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Posts tagged ‘Owerri’

National Conference: Igbos abroad move against Ike Nwachukwu.


 

A cross section of Igbos in the Diaspora have kicked against the choice of retired General Ike Nwachukwu as leader of the Igbo delegation to the National Conference inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan this evening in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

Acting under the aegis of Nzuka-Igbo USA, they are demanding Nwachukwu’s withdrawal from the conference, saying that his antecedents do not inspire any confidence in his ability to represent Ndigbo well the confab. Nzuko-Igbo USA made its case in a statement signed by For and on behalf of Nzuko-Igbo USA Vincent O. Erondu, President; Owen Owunwanne, PhD, Secretary; Attorney Uche Okedi; Mr. Oster Nwankwo; Mr. Ugo Ukandu; Sylvester Nwaoye, PhD; and Mr. Clement Dennar, The statement reads as follws:

“Nzuko-Igbo USA, calls on South-East Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndiigbo, Aka-Ikenga and all stake holders in the South-East to please replace General Ike Nwachukwu as the leader of South – East delegation to the forthcoming National Conference.

“Various reactions are trailing General Ike Nwachukwu’s selection not only to be a member of the delegation from Abia state, but to lead the South-East delegates to the national conference. The issues arising from this nomination go beyond General Nwachukwu’s membership of Abia delegation, but how he emerged as the leader of the delegation. The public, particularly the Igbo would like to know who chose General Nwachukwu to lead the delegation. As for the membership of the delegation from Abia State, no one should be surprised that he made the list. “Governor T.A. Orji never believes in fairness, experience and equity. He is an ardent believer in personality cult, rubbing the palms of praise singers, hand outs to political party agents disguised as traditional rulers, instead of using public resources to execute projects beneficial to the citizenry regardless of status, ethnicity, and local government of origin.

“Unreservedly, we admit that Abia state delegates to the conference are qualitative. Abia has so many qualified people for this job in all respects. Picking just 10 with all the strings attached is an onerous task. The two Generals; Ike Nwachukwu and Ihejirika should not have been on the delegation list for obvious and different reasons.  With several qualified persons in Abia and the South-East region the choice of General Nwachukwu as a delegate let alone leader of the team is a mistake that should have been avoided.

“Whoever that recommended or chose General Ike Nwachukwu to lead our delegation should tell us when the General began to take interest in Abia State, Igbo and regional matters. Do his supporters not know that this General has a lot of political baggage? He has not been able to defend all allegations against him about the Nigerian-Biafra war. He is not known to be a builder or a leader even though he led soldiers.  The National Conference calls for civilian leadership. It is not for the elites alone, or for the military top brass. General Nwachukwu was given the opportunity to lead the Igbo twice: as Military Governor and Senator but he blew the opportunity each time.

“As a military Governor, he set the Igbo clock of progress backward. He destroyed all that Governor S.O. Mbakwe put in place. Our cities Aba, Owerri, Umuahia, etc began to deteriorate as all rubbish/trash bins stationed at strategic places for the proper disposal of rubbish/trash disappeared. His era marked the genesis of urban deterioration in the old Imo State. Our cities are yet to recover from the disappearance of the sanitary equipments. We were subjected to Educational suffocation as he abolished a system that had campus in the five senatorial districts of the state and replaced it with a single campus university. Each campus of the then Imo State University system had the potential of developing into a university. The cost to the Igbo as a result of this hindsight or lack of planning is not quantifiable.

“As a senator, he was not effective. Let him tell the Igbo Bills he initiated to correct the structural imbalance and obnoxious military decrees and edits that targets the Igbo, including boundary adjustments to deprive Igbo States off shore oil revenues. Since he left the Senate and retired to private life what Igbo group does he belonged to and what has he done to further the interest of the Igbo or our region. Former Senator Joseph Waku from Benue State (a retired Non Commission Officer) was more active than our General in the Senate. Since Senator Waku left the Senate he has been active in Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).  He is heard in almost every national debate but nobody hears from General Nwachukwu. Now he wants to lead the South-East delegation to the National Conference.

