Peter Uzoho
Reacting to alleged orders by some Christian Pastors that their members should defend themselves against attacks by killing their attackers in retaliation, Archbishop of Jos Diocese and President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, His Grace Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, has urged members of the Christian community not to indulge in any form of killing of human beings, saying “kill them, retaliate is not the vocabulary of Jesus.”

Kaigama who said this at the 50th Anniversary of the National Council of the Association of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, held last weekend at the St. Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos, entitled ‘Spiritual Uplift for All’, noted that “Jesus has a different way of approaching this issue.”

He said that the Christian doctrine does not preach tit-for-tat but pointed that “we are not saying that criminals who kill and destroy should be let off like that. But we are not advocating for tit- for- tat,” Kaigama said.

“Jesus did not teach us to kill; he did not teach us to discriminate and do bad things to others. If others kill in the name of religion, our religion does not allow that,” he added. However, he pointed out that the killings and the violence being recorded in the country were the fallout of a heart filled with evil, calling for a change of heart for normalcy to return in the country.

Explaining the significance of the association to the Catholic family, Kaigama said both Jesus and his mother, Mary shared the same loving, forgiving, all-embracing heart which are to be imitated by the members “And therefore if you are a member of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary you have a high moral responsibility. You are also involved in social responsibility by expanding your horizon to embrace everyone you meet as a human being created in the image and likeness of God,” he added.

On his part, the Archbishop of Lagos Diocese, His Eminence Alfred Adewale Martins, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to “go beyond his own environment (party) to look for advice and solutions to the problems of Nigeria, noting that “this is not just about the government but it’s about all Nigerians and all Nigerians need to be consulted and their advice has to be taken seriously.

He warned that sidelining Nigerians in his (the President’s) decision making would not help his government and the country. Lending his voice specifically on the assessment of the association, President, National Council of Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Group Captain Eyepiegha John Ebiye, (rtd), said the performance was excellent. Ebiye explained that members had been involved in adoration, prayer, alms giving and giving assistance to where it was required, adding “we have been visiting the prisons, we have been visiting the handicapped homes, we have been involved in training priests and even children who are orphans”.