AFRICA/NIGERIA - "Despite violence, we celebrate Christmas because we place our hope not in men but in the Lord"

Saturday, 22 December 2018 christmas  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "How do we celebrate Christ the King of Peace when some of our brothers and sisters in Northern Nigeria and, especially in the North Eastern part are constantly being attacked unprovoked? How do we celebrate when we have witnessed many mass burials of our people killed by Islamic fundamentalists? How do we celebrate when our Churches and Mosques come under attack; and soldiers are being killed? How do we celebrate under these conditions?" asks His Exc. Mgr. Augustine Obiora Akubeze, Archbishop of Benin City, President of the Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, in his Christmas message.
Addressing all "people of good will", Mgr. Obiora Akubeze "calls on all Nigerians to celebrate in spite of all these challenges". "We celebrate Christmas because we do not place our hopes in mere mortals. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth", underlines the Archbishop.
Mgr. Obiora Akubeze hopes in "a better future for Nigeria in 2019 because we know that we have re-consecrated Nigeria into the hands of our Lady of Fatima who is the Queen of Nigeria on 13 October 2017 in Benin City".
"Mary’s closeness to Nigeria will help us to do whatever Christ asked us to do", continues the message sent to Agenzia Fides. "It is in doing what Christ has asked us to do that we can transform Nigeria from a land of misery to a land of prosperity. A land free of corruption, a country where her sons and daughters will no longer seek false greener pastures abroad and perish in the Mediterranean Sea or be treated with less human dignity when they are trafficked for economic and sexual exploitation".
Referring to the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in February, Mgr. Obiora Akubeze writes: "We look forward to next year. We look forward to a peaceful election. We look forward to an election where every vote will count. We look forward to an election where Nigerians will come out and vote based on their conviction and not based on sentiments or acceptance of propaganda. We look forward with hope to next year, a year when Nigerians will judge the quality of the candidates for political offices by their track records".
"In conclusion, I call on all Nigerians to learn to share the peace and love that Christ brought us with his birth. The birth of Christ offers us the opportunity to share together our common humanity. We in Nigeria must embrace the peace proclaimed by Christ. Let us share love and eschew bitterness. May God bless Nigeria and prosper our land. Amen", concludes Mgr. Obiora Akubeze. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 22/12/2018)