“In 2003 General Elections, General Ike Nwachukwu contested for the presidency of Nigeria. He was the flag bearer of National Democratic Party (NDP). His campaign never got off the ground, turnaround he was merely filling in for a northern General. How can the Igbo trust his leadership to the National Conference?  Considering all of the above, this man does not have us at heart. He does not know our states, Igbo or our regional problems and boundaries. He lacks community spirit and community organizing skills. We have not read where the Federal Government indicated that zonal delegates must be lead by retired Generals. South-East may be the only zone to be led by an uninterested retired General in a predominantly civilian affair.

“The old war horse Senator Uche Chukwumereije is suitable for this leadership position, but for the national assembly’s lackadaisical attitude towards the national conference. Senator Chukwumereije, is a solid gentleman who would under no circumstance stab his people or colleagues at the back. We understand Senators Adolphus Wabara and Senator Ken Nnamani, having held the highest political office currently in the South-East zone can lead the delegation. As a matter of fact any vibrant and experienced politician from the zone should replace General Ike Nwachukwu. We are not short of qualified personalities. We still have people like Admiral Ebite Ukiwe who has fully integrated himself into civilian society and has participated directly or indirectly in matters affecting the region and Nigeria at large. Replacing General Ike Nwachukwu is imperative to get our delegation back to track and have them enjoy the fullest support of our people the represented.

“The constitutional Conference is a rarity; Nigerians have agitated for it for several years. It offers an opportunity to shelve or consign all manners of injustices, inequalities, imposed colonial and military constitutions, to the dust bin and put traditional colonists in check. It will replace the anomalies in our polity and lay the foundations for modern Federal system of Government rooted in democratic principles and Rule of Law.

“General Azubuike Ihejirika, the Darling of the people: This newly retired gentleman should not have been nominated to the National Conference. He needs time to rest, reintegrate himself into civilian society, and understand the needs and aspirations of his people at various levels; Local, State, Regional and Federal governments. His accomplishments speak for themselves. When our win at all cost politicians could not retrieve the arms they gave to their tugs and kidnappers to intimidate their opponents and the public for election purposes, and could not provide them with livelihood, the tugs turned their weapon on our people. General Ihejirika with the blessings of President Jonathan rid our home of the tugs turned kidnappers and made the South-East livable again. General! Take it “Nwayoly” Age is on your side. We shall not forget when your time comes. We also, disagree that the elevation of General Ihejirika ended Igbo marginalization in Nigerian Army but a desirable improvement to our aged long situation.

“The stake holders and the powers that be in the South-East should feel the pulse of the people, read and digest comments from various Igbo organization and individuals and act accordingly.

Remember that “a stitch in time saves nine”. Avoid had we known.

“Nzuko-Igbo USA, calls on South-East Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndiigbo, Aka-Ikenga and all stake holders in the South-East to please replace General Ike Nwachukwu as the leader of South-East delegation to the forthcoming National Conference.”

Source News Express

Fresh Boko Haram Scare Hits Imo Nigeriens, Northerners Flood Owerri.


 

