation that can truly create and change peoples’ lives.

Can your beneficiaries be absorbed by other industries?

Yes I say a big yes because what we have been trying to give them is not vocational training. Many of them go to vocational training school and at the end of the day they are still unemployed. You know how to make a cake but you are still unemployed and you know how to make a shoe. So our job is that they understand how to set up a business, and how to run a business. So, everything from marketing, getting customers, accounting, keeping track of your goods, fund raising, feasibility reports because everybody gets to write a business plan. So all of those things that are needed to run a business we impart. Now, that kind of training is not industry specific, it cuts across industries. So your question is, will they be able to work in other jobs like in a shop in Shoperight and the an-


Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

Kierce swer is yes because with the kind of training we give them they are trained to think like the owner of the business. So you are not just going to work and being late you understand that coming late means that powers are been run. So what we do is not just job training, it is entrepreneurial training. And one unique thing about this training is this, many NGOs in Nigeria just do training but if you have been trained without experiencing the job it is nothing. But what we do and one of the best things about the model is this. We find some of our youth from maybe vocational centres where they have already learnt vocational training or from NGOs. Some of them used to be drug addicts that have been rehabilitated. And you know that if you are a drug addict after your rehabilitation and you don’t have something to do there is the possibility that you will fall back. Like one of our staff a professional prostitute in

Suru Lere, her boss came to collect her. It is that horrible. The ones that have shown commitment to change their lives we recruit them. Then we find the ones that are entrepreneurial because it is not everybody that is entrepreneurial. I think that is a big mistake that we make. You find a lot of youth just want a stable job, just want to go to where they will pay them something at the end of every month. And there are some that they will never work for anybody, just show him how to do it and he will run with it. We then do training. When we met in 2011, our training used to last for about three to four months. Then we realised that talk is cheap. So we shortened the training to 3 weeks because what really needs to be happening is testing the business ideas. So if we sit down in a training camp and we agree on a project we mobilise the beneficiary to start. That testing is about 3-4 months. After a while, he would realise that it is not as easy as you were thinking when you were in class. Secondly, you can refine your customers. Because you might have realised that your target market has no money to buy from you. So, gradually the trainee moves away from unrealistic market and focus his attention or viable market and customers. At the same time he would be keeping tag of his raw materials requirements, transportation costs and his salary. If you are hiring somebody else to do the work you must pay salary so if you are working for yourself you must pay yourself salary as well. So all those bit s of tenets in running a business we teach them. And they get a chance to practice for 3-4 months. There is something we call pivoting. If you find out that something is not working, make a change immediately. It is about making small changes and understanding how those small changes affect the overall business. That’s what we do in the testing period which is within 3-4 months. What that does to Generation Enterprise is that we get the chance to evaluate the human being. Again, when you met us in 2011, we were an NGO taking care of everybody but it is no longer that way. Then we will give money and people will run away with the money. That period gives us the chance to know the people we give money to. If you see somebody who has been running a business for 4 months and for one day he does not have a record of how much he made and how much he is spending, that is the guy you are looking for but for the guy who gives you a lot of excuses that is not the person. We will be able to tell who is who. And this brings us to the investment stage where we say this business Idea or this entrepreneur

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we believe in you, we believe in the business idea and number three this business model we believe in it. Now given all these three, we have sufficient confidence then we believe in it and then we begin to support the business and the ultimate goal really is to hire as many people as you can and as the business can take. Gerald In addition to what Bunmi mentioned that was great, I will also add that one of the main reasons why Generation Enterprise has been able to shape their models to have more impact at the testing stage is that we actually collect our data that helps us analyse the business in terms of performance, analyse the entrepreneurs. It helps us analyse the customers, where we are getting them from, why, and how to track them and all of that. Data gathering and analysis is also very important in driving the model.

Funding criteria

At this stage guess how much I give them? N2000. They always laugh and ask, what am I going to do with N2000? But the truth is that funding would always be limited. There is nowhere on earth where you have all the fund to build whatever you want. So it is important for you to start where you are and that is one of the lessons. If I give you N2000 to start a business, your brain starts to work because you are now constrained to use what you have. I give you an example: A young man knew how to make a bottle of Izal and I think he combined the N2000 with somebody. They bought the raw materials did everything. They made 98 bottles of the Izal and sold it for N9800 total so they more than doubled the initial N4000 capital. That’s why I said when you are limited in funding your brain begins to think and find ways of going round the whole challenges. When you feel you have the money then you go out and do whatever you want to do. If I had given him N200 000 he will go to the shop and buy new bottles because he had only two thousand Naira. The Izal was made for near a refuse dump for refuse scavengers who pick trash there, and needed to disinfect their hands because they are picking trash there all he had to do was to go and collect empty bottles from them. So we teach them limitations and what to do when confronted with limited funds. After this stage we get to the investment stage where we give them about $700 or about N100, 000 which attracts interest over a year. To be continued in the next edition

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Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

News

Boko Haram insurgency, an anomaly in Nigeria`s socioreligious environment Cardinal Onaiyekan From CNSN News Online

T

he Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan has described the Boko Haram insurgency as an anomaly in the socio-religious environment of the Nigerian nation which does not truly reflect the country’s Muslim/Christian relationship. The cardinal made this assertion in a paper presented at the Study Day on Religion Freedom organized by the German Bishops’ Conference, Muenster, Germany, recently. In the paper, the cardinal gave a vivid picture of the Nigerian situation in the political, socioeconomic and religious life of the country, pointing out that

T

Archdiocese of Lagos Creates New Deaneries

in spite of the cordiality existing between the majority of the faithful of the two religions in the country, “some problems still defy adequate solution; while there are still some outstanding issues to be clarified”. Tracing the genesis of the Boko Haram insurgency in the country, Cardinal Onaiyekan spoke on the several efforts aimed at bringing the situation under control through continuous military, political and religious dialogue. Commenting on the effectiveness of the military counter action against the insurgents, Cardinal Onaiyekan pointed out that the ability of the group to have eluded the massive military onslaught and make sporadic attacks on soft targets areas, killing innocent people includ-

he Archdiocese of Lagos, has as part of its expansion programme, increased the number of deaneries in the Metropolis from five to 15. According to a press release issued from the office of the Metropolitan, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, the creation of the new deaneries was to facilitate the physical and spiritual growth of the Archdiocese and “to enhance our service in the administration of the Archdiocese.” With the new development, former Badagry Deanery was divided into three – Badagry, Festac and Sattelite Town Deaneries; while former Agege Deanery was divided into Agege and Ipaja

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ing students, clearly shows the “need for this to be complimented by other strategies that would somehow convince the terrorists to give up their violent intentions”. On the role of a political dialogue to bring the situation under control, the local ordinary of Abuja noted that: “It was an open secret that some of those who lost out in the last elections were still licking their wounds” and could therefore be facilitating the activities of the terrorists, group or deliberately refusing to assist the government in dealing with the situ-

Deaneries. Former Mainland Deanery becomes Surulere and Yaba Deaneries; former Ikeja Deanery becomes of Ikeja, Ikorodu and Maryland Deaneries while Lagos Island Deanery remains intact, “except for some parishes that were joined with other parishes from Badagry and Mainland Deaneries to create Isolo Deanery. Former Lekki Deanery has now become Lekki and Epe Deaneries. The Deans for the Deaneries were appointed as follows: . Badagry Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Eddie Hartnett SMA; Festac Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Jerome Akinyemi; Satellite Town Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Francis Ike; Isolo Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Matthew Ogunyase; Ipaja


Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

ation. He continued: “On its part, government was pointing accusing fingers at the opposition parties, accusing them of sponsoring and abetting terrorism”. He however added: “ It would seem that better reason is now prevailing. All the political forces have now realized that we are facing a common menace and all need to join hands to deal with it. A good example of such common action of differing political forces is the modality of the imposition of the state of emergency

by the Federal Government over states in the North East under opposition parties, leaving the governors in place.” The religious dimension of the crisis according to him, cannot be wished away and this makes it imperative for religious leaders in the country to facilitate peaceful reconciliation; adding: “Unfortunately, this has not happened,” particularly on the part of the apex Christian/Moslem contact group – the Nigerian Interreligious Council (NIREC).

Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Stephen Enearu and Ikeja Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Patrick Obayomi. Others are: Ikorodu Deanery, Very Rev. Fr.Augustine Medaiyedu CMF; Agege Deanery, Very Rev. Msgr. Christopher Boyo; Maryland Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Fadairo; Lekki Deanery, Very Rev. Msgr. Francis Ogunmodede; Epe Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Ethelbert Ukpabi; Apapa Deanery, Very Rev. Msgr. Anthony Erinle; Lagos Island Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Anthony Oyeniyi; Yaba Deanery, Very Rev. Fr. Felix Onomhegie OP and Surulere Deanery, Very Rev. Msgr. Bernard Okodua The statement stated further: “With the creation of the new deaneries, it

He however added that at different levels, religious bodies and other concerned groups have been carrying out interfaith actions and initiatives aimed at addressing the issue. Cardinal Onaiyekan also spoke on the issue of freedom of religion in Nigeria, reiterating the fact that the country has no state religion but rather, it is the “greatest Islam-Christian nation in the world” with the faithful of the dominant Moslem and Christian religions living in harmony with each other and people of other faiths. He said: “Because of our occasional and sporadic outburst of ethnoreligious violent clashes, there is the unfortunate tendency to overlook the very important fact that in the normal lives of our people, there is a commendable measure of peaceful and harmonious living together across religious lines”. He added: “Apart from Fridays and Sundays, when we go our different ways for weekly worship, we live most of our lives as citizens of the same nation, living and struggling to live under the same socio-economic conditions and sometimes members of the same family. One only needs to visit any government office, market or business premises to appreciate this fact.”

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The religious dimension of the crisis according to him, cannot be wished away and this makes it imperative for religious leaders in the country

has become necessary to reconfigure the structure of the regions as well. So we now have the following regions and their constitutive deaneries: Lagos Region shall be composed of Surulere, Yaba, Apapa and Lagos Island Deaneries. Ikeja Region shall be made up of Ikeja, Ikorodu, Agege, Maryland and Ipaja Deaneries. Badagry Region shall be made up of Badagry, Festac, Sattelite Town and Isolo Deaneries. Lekki Region shall be made up of Lekki and Epe Deaneries”. “The Episcopal Vicars of these regions retain their positions taking note of the adjustments to their various jurisdictions,” the statement concluded.

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Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

Family Health Dr Ezeh O. Godwin MPH

Malaria

M

alaria is one of the most widespread diseases in the world. Hundreds of millions of people are affected by malaria. It is a preventable disease caused by the parasite plasmodium. There are four types of the parasite: plasmodium falciparum, plasmodium vivax, plasmodium malariae and plasmodium ovale. In Nigeria, about 98% of malaria is caused by plasmodium falciparum.

Mode of Infection

The female anopheles mosquito is the vector implicated in malaria transmission. When the female of this particular specie bites a patient who has malaria, she draws up a small quantity of blood containing the parasites. These parasites then pass through several stages of development within the mosquito’s body, and finally find their way to its salivary glands. There they lie in wait for an opportunity to enter the blood stream of the next individual the mosquito bites. When eventually the mosquito bites another uninfected person, the mosquito transfers the parasite to the uninfected person. Mosquitoes bite more at night. Malaria can also be contacted through blood transfusion and mother-to-child transmission during child birth.

