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June 20, 2018

Our people need food not Christmas fanfare – Archbishop Obinna

Tension in Igboland Catholics begin 30-day prayer, fasting as Court proscribes IPOB
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Workers and pensioners in Imo State went home this Christmas with empty stomach despite promises and announcement of paid salaries over the media.  This obviously has made harder the already prevailing hard times. Against this backdrop, the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, His Grace Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna has called on the government to respond to the more pressing basic needs of the people rather than lavish resources on fanfare during the period.

He made the call while interacting with journalists in his office after delivering his 2016 Christmas message, December 13. The prelate spoke ahead of the Owerri Christmas carnival, which grounded commercial activities and vehicular movement on Wednesday December 21 in the capital city of Owerri.

Answering a question, the Most Rev. Obinna said: “Around this period of festivity, so much money is put into fanfare to entertain the people and guests. The best thing is to convert this money that goes into fanfare and Christmas lights to responding to the basic needs of the people. That is a reasonable and responsible way of showing empathy for the people. If the government must do something to celebrate Christmas, let it be done moderately and the money converted into responding to the needs of the people because if the people all die, then the state becomes a wilderness as  human beings make up society not monuments.

“You can decorate the place moderately, create a sense of Christmas, but let us curtail those events through which sometimes or oftentimes money is siphoned or evacuated, depending on the size”, the prelate advised.

On salaries owed workers, Archbishop Obinna made reference to the topic of his Christmas message, “Share the pain, share the joy”, saying, “we don’t know what exactly will happen in Imo State but I am preparing your minds ahead of time in case you don’t get your salary as expected, let it be part of the pain we are sharing. Even if you don’t get the salary as and when due, let us still retain the Christmas spirit, let others come to your rescue, look up to your friends and children, they will be touched if you don’t get your salary”.

He however prayed that the government may find both the resources and the goodwill to make the Christmas still a pleasant one for the people even if it is at a basic level.

Meanwhile hundreds of less privileged and indigent people stormed Maria Assumpta Cathedral Owerri on Tuesday for their usual Christmas gifts.

“We hope that some of our philanthropists will also come to the rescue of the hungry masses at this time”, said the Archbishop.

“We made provision for about 400 people but at the last count, the number of people here is almost reaching 1,000”, Fr. Casmir Nzeh, Director, Justice Development and Peace/Caritas, JDPC Owerri Archdiocese told our correspondent.

“As you can see, the resources, have been over stretched but we are making sure that everybody that is here gets something to eat at Christmas and a little transport money”, Fr. Nzeh said while struggling to control the crowed.


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