Palpable fear and uneasy calm is gradually enveloping in Imo state following the unprecedented increase in the number of Nigerians and Northerners in the state.
It would be recalled that the PDP in Imo state had at a press briefing few weeks ago raised alarm about possible Boko Haram in Imo when it alleged that people from the Northern part of the country where activities of Boko Haram is dominant were being trained at the state government built ICAPS complex on Egbu road Owerri. Later discoveries indicate that youths from a particular Northern state were undergoing training at ICAPS. The trainees were later sent back to the respective state by concerned authorities in Imo.
However, heavy presence of Nigerians believed to be from the Northern part of the country is being noticed in the state capital especially in Owerri and other developed towns of Orlu, Okigwe Mgbidi, Ahiara junction and Nwaoriebu.
Our reporters who have been monitoring the developments since the beginning of the year, noticed that major corners in the state capital like Douglas/Mbaise Roads, and Ama JK are witnessing beehive of activities swelled by the presence of the foreigners who have turned to itinerant artisans and craftsmen. Apart from textile and petty trading, some of them are involved in cobbler and roadside merchandising.
Trumpeta visit to Ama Hausa, abode for Northerners showed that the quarters have been over filled with people from the Hausa Fulani speaking states and foreigners with little or no space to operate. Same applies to major areas in the state capital where uncompleted buildings and shanties have turned to places of abode for these foreigners and Northerners alike.
The reasons for the influx of foreigners and Northerners could not be ascertained as to press time but reports have it that if might not be unconnected with inclement security conditions in the Northern parts of the country. It was gathered that the heavy military presence coupled with exercises of soldiers searching for Boko Haram suspects sent many Northerners and foreigners from the sect’s infested areas to terror-free zones to avoid either been caught in cross fire or nabbed by the soldiers.
However, their presence has not gone down well with residents of the state who are scared and expressing misgivings over the influx of non indigenes from the North. Apparently aware of the Boko Haram scare in Southern states like Lagos and Rivers state occasioned by heavy presence of Northerners and foreigners, Imo residents are experiencing uneasy calm, palpable fear and tension.
Some residents, who spoke to our reporter on the increasing presence of foreigners and Northerners on Owerri streets, noted that it is a dangerous trend security agencies should delve into, adding that proactive measures must be instituted to check any action likely to cause insurgence in the state.

By peter uzoma.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Aviation Minister Oduah: I won’t allow abandoned projects.


Stella-ODUAH-03

Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah, has assured that the ongoing remodelling of airports will be completed in record time

without any abandoned project under her watch.

Oduah spoke after a two-day tour of eight airports at the weekend.

The minister inspected the remodelling of Yola, Sokoto, Ilorin, Abuja, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Owerri, and Enugu airports.

Oduah, who decried the abandoned project syndrome in Nigeria, said the present administration was committed to timely completion of projects it started in late 2011 under the Airport Remodelling Project Initiative.

She said: “When we came on board in 2011 and drew up our master plan and implementation road map, which had as its core components the Airport Remodelling Project, we were charged by Mr President to ensure that we complete every project we embark on.

“We assured Mr President that we would see every project to its logical conclusion and we are committed to that. We are fortunate to have his full support and the support of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“The result of that level of support is what you are seeing today. Not only have we completed, inaugurated and put to use a lot of the remodelled airports, work on the remaining ones is at 95 per cent completion. So, under my watch, no project we have begun will be abandoned.”

The minister said the Yola Airport was critical to the successful implementation of the transformation programme in the Aviation sector.

She said it was among the designated perishable cargo centres, adding that its cargo terminal would be completed in the second quarter of this year.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Man named Israel Dike a native of Odenkume Obowo LGA of Imo State resides in Egbu Road Owerri reported to have tied his seven children to wheelbarrow, begging for buyers.


Gov-okorocha

Palpable confusion reigned in Owerri, yesterday, as a father  tied his seven children, including his triplet, to a wheel-barrow and  was heading to an unknown destination before officials of Ministry of  Women Affairs and Social Development intervened.
Vanguard investigations revealed that the 44-year-old man, Israel Dike,*  is a native of Odenkume, Obowo Local Government Aarea of Imo State, but  resides in Ugwu Ekwema, Egbu Road, Owerri.
The children’s hands were securely tied to a wheelbarrow while the man  was soliciting for buyers for the children, saying he was fed up with  his dwindling economic fortunes.
A staff of the ministry told Vanguard: “Following a tip off, a high  powered team led by the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Nma  Onyechere, quickly went and rescued the children.”
Apart from disclosing that he planned selling some of them with a view  to enabling him take proper care of others, Dike equally lamented that  Governor Rochas Okorocha put him in the mess he has found himself today.
“Owelle Okorocha is the cause of what I am passing through today. He  made me a promise in the past and has failed to redeem it till today,”  Dike said.
Speaking to newsmen at the scene, the commissioner described Dike as a “depressed man, who is mentally deranged.”
While urging Dike’s wife to go for family planning, the commissioner  equally promised that government would carefully ascertain the level of  the man’s mental problem.
Answering a question, Mrs. Onyechere said the ministry would find a way  of giving out the children to foster parents with a view to ensuring  adequate care

and their education.