Diagnosis

Malaria can be diagnosed by signs and symptoms and laboratory investigations. Malaria may be uncomplicated or severe. Uncomplicated malaria, initially is not life threatening but severe malaria may be life threatening. Signs and Symptoms Uncomplicated Malaria may include:

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• Hotness of body above 37.5oc and higher • Enlargement of liver and spleen • Joint pains • Loss of appetite • Pallor (paleness in color of the eyes) Severe Malaria • May include signs and symptoms of uncomplicated malaria • Vomiting • Weakness, tiredness • Chest pain/difficulty in breathing • Yellow coloration of the eye • Yellow urine • Hypoglycaemia (abnormally low level of blood sugar) • Inability to talk • Confusion • Less urine production Prevention and Control Mosquito is the host of malaria parasite. Prevention and control of malaria is aimed at preventing mosquitoes from biting man or eliminating it com-

pletely. Prevention and control of malaria can be achieved through: • Adequate environmental sanitation including effective refuse disposal • Weeding of grasses around living areas • Disinfection of drain-

ages • Removal of stagnant water and destruction of objects that retain water • Use of insecticide treated bed nets • Preventive treatment for pregnant women

Treatment

Malaria can be treated successfully with available anti-malaria drugs. When you suspect that you have malaria, please visit the nearest health care provider for evaluation and proper treatment. Dr Ezeh O. Godwin MPH (Nig) BM BCh (Jos)


Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

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News

Quality education right of all citizens - Papal Nuncio From CNSN News Online

T

he Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Kasujja has described quality education as the right of all citizens adding that collaboration between Church and State is a paramount factor for the realization of this objective. Archbishop Kasujja made this remarks in his goodwill message at the opening ceremony of this year’s first plenary meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), held at the conference hall of Our Lady Queen of Nigeria ProCathedral Church, Area 3, Abuja, recently. Describing the theme of the conference: Church

and State Partnership in Providing Quality Education for the Nigerian People as apt and timely, Archbishop Kasujja noted education as a pressing issue that needs committed attention because the country has millions of young people looking for the best education to prepare for their future. According to him, “The Holy See continues to take interest not only in the purely Church religious affairs but also in the cause of peace, reconciliation and social development in all the continents.” The Papal Nuncio reiterated the commitment of the Holy Father, Pope Francis to the evangelization mission of the Church, plight of the poor, collaboration among all the peoples of the world

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and entrenchment of justice and equity. While speaking on the first year of the Holy Father in office, Archbishop Kasujja said: “His impact and personality make it clear that the world and the Church today need a deepening of the faith and a conversion of the soul in order to build new bridges which would permit everyone to be more committed for the progress, peace, and dignity of every man and woman.” Archbishop Kasujja congratulated the Bishops’ Conference on the efforts in ensuring the commencement of educational activities at the Abuja campus of the Veritas University; state governors who have returned missionary schools or are engaged in collaboration with the

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Church in the education sector as well as the installation of Archbishop Gabriel ‘Leke Abegunrin as the new Metropolitan of Ibadan province. He also wished the former Metropolitan, Most Rev. Felix Alaba Job, a fruitful retirement. The nuncio also used the occasion to announce his appointment as the permanent Observer of the Holy Father at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the creation of a new ecclesiastical jurisdiction for Maronite Catholics resident in West and Central Africa, by the Holy See. The seat of the jurisdiction will be in Ibadan with Rev. Fr. Simon Fadoul, a Lebanese priest in charge.

N250,000 N150,000 N100,000 N500,000 N200,000 N280,000 N260,000 N260,000 N250,000 N10,000 N20,000 N100,000

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Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

Feature

What the gun cannot

I

(Culled from CSNS Online)

nteresting, many print and electronic media reported on March 12, 2014 that the “Military claim success in terrorist uprising”! Many people thought that the end of terrorism has dawn on Nigeria when the Defence Ministry claimed that captured extremists said that their clerics “declared that the operation of the sect had come to an end as the mission could no longer be sustained.” On the other hand, House of Assembly Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said that the country has run out of excuses for its inability to defend her citizens against “an orgy of deaths, destruction and waste.” This euphoria of the dawn of peace and the end of terror was disrupted on Friday, March 14, 2014 with the terrorist attack on the Maiduguri military base, Giwa Barracks. Sahara Reporters had reported on March 12, 2014 that Jonathan, ahead of the conclusion of his two-day official visit to Katsina said that the soldiers should get rid of the

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The difficulty in putting a permanent end to terrorism with the weapons of war means that there is a limit the gun can go in the pursuance of peace and security. It is difficult to kill an idea with a gun

militants who are launching deadly attacks on Katsina and surrounding states from the Rugu forest that borders four states of Katsina, Zamfara, Niger and Kaduna as well as the neighbouring country of Niger Republic. The difficulty in putting a permanent end to terrorism with the weapons of war means that there is a limit the gun can go in the pursuance of peace and security. It is difficult to kill an idea with a gun. An idea is a living organism that grows. What we have as terrorism in Nigeria today did not start yesterday. It is the maturation of an idea that is as old as Nigeria. Once upon a time, the child was told, “treat whoever does not practise your religion as an infidel. Stone their places of worship. Do not respond to their wishes of peace because we cannot give the infidel peace. When you become a king, do not give land to any body except those who practise your religion to build a house of worship. No body outside your nucleus family must rule over the community as king. If any member of your family converts to another religion or refuses to practise your religion, he forfeits with immediate effect the right to be a leader in our community”. Little did the parent / teacher was indoctrinating the


Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014 child (with these terrible erroneous ideas) know that one day, the child would grow above the throwing of ordinary stones at the “infidels” and their places of worship to detonating bombs to kill innocent peo-

ple.

kill

The teacher did not know that one day, the child would operate a Buffalo Truck and an Armoured Personnel Carrier as a terrorist. How I wish the teacher knew that he was breeding a suicide bomber when he told the child that killing is a way of honour and the fastest way to reach paradise. The teacher did not know that the child he had brainwashed would one day see human life as a walking shadow devoid of meaning. The parent / teacher did not know that one day, the child would turn against his own progeny when “the ashes would return to its source”. Yes the false teacher with erroneous ideas has destroyed a whole generation for his selfish interest. An idea is like a seed that can grow into a mahogany tree. An idea lives from one generation to the next even when the original owner of the idea dies. An idea is a product of mental activity. It starts as a notion, fancy or opinion. Then it progresses into a conviction and then becomes a principle that goes with a plan, scheme, or method. In the philosophy of Plato the physical reality is a reflection of the world of ideas; in Kant, an idea is a concept of reason that is transcendent but not empirical; in Hegel, an idea is absolute truth the complete and ultimate product of reason (for the owner of the idea). For other thinkers, “Human history is in essence a history of ideas”

(H.G. Wells). “Language is the dress of thought” (Samuel Johnson). For some French Thinkers, “Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when you have only one idea” (Alain, Propos sur la religion). “A stand can be made against invasion by an army; no stand can be made against invasion by an idea” (Victor Hugo, Histoire d’une Crime). “It is better to entertain an idea than to take it home to live with you for the rest of your life” (Randall Jarrell, Pictures from an Institution) “Right now it’s only a notion, but I think I can get the money to make it into a c o n cept, a n d later turn i t into a n idea” (Woody Allen, Annie Hall). An idea is thus the content of the conscious mind that forms an opinion, view, or belief. For an idea to become an act of faith the proponent of the idea appeals to revelation and claims that it is God who spoke to him directly from heaven. This often gives rise to proliferation of sects in religion and the categories of false, professional and true prophets. One of the ways to kill an erroneous idea is to use the weapon of a more reasonable idea in the form of dialogue ad intra. A reasonable idea does not contradict universally accepted values, such as respect for human life. The battle field should be a dialogue forum within the same faith tradition (intra-religious dialogue). Perhaps the following contradiction may further explicate this conversation. On February 26, 2014, the terrorists attacked and burnt down St. Joseph Minor Seminary, Shuwa in Maiduguri Diocese, Adamawa State. God saved the teachers and seminarians who ran into the bush and spent the whole night there for safety. In the course of the terrorist operation, the only person they met was

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Andrew Mshelia who could not run into the bush because he is on a wheel chair. It is reported that the terrorists called their commandant to inquire what to do with Mr. Andrew. The commandant told them not to kill him because “invalids” are not killed during jihad. Wonderful! Is it not the same group of people with this idea of the ethics of jihad that were reported on March 7, 2014 to have killed over 50 school children in Yobe State and abducted 25 girls in Bornu State? Does the rule of jihad permit the killing of innocent children? After the terrorists’ attacks of Barracks in Borno, Weekly Trust reported on Saturday, March 15, 2014 that “Malam Abdullahi who was one of the leaders of the vigilantes, said his members had captured many suspects in various locations.” If Malam Abdullahi and his group do not have the correct idea of the ethics of jihad, he would not go after the terrorists who claim to be Muslims. Since there is that which the gun cannot kill, there is need for the true and good Muslims to take a step further in identifying the original owners of this terrorist ideas who perhaps finance these operations from their air-conditioned rooms watching the destruction of a whole generation in some parts of the country. It is not enough to say that the terrorists do not belong to the religion they claim to profess. It is time for the religious and political leaders to ask: “Where did we go wrong? When did we miss the point? Who will change this situation? If not me, who? If not now, when?” Even if the soldiers succeed in killing all the terrorists in the world, the battle would only be on vacation if the wrong idea is not corrected by those who are concerned about the truth of their religion that is being abused. This Intra-religious dialogue should be taken as an intellectual jihad against internal invaders of true Islam (Peace). We need people who can take risk to embark on this mission with spiritual and intellectual weapons. If the son of Hamas can change, then with the effort of our committed Muslims and the collaborative efforts of all partners in dialogue, we can say goodbye to terrorism in Nigeria and elsewhere without the gun. Let us therefore join our spiritual forces to fight the ideas of terrorism to save our world from doom and peril. (Fr. Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua is the Director of Mission and Dialogue of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja and Consultor for the Commission for Religious Relations with Muslims (C.R.R.M), Vatican City, Rome.)

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Culture

Battling a Barbaric Culture The continued practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) around the country based on a belief system is impacting gravely on the future of women, writes Abiodun Eremosele

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he pains she suffered made her weak. At age 14, Victoria Ibechukwu from a community in eastern Nigeria went through a humiliating experience of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). As she sat with this reporter to recount her ordeal, she wished it had not happened to her. “I was forced against my wish,” she said. “But female circumcision or genital mutilation is not leaving us so soon. It is so deep that no knife can cut it. I went through it, and it was so painful and damaging. I want it stopped, I want it stopped and I want it stopped. No new generation lives in its past. We don’t need a barbaric culture anymore.” In a population of over 150 million people with women accounting for about 52 per cent, Nigeria accounts for about one-quarter of the estimated 115–130 million circumcised women in the world. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) according to the World Health Organization (WHO) is a procedure which involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia and/or injury to the

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female genital organs, whether for cultural or any other non-therapeutic reasons. In Nigeria, subjection of girls and women to such obscure traditional practice is a common occurrence. FGM is an unhealthy traditional practice inflicted on girls and women worldwide. It is widely recognised as a violation of human rights, which is deeply rooted in cultural beliefs and perceptions over decades across generations with no easy task for change. Though FGM is practiced in more than 28 countries in Africa and a few scattered communities worldwide, its burden is seen in Nigeria, Egypt, Mali, Eritrea, Sudan, Central African Republic, and northern part of Ghana where it has been an old traditional and cultural practice of various ethnic groups. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) most recent report, though found the practice on the decline but still projected that it will affect 30 million girls over the next decade. So FGM reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It involves violation of rights of the children and violation of a person’s right to health, security, and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the proce-

dure results in death. Furthermore, girls usually undergo the practice without their informed consent, depriving them of the opportunity to make independent decision about their bodies. According to a report by the Nigerian Medical Association, (NMA), FGM has the highest prevalence in the Southsouth ( 77 per cent among adult women), followed by the Southeast (68 per cent) and Southwest (65 per cent), but practiced on a smaller scale in the north, paradoxically tending to be in a more extreme form. The NMA report revealed that national prevalence rate of FGM is 41 per cent among adult women. The Prevalence rates progressively declined in the young age groups and 37 per cent of circumcised women do not want FGM to continue. So far, some of the reasons given to justify FGM include: protecting tradition, preservation of chastity and purification, family honour, hygiene, aesthetic, protection of virginity and prevention of promiscuity, modification of sexual attitudes (countering failure of a woman to attain orgasm), increasing sexual pleasure of husband, enhancing fertility and increasing matrimonial opportunities. Other reasons are to prevent mother and child from dying during childbirth and for legal reasons (that one cannot inherit property if not circumcised).


