By Abuchi Onwumelu
In the spirit of Easter celebration, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, on Saturday, 20 April, during his annual get-together with the poor, distributed some food items, clothing and cash gifts to over 500 less privileged in society.
Bishop Ezeokafor, who performed the function at St. Patrick's Catholic Cathedral, Awka, said it was a monthly routine in the Diocese but that this particular edition termed, "Easter celebration with the poor", was geared towards enabling the sick and the poor from across religious and cultural backgrounds, to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ like their counterparts.
Bishop Ezeokafor called the Federal government to reduce cost of governance and initiate robust welfare packages for indigent people in society.
Speaking on the establishment of a Social Welfare Scheme in the country for people living with disabilities and the elderly, Bishop Ezeokafor revealed that mismanagement and corruption had continuously made it impossible for the nation to care for the sick, homeless, disabled and displaced persons in country, asking all to participate in the message of impacting and touching the lives of the people.
Handing over the goodies to over two hundred and fifty indigent persons, Bishop Ezeokafor who said the initiative identified people that lacked basic things in life, prayed for the improvement of the country, saying that God had given Nigeria enough resources that when properly harnessed, would make the citizens comfortable.
'Today is Holy Saturday. We are celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We know there are lots of people who are sick and those without basic necessity of life. They depend on us. We usually pray God to help improve the situation of our country to reduce their sufferings.
'Every month, we provide them with food items, clothing and cash to enable them to cater for their basic needs. But this particular one is specially called Easter celebration with the poor.
This has nothing to do with religious or ethnic sentiments,' he said, adding that religious denomination was of no consequence in charity works.
He reiterated his calls for reduction in the cost of governance in the country, which, according to him, would help to entrench good governance, speed up development, including institution of welfare package, for the disadvantaged.
'I believe that this country is endowed with both human and natural resources. But our problem in the country is corruption and mismanagement. I have said it time without number that the cost of running government in this country is too much.
'Our government should seriously take care of the poor masses. They should do something, otherwise they are failing. And if they are failing as regards these people, I wonder what they will tell God in Heaven,' Bishop Ezeokafor stated.
Responding on behalf of the indigent people, one of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Nneka Ezeome from Nise, while thanking Bishop Ezeokafor for his continuous support to them, described him as a true man of God with a human face and prayed for God's 'unimaginable blessings' upon him as well as giving him longevity.
The people were later presented with foodstuffs like yam, beans, garri, fruits, rice, plates, clothes and toiletries, among other items, as well as transport fare to their various homes.