NEWS | Page 19 | IMO STATE GOVERNMENT

Okorocha makes case for Ndigbo

…As he hosts Foreign Defence Advisers / Attaches

Governor Rochas Okorocha has appealed for the list and identities of Igbo sons and daughters in various prisons or detention in various countries of the world with the particulars of the offences they had committed to enable his administration see whether it can play any role to see to their freedom, adding that the possibility of some of them being unjustly imprisoned could not also be ruled out.

Governor Okorocha made the appeal when he received Defence Advisers and Attaches from various countries serving in Nigeria, who visited him at the Government House on Monday, July 3, 2017, stressing that furnishing the government with the particulars of such Igbo sons and daughters and nature of the offences that warranted their incarceration would make his administration know the right action to take.

His words, “Most of the Igbo sons and daughters are languishing in the various prisons of the world with some for obvious reasons and some unlawfully imprisoned. I beg as a governor of the State that if you go home especially those from China, Korea, Turkey and USA and you facilitate their release, I will be ready as to come over and pick them and reintegrate them in our society”.

He said “Imo is where you have the brain box of the nation, literacy rate is very high here, we are very industrious people, we control the commerce of this nation, you have come to the right place for the cultural interaction and exchange and you will meet the right people”.

He continued “Often than not, Nigeria receives a misconception and we suffer a very bad image across the world, yet, this is the place that everyone wants to come. Believe me, most of the foreigners that have come to Nigeria, 90% of them don’t normally want to go back and the question is, if Nigeria is bad, why are those coming in, finding it difficult to go back, so I think it is rather what I may call the Press misinterpretation and the media war we suffer from, in this country”.

For him “Nigeria remains one of the few nations in the world that can give you comfort of the home, where there is no discrimination or segregation”.

He further told them “I charge you as people who have seen the goodness of this nation to be our ambassadors and tell our good stories to the world when you go back to your countries. We need people to tell our stories, of how great this nation is. We have a population of over 200 million people with diversified cultures and languages but yet united”.

He remarked, “The news you hear outside Nigeria does not reflect the true character of Nigeria, sometimes people believe that Boko Haram is everywhere in the country not knowing that it is only in Maiduguri. And as you are aware, this terrorism act is everywhere in the world now, no country is safe from terrorism nor safe from insurgency. It is happening so fast that if your country has not been attacked today one day it will be attacked”.

According to him “It has become today incumbent on all the leaders in the whole world to rise using all the military forces to fight this ugly menace of terrorism in our world; having in mind that an injury to one nation is an injury to another nation. The unity of this world starts from the military, if the military forces come today, the much desired peace we have been looking for will come to fruition”.

He added “I want to make a proposal that a department be created in the military for the prevention of war rather than the fighting of war. If we can prevent war there won’t be need to spend billions of dollars on ammunition which will be used for other human endeavours. If this is done, it will guarantee peace in most parts of the world”.

In his speech, leader of the delegation Brigadier-General Augustine Agundu, Director Foreign Liaison At Defence Intelligence Agency told the governor that they came in company of the Foreign Defence Attaches attached to Nigeria, on three days cultural tour to the State with their families to see the beauty and cultural diversity of the State, pointing out that terrorism and insurgency have no border which called for world leaders to come together to fight the scourge to ensure peace and security globally.

According to him, the foreign Defence Attaches and Advisers function in collaboration with the Nigerian Armed Forces to advise and ensure security.

Defence Advisers and Attaches in attendance were, Brigadier-General Augustine Agundu (Director Foreign Liaison at DIA), Col. Patrick Doyle (USA), Snr. Col. Wang Runxu (China), Col. Thomas Ludulla (Germany), Col. Moussa Labbo (Niger Republic), Commodore Luciano Conegela (Angola), Col. Michael Shatamuka (Zambia), Col. Mark Nuson (Ghana), Col. Kuttche Rogger (Cameroon) Lt. Col. Daislike Nagatani (Japan), and others.

Obey Pope’s directive, accept Bishop Okpaleke – Okorocha advises Priests, Laity

Okorocha addressing Priests of Ahiara Diocese, Mbaise

Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, weekend, met with Priests and Laity in Ahiara Catholic Diocese, Mbaise and explained to them, the need to obey the directive of the Pope by accepting Bishop Peter Okpaleke as the Bishop of the Diocese.