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In some parts of Nigeria, the cut edges of the external genitalia are smeared with secretions from a snail footpad with the belief that the snail being a slow animal would influence the circumcised girl to “go slowly” with sexual activities in future. However, FGM is often routinely performed as an integral part of social conformity and in line with community identity. Despite effort by government to curb the practice, it is important to note that the situation remains very much the same. A man, Daniel Ewheredo told THISDAY of his recent encounter. He said: “I travelled to my village in Igueben Local Government Area, Edo State for my uncle’s burial with my wife and our four daughters. A day after the burial, I was summoned to a family meeting where the issue centered on the circumcision of our four daughters who were given birth to in Lagos. I refused to agree to their terms and that led to a threat of kidnap and forceful circumcision of my children. But I escaped from the village with my family through the help of a close relative. When I returned to Lagos I had to employ a guard for my children even at school.” Ewheredo said he took the risk to escape to save his children from what their mother suffered when she was forced to be circumcised on the eve of their wedding eight years ago. According to him, his wife hails from Agenegbode in Estako West Local Government in Edo State. He claimed

that it is the tradition of his wife’s village that a woman must be circumcised on the eve of her marriage. He told THISDAY that when he resisted the circumcision of his wife before their marriage, he was simply told that his wife will never have a child without the ritual. Ewheredo who said the agony his wife went through had left her with permanent scare told THISDAY that the complications she suffered as a result of the mutilation cost him a fortune and nearly took the life of his wife. Indeed, Ewheredo is not the only person that has had this experience. A certain Mrs Patience, who hails from a village in Esan West Local Government Area in Edo State, has fled her matrimonial home with her daughters, because of the pressure on her to allow her daughters to be circumcised. She told THISDAY that trouble started when her husband’s brother visited them in Lagos. He had suggested to her husband to take their children to the village for purification, a term for FGM. Her husband accepted the proposal and a date was fixed. And to save her daughters, she fled home with them. As it is with rape, many cases of this nature are not reported in Nigeria. Like Ewheredo’s wife, many girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. In Africa, about 3 million girls are at risk of FGM annually. Experts argued that the procedure has no health benefits for girls and women. To be sure, adverse consequences of FGM include pain and haemorrhage, infection, acute urinary retention following such trauma, damage to the urethra or anus as victims often struggle during the procedure making the extent of the operation dictated in many cases by chance, chronic pelvic infection, acquired gynatresia resulting in hematocolpos, vulval adhesions, dysmenorrhea, retention cysts, and sexual difficulties with anorgasmia. Other complications are implantation dermoid cysts and keloids, and sexual dysfunction. Obstetric complications include perineal lacerations and inevitable need for episiotomy in infibulated paturients. Others are defibulation with bleeding, injury to urethra and bladder, injury to rectum, and purperial sepsis. Prolonged labour, delayed 2nd stage and obstructed labour leading to fistulae formation, and increased perinatal morbidity and mortality have been associated with FGM. Accordingly, the mental and psychological agony of FGM is deemed the most serious complication because the problem does not manifest outwardly for help to be offered. The young girl is in constant fear of the procedure and after the ritual she dreads having sex because

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of anticipated pain and dreads childbirth because of complications caused by FGM. Such girls may not complain but end up becoming frigid and withdrawn resulting in marital disharmony. Consequently, a multidisciplinary approach is needed to tackle this deep-rooted legendary practice of FGM. Experts agreed that there is a need for legislation in Nigeria with health education to ensure liberation of women who still subscribe to the culture of FGM. “A coordinated campaign for social change in the communities where FGM is practised is essential. The battle to eliminate FGM is a long one, but it is a battle we must win,” said Kingsley Odogwu, an expert on FGM. “With improvement in education and social status of women and increased awareness on complications from FGM, most women who underwent FGM will come out to disapprove of the practice and no one would be willing to subject their daughters to such harmful procedures in the future. The more educated, more informed, and more active socially and economically a woman is, the more she is able to appreciate and understand the hazards of harmful practices like FGM and sees it as unnecessary procedure with a refusal to accept such harmful practice,” he added. In 1994, Nigeria joined other member state at the 47th World Health Assembly where they agreed to eliminate FGM. In that direction, the steps taken so far include establishment of a multisectoral technical working group on harmful traditional practices (HTPs), conduct of various studies and national surveys on HTPs, launching of a regional plan of action, and formulation of a national policy and plan of action, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council for the elimination of FGM in Nigeria not too long ago. But more is required, if government is keen on saving lives. Quote: I was forced against my wish. But female circumcision or genital mutilation is not leaving us so soon. It is so deep that no knife can cut it. I went through it, and it was so painful and damaging. I want it stopped, I want it stopped and I want it stopped. No new generation lives in its past. We don’t need a barbaric culture anymore Ouote 2: A coordinated campaign for social change in the communities where FGM is practised is essential. The battle to eliminate FGM is a long one, but it is a battle we must win Culled from THISDAY

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Vatican Roundup

Pope says bishops, priests need prayers, grace to be holy, loving

P Nigerian Catholic Reporter

ope Francis accepts a replica of the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter as Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput looks recently during the pope’s general audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. The world’s bishops, priests and deacons need people’s prayers and encouragement to continually deepen their relationship with Jesus and serve their community with love, Pope Francis said. A minister of God who does not nourish his love for Christ, his church and his flock “inevitably ends up losing sight and an authentic sense of his service and the joy that comes from a deep communion with Jesus,” he said. “Priests, bishops, deacons must care for the Lord’s flock with love, and if they don’t do it with love, they’re unnecessary,” he said recently during his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square. The pope returned to a series of audience talks on the sacraments, focusing on the sacrament of holy orders. Like the sacrament of marriage, the sacrament of pastoral ministry is a

special way to follow Christ, give the gift of love and build up his church, he told the estimated 80,000 people in the square. Jesus told his apostles to care for his sheep with the power of the Holy Spirit, not their own human efforts, and to do so “according to his heart,” that is, with the same love Jesus had for others. A pastoral minister “dedicates his whole being to his community and loves it with his whole heart: It is his family,” Pope Francis said. Those who are ordained become leaders of the Christian community, but, for Jesus, leadership is “offering your authority as service,” the pope said. A priest or “a bishop who isn’t at the service of the community does no good,” he said. The pope said it is important to constantly renew and nourish the grace and joy of ordination through prayer, daily celebration of the Eucharist, penance, going to confession regularly and listening to the word of God, “which is our daily bread.” Bishops, priests or deacons who


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QUOTE Discord between Christians A quote from Pope Francis:

do not do these things diligently throughout life “lose communion with Jesus and they become mediocre, which is not good for the church,” the pope said. “That’s why we have to help bishops and priests” to get closer to God with prayer and the sacraments and to help them to become more holy. In various languages, the pope asked people to pray for the church’s ministers so that they may be more holy, generous, authentic and merciful and especially to pray for those who are “most in need of our prayers” -- those who are experiencing difficulties or feeling discouraged. The pope also urged young men to listen carefully to God’s call to pursue a religious vocation. After all, how do people become priests, the pope asked. “Where are they selling the admission tickets?” “It’s not something that’s sold,” he said: God makes the first move, calling the individual, asking him to become a priest. So if any young men have felt in

their hearts the desire “to spend one’s whole life in service, to catechize, baptize, confess, celebrate the Eucharist, to heal the sick,” it is God who planted that seed, which then needs prayer and care so that it may “grow and give fruit to the whole church.” At the end of the audience, a large delegation from Philadelphia, led by Archbishop Charles Chaput, met with the pope. The delegation of government, religious and community leaders included Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter. They were in Rome Monday through Wednesday to meet with Vatican officials to plan the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia Sept. 22-27, 2015, and to urge the pope to attend. The group hand-delivered letters and drawings for the pope from Pennsylvania students, and a Jewish couple gave the pope a dreidel, a wooden spinning top played during Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish holiday known as the festival of lights.

“Discord between Christians is the greatest obstacle to evangelization. It favors the development of groups that exploit poverty and credulity to propose easy but illusory problems to the problems faced by the people. In a world afflicted by many ethnic, political and religious conflicts, communities must be ‘authentically fraternal and reconciled’ for their witness to be ‘luminous and attractive.’ God will give us the grace, if we know how to receive it, to render unity greater than conflict.” -- Address to the bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Guinea, March 24, 2014

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Cover

The future of humanity depends on the family‌ Archbishop Adewale Martins The year 2014 has been set aside by the Archdiocese of Lagos Catholic Church as the Year of the Family. It is a year dedicated to the celebration of the uniqueness and important role of the family in the socio, economic and political life of the society. It was therefore apt when the church rolled out the red carpet on February 27th to espouse with great aplomb the encompassing qualities of the family and the Archbishop was on hand for the inaugural ceremony.

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n his homily at the inauguration mass which held at Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos, Archbishop Adewale Martins thanked God for giving the Church the good fortune of belonging to His family, the family of the Church built on the rock of St. Peter. “We rejoice also in the gift of the different families into which we have been born and bred. May God bless all families, through Christ our Lord. While delivering his homily, the Archbishop spoke on the significance of the family, identifying the family as the basic unit of society and the

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Church. He stated that it is in the family that children first learn how to communicate and relate. “It is in the family that they learn what is good and what is bad. It is in the family that children learn what love is and how to love. It is in the family that they first learn to forgive and to pray. It is in the family that as children, we first learn about God and Jesus and Our Lady and the saints. It is in the family that we learn to value ourselves and understand the value in everything else as we pick them up from what is said and unsaid by our parents. Our families form us for life


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as we grow into the future. Indeed, the future of humanity depends on the family because it is through a family that we all come”.

THE VALUES OF THE CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN FAMILY

According to him, “We begin this year today with the intention that during the year we shall identify afresh and highlight very clearly the values of Catholic Christian family.” He urged the large congregation to make a commitment to Christ and His Church and to live by those values. “My dear friends, we are called to holiness of life, love of Christ and commitment to his teachings; we are called to love of the Church and proclamation of the Good news; we are

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to live lives that bear witness to the faith we profess, obedience to the will of God and commitment to the welfare of one another. All of these are to be taught and practised within the family. It is for this reason that we are called upon to spend this year reflecting on the implications of these values for our daily lives as members of the families to which we belong.” He reminded the congregation that it is only in living these values that Christians would have the hope of making it to heaven. “May none of us be left out of the banquet hall in the company of the Lord when he comes again,” he said. He singled out the family of Jesus, Joseph and Mary as one family that clearly stands out and worthy of emulation. In the words of the Archbishop. “We see

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that the one family that stands out for us as a perfect example of a good and holy family is the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. In this Year of the Family, that family becomes for us a model of all families, the family to look at and follow the way they dealt with issues of family that arose in their lives. We see in them a number of values that we must strive towards during this year. That is why our slogan for this year is: Jesus, Mary and Joseph; make our families like unto thine.” he said. He advised the congregation to follow the footsteps of the Holy Family, by building the foundation of their families based on faith in God, with readiness to obey his will and follow wherever His will leads them. He disclosed that unconditional love must be the rule and guide in relationships within the family, saying; “each of our families must also be that in which every family member feels a sense of belonging. Each member must be made to feel that they matter. “In each family there must be mutual respect such that the feelings, desires, needs and preferences of each member is taken into consideration in making decisions. There must be honesty in the relationships within each family such that each person is to be open, open to correction and ready to accept them in love. Each family is called upon to allow forgiveness to be part of the fabric that weaves the members together. “Never hold a grudge but be ready to forgive whenever each member of the family goes wrong. Readiness to communicate feelings and fears as well being able to talk through issues make the family to be bonded. Members of the different families must be willing to give to one another with generosity, never first counting what is there for them to gain. Each member of our families must be responsible for the other, each one doing something to add to the complete welfare of everyone else. Father, mother and children must be ready to play roles that are peculiar to them or are expected of them. In all of these, love of one another will reign in our families,”he said.

GAY and Homosexuality

The Archbishop also used the occasion to draw attention of the congregation to several issues that tend to redefine the uniqueness of the family and attempts in these days to redefine the family in ways that do not reflect God’s plan for the family. This he said

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obscure the true value of the family and attempt to destroy it . He emphasised that the congregation must resist these attempts and work to salvage the Christian family. “We are aware of the aggressive attempts to define marriage in a way that includes gay and lesbian relationships such that we even have countries that have legalized so-called gay marriage. In our time, the idea of marriage as a commitment to life-long

relationship is being undermined by the so-called pre-nuptial contract in which couples determine even before they exchange vows what will come to each other if and when they divorce. In these days, we have trial marriages that exclude commitment until for example, the woman is able to get pregnant or the man is able to provide all the luxuries that she wants. In our days, we have couples just living together without the intention of


Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014 getting married with the excuse that if they get married they will lose the urge to put in the efforts required to keep the relationship going or else that they will soon begin to expect too much from each other and so begin to restrict the freedom of each other.”He disclosed that attempts to resist such influences particularly of gay-marriage have led to the so-called anti-gay bills in a number of African countries in particular. “We take it that such laws are meant to resist the incursion of these obnoxious disvalues into our cultural settings and perhaps to help those engaged in it to reform themselves.” However, he reiterated that.” Just like Christ our Lord and master, while we hate the sin, we must not hate the sinner. In other words, while we condemn homosexual activities as being contrary to God’s will for us, we must keep on urging those concerned to change their ways but we must never chip anything away from their dignities as human beings. That is why lynching of those suspected to be engaged in the acts is not an option. We must not forget that the commandment of God says: thou shall not kill.” he said.

SIN AND THE FAMILY

On the negative influence of sin that threatens the family, the Arch bishop said that sin as it is known from the Bible, made its entrance into the world in the first human family of Adam and Eve when they attempted to be like God. “This is so much as we have today when some families behave as if God does not matter and so he does not have any relevance in the way they run their lives, he has no place in decisions that they make. “The children of the first human family, Cain and Abel recorded the first act of domestic violence, an evil that is still happening in our world and probably among us here. Only recently, we read of the man who was condemned to death because he was found guilty of such aggravated domestic violence that led to the death of his banker -wife. In the family of Noah, we saw the evil that drunkenness can cause in the family; we see incest at play and the evil of other sexual offences.”

Alcoholism, pornography and other sins

Not done with that, the man of God drew attention of the massive congregation to the negative influence of alcohol in perceived Christian families. “Is it not the case that in our days, we also have situations in which

In each family there must be mutual respect such that the feelings, desires, needs and preferences of each member is taken into consideration in making decisions.