BY CHIDI NKWOPARA

OWERRI — police in Imo State have arrested a pastor for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl.


 

child sex

OWERRI — The Police in Imo State have arrested the General Overseer and head of a popular church in Ikeduru council area of the state, for allegedly raping a 13-year-old girl.This followed a petition written to the Owerri Police Area Command by the lawyer to the father of the alleged rape victim, Mr Emperor Iwuala.The father of the victim,  a widower and does not want his name in print, had alleged that the pastor severally raped his daughter between 2010 and 2013.According to him, “Between 2010 and 2013, I was sick and a friend of mine introduced me to the prophet. Because of my sickness, I lost my job as a luxury bus driver and also my accommodation in Naze Owerri.“Consequently, the prophet offered me accommodation in his house which he also uses as church. I moved in with my two little daughters. Because of my condition then, I did not know that the prophet was taking advantage of my predicament to defile one of my daughters.“One of the days, his wife caught him trying to abuse my daughter and she raised the alarm, which made the husband to send her packing.“Because of that, I sent my children away but the prophet threatened me, saying that I must bring my children back to the church. It was when my daughters went out of the prophet’s custody that they could narrate their ordeal to me.“Ironically, the prophet went to the police recently to report that I arranged to kidnap my daughters from his house.”Confirming the  petition,  Iwuala also disclosed that the said prophet was currently under investigation by the police for buying an alleged stolen vehicle.  He applauded the security operatives for the impressive manner they are handling the matter.When the suspect’s prayer house was visited, a worshipper who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed that the pastor was arrested by the police and was still in their custody.

The Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, 2013: A Call For Dialogue For The Sake Of Those On The Margins By Stan Chu Ilo.


I wish to argue in this short discourse why I think the signing into law of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act of 2013 by President Jonathan on 30th December, 2013 is very precipitate and ill-advised. Making this argument in itself is risky: it is nearly impossible in our environment to have a reasoned discourse on sensitive issues like this one, but I believe a dialogue is needed for the sake of those on the margins, the homosexuals of today and tomorrow.

Secondly, traditional cultural values autochthonous to Nigeria reject homosexuality in its entirety; there seems to be no place for a homosexual person in traditional Nigerian society; it is nearly impossible for people to shift their position on this especially when they see things in black and white. However, I will appeal to people not to draw quick conclusions on this piece without attending to the arguments which I shall put forward. I am calling for conversion on the part of all Nigerians in order to make some needed intellectual, spiritual, religious, psychological, moral and cultural transition needed in finding a way to address the reality of the presence of people with homosexual orientation in our country and in the world.

Cultural and religious systems being historical are constantly challenged not to use old answers to meet new questions, and to stretch themselves in the face of new questions which were not often clearly understood and interpreted in the past. Such a shift in the center of value is not something that happens overnight because social changes are gradual, dialectical, tension-filled, and crisis-generating and sometimes may lead to a death of aspects of a society in order for something new to arise.  In order to make it possible for a civilized debate, I wish to summarize my arguments in three propositions:

1. Banning same-sex marriage in Nigeria is unnecessary, the customary, Canonical, and Sharia laws operating in Nigeria and our statutes are clear that marriage in Nigeria is between a man and a woman. No one has challenged this law. My argument is that we do not need another law. The question is: Who is breaking this law and who is posing a threat to this law? The people who are posing a threat to our family life in Nigeria are people who are cheating on their wives or husbands; people who are breeding children who they cannot take care of, people who are committing all kinds of child abuse and neglect; people who take their family members to cities as maids and treat them like slaves and sometimes send the female ones home when they get pregnant; absentee fathers and some mothers who know how to ‘beget’ children and not how ‘to bring up’ children. Homosexuals in Nigeria pose no threat to family life and values in Nigeria today, hence this law is of no use.

