The Archbishop of Abuja and the Apostolic Administrator of Archdiocese of Jos, Bishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, has urged Plateau State Governor and Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, Simon Lalong, and former member of the House of Representatives, Edward Pwajok, SAN, to work towards promoting peaceful coexistence in Northern Nigeria.
Bishop Kaigama stated this on Saturday during the Investiture of Governor Simon Lalong, Edward Pwajok and Secretary to Government of Plateau, Prof Danladi Atu as knights of St Gregory the Great and 29 others as Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontific and Benemerenti Medal held at Divine Mercy Cathedral Jos, Plateau State.
Kaigama noted that the Papal Awardees were carefully selected in view of their immense contributions to the growth of Christian faith and assistance to the needy and vulnerable persons in society.
He said Lalong, as the Governor of Plateau and Chairman of Northern Governor’s Forum, was selected BY God to restore peace and promote peaceful coexistence in Northern Nigeria.
Bishop Kaigama said the Roman Catholic Church respects and practices the teaching of Jesus Christ and embraced people from different religions for the promotion of peace in society.
“The award signifies recognition from the Holy Father himself for service already rendered and an invitation to continue a life of exemplary Christian witness.
“Decorating political leaders such as Governor Simon Bako Lalong, the Executive Governor of Plateau State, the Pope is saying to him be guided by firm Christian values, inspired by Catholic social teaching; continue to protect lives and property and uphold the dignity of lives, continue to work to consolidate on the peace and ethnic-religious integrity and harmony being achieved in Plateau State.
“Continue to carry everybody along, big or small, young or old, men or women, majority or minority, Christians of other denominations or Muslims or traditional worshippers and be a courageous instrument of peace, dialogue and reconciliation in your leadership and services as the Chairman of the Northern Governor’s Forum.”
Governor Lalong, who spoke on behalf of the knights and the medal awardees, pledged to redouble their efforts in touching lives positively in society, whilst condemning the execution of Nigerians in the South-East.
“As a government, we will never allow anybody to target our citizens or threaten them simply because they are Christians or adherents of other faiths. Even if they have no religion, they have the God-given right to existence and should not be threatened by anybody.
“Being a citizen of Plateau State is not a crime. Let me assure you that we are working with the President and security agencies to ensure that these incidences are addressed and our citizens under captivity by terrorists, kidnappers, bandits or any other criminals are released.”
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