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alcoholism is tearing families apart, incest is making the fathers of young girls become not only their fathers but also fathers to their own daughters, children, as well as grandfathers to the children because they abuse the girls and put them in the family way. We can identify other sins that threaten human family associated with the widespread availability of pornographic materials of all kinds at every twist and turn on the internet. I believe that must be partly responsible for the many other sexual offences such as gang rape and rising number of cases of rape even of infants, babies and children. He urged families to take the initiative of schooling the young ones on avoiding pornography by not only teaching them but also not using them. Another issue which the Christian family has to guide against is what he called sibling rivalry which he said was present in the family of Isaac between Jacob and Esau and among the children of Jacob such that they sold their brother, Joseph into slavery in Egypt. “Sibling rivalry is still plaguing the human family today with court cases over issues of inheritance even going as far as assassination of one another. Chinua Achebe in his classic work, The Arrow of God, said “When two brothers fight, a stranger inherits their property, and when two brothers fight, a stranger reaps the harvest and when they fight themselves to death, a stranger inherits their father’s property.” “ My dear friends, in this Year of the Family, we pray and urge reconciliation upon all warring parties in our families. We earnestly implore upon you with the words of St. Paul: “Let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding” (Rom. 14:19).”

Infidelity and promiscuity

“As it was with David, we see what harm marital infidelity can bring to families. It puts a strain on everyone and is capable of making marriages to crash. However, we saw how David repented and was therefore restored to favour with God. The Year of the Family calls for self-examination such that wherever there is infidelity, those concerned would repent and change their ways so that they can be restored to good relationship with God”.

CAUSES OF STRAIN IN THE FAMILY

“We know, as it was with the family of Job, that sickness, poverty, lack of job opportunities and outright

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unemployment, childlessness or death in the family can cause strains in families. In this Year of the Family, we pray the Lord to save us from such calamities. However, it is part of the human reality that sometimes they do occur. So the Lord calls us all to exercise the virtues of compassion, patience, tolerance and commitment to higher values such that in spite of such pains, our families will still be holy and united”.

HOMILY COUNSEL TO CATHOLIC FAMILIES

“How do Catholic families, particularly in this Year of the Family, stay focused on Christ and keep up the values of family life? They should look up to the Holy Family of Nazareth. We must in the course of this year reflect on their lives, the way they managed to deal with issues in their own lives and follow their example in tackling our own issues. That family also had its own moments of challenge, troubles, disappointments as well as sadness and temptation but they were able to stand firm because of faith in God, love of one another and willingness to do the right thing. Mary and

Joseph taught Jesus primarily by their example: in his parents he came to know the full beauty of faith, of love for God and for His Laws, as well as the demands of justice, which is totally fulfilled in love (cf. Rom 13: 10). “He learnt from them that it is necessary first of all to do God’s will, and that spiritual bond is worth more than the bond of kinship. Parents must daily consider the example of faith they give to their children. Does daily prayer occur in the home? How can children be expected to know how to pray unless they learn it first from their parents? How can they be expected to know the Lord unless introduced to him by their parents? This, of course, requires that parents be of deep faith and prayer, looking always to the example of Joseph and Mary. Let me conclude this sermon by quoting Dorothy Law Nolte If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive. If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves. If children live with ridicule, they

learn to feel shy. If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy. If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty. If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence. If children live with tolerance, they learn patience. If children live with praise, they learn appreciation. If children live with acceptance, they learn to love. If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves. If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal. If children live with sharing, they learn generosity. If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness. If children live with fairness, they learn justice. If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect. If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them. If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Archbishop Adewale Martins (middle) with Dame Fashola( 2nd right), the mother to the Lagos State governor... (2nd left) and other dignitaries at the year of the family Nigerian Catholic Reporter


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Lethargic husbands should wake up to their responsibilities - Monsignor Francis Ogunmodede

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onsignor Francis Ogunmodede, is the Parish Priest of SS Philip and James, Lekki. In this interview with NCR, he charges slothful men to wake up from their slumber and take up their responsibilities as the head of the family. He also spoke on what Catholic families need to do to stay clear of conflicts in the home.

What in your opinion is the cause of conflict in the home? The family is the base of the society. God created Adam and Eve and gave them children. Since then, family has existed. The absence of love is the major cause of conflict in many homes today. There should be love, peace and harmony in the family for cohesion. There is need for families to express true love. True love means concern for one another and ability to help one another. It is important for families to always call on God in times of joy and in times of sorrow. With that, things will go well. As Catholics, we should try and preserve our families so that the society can grow. What role does finance play in the promotion of love and conflict in the family? The husband is the provider. He is the one that married a woman. It is not a woman that marries a man. A man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, we are told. What God has put together, let no man put asunder. The husband should provide for the wife and the children. The wife too should complement what the husband gets. If one of them doesn’t play his part, there is bound to be conflict. The husband especially should not be lazy. He must be hardworking and enterprising. A woman also can’t just fold her hands. She should do something too. Both of them should join hands together to take care of their children.

We are living in a world today where many families depend on the women (wives) for their survival. What is the implication of this? It shouldn’t be. The husband is the bread winner and that is practically understood. But we know too that women have their abilities. They can use it to bring about the welfare of the family. But it should be collaborative. It should be a joint enterprise. Women should use their talent for the welfare of themselves, their husbands and their children. But if a woman is doing all that, the husband must wake up and discharge his responsibilities as the head of the family. Otherwise, the woman would take over as the head of the family. There was a story of a man who said that his in-laws forced his wife to leave him. What is your take on this? The problem of in-laws has always been there long ago. We know the problems that in-laws cause but it is wrong. The bible has said that what God has put together let no man put asunder. Man or woman, fatherin-law or mother-in-law should not interfere, they should harmonize. Are you saying that parents should stay clear of their Children’s marriages? Yes they should stay clear. They should help to bring their children together. If no one broke their own family, why should they go and break another person’s family? Cases of people designated as mother and father of the church, breaking their children’s marriages abound. It is quite wrong. They should not do it anymore. How is the church going to nib this in the bud? You can only preach and advice against it but it all depends on them especially on the couple who are married. I will blame the couple ultimately, if they allow their parents to interfere too much in their affairs. It is not a matter of interfering too much, they shouldn’t allow them to interfere at all.

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hat is the purpose of the inauguration of this year as ‘Year of the Family’ by Lagos Archdiocese? The inauguration arose because the universal Church saw the need to focus on the family this year. There is a synod that is coming up this year between September and October. The universal Church is focusing on the family and as an archdiocese, we have decided to declare this particular year the Year of the Family, and it is borne out of the fact that all over the world we have noticed that there is crisis in the family. There is moral crisis, spiritual crisis and we need to react to that. So, today is the beginning, the inauguration of that and our theme is ‘The Family as the Domestic Church’. What is this all about? You will discover that before we had the Church as it is today, churches were actually held in family homes. They were domestic churches. You come to church to baptize your child, you come for confession in the church, and you receive Holy Communion in the church. Those days before we had these massive structures, these things were done in individual homes. Families are beginning to lose that particular aspect of their lives. They have begun to lose that particular touch that your home is actually a church. That is the awareness we are out to create. Are we saying that the family is under siege? Definitely it is because of all the negative influences all around. There are lots of anti- Christian influences out there; secularism and negative influences from the media and all that considering what we see in our society today. It will just give you an idea of what happens in a family. Family is the smallest unit of the society and so, if something is wrong with the family, it will reflect on the larger society. As a Church ,we said, let us attack it from the root and the root is the family. Once we are able to cleanse our families, purify our families, the society will be better for it. How in your view did we get to this point? To a very good extent, we got here because of the neglect of the pivotal role that family plays in the context of the larger society; we did not clearly realize how pivotal the family is to the

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health of the general society. So it is the neglect that made us to get to this point. Between parents and the church, who is to blame? I think that should not be the right question. I think it should rather be a collective responsibility of both the Church and the parents. The parents must understand that they are the first teachers of their children. They are the first contact that the children have with regard to an idea of God, an idea of morality, and an idea of spirituality. We have passed that level where we would be allotting blames. Everybody has a responsibility. The Church has a responsibility to play which the parents can never ever usurp. The parents also have a role that they can never hang on the Church. So it is a collective responsibility. Most often, this kind of programmes are seen as academic work that is not practicable. What difference would this have? The committee that was set up to handle this programme ensured that whatever we are doing can be domesticated in every parish. In fact there is a year planner that we have and that year planner has allotted programmes that every parish must have to carry out. Programmes that will involve touching the lives of individual families on the parish level are in the year planer. What is your message to the Church leaders? If the programme has to run well, definitely the Church leaders have to wake up to it. I think the Archbishop has been doing a lot in that regard by first and foremost calling for a year of family itself. It is an awareness creation on the part of the Archbishop that we should go back to the family. Secondly, he has had meetings with priests before now precisely with regard to this year of the family. He is willing to hang the responsibility on the priests because they are actually going to be the drivers with regard to implementation. The arrangement must have been energy sapping for you and other members of the committee. How would you describe it? It is not just energy sapping but a very rewarding and fulfilling programme because it just goes ahead to raise a lot of awareness for us. It is a

learning process for us to see that our families are really under spiritual and moral siege. A lot of conscientization needs to go on. A lot of education needs to go on. That is what it is for the committee members. Each and every one of us would go ahead to heighten the awareness. There is the remark out there that Catholic priests are not married and so are not qualified to advice married people. What is your take on this? (Smiling) If you look very well, you will discover that Catholic priests have a very unique and privileged place in the sense that they meet these marital problems every day. They have the opportunity to counsel people. They have a very wide range of experience especially with family problems which come to them on a daily basis. Moreover, let us go a little up, Pope John Paul II wrote a book on love and responsibility. That book is a classic of a basic understanding of God’s idea for the family. The basic idea is this. The Catholic priest is a man of God and marriage itself is God’s idea. And so, who will stand in the best position to be able to interpret God’s idea for marriage if not the man of God. Moreover, every day, people come to us with a lot of these problems and we try to proffer solutions. So it is not out of place for Catholic priests to give advice on marriage.

There are lots of antiChristian influences out there, secularism and negative influences from the media and all that considering what we see in our society today.


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Lethargic husbands should wake up to their responsibilities - Monsignor Francis Ogunmodede

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onsignor Francis Ogunmodede, is the Parish Priest of SS Philip and James, Lekki. In this interview with NCR, he charges slothful men to wake up from their slumber and take up their responsibilities as the head of the family. He also spoke on what Catholic families need to do to stay clear of conflicts in the home. What in your opinion is the cause of conflict in the home? The family is the base of the society. God created Adam and Eve and gave them children. Since then, family has existed. The absence of love is the major cause of conflict in many homes today. There should be love, peace and harmony in the family for cohesion. There is need for families to express true love. True love means concern for one another and ability to help one another. It is important for families to always call on God in times of joy and in times of sorrow. With that, things will go well. As Catholics, we should try and preserve our families so that the society can grow. What role does finance play in the promotion of love and conflict in the family? The husband is the provider. He is the one that married a woman. It is not a woman that marries a man. A man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife, we are told. What God has put together, let no man put asunder. The husband should provide for the wife and the children. The wife too should complement what the husband gets. If one of them doesn’t play his part, there is bound to be conflict. The husband especially should not be lazy. He must be hardworking and enterprising. A woman also can’t just fold her hands. She should do something too. Both of them should join hands together to take care of their children.

We are living in a world today where many families depend on the women (wives) for their survival. What is the implication of this? It shouldn’t be. The husband is the bread winner and that is practically understood. But we know too that women have their abilities. They can use it to bring about the welfare of the family. But it should be collaborative. It should be a joint enterprise. Women should use their talent for the welfare of themselves, their husbands and their children. But if a woman is doing all that, the husband must wake up and discharge his responsibilities as the head of the family. Otherwise, the woman would take over as the head of the family. There was a story of a man who said that his in-laws forced his wife to leave him. What is your take on this? The problem of in-laws has always been there long ago. We know the problems that in-laws cause but it is wrong. The bible has said that what God has put together let no man put asunder. Man or woman, fatherin-law or mother-in-law should not interfere, they should harmonize. Are you saying that parents should stay clear of their Children’s marriages? Yes they should stay clear. They should help to bring their children together. If no one broke their own family, why should they go and break another person’s family? Cases of people designated as mother and father of the church, breaking their children’s marriages abound. It is quite wrong. They should not do it anymore. How is the church going to nib this in the bud? You can only preach and advice against it but it all depends on them especially on the couple who are married. I will blame the couple ultimately, if they allow their parents to interfere too much in their affairs. It is not a matter of interfering too much, they shouldn’t allow them to interfere at all.

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Ladies have failed to recognize their dignity - Rev Fr. James Chiemene SDV,

Rev Fr. James Chiemene (SDV), the assistant parish priest of St Thomas parish, Onilekere, Ikeja has admonished young Christian ladies, Catholics in particular, to uphold their dignity. In this interview with Nigerian Catholic Reporter, the soft spoken priest condemned the culture of single parenthood that is fast becoming a norm in our society. He described it as non- Biblical.

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here is the place of single parenthood in family life?

