*as former Senate President dedicates church to God
By AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan and his Otukpo diocese counterpart, Michael Apochi were unanimous in their quest for Nigerians to unite against criminality and fight for the liberation of citizens from the grip of Boko Haram, violent herdsmen, kidnappers and armed banditry in the land.
According to a statement signed by his Media Assistant, Paul Mumeh, Senator Mark and the spiritual leaders spoke at the dedication of an ultra modern complex built and donated to St. Augustine Catholic Church, Otukpo, Benue state by the immediate past President of the Senate and his family on Saturday.
In his remarks, Senator Mark expressed appreciation to God for the enablement to contribute to the propagation of the gospel needed to salvage mankind and make the society a better place.
He added that the church building was his family’s modest contribution towards spreading the gospel of God hoping that the worship centre will help curtail evil in the society and transform perpetrators for good.
He said: ” I feel fulfilled that this church project is a reality. As long as I live, I will serve God and humanity. I am a ready hand for God to use to transform our society”.
Senator Mark prayed for a peaceful, united and progressive society where everyone is free to pursue his or her legitimate ambition in any part of the country without fear of attack or molestation.
In his homily, Cardinal Onaiyekan thanked Senator Mark and his family for contributing to the work of evangelism promising that the church will continue to preach peace, unity and harmonious relationship between and among Nigerians.
Cardinal Onaiyekan bemoaned the unabating violent clashes particularly the recent Benue massacre that has claimed scores of lives saying ” We must as a people of Nigeria unite against these forces of evil to liberate ourselves.
“These carnage and bloodletting orchestrated by hatred and wickedness cannot be a way of life. We must all join hands to stop this spate of killings.
“As Christians, we pray for peace. Justice and love. We have no room for hatred or vengeance. Vengeance is for God. Let us do everything that promotes peace and harmonious relationship with our neighbors”.
Onaiyekan reminded the apex government to include rebuilding of churches destroyed by insurgents as it prepares to rebuild the crisis- ridden North Eastern States.
In his remarks, host Bishop Apochi expressed appreciation to Senator Mark and his family for the gesture believing that the house of worship will help promote peace, unity and curtail the ills in the society.
Four other Catholic Bishops; Peter Adoboh (Katsina- Ala), Wilfred Anagbe (Makurdi), William Avenya (Gboko) and Michael Gokum (Pankshin) and about 50 Priests joined in the dedication of the new church.