Kaigama tasks officials on effective distribution of palliatives
By EricJames Ochigbo
Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of the Archdiocese of Abuja has tasked leaders at all levels to guard against diversion of government palliatives and ensure they get to the poor.
Kaigama made the call in a sermon at the opening mass for the second plenary of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) on Sunday in Abuja.
It could be recalled that the Federal Government in August 2023, announced the release of N5 billion and food items as palliatives to states and the FCT to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal on petrol on Nigerians.
Kaigama stressed the need to reach out to the poor in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ which says “Whatever you did to one of these least brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
“We must try to reach out to those in need, as we remember the words of our Lord.
“For now, those many brothers and sisters who are hungry, sick, feeling very insecure and quite frustrated, badly need anyone who can just offer a glimmer of hope.
“As the word “palliative” once again makes a return to the repertoire of our national vocabulary, we call on leaders at all levels to ensure that what is meant for the hungry poor truly reaches the hungry poor,” he said.
The cleric tasked all Nigerians on peaceful coexistence irrespective of religious or ethnic affiliations.
He cautioned against unguarded utterances by religious leaders capable of igniting conflicts among religious faithfuls.
“I call on Nigerians to face the real problems that confront us and stop firing religious missiles, using religion as a weapon of violence, or even taking life at the slightest provocation.
“Those religious leaders who make inflammatory statements in videos on social media should be cautioned by the appropriate authorities.
“Our Christian and Islamic bodies rather than engaging in offensive or defensive rhetorics or threats should always preachthe need for holiness, peaceful coexistence, compassion, good neighbourliness, rather than encouraging the use of verbal or physical violence,” he said.
Kaigama charged Nigerians to imbibe the virtues humility and love for conflict resolution in the country.
He said that the country is still grappling with divisions fueled by ethnic tensions, economic disparities and very sadly, the abuse of religious loyalties.
“Today, as we celebrate the 23rd Sunday, Jesus speaks to us in Matthew’s Gospel 18:15-20 about the importance of reconciliation and unity.
“He teaches us that when conflicts arise, as they often do in our country, we should approach one another with humility and love, seeking an amicable resolution.
“Our society is still grappling with divisions fueled by ethnic tensions, economic disparities and very sadly, the abuse of religious loyalties.
“Nigerians are therefore called to reach out across ethnic, political, and religious lines to bridge the gaps that have been created; to heal wounds and to reconcile differences,” he said.
The archbishop said that there are many victims of violent conflicts; people sacked from their homes due to the nefarious activities of terrorists, bandits, and kidnappers.
He admonished government at all level to do urgently address the plight of victims of violence and insecurity saying that war is more dangerous the collective diseases plaguing the country. (NAN)