God the creator created man and found that it was not good for man to live alone so He made a woman from the rib of man. Thereby God in his plan, made them male and female. So, to make a family, there must be a man and a woman who, out of their love will give birth to children and that would make up a family. Coming to single parenthood, I will say that it is not in the mind of God for single parents to exist. Single parenthood doesn’t make a family. God does not have a plan for it. God made it in a way that a man will be able to live with a woman and have children and that will make a family.

Before now, single parenthood wasn’t in our culture. Where in your view did this idea come from?

I will say first of all that ladies have failed to recognize their dignity. They accept western culture and say let us use what we have to get what we don’t have. In many cases, divorce is responsible for single parenthood. Ladies should be aware

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of themselves. They should uphold their dignity at all times. They should know that God created them for himself and when his time comes, whatever He has in stock for them will come to realization. Single parenthood is not our culture and it will never be our culture. It is a borrowed culture.

What is the implication of the growing cases of single parenthood as we have it in our society today?

Single parenthood can make the children not to be faithful in things of God. The father and the mother need to come together to train the child. If a child comes out of a single parenthood, he may lack the father’s touch on his life and this may affect him spiritually and academically. A single parent may not be able to train the child and this may ultimately affect the child. When the child is so affected, it may in turn affect the society.

In a situation where one finds himself in that situation what would you advice?

If somebody finds himself or herself in this situation, take for example, a woman

having a child out of wedlock, it is not the problem of the child. A child needs to be taken care of in a society. A woman should not commit suicide if she is in such a situation. She should help the child accept the situation she has found herself. The Church will equally work on the conscience of the ladies not to involve them in single parenthood. But if it does occur, the lady will not throw the child away, the society will not throw the child away because the child is a creature of God. Despite the fact that the child did not come from wedlock, he or she is still a child of God.

Where is the place of the church in checking this among the faithful?

The Church continues to teach morality to the faithful. The Church continues to admonish the young ladies to wait for their own time and not to rush into marriage. The Church is really taking a lot of time to teach all this. The family year is equally organized to take care of this and family life in general. In this family year, the Church encourages her faithful to come and learn the catechism and the doctrine of the Catholic Church and what God teaches about humanity and human life.


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Trust has disappeared from many families

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–Rev. Fr. Ikhazoboh Reverend Fr. Innocent Ikhazoboh, is the Director, Lay Apostolate Centre and Chaplain, Archdiocesan Laity Council. In this interview with Nigerian Catholic Reporter, he identified the absence of trust as a serious challenge in many families. Excerpts:

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all about. We know that if we are able to gather together like this to re- evaluate what the family life is all about, we can actually liberate ourselves from this impending siege as you called it.

Are you saying that the family is under siege? Looking at the challenges that have bedevilled the family in this contemporary time, one cannot be too afraid to say that the family is under siege because our contemporary difficulties are beginning to recall or begin to ask for a redefinition of what family life is

What would you say has brought us to this point? I wouldn’t be too sure. I wouldn’t have any ready- made answer. I will easily say we have started living a life of relativism. I think relativism has become our major problem in this contemporary time where everybody thinks it is high time I started fighting for my own freedom. And the meaning of freedom has taken a new turn, where people think freedom means I can do what I want to do or I can express my feelings however it comes irrespective of the effect it has on the other members of the society. This relativistic spirit has over taken the objective truth and it is high time that

oday, Lagos is celebrating the year of the family which is going to last for the whole year. What is the whole essence of this? The whole essence is to retrace ourselves back to the values of nature, it is to retrace ourselves to the values of natural family setting, it is to retrace ourselves to what God himself created from the beginning and we hope that from this year of the family, we all will be able to derive the true value of family life.

we retraced ourselves to the objective truth in my own opinion in order to liberate ourselves from this siege that the family has found itself in. Has the Church failed? I will say no, rather the Church is even waxing stronger because challenges would always come. Probably this is the challenge of this time. This is what the Church is about to face at this time and the Church is facing it headlong. Give and take, the Church is the Church of Christ. Christ Himself raised the dignity of family life and the Church, being the body of Christ is called to continue in that mission of Christ and that is why we are gathered together today, to re-evaluate what the family life is all about and understand that the mystery of incarnation is a booster to family life. What is your advice to families?

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My advice to families is that we should understand the mystery of our calling. We should learn to appreciate what Christ Himself has established. God Himself instituted marriage and from the beginning, He said, that man and woman should copulate and bring about other beings not in isolation but as a family. What advice do you also have for Church leaders? As church leaders it is high time they started teaching people that the family life is not just a social setting. The family life is more of a mysterious setting and we should encourage families to grow in leaps and bounds, not just in giving birth but also in nurturing that being which they have brought into existence. Do you have any advice for the Nigerian youths? For the Nigerian youths, let us all re-trace our steps back to our families, re-evaluate our family lives and live by them so that this saying of the youth be-

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ing the leaders of tomorrow will actually become a reality because if we destroy today, there would never be a tomorrow. As priest you have obviously been interacting with different families. What are the challenges you have found common among families? The challenges that I have observed with families is that trust is lacking in family lives now. It is difficult to trust. A man does not trust the woman, a woman does not trust the man. The children don’t trust their parents. The parents don’t trust their children. Once there is lack of trust, there is bound to be distrust somewhere. I think this is the major challenge in many families. If you watch very well, you will observe that the rate of divorce is increasing compared to what it used to be in the past. We all know the Church’s position on this but as it is, would you say the Church is not caught between the devil and the red blue sea? The Church is never caught between

the devil and the red blue sea because Christ came to establish the Church even in challenging time. And so, if those challenges are beginning to bring themselves up again, maybe it is a wakeup call for the Church not to rest on its oars. The challenges are always there and this is the challenge of the time. The Church continues to wax stronger and stronger. In fact, the challenge will bring out in my opinion the best from the Church. Recently, Rev Okotie said every Catholic would go to hell. What is your take on this? Everybody is entitled to his opinion. He is not God. If he says all Catholics will go to hell, well that is his own opinion. All we would just say is that may God forgive his utterances which are judgmental in the way we value them. We are not going to evaluate him. Let God be the judge. We would do our best to be God’s disciples and may He forgive all of us and help us to place a guard over our lips so that we don’t make utterances that could be judgmental.


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Career

Finding career direction By Chidi Aja

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o you remember the last time you asked yourself what you want to be when you “grow up”? Does your current career allow you make good use of your talents? The career development process is a journey during which you need to ask yourself three fundamental questions.

Question 1: Who am I? To explore your talents and find an answer to the first question you need to think what you feel passionate and enthusiastic about, what do you enjoy doing, what your greatest accomplishments are, and when other people considered you to be most successful. If money were no concern, what would you be doing? Brainstorm each of these questions, and then use your answers to identify the top three talents that you most use when you are successful. You can use personality inventories to look your preferred way of behaving, and what motivates and energises you. Tests are quite expensive but you can find some free ones online, too. However,

you must bear in mind that personality inventories never capture the full picture of you and therefore you need to interpret them critically. Finally, write down a “Who I Am” statement which makes your strengths and talents explicit. Question 2: What do I want to do? Next you need to think about what you actually want to do. Your career must be aligned with who you are so that you can live fully balanced and fulfilled life. If you try to pursue a career that is not in line with your values and talents you will likely be unhappy, struggling, underperforming and being under stress. Start with brainstorming jobs that you think might sit you. Then do some research on these occupations online. Also bear in mind that there might be aspects in your current career and job that can be crafted to better match with your interests and talents. Remember, you don’t necessarily have to start from scratch -you have all your experience and networks available so capitalise these. It’s also a good idea to use online career tests to explore your options. Other ways of finding

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out about different careers are attending professional and trade shows, participating in job fairs, visiting company websites, and keep an eye on how companies are talked about in the press, volunteering, or working part time and/or seasonally in the industry. Question 3: How do I get hired? Understanding your long-term vision is fundamental for career planning. From the vision you can write down the steps required to take in order to get where you want to be. Make sure your goals are SMART and have a contingency plan in case things will not go the way you expected. The more contingency plans you have the more likely you will be able to survive the inevitable setbacks. You will also have much more confidence in yourself despite the difficulties you face during the journey. Setting SMART Goals -What and Why? You may have heard about SMART goal setting. SMART stands for goals that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-framed. Why is it important to set SMART goals? The process of setting goals and targets allows you to choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know what you have to concentrate on, and what is merely a distraction. This process of goal setting is a standard technique used by toplevel athletes, successful businesspeople, and achievers in all fields. It gives you longterm vision, and short-term motivation. It focuses your acquisition of knowledge, and helps you to organize your resources. By setting sharp, clearly defined (that is, SMART) goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals. You can see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. The process of setting goals, achieving them, and seeing this achievement gives you confidence that you will be able to achieve higher and more difficult goals. Setting Life Goals helps people bring their future into the present by giving them a clearer view of what their ideal future looks like. Established goals help you retain perspective, focus efforts, establish priorities, provide motivation and encourage achievement. You need both long, medium and shortterm goals. Start with the long term ones -where you want to be in your life, for example, in 5-10 years’ time. To give a broad, balanced coverage of all important areas in your life, try to set goals in some of these categories (or in categories of your own, where these are important to you): Artistic: Do you want to achieve any artistic goals? If so, what? Attitude: Is any part of your mindset holding you back? Is there any part of the way that you behave that upsets you? If so, set a goal to improve your behaviour or find

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a solution to the problem. Career: What level do you want to reach in your career? Education: Is there any knowledge you want to acquire in particular? What information and skills will you need to achieve other goals? Family: Do you want to be a parent? If so, how are you going to be a good parent? How do you want to be seen by a partner or by members of your extended family? Financial: How much do you want to earn by what stage? Physical: Are there any athletic goals you want to achieve, or do you want good health deep into old age? What steps are you going to take to achieve this? Pleasure: How do you want to enjoy yourself? – you should ensure that some of your life is for you! Public service: Do you want to make the world a better place? If so, how? After setting the long-term goals you need to break it down to smaller, medium-term goals, and further to short-term goals. As you can see, you are using your life vision as a guide for your long-term goals and work backwards to identify the steps you need to take in your life today to get where you want to be.

required to reach your goal. To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as

Setting SMART goals -How?

Realistic

Now that you know what SMART goals are and why you must set SMART goalslet us turn our attention to how to set SMART goals that really help you get things done and take you where you want to be in your life. As a reminder, SMART refers to Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Framed goals.

Specific

A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions: • Who: Who is involved? • What: What do I want to accomplish? • Where: Identify a location. • When: Establish a time frame. • Which: Identify requirements and constraints. • Why: Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal. Example: A general goal would be, “Get in shape.” But a specific goal would say, “Join a health club and workout 3 days a week over the next 3 months.” Measurable Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort

• How much? • How many?

• How will I know when it is accomplished? Achievable When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. You begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals. You can attain almost any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and establish a time frame that allows you to carry out those steps. Goals that may have seemed far away and out of reach eventually move closer and become attainable, not because your goals shrink, but because you grow and expand to match them. When you list your goals you build your self-image. You see yourself as worthy of these goals, and develop the traits and personality that allow you to possess them. To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. Do you want to achieve this goal? Do you have the skills to achieve the goal? If not, can you acquire the skills? Do you have the necessary resources to achieve this goal? If not, can you overcome this obstacle? A goal can be both high and realistic; you are the only one who can decide just how high your goal should be. But be sure that every goal represents substantial progress. A high goal is frequently easier to reach than a low one because a low goal exerts low motivational force. Some of the hardest jobs you ever accomplished actually seem easy simply because they were a labour of love. Your goal is probably realistic if you truly believe that it can be accomplished. Additional ways to know if your goal is realistic is to determine if you have accomplished anything similar in the past or ask yourself what conditions would have to exist to accomplish this goal. Time-framed A goal should be grounded within a time frame. With no time frame tied to it there’s no sense of urgency. If you want to lose 5kg, when do you want to lose it by? “Someday” won’t work. But if you anchor it within a timeframe, “by the 1st of August”, then you’ve set your unconscious mind into motion to begin working on the goal.


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Testimony

How Catholic Priest abducted by gunmen escaped death A Catholic Priest serving in Assumption Parish, Oke Owa in Ijebu Ode Diocese was shortly after his ordination and subsequent posting to the parish given a ‘baptism of fire’ by gun men. He was abducted in his parish shortly after he returned from an outstation where he went to celebrate evening prayer and adoration.

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he cleric, Reverend Fr. Dayo Jenfa, a Vincentian priest, was ordained on the 30th July 2010 and was until his abduction, the assistant parish priest in his place of posting. Coincidentally, the day of his abduction was his 30th day in the parish.