2. Being a homosexual from research available to me is not a choice ( I am open to being helped with research that argues for the contrary); there may be some people who may have chosen to ‘experiment’ with a gay life style, but being someone, and acting like you are someone are two different things. We must, therefore, separate being and acting in this discourse; who you are is a gift from God like St Francis of Assisi once said: Who I am before God that I am indeed! If I was born a homosexual, that is who I am; it is not my choice; how I act according to who I am is my choice which is open to moral evaluation; if you condemn me for being who God made me, you are condemning God who made me the way I am; so we must separate the reality that someone was born a homosexual from the fact that someone is committing a homosexual act. If a homosexual person is fornicating, his or her action of breaking the moral law is open to moral judgment because every human act is to be judged to the extent to which they conform to the ultimate moral demand.

Homosexuality is a human reality, so it is not simply a Western reality; there are some Nigerian brothers and sisters we know who are homosexuals, they deserve our love. Human realities are mysteries which we must embrace with openness, respect, sensitivity and love in order to understand what they reveal to us about God and human nature especially about the diversity and complexities of human nature which can never be understood through a single narrative. I marvel at the rich tapestry of human diversity, which reflects the diverse relations of the three-person God.

3. We need greater internal cultural, religious and spiritual conversation and discernment in Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world as to how to appropriately integrate homosexual persons into society without violating their human dignity and their rights to live abundant life and without doing harm to the common good. Such a conversation I am proposing cannot be had if either in Nigeria or in the West people propose laws which ban or allow a reality which we have not fully understood. We need more evidence about why homosexuality has been with us since human history and why there is a changing attitude and changing understanding of homosexuality and acts associated with it across different cultural, religious, and spiritual settings. In a more concrete sense for example, why will Desmond Tutu, Mandela, Soyinka and a few others have a more tolerant attitude to this issue than some other African spiritual, political, and academic leaders?

It means that this issue has no straight forward answers and no law will put paid to the issue whether in Nigeria or Canada or USA. However, the answer to this human reality of homosexuality is not through any juridical positivism or legislative activism for or against same sex marriage. These polarized positions are often ideological driven or couched as in Nigeria’s case in  appeals to one or more aspect of a misleading claim of a pristine common and unchanging cultural traditions against homosexuality.

Many Nigerians will like our country to play a leading role as the moral beacon of Africa and the world. Many of us agonize that the promise of this great land has not been realized and that our land has been taken over time and again by those who abuse the high privilege of political office, and manipulate our rich cultural, economic and spiritual values for cheap political gains. The idea that signing the prohibition of same sex law sends a clear message to Western nations that Nigeria cannot be dictated to by them and that Nigeria will not kowtow to the social experimentations in the West with regard to marriage seems to me a less than ideal justification for a law that is not well thought out.

Furthermore, if the prohibition of same-sex marriage is the express goal of this law, some of us will not be worried. But to go ahead and legislate and criminalize against free association by people of same-sex orientation (section 7, a-i) and deny them the freedom to live together seems to me to be an invasion of people’s privacy and an affront against their rights. Why should the Nigerian state arrogate to herself the right to determine what goes on in people’s private homes? How can this law presuppose that two same sex people living together must be involved in an ‘amorous relation’ as if to say two people who love each other deeply whether homosexual or heterosexual cannot live together without being intimate? In making same-sex association a crime, and asserting or implying prima facie that same-sex persons when they gather may be doing so for ‘amorous reasons’, this law goes beyond the dictates of natural law and leaves a big hole for all kinds of discrimination and prejudice against same-sex people.

