A DIRGE FOR MY BELOVED COUNTRY

By Cornelius Afebu Omonokhua

Oh God, you remained forever blessed for you are the source of all blessings. You hate evil and no sinner is your guest. From age to age you are victorious in battle. We cry to you like Rachel who weep for her slaughtered children. She refused to be consoled. Her voice could not reach the powers that lacked the capacity to protect her children (Jeremiah 31:15). The rulers of the nation are not touched by the violence that is ravaging the poor. They do not value justice no matter how loud the poor cry in anguish (Job 19:7). Succor the pains of those who weep because human comfort is far from the land. There is no one to revive our courage. Our children are desolate because the enemy has prevailed (Lamentations 1.16). Do not stay afar off and watch the terrorists, kidnappers and impious people revile your name. Do not deliver the soul of your dove to the wild animals; do not forget the life of your poor forever. Have regard for your covenant, for the dark places of the land are full of violence. Do not let the downtrodden be put to shame; let the poor and the needy praise your name again. Rise up, O God, plead your cause; remember how the impious scoff at you all day long (Psalm 74:18-22).

The eyes are spent with weeping as the empty stomach churns. The bile is poured out on the ground because of the destruction of the people. The infants and babes faint in the streets of the city as they cry for food (Lamentations 2:11-12). Human beings are slaughtered and beheaded like sacrificial lambs. Almighty Allah, teach those who use your name in terrorist operations that you are not the God of violence. You are the same God of different tribes and nations who call you Ubangiji, Chineke, Olodumare, Abasi, Osanobwa, Osenobulua, Osinegba etcetera. Oh God of our fathers! Where are you? Can’t you see that evil has clouded our land and an evil root have taken over the hearts of some people who vow to kill everybody who do not assent to their criminal ideology?

Our ancestors taught us that it is you who creates kings to rule over the land. The Holy Books taught us that it is you who sent to the earth prophets to teach us your ways. Jesus Christ came that we may have life and have it in abundance (John 10:10). The prophet of Islam revealed that if you save one life, it is as if you have saved the whole world and if you kill one person, it is as if you have saved the whole of humanity (Quran 5). Why then do evil people kill in your name? The Catechism teaches that you Oh God created us to know you, love you, serve you and to be happy with you on the last day. It appears that your silence is enabling human beings to be soaked in the ocean of blood. The value of the human person has been reduced to zero and killing a human person has become a game. Oh God arise and scatter the thoughts of the criminals who have invaded your land. We do not pray for their destruction but the destruction of the evil root that has possessed their hearts. Convert them to know that life is sacred!

Oh God of divine protection, the kidnappers have over-run the land. Kings, Priests, Consecrated Women and those who have no political security are kidnapped for ransom. Human beings are used for rituals and money has become a deity. Our Seminarians and many others are languishing in the dens of the kidnappers. On the evening of January 8, 2020 in the “Good Shepherd of Kakau” Major Seminary along the Kaduna-Abuja highway, a village located near Kaduna, the capital of the State of Kaduna, in central Nigeria, between 10:30 pm and 11:00 pm some bandits attacked the Seminary, firing indiscriminately. The attack lasted about thirty minutes and the bandits “had access to the school dormitory, which houses 268 students”. Touch the heart of their evil captors to release them Lord. Let them not be killed like they beheaded our dear brother, Reverend Lawan Andimi, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika Local Government Area and the District Church Council Secretary of the Ecclesiya Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN) Church in Michika, Adamawa State.

Lord God, blood is flowing in Nigeria like a river. Grant eternal rest to all who have been killed especially those who were killed while over a hundred people kidnapped after gunmen opened fire on commuters along Kaduna-Zaria Highway recently. Thanks for saving the Emir of Potiskum, Umar Bubaram who was among those who sustained severe injuries in the warfare on Nigerian highways! At this point, some Prophets have told us who will win elections but have not yet prophesied how long this suffering will last. The security apparatus has broken down and every state is raising hunters to secure the innocent people in their lands. Our version of democracy has shown the greed and selfishness of those who aspire to rule over the people in a land where life has lost value. We now see the emptiness of those who seek political office who are only loyal to those in power. Political prostitution is rampart as aspirants of political offices decamp from one party to the other without sense of shame. Rescue your land and save your people. In this time of Armageddon, we cannot cry to the security agents who are also victims and vulnerable like every one of us.

If the gallant soldiers could be killed by the terrorists, then what is the hope of the armless person? If a Police officer could remove his police uniform at the sight of hoodlums, to whom shall we go for safety? This is why we are crying to you who is able to arise and scatter the thoughts and powers of the enemies. Save your people from the hands of bandits, unknown gunmen who could also be those paid to secure life of the innocent people. Lord deliver Nigeria from the abyss of hell and make our land habitable again. How can we repay the unknown soldiers and all security agents who have sacrificed their lives for the nation? The gallant men and women in uniform who keep awake so that the common man and woman can sleep. Is it enough to remember them on Armed forces remembrance day with a wreath? Of what use is a flower to a widow and orphan who are dying of hunger? The families of those who have died in the hands of terrorists and civil war to keep Nigeria one need more care than a wreath of flowers.

Oh God give to our soldiers and police the grace and capacity to carry out their duties with unity of purpose for the common person in the nation. Teach them not to betray the nation by aiding criminals. It is alleged that His Royal Highness (HRH), Godwin Aigbe Esq the Enogie of Ukiri, near Benin City Edo State and a retired CSP in the Police force was kidnapped, maimed, released and later attacked again. The kidnappers were arrested by the Edo State Police Command through intelligence gathering. Some men who claimed to be police officers from Abuja came to release them despite protestation from the Edo State Police Command. Like the deer yearns for running waters, so we long for you, O God. We thirst for God, for the living God. When shall we come and behold the face of God? Tears have been our food day and night, while people say to us continually, “Where is your God?” These things we remember, as we pour out our soul: how we went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God every Sunday and Friday. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for we shall again praise him, our help and our God (Psalm 42:1-6).

Rev. Fr. Cornelius Omonokhua is the Executive Secretary of Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC -nirec.ng@gmail.com) & The Secretary General of the West Africa Inter-Religious Council (WA-IRC – wairc.rfp@gmail.com).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*