Recounting his ordeal, the fire brand priest recalled that after his abductors took him away, they bluntly told him that they were asked to kill him by one of his church members. The alleged church member according to his abductors claimed that the priest offended him and needed to be taught a bitter lesson. From the church premises, he said that the assailants, five in number, drove him in his personal car towards the Redemption Camp on Lagos - Ibadan expressway where they said they were instructed to kill him. He narrated that while he was waiting for them to lead him to his ‘ Golgotha ’ they naively gave him five minutes opportunity to say his last prayer. Few minutes after saying the prayer, he said the whole drama took a different dimension. He narrated his experience thus: “It happened when I was coming back from one of the Mass centres in Ikoto after the catechetical week programme. I was just arriving at my parish when five men swooped on me with guns and told me to drop whatever I was carrying and forced me into my car, a black Sienna marked EQ149APP. While they drove me away two of them sat with me in the middle seat and held their guns very close to my head. Along the line, I asked them what their mission was and they responded that they were asked to come and kill me. They said somebody in the church told them that I was fighting him and as a result sent them to come and kill me. I told them that I am not a fighter but a preacher but that did not make any meaning to them. They insisted that they had been paid to kill me. I was given five minutes to pray and after that I told them that I was ready. They drove on and said that the person who sent them instructed them not kill me in Ijebu Ode but should take me to Lagos express road and kill me there. with this at the back of their minds, they drove towards the Lagos Expressway and as we were about reaching the Redemption Camp, they started quarrelling among themselves, two said they must not kill me, three said they must kill me. It was such a serious argument that the driver

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had to park. After so much argument, they concluded that I should pay some money. I replied that as a priest, I didn’t have any money on me. They insisted that I must give them some money. I then told them that if I had any money at all, it was in my house. I told them that I should have between N45, 000 and N90, 000. They accepted and drove back to Ijebu Ode from the express road to the parish. When we got there they packed all that I had in the house. As a newly ordained priest, I received so many wonderful gifts from people that came for my ordination both within and outside the country. They took all these gifts and all the money they found in the house and said they were not done with me yet. At that very moment, I resigned to fate. I had the Mass box in the car and pleaded with them to drop it but they would not listen. One of them eventually went and brought it. I was glad that they released it because they didn’t know what was there but I knew.” “After all that I thought that they would leave me but they did not. They pushed me back into the car and said they were driving off. As they were driving on, I asked them what else they wanted since I had given them my ATM card, international passport, laptop, passbook, car and every valuable in the house except from my books and I. They said Father, we would leave you now but the man would know that we did not kill you and would come after you later. If you report us to the police, we shall come back for you. It was at this point that they left me somewhere in Ijebu Ode. It was few minutes to 11pm then. They took me around 6: 40 pm. I mediately, I trekked to a police station and reported the incidence.” Continuing he said, “When I got back to the parish, the Bishop and other people were around looking out for me. There were two women that were around when it happened. They were the ones that went to inform the parishioners that I had been kidnapped. The Bishop was grateful to God that I was not killed. He encouraged me to keep on doing my job and be thankful to the Lord who spared my life. “I was ordained on the 30th of July 2010 in Anambra State for the Vincentians in Nigeria . Practically, the Vincentian is an order of St Vincent De Paul. I was posted to Ijebu Ode because I am a Yoruba person. The Bishop demanded for somebody who speaks the language in other to be able to communicate with the people and also help in grass root evange-

lism.” Despite the attack on his person, Fr. Jenfa said he was never tempted to leave the environment. He explained that it was the police that advised him to leave when it seemed his assailants were still on his trail. “I did leave the town after the attack. I was to have baptism the following day so I couldn’t have left my job and run away. Besides, I had other commitments with members of my parish which I could not abandon because of the attack. I eventually left the town on police advice. They


Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014 ly, my wheel cover fell and I asked my altar boy to bring it. as he was trying to go down, the man double crossed us, I quickly called the boy to enter immediately. I speedily used reverse to zoom off the place and went straight to police station to report. They advised me to leave the town because from their own calculation, my life is no longer safe. They said if I survived the first and the second that I may not survive the third. I have not heard anything from them since then. I am not sure that they have been able to come up with anything.” Asked if there was any rancour between him and any member of his congregation before the incident and if he suspected anybody as the brain behind it, he replied. “I am being mindful of what they claimed but I suspect that it was my preaching on the Sunday preceding the incident that probably led to that. The preaching was centred on condemning the worship of false gods and occultism by those who claim to be Christians. My homily centred extensively on that and urged the people of God to have a change of heart.

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to know that darkness and light have nothing in common. “My family was very grateful to God for sparing my life as a young priest. They have been very supportive and encouraging me not to lose focus. Humanly speaking some of them have been discouraged and have told me that the place was not safe for me and that I should tell my people to post me elsewhere. But I have tried to let them know that as a priest you have given up all to God. Wherever the authority decides that I should go I would go. I have made that very clear to them. Since the Lord has called us, he gives us the grace to forge ahead. To his abductors he said: “My only message is for them to turn their lives to God the merciful father who cares for all. They have the opportunity now to amend their ways and come back to Jesus before it was too late. What was going on in my mind when I was in their hands? I was very calm as much as I know. I was thanking God for sharing in the life of the gospel. I looked at myself and said waoh! I would be the first Vincentian martyr in Nigeria.”

“It is very difficult to suspect anybody because I was still very new in the parish. The very day the incident happened was my 30th day in the place. It was difficult to start pointing fingers at the people since I was too new to know them. I have not heard from the police since the incident.

resorted to that when I went to report to them that a man I didn’t know his identity was trailing me. After the gunmen went with my car, I went and borrowed one from a parishioner in order to meet up with my commitments. At a certain round about where I was trying to turn, one man from an Infinity Jeep was behind me and started raining abuses on me. When I drove past the place I thought he would follow me but he didn’t. The following day, I was on that same road again and saw the man coming behind me again. My altar boy noticed him and said, “Father was that not the man of yesterday?” Unfortunate-

“The environment where the parish is located is more of a suburb to Ijebu Ode. The people are indigents. The only thing I was made to understand was that most of the bad boys thrown out of Lagos had gone down to Ijebu Ode to settle down and continued to perpetrate their evil acts.” Rather than dampen his morale he said that the incident has “strengthened me the more.” “It has prepared me for harder challenges that would come because we are now in a world where we cannot afford to joke with the message of the gospel. The gospel must be proclaimed and we must always exhort our people for them to be genuinely converted. I think this is one thing that will give joy to any priest and I am very happy I am into it. I am not in any way discouraged. I hope to continue to do more and make our people

“I did leave the town after the attack. I was to have baptism the following day so I couldn’t have left my job and run. Besides, I had other commitments with members of my parish which I could not abandon because of the attack.

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Family

Rev. Fr. Bonaventure Ashibi, OSJ

Nazareth:

A model for family life

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he family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is known as the Holy Family. Reflecting on the Holy family of Nazareth, gives us the opportunity to reflect upon the exemplary life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph as the ideal family, the prototype family, the paradigm that all human families must emulate if our world is to know true peace and lasting joy. In the Holy Family, we celebrate the preponderance of faith, hope, love, mutual respect and fear of the Lord, and all men and women are challenged to build their marriage and family life on the pattern laid down by the Holy Family of Nazareth. Reflecting on the Holy Family is important for all of us, because we are living in a world where ideals and values of Christian marriage and family life are becoming more and more difficult for the men and women of our age. Our secular society often considers the pains and sacrifices that go with their marriage and family life an unnecessary burden that must be rejected. The men and women of our generation often want to have their pleasures, and they are often not ready to make any serious sacrifices for the sake of the spouse or the child. That is why traditional family life, that is, the lasting union of man

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and woman, is becoming an endangered institution. This to a large extend explains why there are so many cries in many families and the high rate of failure in marriage and divorce is so high in our society. Indeed there is a general crisis of commitment among the men and women of our age, and this is reflected in a most pathetic way in marriage and family life. It is within the context of a generation that is weighed down by a crisis of commitment; a generation where trial marriages and divorce have become an everyday occurrence; a generation where the unfortunate phenomenon of single parenthood is becoming prevalent; it is within the context of an exaggerated secularism, where traditional family values are discountenanced along with their spiritual and moral counterparts that we reflect upon the Holy Family. Jesus, Mary and Joseph challenge the men and women of our generation with the words of Proverb 1:7 that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.� Christian marriage is a task, an enormous task. It has its own joys and sorrows. The attempt by many people to enjoy the joys of the marital life and yet reject its sorrows is the root of the crisis in marriage and family life today. Christian marriage is a life of love. Christian love takes time to grow and mature. Christians love entails sacrifice, including the sacrifice involved in raising children, and the sacrifice involved in forgiving an offending or sometimes the unfaithful


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spouse. To forgive an unfaithful and offending spouse is not easy; it will take the grace of God and the maturity of Christian love. Yet it is the life of sacrifice, of mutual forgiveness, the life of patience, and of the fear of the Lord, these are necessary for all families. Taking into cognizance the difficulties that go with marriage, especially its permanence and indissolubility, the disciples said to Jesus: “If that is how things are between husband and wife, it is advisable not to marry”. The reply of Jesus was, “It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted” (Mathew 19: 1011). Christian marriage is, therefore, a vocation for Christians. It’s a calling. Christian marriage is a grace, a gift of God to those

He has chosen. Those who do not have the life of Christ in them cannot appreciate the spiritual dimension of Christian marriage. Success in Christian marriage is something we can achieve by the grace of God. Success in Christian marriage and family is to be guaranteed by God who himself is love, and who alone can teach us how to love, and how to raise a family in love. The Psalmist says that “Unless the Lord builds a house, the labourers labour in vain” (Ps 127: 1-2). Many of us can and indeed do build houses, but none of us can on n our own build a home. We need the fear of the e Lord. We need the grace of God, in order to build a home. In John 15: 1-12 Jesus emphasizes the fact that we are only branches. He is the vine, we shall bear fruits in plenty. But cut offf from him we can do nothing. God is love, and he is the source, the he fountain and the summit Only i off llove. O l those who seek God, and who abide in God and his ways shall succeed in living a life of love. Human relations will be better ordered where there is wholesome respect for God and his will. The love for, and fear, the Lord inspires mutual respect and mutual forgiveness which are necessary conditions for a peaceful marriage-. Those who fear the Lord are more easily disposed to love their neighbor. Those who

Christian marriage is a task, an enormous task. It has its own joys and sorrows. The attempt by many people to enjoy the joys of the marital life and yet reject its sorrows is the root of the crisis in marriage and family life today. Christian marriage is a life of love.

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fear the lord shall be endowed with the same grace that sustained Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Nazareth. Indeed, piety is the true foundation of both family life and social life. Christian families must be always united with God in prayer. They must learn to pray together, for the family that prays together stays together. The communion of life that the Christian family is, makes it a school of love. In Christian marriage and family life, the members gradually learn the meaning of the words of St Paul in 1Corinthians 13: 4-7, “Love is always patient that “L kind; love is never jealand k ous; love is not boastful or ous conceited; love is never co rude and never seeks ru iits own advantages. Love does not rejoice at L wrongdoing, but finds w iits joy in truth. Love is always ready to make a allowances, to trust, to al hope and to endure whathop ever comes. Love never comes to an end……” Christian family is the propThe Chris er place to conquer selfishness and greed, l since the husband and wife and children are compelled by their faith in God and their mutual commitment to share. The Christian family is the proper place to overcome inordinate anger and the spirit of vengeance, since the divine commitment compels them to forgive one another after every hurt. The Christian family is the proper place to learn to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to mourn with those who mourn. The husband, wife or child in the Christian family is not only a neighbor, but also a friend, for whom one should be ready to lay down his or her life. The Christian family is, therefore, a place to grow in holiness of life. That is why Christian marriage is seen by the Christian Church as a vocation. Fidelity in Christian marriage and family should bring fulfillment and peace, and should ultimately lead the couple and their children to God. The Christian family is, therefore, the divinely provided context in which the Christian child may grow to physical, mental and spiritual maturity. Proverbs 22:6 says that if you train a child in the ways of God when he is young, he will not depart from it when he grows old. May Jesus, Mary and Joseph continue to intercede for all families- Amen. Rev. Fr. Bonaventure Ashibi, OSJ.