I have attended gatherings of same-sex Christians who come together to pray and seek for divine illumination in their search for identity and for a place in a very hostile and judgmental world. I have an ongoing pastoral relation with a Lutheran pastor who has a ministry to LBGTs here in Toronto and I have attended some of their social functions and did not see any ‘amorous acts’, but a feeling of joy, friendship and peace and a search on how they can experience God’s love through association with the church and society at large. The greatest threat to our moral health in Nigeria is not homosexuality or acts associated with homosexuality. Even in Jerusalem and Rome—the holy lands of Christianity and Judaism—while same-sex marriages are not allowed, people with same-sex attraction are not criminalized for being who they are, hence they are allowed to self-identity their sexual orientation and to freely seek political position, to join the Israeli military, to attend religious rites, go to clubs, and to freely choose who they want to be with.

I am afraid that this law is only a political distraction and a populist act by President Jonathan. It is very troubling to use homosexuality—something which concerns the wellbeing of some Nigerians—as a tool in an increasingly confused moral platform of our stinking and sinking political leadership.
In coming out with this poor and unjust legislation without much deliberation and conversation, Nigeria has lost yet another golden opportunity as it has lost in many instances in the past of helping Africans and the rest of the world to come to a fuller and better understanding of the issues and dimensions of the debate on the rights of same sex persons. My argument here is the same which I have advanced in conversation with Westerners: the rush to legalize same-sex marriage as in the West or to criminalize same-sex marriage as in Nigeria is a waste of time.

Homosexuality or acts associated with it will not go away simply because you have a law against it, because it is has remained as a part of human nature and human reality since our human evolution. People with homosexual orientation will not be fully accepted in society because you have a law which allows same-sex marriage nor will same-sex persons and acts associated with such alternate sexuality disappear in Nigeria because we now have a law that takes care of the people whom we consider as abnormal in our limited world of reality and perception.

I am looking forward to a day when one nation or religion can set up a commission of moralists, psychologists, geneticists, spiritual masters and socio-cultural anthropologists to look at the evidence on homosexuality and come out with a conclusion on what is going on within the biological, spiritual, genetic, and psychological set up of the homosexual person so that we can make our laws and judgments based on evidence not from our uncritical and biased locus of enunciation. This was how people in the past were able to understand the issues associated with Ogbanje, abiku, sickle cell, stroke, high bp, the killing of twins etc. Without scientific evidence, it is hard to draw any conclusion that homosexuality is a choice; my own reading of research available to me tells me that it is genetic in most cases.

We cannot make judgment in charity about homosexuality if we have not fully and deeply entered into the world of the person, walked in the person’s shoes so as to journey with the person in finding answers to how he or she can live fully the life God has given.  When in doubt do not act is an ancient axiom and that was why Pope Francis asked the world when it comes to the question of homosexuality that we should not rush to judgment; we should get sufficient facts and evidence before making our judgment.

What is my own conclusion? At the personal level, I am calling for more dialogue on this issue. My tentative conclusion after many years of ongoing research, ministering to and associating with homosexual persons, and after prayerful reflection is that there are some homosexuals who have not chosen to be homosexuals; they deserve our love, understanding, support, and compassion. Let me also add that this was not something I embraced simply because I moved to Europe or North America. When one of my friends was dismissed from the seminary in Owerri because he admitted that he had homosexual orientation in 1994, I was very sad and confused. I felt then as I feel today that we (Nigerian society) have not understood homosexuality hence the quick judgment that they are ‘abnormal’ and do ‘unnatural acts.’ In many cases we suspect them of being evil and judge them even before they act as we have done in the law signed by President Jonathan.

Have we stopped for a moment to put ourselves in the shoes of someone struggling with his or her sexuality and how we can embrace this person in his or her journey? I believe that we can do better for homosexuals and the marginalized of our world by first immersing ourselves in their world, understanding that world and being with them in the places of pain, emptiness and confusion. This is the only way we can accompany them in making the moral choices which will fulfill their deepest desire for God, for healthy relationships with people so as to ‘make heaven.’