The governor who met with the Priests and Laity at the headquarters of the Diocese told them that the decision of the Pope was binding on them and regretted that the Priests were in the forefront of the agitation adding too, that the Church would become an object of mockery if the crisis ends the way the Priests and Laity in the Diocese want it to end.

His word, “I’m here in Ahiara Mbaise Diocese to bring peace. I’ve been meeting with the priests of this Diocese for over one hour now. And the meeting is all about peace. Peace is very expensive and the bible says to us, pursue peace and not walk towards peace because peace is a very expensive commodity, but there can be no peace without justice”.

He said “I am a catholic, and I’m also the governor of Imo State. I’ve come here to see my people. And address you on the burning issues affecting this Diocese. But I wish you can listen to me attentively so that you can go home with something. I’ve had meeting with all the Priests. I’ve listened to their anger, their grievances and I’m aware of all the historical backgrounds following this agitation. But the moment we are now is a very bad moment. There are so many agitations, so many crises here and there and it looks like Satan has relocated his headquarters to Nigeria. But by the grace of God, we shall fight and destroy these satanic forces”.

Hear him, “We’re talking about Ahiara Diocese, IPOB, Boko Haram, Kidnapping, Niger Delta etc. but the one that touches me so much is the crisis of Ahiara Diocese because this touches the fabrics of our faith. First, we’re Christians and you must understand that Christianity is a very difficult religion because Christianity doesn’t preach comfort for us rather, ability to accept persecution. Today, we have a challenge that whatever has made Ahiara a centre of crisis, we must change it for better”.

He continued, “Declaration of Biafran War, Ahiara; killing of a steward, Ahiara and now, Diocesan agitation spanning 6years and attracting global focus also Ahiara. We must change the story of Ahiara. I want to state here categorically that since this crisis, I’ve been listening patiently and watching. But I had wished that my advice was taken ab-initio and ipso-facto. If Mbaise must be in the news, it must be in the news for the right reasons. This is because Mbaise is the largest single ethnic group in the South-East and there is no place you will go in this world, without having an Mbaise man, doing well in that region. Mbaise contributes substantially to what makes Imo thick”.

He continued “Now listen very well my brothers, what I want to say to you now is for your benefit and betterment. You must know that too much of right can also lead to wrong. Mbaise people have made their point. The whole world have heard you, they have listened to you, any further issue on this matter by Mbaise, might not be spoken the way it had been heard before. Let me tell you the gospel truth of how the world is looking at you now, I don’t know how you will take it after my speech now. But I have spoken like Pontus Pilate, I have come to restore peace in this particular place”.

He further remarked “The whole world knows that the Pope has asked all the priests from Mbaise to write a letter of apology to him minus a few of them, to beg the Pope. It might be right, it might be wrong but that’s not the question. But the fact is that before the world, we are no longer enjoying this peace because Mbaise has more priests in the whole of South-East. But sometimes, a wise person behaves foolishly for the sake of his children. So, we must change our style before we deny ourselves of our justice”.

“It’s unfortunate that the priests themselves are at the very front of this agitation because the decision of the Pope is binding on them. Please, we must preserve this our priestly order by maintaining the status quo from the papacy. Mbaise must never be seen as a people that disobeyed the Pope and the church”.

“Christianity never taught us to be violent rather it’s all about enduring persecution and pains. So, like the priests agreed with me earlier, there must be no room for protest. For now you have done well but don’t overdo it, just leave the stage when the ovation is high”.

“I don’t think any Bishop would like to come to a place where the people don’t want him. You can’t force people to be with somebody they don’t want to stay with. But be careful how you reject people because many atimes, the rejected always turns out to be the best. There should be no more protests. No matter who the Pope sends to you, you must rise up to welcome him if not, the church will become an object of mockery. Because if the Pope takes it the way you want it, the church, the Catholic Church will die”.

“I want you to see the possibility that Mbaise sons can also become Bishops elsewhere extending to other states and will be accepted like any other”. The governor added.

In his vote of thanks, Rev. Fr. Dr. Joseph Ezeji pledged allegiance to the papacy, to abide by the decisions of the Pope and confirming that all Mbaise Priests have written their letters of apology to the Pope. He stated that what the people are asking for is for any Bishop groomed from their soil to lead them. He said that the canon law seems to have been bent in the case of Ahiara Diocese.

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