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Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

Interview

When ‘’good’’ people leave ‘’bad’’ people to play politics, bad people will make laws which good people must obey - Mazi Barrister O.C.K. Unegbu. Nigerian Catholic Reporter


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Mazi Okechukwu Chris K. Unegbu Esq. FCIB

Okechukwu Chris Kelvin Unegbu was born on August 17, 1951 to the family of Mr. & Mrs. Unegbu of Ogbe Ahiara Mbaise. He is the Managing Director/Chief Executive officer of Maxifund Investments & Securities Limited (Dealing member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange). He holds a B.SC (Hons) Degree in Finance (2nd Class Upper Division) from University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1978) and M.SC Degree (Banking and Finance), University of Ibadan (1985). Mazi Unegbu also holds LL.B from University of Lagos (2000) and was called to bar in 2001. He also holds some professional certifications among them are ACIB from Institute of bankers London, FCIB from Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, FCS from Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers Nigeria, BL from Nigeria Law School, ChMC from Institute of Chartered Mediators & Conciliators, and FCIP from Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria. He started his working career with African Continental Bank Limited in 1972 and later worked with Nigerian Institute of Social & Economic Research (NISER), Ibadan as Consulting Assistant between 1978 and

1979. A banking icon, Mazi Unegbu joined the service of First Bank of Nigeria Plc in 1979 as Bank Officer and left the Bank in 1990 as Senior Manager. He also worked with Broad Bank as Assistant General Manager from 1990 to 1991 and later worked with Progress Bank of Nigeria Plc, where he rose to become the Chairman /Chief Executive Officer in September 1995. He was also a Director of so many organizations among them are: PBN Finance and Trust Company Limited, between 1992 to 1993, Spring Bank Plc, January 2006 – March 2007. First Securities Discount House Limited, May 2005 – August 2006. He is Founder and Director, Ogbe Community Bank of Nigeria Limited and also he was the Managing Director/Chief Executive, of Citizens International Bank Limited between May and December 2005. Mazi O.C.K.Unegbu is a visiting Lecturer in Law of Banking at the University of Lagos and also an Associate Consultant, Financial Institution Training Centre (FITC). He is a member, Board of Trustees, Risk Management Association of Nigeria and member, Audit Committee, Nigerian Bar

Association and Legal Adviser, Association of Stock-broking Houses of Nigeria. A prolific writer, Mazi Unegbu co-authored “Developments in Nigeria’s External Assets’’ in Foundations of Nigerian Financial Infrastructure, he has written more than 2 books among them are “Establishing a Discount House: Operational and Infrastructural Requirements in operating a Discount House in Nigeria”, and “Corporate Governance in Banking & Other Financial Institutions: Laws, Issues and Ethics“ and has presented numerous papers within and outside Nigeria. He also has attended various courses locally and internationally. A Past President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and VicePresident, The Certified Pension Institute of Nigeria (CPIN), Mazi Unegbu is a fellow of Certified Institute of Cost Management of Nigeria; Associate, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers; Associate, Institute of Bankers, London; Member, Institute of Directors; Member, Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) and Member, Ikoyi Club 1938. He holds executive positions in many professional organizations among them are: Risk Management Association of Nigeria. Member, Audit Committee, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Lagos Branch Committee for the prevention of the encroachment on Legal Practice by Banks and Other Financial Institutions, Legal Adviser, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria. Member of Committee, Finance and General Purposes NBA, Lagos Branch: Mazi Unegbu is a philanthropist. He pioneered the Electricity Project in Ogbe, scholarships for many students in law, banking and engineering, provided money for many community projects, awarded business start-up money for people, and provided funds and computers for schools. He is happily married to Mrs. Zita Mma Unegbu - a Deputy Registrar at WAEC with 6 children and his hobbies include Tennis, Photography and writing. In this chat with NCR he promises Imo people transparency, accountability and good governance if elected into office.

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WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO JOIN POLITICS? It is the desire for change and services. I was a field major during the Nigerian-Biafra war. I joined the Biafra Army at the age of 17 even when the authorities and my parents then said we were too young to go to the war front. My motivation then was to fight and defend my people from aggression. That motive is still alive and very Potent in me. We must lead by example so that our children can follow. Thus far, politics has been branded a dirty game because of the way it has been played in the country and particularly in Imo State. I intend to change that. Politics is a tool of progress and only a progressive politician can bring progress. When ‘’good’’ people leave ‘’bad’’ people to play politics, bad people will make laws which good people must obey. WHAT IS YOUR PROMISE TO THE PEOPLE OF IMO STATE? The people of Imo State are tired of promises because those that make the promises, when they get into government were not prepared for the job. As a professional and technocrat over the years, I have prepared myself for the job. Imo people want proposals, actions and possibilities. And so, I am not making a promise to the people of Imo State. I am making a proposal for all of us Imo people to act upon. I propose to bring back the lost pride of the Igbo man. I propose that we stand up and take our land back from those who have refused us food, even though there is oil, back from those who have turned Igbo man to beggars of the national cake. These proposals for action by the people will be anchored on 5 major areas of emphasis: Education (no school left behind, no child left behind); Agriculture (go back to the farms and produce to feed ourselves); Water supply (we can open up the abandoned water cisterns); Health and environment (a healthy population living in a clean environment as before) and security (based on intelligence report gathering and stop idleness which is the devils workshop) WHAT STRATEGIES WOULD YOU DEPLOY TO ENSURE YOUR PROGRAMMES ARE DELIVERED TO THE PEOPLE OF

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THE STATE?

investment in four years of PDP.

This will be a people oriented government. We have in Imo State core professionals in every field of action. We will invite and listen to people that know what to do based on service to the people-commitment, action, excellence. We will run a government of accountability, transparency, respect and trust. Discipline will be key to making our programmes a reality. Using the latest technologies available to Igbo hands, we will prepare ourselves for 21st century governance. DO YOU CONSIDER APGA THE BEST PLATFORM TO DELIVER THIS MANIFESTO? Of course yes. I was a founding member of APGA and the ideas of the founding fathers of the party are very much intact. Infiltrators have tried to remove the heart of the party but they fail each time, in the party, we are too trusting and accommodating. APGA as a party possesses something that no other party in the nation has. It was built on the ideas of independence and justice. APGA was a legitimate cry for the Igbo man’s voice to be heard in the nation. THE PDP RECENTLY HAD A PEACE SUMMIT WHERE THEY RE-STRATEGISED FOR 2015 ELECTIONS. DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE A FORMIDABLE TEAM THAT CAN UPSTAGE THE INCUBENT APC AND PDP? When you talk about peace summit, that will be interesting but you should know that PDP has never had peace and as the ruling party, its activities affect the well-being of the country, peace has eluded us. The people in PDP are temporary because it is just for the purposes of jostling for positions and money. Let’s talk about the PDP on the economic front, vis-à-vis Imo State. According to the CBN annual reports, between the years 2007-2011, Imo State generated just about the same revenue as Zamfara State. Imo State with oil deposits, palm oil wealth, rich soil, high yam and cassava yield, high level of education, barely managed to generate the same amount as a state that has dry land, low level of education and

Prior to that, more projects were commissioned in TV and radio than in real life between 1999-2007. When it comes to ideas, APC in the state are not really as creative as APGA. APC does not hold Igbo interest in their heart as much as APGA does. The APC Governor in Imo State is a decamps from PDP to APGA and to APC, so both lack ideas on how to develop the State. I believe on APGA in Imo State headed by a technocrat will be formidable to win the election. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR AFTE YOUR TENURE AS GOVERNOR OF IMO STATE? I will like to be remembered as a governor that put the people first, transparent and accountable, a visionary leader that delivered. IS THERE ANY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND POLITICS? There is a very strong and mutual relationship between the church


Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014 and politics. People are the common

connection, people in the church worship God under the guidance of the clergy and the same people in politics. You cannot separate them. The prophets have always played an active role in the bible. When kings erred in their ways, the prophets like Ezekiel, Isaiah and Amos were known to call them to order. The same thing is applicable today. The churches have the same responsibility to speak up when they see wrongs upon the earth. We need the support of the church in moral guidance of the people of Imo State. Imbibing morals in its teachings to the people of Imo State, putting the fear of God which is the beggining of wisdom and government based on trust in God. WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE CHURCH IN IMO STATE? I have recently taken a tour of some diocese of both the Catholic Church and Anglican Church in Imo State. On two occasions on Tuesdays, I went to the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri and saw people queing

up to see the Archbishop. Many of them are hungry and have various problems. I will use what I call faith based organizations to work to assist the Churches to take care of the less privileged, many of who are strong to work, this way we can tackle unemployment. Also the church will be used to bring up good citizens by the proper upbringing of the head start children, which are those in nursery and primary schools. A man who fears God will always support his house. I will let the church do the will of God. I will urge them to remember the words of Isaiah 61. Where the spirit of God urges us to seek out the poor and comfort them. This is important in a time when the church has been associated with the rich alone. Remember God made us equal. WHAT IS YOUR POSITION ON GAY LAW IN NIGERIA? One of my core values is strong faith in God. So I believe firmly in the laws of God. His law says no to homosexuality or lesbianism, so do I. Some people argue that is victimization, they are human beings created by God, so I do not hate them but I hate the sin. This is an unusual behaviour; even animals go after their opposite. My views remain that of my fore fathers. They found it offensive to the eye and to the senses, so do I. I am against gay behavior which is anti-nature. TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY. I have a very close knit family. I am married to Zita Unegbu, a Deputy Registrar in West African Examinations Council. We have been married for 35 years by this December 2014. We have six boys who are all graduates in various disciplines; some are working while others are serving the nation or are studying for higher degrees. WOULD YOU SAY YOURS IS A SUCCESSFUL FAMILY? By all standards my family is successful because we try to be helpful to others just as we love each other. Mind you success is not all about material possession. For according to Ralph Waldo Emerson ‘’To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate

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beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded’’ WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAS HELPED TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY TOGETHER AND SUCCESSFUL? Trust in God and mutual respect for one another. WHAT LESSONS WOULD YOU WANT OTHER FAMILIES TO LEARN FROM YOURS? -That trust in God is the ultimate -Love for each member of the family. -The wife and mother as the director of the family -Planning together as well as care for those around you and -A prayer life of the family. A FINAL WORD FOR THE PEOPLE OF IMO STATE? As elections come by, you will hear many things. When people tell you they will give you jobs, ask them how? And wait for the answer. When they say they will fix the roads, ask them how? And wait for the answer. When they say free education, ask them how will they get the money? And wait for their answer. My people we do not want promises again. They have been promising us since 1960. Conception was partly responsible for slaughtering of people in 1966- 1970 and this continuing. Why? Because if we did not have thieves in government, there would have been no coup. And if there was no coup, the war would have not happened. Now they have come again O! When I tell you that I will do the roads, I will tell you how I will do them. When I tell you I will feed the entire state, I will tell you how. I am not promising change, I am proposing it. No more promises. No more I will do this, let us dialogue and propose what can be done for the state. It is not my state alone. It belongs to every one of us. It is in your power to give me the mandate to carry out this task and also it is in your power to be involved throughout, before, during and after the elections. We have the resources to achieve this, let us not just watch, let’s take action to achieve success. Bia ka anyi mezie ala Imo.

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Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

Personal Finance

Mark Ogu

Developing a family financial management habit – maintaining a financial balance in the family By Oguh Mark, FCA

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he year of the family has provided us the opportunity to have a 360 degree view of the family life. The Archdiocese has created the rare opportunity for families to take a whole new approach to family life that meets the spiritual and temporal dimensions of this sacred vocation. Fortunately, the Archdiocesan year of the family coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family (2014) organized by the International Federation for Family Development (IFFD). According to IFFD, part of the focus of the anniversary ceremony is to review challenges faced by families world-wide and recommend solution.

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The United Nations Department for Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) wrote “owing to rapid socioeconomic and demographic transformations, families find it more and more difficult to fulfil their numerous responsibilities. Many struggle to overcome poverty and adequately provide for the younger and older family members. It is also more and more difficult for them to reconcile work and family responsibilities and maintain the intergenerational bonds that sustained them in the past”. While the church and these global bodies may not adopt the same view on many issues bordering the families, they cannot agree less on the foregoing statements. There is no gain saying the fact that the family is bedeviled by many challenges, troubles

and tribulations. Many families are ravaged by abject poverty, lack of access to food, shelter and education. Many are abused by the powerful and the mighty. Access to justice and equity is lacking. These issues have also been the focal point of the church’s teaching and evangelization. The Family is the basic unit of society. The church defines it as a small church. Pope Francis, in his apokstolic Exhortation “Evangeli Gaudium (The joy of the Gospel) emphasizes the church’s primary mission of evangelization in the modern world. The document touches on major issues including obligations to the poor, the duty to maintain a just economic, political and legal order, as well as the moderation of the influence of market forces that tend to promote a winner-


Personal finance takes-all paradigm. It will not amount to an exaggeration if one states that the average family in Nigeria is underprovided for financially. The fortunes of the nation have been dwindling woefully since independence. Due to misrule, unbridled corruption, mismanagement and waste, a country so richly blessed is wallowing in abject poverty. The statistics is gory. Youth unemployment rate in Nigeria, according a recent World Bank report is put at 38%. Realistically, unemployed and underemployed youth population is above 80%. No doubt, this abysmal statistics accounts for the pressure that the few gainfully employed people find themselves under. Dependency ratio is unbearable. This puts pressure on families who are forced to cater for their needs, those of extend and immediate family members and, in some cases, those of close friends and associates. The state of social and economic infrastructure in Nigeria has not helped matters. With poor power supply, lack of regular and safe water supply, recurring fuel and other energy crises in the country, the cost of living is a sore wound to remember. Most of our people earn salaries below the poverty line. Only few earn living wages and even this few are overburdened with responsibilities. Only a few (accounting for below 2% of the Nigerian population) are super rich and control the wealth of the Nation. To add to this myriad of heartaches is the problem of insecurity of different dimensions, ritual houses of horror dot the length and breadth of the country today. Often times, economic analysts postulate that Nigeria’s growth rate which has been averaging 7% over the past five years is the fastest in emerging economies. These bits of information, cheering as they may be, the average man on the street does not feel the impact of the growth as the major drivers of the growth are sectors that are under the strangulating control of few elites and economic moguls. These gains don’t trickle down the chain. Hence, the impact of the growth in economic output does not impact on the people. In the course of this article, we want to navigate the financial challenges facing families and proffer a few recommendations on what measures families can take to main-