I try to separate the homosexual person who like any of us is genuinely searching for a relationship with God, a desire for self-acceptance, and a true and respectful relationship and friendship with people, from a gay activist. If we examined what goes on in some of our high schools and universities and among some highly placed men and women in Nigeria, there is a burgeoning homosexual culture which should be condemned in unmistakable terms. The reprehensible immoral exploitation of little girls and boys by ‘senior’ boys and girls in high schools and universities and colleges; and the abuse of our young people either heterosexually or by aberrant homosexual ‘ogas’,  ‘madams’, and men and women of God should be seen for what they are: unmitigated evils which cry to heaven for vengeance.

There are many sexual aberrations and misdemeanors in our country today, but whether they are homosexual or not, we need to elevate our sexual morality to a higher tenor to clean our society of the scourge of adultery, sexual exploitation of our women by powerful men in high places; sexual exploitation and harassment of our young girls by our politicians and the ‘ogas on the top’ and sexual abuse of vulnerable people by the powerful in our families, religious institutions, and public places.

Thus the affront on marriage by gay activists which promotes any and all kinds of sexual behavior in the name of procuring rights for the homosexual persons as we see in the gay pride parades in Western cities may not be the answer we can give in Nigeria to meeting the cries of our homosexual brothers and sisters for recognition and a healthy space to live fully the lives God has given them. Every society must seek from within its religious and cultural resources the transformation and transition needed in order to meet the inevitable complexity which comes with social changes and the diversity of modern life. Religious and cultural traditions are never frozen in time, but constantly make fundamental shifts to meet the demands of progress and change.

In addressing the perceived inadequacies of this Nigerian law, the international community must understand that one cannot push away people’s cultures and traditions in order to support and advance their cultural and human development and the modernization of their societies.  The challenge today for Nigerians is for us to engage in a critical and open dialogue on how the common good of all people especially gays and other marginalized minorities could be protected and promoted. We need a national dialogue on how to develop more openness and honesty in addressing issues of sexual morality and sexual identity in our country, and how to develop a healthier sexual morality across the board from the top to bottom. The gay marriage right discourse tends often to paper over the needed dialogue within communities on the dignity, nobility, and inestimable value of every human person irrespective of his or her sexual orientation, color, sex or creed. Enforced rights do not often change entrenched attitudes.

Rights are not tokens from one person to another but are claims which arise from who we are as equal persons before God. These rights also come with duties and obligations. Rights emerge from natural law discoverable through reason and from a community’s identity and appropriation of the ultimate good through the ordination of the acts of members to laws which promote, preserve and protect the common good. Time has come for African societies to mine the inner and dynamic resources of their cultural and religious traditions in order to find a new openness to dialogue about how to love, respect, and tolerate our brothers and sisters whose sexuality being an intrinsic part of their personality is the gift which they offer to our world. There should be a place in our society for those who do not think like we do, who do not act like we do and who do not look like us; this is the path to a better and more tolerant society.

The mentality in Nigeria that because I am Igbo I have to prefer only Igbo people or because I am Catholic I should consider Pentecostals inferior or because I am heterosexual I am better than a homosexual person should be changed if we can move forward as a nation otherwise we will be enjoying the false bliss of those who live in the innocent and commonsensical cave world of undifferentiated consciousness, enslaved in our own national bias and presumed superior cultural hubris which will only blight our perception of higher consciousness against insight and against progress.

I wish to conclude this discourse with a short reference to what Aquinas who is often cited in this argument thought of about natural law.

For Aquinas (Summa Theologie, 1a-11ab, q. 94, a. 2) natural law is an inclination towards the good which is discerned through reason and which conduces towards the common good. These inclinations are common to all human beings and include the inclination to preserve and develop one’s existence; the inclination to procreate in order to survive and sustain the species through reproduction; and the inclination which is specific to human beings as rational and spiritual beings to desire the truth, to embrace the truth and to enter into relationships with God, fellow human beings and the world of nature. Linked to this is the inclination to live in a healthy and well functioning society where everyone has equal opportunity and where everyone is accepted as a person no matter the person’s race, sex, sexuality, religion etc. It is because of this precept of the natural law which is written into the very fabric of our soul that we feel a sense of anger when we see or hear of injustice in our world, or when we see human sufferings or experience betrayal or injustice.

