Kaigama Tells Nigerian Leaders to Return Stolen Funds
Nigerian leaders who have stolen from public and individual treasuries have been told to return their loot and ask God for forgiveness.
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, Ignatius Kaigama, gave this advice yesterday in his Homily delivered at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral in Abuja, titled, “The Merciful Face of God.”
He said all the proceeds of crime and recovered national assets should be put to judicious use, including building first-class, well-equipped and properly managed hospitals in every geo-political zone with citizens having easy access to them.
According to him, Nigeria will only experience greater success when greed changes to generosity and selfishness to selflessness.
Kaigama explained that by entering the house of Zacchaeus, Jesus showed love to the sinner, but hated his sin, saying that but his dignity and sense of self-worth were restored after he returned what he stole from the people.
He said: “Zacchaeus thus broke away from his sinful habits and past ways to recreate a healthy relationship with God. His solemn announcement of his firm commitment to doing justice by sharing his wealth with the poor and making restitution fourfold to the defrauded should be a vade mecum (a guide for ready reference) for our leaders who have for long deprived the poor so much.
“This is a call to mindfulness in our nation, where large sums of money meant for the public good are stolen, misappropriated and diverted by those in political offices and public service. It is not enough to have a change of heart and repent of past sins but to restore to the rightful owners what is truly theirs.
“We continue to hope that the financial crimes and nation crippling activities will be curbed by the relevant financial crime agencies and the recovered national assets will be put into judicious use such as building first class, well equipped and properly managed hospitals in every geopolitical zone with citizens having easy access to them.
“It is so sad that some of these funds are recovered only to be stolen again by others. Zacchaeus was willing to take up his social responsibility towards his neighbours and so proves for us a model of a new political culture, giving up kleptocratic tendencies for equity and fairness to hold sway.”
The cleric said our nation will experience greater successes when greed changes to generosity and selfishness to selflessness.
“ In this political season, people, depending on their political leaning, loyalty or sensitivity are filled with morbid fear and demonstrate paranoid political tendencies and hypersensitivity. Some people want to fight their way to power. Some apply the allure of money; some by gentle persuasion, but some, by hook or by crook.
“Some are so bitter that they neither forgive nor forget political wrongs even if they profess belief in God. Some exclude dialogue and friendly encounters and if you dare to say a good word, a positive word, about an opposition partner, or be seen in his/her company you become their instant enemy. This is what I call immature politics or politics without principles or decorum.
“Such people can unleash venomous anger on others for daring to be different. Instead of wooing you, they try to antagonize or even dehumanize you; making you feel you are committing an offence. Why fight and be ready to injure others for political interests?
“Ready to terminate life or assassinate character? Rubbish others even when you know deep within you that it is not right? Today, we should open up our hearts and minds to God and ask Jesus to reach out to all of us and he did to Zacchaeus. We ask for an outpouring of grace to be true to our personal commitments.”