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tain relative balance in the financial health of the family. Unfortunately, families do not accord management of financial resources the right importance it deserves. Proper financial management within the family is essential to maintaining a healthy financial state, and being assured of supply of economic resources especially during times of emergency. POOLING OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES WITHIN THE FAMILY As Christians, and Catholics particularly, we believe in the sacrament of matrimony which implies the uniting of two to become one. This principle should apply to every aspect of the family life. Unfortunately, one of the ways the devil is working against the marriage institution is through the desire of couples to maintain discrete financial records separately. Most husbands and wives today hide their income from their spouses. In many instances, marriages have broken up on the grounds of financial incapacitation of one of the parties. Because of lack of transparency in the past, one party feels cheated by the other, because there is mutual suspicion. My view is that spouses who do not pool their financial capacities together, and do not plan their lives together defeat the whole essence of marriage, and are bound to get wrong, not only the financial status of the family, but their entire family life and future. There should be no financial secretes between couples. The following points and recommended practices below will clarify why this is so. • Make and use Budgets • Build reserves - Save, make money, don’t spend it • Teach your family, your children; catch them young A good family budgeting process enable the family to properly scale income, expenditure and even savings to meet future emergencies. Without a good budgeting process, families will hardly be clear about their earnings and how best to prioritize needs and wants. Great families must differentiate between needs and wants, and by so doing, avoid unnecessary expenditure. Poor budgeting makes debt unavoidable. A saying goes “cut your clothe according your size”.

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Families must learn to be limited to their income. Families that perfectly understand their financial capacities and plan properly around that, will avoid frivolous spending which often times are results of wrong priorities, destructive competition, and inordinate desire to appear to belong. Such unnecessary expenditures happen because of striving to get facilities that equalize the social status of the family with that of neighbors. What you own does not bring happiness. Happiness is an inner state. So do not strive to compete with others by trying so hard to acquire everything other around you have got just to prove the point that you have also arrived. This is the beginning of poverty. Building reserves is the surest way of achieving confidence in your future. Savings are essential for the

Home ownership is one of the surest ways of preserving wealth. It leads to capital appreciation and the rent that is avoided becomes additional savings adding to the pool of financial reserves that the family creates. Nigerian Catholic Reporter


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Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

family. A financially healthy family should reserve part of its earnings to meet unexpected emergencies like medical expenses, major home repairs and other breakdown of essential utilities. Include the children when making financial planning and decisions. A child that learns money management skills and competencies early in life will not depart from it at old age. Most importantly, let the children see how the dad and the mum put heads together to solve family issues. The family is a small church, and the child is the future of this church. We must not miss any opportunity to teach the

Investing in superannuation funds and insurance products can also increase your safety.

Nigerian Catholic Reporter

Personal finance

kids and show them by example the tenets of a happy catholic home. Writing on the lessons for our lives from the parable of the talents as recorded in Matt: 25 (14 – 30), Hugh WhelChel of the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics commented that: a. Success is a product of work b. God always give us enough to do what he has called us to do c. We are not all created equal, to each according to his abilities d. We work for the master, not for our own selfish purpose, and e. We will be held accountable for the way we have used our Godgiven resources


Personal finance Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014 So, it is not enough reason that you don’t earn enough. You have a duty to manage what you earn in the most efficient manner to produce returns for the master. Meditating on the gospel of Matthew 25 (14 – 30) how can we operate in the realm of the “Good and Faithful Servants” (25:21) who produced impressive returns for their masters? Managing our family resources is one of the ways we must demonstrate our faithfulness. We must be open to opportunities around us, must take decisive steps to improve returns on our resources without breaking any commandment of God. We must run our businesses with utmost integrity, avoiding every aspect of illegality and evil, while not cheating and oppressing the weak. Home ownership is one of the surest ways of preserving wealth. It leads to capital appreciation and the rent that is avoided becomes additional savings adding to the pool of financial reserves that the family creates. Owning a home is a

conscious plan and only financially disciplined families can afford that. The point must be made that engaging in this exercise is not a child’s play. You must leave your comfort zone to get into this trench. Depending on your abilities, give yourself a time frame to achieve this. It is not an easy exercise, but like pregnancy, you are happy when you have gone through it. Create some financial contracts that give some protection. Investing in superannuation funds and insurance products can also increase your safety. Such funds can be set aside for the purpose of meeting the demands for higher school education fees of the children. Using financial mathematics, financial advisers can tell you how much you can set aside every month or every year at a given interest and tax rates to achieve a desired level of future financial value at a time many years in the future. Care must be taken in selecting the fund managers and choice of instruments to store such values. Some

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risk averse investors will luck into a risk-free return over a given number of years to insulate themselves from the vagaries of the unpredictable economic environment. Such superannuation fund can represent a retirement plan. The family can inaugurate multiple investment funds for different purposes. Each fund will require different initial an annual investment at a given rate to meet the required future value. Other possible avenues of investment will include managed funds, investment and treasury bonds, estate plans, shares and property investment, and tax-effective savings products. NB: Mark Oguh, a Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a Financial Management Expert wrote in from St. Anthony’s Parish, Gbaja, Surulere, Lagos. Contact

Nigerian Catholic Reporter


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Box Office

Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

A REVIEW OF CATHOLIC MOVIES

“PRODIGAL FLOCK and the concluding version of “BACK FROM THE WILD”

I

It is a common fact today about Christians who run from pillar to post seeking and running after miracles and miracle workers, to solve myriads of their problems ranging from childlessness, barrenness, ancestral or foundational curses and for breakthrough in business and office promotion to other successes in their endeavours. Most at times, those who promise these miracles are some of these new generation Evangelical or prophetic churches. They do all these to seek for followers or congregation drive agenda.

Nigerian Catholic Reporter

They organize crusades and revivals periodically by their General Overseers. They spend so much money on creating awareness through printing of posters and handbills and using their church members to reach out to those their contacts they wish to invite to observe their crusades and later persuade them to keep attending their church programmes as faith comes or increases by continuous hearing and hearing the words of the scripture. Their modes of operation differ from church to church and from their


Box Office General Superintendent (G.O) to the other. While some are divinely appointed or elected to preach and perform signs and miracles, some of these preachers are fake and are not called by God, they only try to make ends meet due to not having meaningful means of livelihood. Some of them that are not of God, do a lot of evil things to sustain their existence, but one would not be fast enough to discover all these until it is late. These negative miracle workers sometimes go out of their ways to use diabolic support means to convert their unsuspecting converts, only to discover that there is no remedy at the end. Some of their antics include arranging with some medicine men or witch doctors to procure charms that attract and sustain the congregation and also effect some magical actions that look like miracles to their converts. The targets of some of their converts are the Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Adventists, free thinkers and total unbelievers and so on. In the scripture, we have a case of a story of a prodigal son. One who was with his father and suddenly a corrupt life entered into him and he walked up to his father and asked him to divide the property meant for him and his siblings and give him the monetary value of his or vice versa, while he sold and went away and lavished the money living a wayward life. When famine visited the country, he had no money anymore and he met a rich man in the area and asked to engage him to be feeding his pigs. He secured the job, and he too was eating from the remnants for the pigs. One day, he realized he has been living a wasteful; life, and decided to go back to his father to apologize and be treated as a slave instead of being his son. On approaching the gate,, his father saw him and took pity on him, while he apologized, his father was happy and clothed him with the best of apparels and killed the best fattened calf and made party. The similar story also applies to a member of a Christian fold that leaves the fold and goes about seek-

Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

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ing for miracles in some of the aforewas embarrassed when she opened mentioned new prophetic Churches her eyes and found a man on top of hence THE PRODIGAL FLOCK. her. In the case of the story line in The evil church did not stop at the prodigal flock, the wife of a rich their falsehood, they went ahead to catholic acted by Mr. Tony Umez, i.e scatter Mr. Thomas Eze’s family. Thomas Eze in the act, never knew When the Ezes found out that they that a church girl was promised a had derailed into a fake church and Jeep vehicle if she can convert the that the miracles have eluded them, family of the Thomas Eze. they made a U-turn to the Catholic The number of days ,running into Church. months , she spent in sniffing around The priest they met, performed the wife, paid off, when their contact a real time counseling and listened actualized in a super market. The to their confession and so absolved catcher reveals to Mrs. Eze that her them. problem was childlessness and that He introduced them to pray at the her husband’s niece in their house Chapel before the Blessed Sacrament was responsible. and also to pray at the grotto of our Unfortunately, the foundation of Blessed Virgin Mary and Mother. No this Open Heaven Evangelical Minissooner had they completed the above try Church used for the drama in the than they received a divine answer movie under review was diabolical. of conceiving and giving birth to a The lady Catcher convinced the wife, bouncing baby boy, after wanderthe wife pulled her husband, and the ing and being “BACK FROM THE charade continued until they milked WILD”. the new convert dry. Everything that was promised BY VALENTINE AGWULONU them was stage managed and strengthened by Baba Alawo’s charms. Trouble ensued when the G.O of the OPEN HEAVEN EVANGELICAL CHURCH clashed with the witch doctor, because G.O. became greedy and could not keep his own side of the promIn the scripture, ise. Unknowing we have a case to G.O the Baba of a story of a Alawo withdrew his powers and prodigal son. One he collapsed like who was with his pack of cards. The woman father and suddenly a seeking for the corrupt life entered into fruit of the womb was supposed to him and he walked up be hypnotized to his father and asked by the Witch Doctor , for him to divide the property Pastor Brown meant for him and his to have canal (physical) sexual siblings and give him the intercourse with monetary value of his or her as to get pregnant. The vice versa miracle seeker

Nigerian Catholic Reporter


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Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

View Point From CNSN News Online

The position of the Catholic Church in Nigeria in respect of same sex union and other moral vices is in consonance with that of the universal Church and in conformity with the Social Teachings of the Church, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, Most Rev. Ignatius Kagama has declared. Archbishop Kaigama who gave this explanation in his opening address to declare this year’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference First Plenary open in Abuja, stated: “It is a mischievous and faulty generalization to reason that because we resist same-sex ‘marriage’ we differ from our Pope who said: ‘If a person is gay and seeks God and has goodwill, who am I to judge?’ The Archbishop continued: “Our compassion for the weak, the marginalized and those who suffer discrimination is unwavering and uncompromising. We minister to all.” The theme of the Conference was: Church and State Partnership in Providing Quality Education for the Nigerian People. The ceremony took place recently, at the conference hall of the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria ProCathedral, Area 3, Abuja. The Metropolitan of Jos Province further explained: “We stand for the promotion and protection of human rights which are consistent with our religious and cultural values. Legalizing same-sex ‘marriage’ will open the flood gates to so many moral issues that can seriously compromise our African culture and becloud our evangelization efforts in Nigeria.” He added: “:Nigerian Catholics do not hate men and women who are of biologically gay orientation, but strongly affirm that gay unions or ‘marriages’ are simply not in conformity with our Christian theology or traditional Nigerian morality.” The explanation of Archbishop Kaigama became necessary following the attack from some quarters on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference for commending President Goodluck Jonathan for signing the Anti-same –sex Bill into Law.

Nigerian Catholic Reporter

Church position on rights of gay people explained According to him: “When the CBCN sent a letter commending President Goodluck Jonathan on the stand against same-sex union or ‘marriage’, we did so to uphold the age-long biblical and traditional morality of our people that marriage has always been a union between a man and a woman. Same-sex unions or so-called ‘marriages’ are alien to us and we resist the idea but we will always extend compassion of Christ to men and women with biological orientation that is gay or lesbian and defend their rights just as we have constantly defended the rights of all persons discriminated against.” Archbishop Kaigama therefore called on individuals, pressure groups and governments from abroad who are very anxious to fight for the rights of gays in Nigeria to “first help us deal with the menacing activities of terrorists who claim that it is their right to kill and destroy, and have caused so

many deaths of innocent Nigerians.” The ceremony was attended by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Most Rev. Augustine Kasujja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan and over 50 members of the conference, the Senate President, Senator David Mark, priests, religious, Knights of the Catholic Church, lay faithful and other dignitaries from all walks of life.


Vol. 1 No.100 May, 2014

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Inauguration of the Year of the Family at the Holy Cross Cathedral, Lagos

Arch Bishop Adewale Martins with other priests

Arch Bishop Martins and other clergy during consecration

Children on a cultural display

Dame Fashola, with other worshippers

A cross section of reverend sisters

Worshipers at the occasion

Nigerian Catholic Reporter


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