As Christmas draws nearer, Prof. Remy Uche, Supreme Subordinate President, Nigeria (SSPN), Knights of St. John International (KSJI), has called on Christians in Nigeria to endure whatever human-made religious biases against them and take the path of example.
They should also extend the spirit of real love, happiness and tolerance for one another to the people of other religions or faiths in the country.
This he said would create the elusive convivial atmosphere that would encourage and breed peace and tranquillity, as well as eliminate mutual suspicions that tend to create unnecessary conflict among the citizens because of religion differences and intolerance.
The country’s president of the Roman Catholic organisation who spoke through his Christmas and new year message, signed on his behalf by his Chief of Staff, Sir Abuchi Anueyiagu, was of the opinion that with spirit of tolerance, true love, peace and happiness with one another in the country, which he observed is what the mood of the season is, being what Jesus Christ taught and enjoined everyone to uphold, the frequent religion induced crisis that has been a perennial burden of the country would reduce tremendously, if not get eliminated.
Prof. Uche noted that mutual suspicion arising from religion issues, especially intolerance, due to lack of respect, love and happiness among the people of different regions, cultures and ways had been a major factor in the lingering crisis between mainly Christians and Muslims in Nigeria.
He believes that as soon as genuine intentions of love and happiness, well wrapped with mutual respect for one another, dwells in the hearts of the different peoples, mutual suspicion which triggers crisis would vanish and give way to peace, love, happiness and tranquillity in the country.
Prof. Uche emphasised that the season of Christmas shouldn’t be a period for conflicts and religion intolerance but should rather in the spirit of the core values of Christ be used to advance the cause of peace, justice, fairness and return to tranquillity and orderliness.
He encouraged Christians, particularly members of the Order of Knights of St. John International (KSJI) to find time during the season to invite their Muslim fellow citizens to their homes and places of worship to celebrate the Christmas, as a bold step towards closing the yawning gap.
The Supreme Subordinate President, Nigeria (SSPN), condemned the various religion orchestrated violence in many parts of the country and called for seizure of such hostilities which he described as unnecessary things that lead to no development but perfidy.
Further, he told KSJI members that Christmas season was also a period for sober reflection, indepth thought and self examination that would enable them to find out if anyone had been engaging in unwholesome behaviour of religion bigotry that is suggestively inimical to peace, orderliness and tranquillity in the country, especially against people of other religions.
He also called on the better placed individuals in the society to spare a thought for the weak and vulnerable in the society.
He narrowed his call to the well to do among the KSJI members, to care for their less fortune fellow knights and ladies, some of whom suddenly found themselves in their current pitiable condition due to being victims of poverty, death of their spouses, being thrown out of jobs and so many other genuine reasons.
He used the opportunity of the message to advise the leaders of the country to, just as Christ did, show love and compassion to the people they’re leading, by expeditiously improving the well being of the people, expressing worry about the severe state of hunger and turbulence that have taken over the land, a development he suggested required urgent treatment.
However, Prof Uche with the hope that the future would be brighter for the people of God through God’s intervention, expressed gratitude to the KSJI members in Nigeria for the overwhelming confidence they gave him to lead the Nigerian Commandery in its post-crisis era.
He told them that it was a strong energiser for him and members of his team to provide the desired quality leadership and restoration of the body in Nigeria to its previous glory and sustenance.
He emphasised the importance of the maintenance of discipline in the Order, irrespective of status.
The SSPN wished every member of the Order in Nigeria a delightful Christmas celebration and a brighter new year, praying God to guide and protect them all through the season and the new year.