. . . As Frank-Anthony Igboka is Laid to Rest
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
An Awka Diocesan-born Catholic Bishop, Most Rev Peter Okpaleke, has warned murderers, cultists and their sponsors to beware of the wrath of God, which he said awaits them for their inhuman act of taking peoples’ lives in any form.
Bishop Okpaleke gave the admonition in his homily of a concelebrated burial Mass for the late President General of Nimo Town Development Union (NTDU), Chief Sir Frank-Anthony Igboka, at Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church, Nimo, Njikoka L.G.A, Anambra State, on Friday, June 14, 2019.
The bishop, who flayed murderers, cultists as well as their sponsors for taking other peoples’ lives which he said they did not have right to, maintained that condemnation awaited them.
He said, ‘Condemnation awaits murderers and those who got involved in the act of killing in any form. The wrath of God awaits murderers, because murder is sin against humanity. By killing, the murderer makes himself god, which he is not. Only the Almighty God has the right to give and take life.
The Catholic prelate who also berated politicians for what he described as their ungodly acts, alleged that most of the cultists had politicians as their sponsors. Bishop Okpaleke noted that it was not enough for politicians to just fly their parties’ flags, but to also live up to responsibilities of good governance positions which they occupied.
He maintained that politicians were expected to champion good governance, provide the necessary amenities as and when due for the masses they represented and ensure protection of lives and property, and not to maim or inflict hardship on the people.
Pointing out that Mass for the dead was to give him spiritual support, to give due honour to his baptised body and to reconcile man with God, the bishop, who further based his reflections on the book of Numbers Chapter 28 verse 3-8 and Hebrew 10:1-25, averred that the sacrifice which Jesus Christ offered once with his body, was the same the priest(s) re-enacted in the Holy Masses.
He enjoined the faithful to hold on to their hope in resurrection, because God who gave them the promise of salvation was ever faithful, as stated in the book of Hebrew chapter 10:23.
The bishop, who made a case for peace in Nimo, urged the people not to be deterred by the death of the late Frank-Anthony Igboka, who was brutally murdered by notorious gunmen on the night of Holy Tuesday, April 16, 2019. He prayed God to do what it pleased Him with the killers of Igboka.
Bishop Okpaleke, who recalled the first impression he had about Nimo Town when he first knew about the name, Nimo Brotherhood Society (NBS), in the northern part of Nigeria, remanded Nimo Community of God’s unfailing love for them.
According to him, the Brotherhood Society, spoke of the fraternity the town was known for, as illustrated in the Book of James in the Holy Bible.
He wondered why the Nimo of today resorted to killings and war, due to hatred and jealousy. The bishop charged Nimo people to go back to the brotherhood fraternity they were known for, saying that when that is done, the joy of brotherly love would abound with them again.
The bishop of the Holy Catholic Church reminded the bereaved family members of their duty to safeguard the good Igboka Family name which they inherited. He urged them not to lose faith because of the deaths of late Charles Igboka and Frank-Anthony Igboka, but to carry on the legacy left for them, with strengthened faith.
Speaking at the occasion, the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Dr Willie Obiano, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Governor (SSG), Prof Solo Chukwudelu, thanked the security operatives for the prompt action they took immediately and arrested the killers of the late Igboka.
The governor condoled with the bereaved family and Nimo Town for what he described as a great loss to the community that was blessed with many personalities.
In his remarks, the deceased’s brother, Rev Fr JohnBosco Igboka, described the deaths of two great sons of the family, Charles and Frank-Anthony, within almost the same time, as a great blow to the family. He however said they resigned to divine providence. Fr Igboka appreciated the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor; the auxiliary bishop, Most Rev Jonas Benson Okoye; Bishop Okpaleke, who led in the Mass; Anambra State Government and all people of goodwill for their concern and support.
Late Igboka, KSJI, was a former legislator of Anambra State House of Assembly and a patron of many groups, among which was the Awka Diocesan Cultural Commission (ADCC).