The duty of working for justice and making the necessary sacrifices to make this world with all its ambiguities and complexities to conform to God’s will of the coming of God’s kingdom is one which all human beings embrace each in his or her own way. This is because there is an inclination in us towards promoting the good of order because we all wish to live in a well ordered and functioning society where we can flourish with others. Is the homosexual inclination against this order?

What Aquinas calls an inclination is what Augustine referred to as desire when he said for instance that the desire I have for God is deeper and closer to me than I am to myself. The paradox of our human existence is our desire; it is the root of all good or evil in the world because most human acts begin with desire. But Augustine and Thomas after him argue that the true human desire is the one that leads to God and the realization of these four inclinations which I have indicated above. This is where the matter lies: we all desire to procreate, to love God, to love one another, to preserve and protect our lives and that of our communities and our world. Not all of us will fulfill that desire through our acts either because we are incapable of doing so or because we have chosen to fulfill that desire through other means (Matthew 19:12).

There are many women and men who desire to have children but they cannot, I am sure that they are contributing to the good of our human species through other means. There are people like me who can make babies but have chosen to live a celibate life so that we can freely give of ourselves in total and unrestricted service to our brothers and sisters, I am sure no one will accuse me and other Catholic priests of warring against procreation.

Understanding the deeper meaning of Aquinas’ natural inclination and nature as that which is essential to who I am helped me to see homosexuality in a different light. I see homosexual persons as a gift not because of what they cannot do or what gay activist want them to embrace as rights, but rather because of what they can do and who they can become if we supported them to channel their desires to the greater good of society which begins for me by falling in Love with God who is that Absolute Unconditioned Love in whom all our differences melt away.

Stan Chu Ilo, is a Catholic priest from Adu Achi, Enugu State, Nigeria.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Okorocha’s govt. have failed Imo State, Ikeduru Women protest assassination of ex-council boss.


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More  than 500 women from Atta Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State  yesterday protested the assassination of their son and former Local  Government Chairman of the council area, Mr. Brendan Oguine.
Unknown gunmen assassinated Oguine at the weekend in his Ogada residence at Atta community in Ikeduru council area.
The women, who stormed the Government House Owerri as early as 9am,  accused the police of bias in their investigation as all those arrested  in connection with the murder, according to the women, had been released  in haste.
In a statement addressed to the State Governor Rochas Okorocha, and  signed by eight women leaders of the Atta Women Association, the women  alleged that the former council chairman was brutally murdered because  of some vital documents in his possession in connection with the Ezeship  tussle between the families of Okereke and Ugwueto.
The women who alleged lawlessness in the community, appealed to the  State Governor to intervene in the looming crisis as the people  supporting Ugwueto family who they claimed are rightful heirs to the  throne had been killed in mysterious circumstances.
Tracing the history of the Ezeship stool, the women claimed that the  family of Iwuala Ugwueto delegated the traditional stool to one Humphery  Okereke in 1978 when there was none educated in the family to take the  title.
On the demise of Okereke, the Atta community returned the title to  the real owners. “We decided to make one of Ugwueto’s sons, Samuel  Iwuala, Ezeelect but Okereke family started making troubles and he  (Samuel) was killed in a mysterious circumstance few months to his  coronation.
“Atta people presented his brother Geo Anika Ugwueto to succeed him,  everything preceding his coronation has been concluded waiting for staff  of office from the State Government.
“Again one of the elite sons of the community was brutally murdered  by hired assassins who invaded his house on January 19 around 2 o’clock  early morning demanding for some of the Ezeship documents because some  of it was under his possession,” they stated.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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