Senate Leader Victor Ndoma-Egba has congratulated Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Diocese, Bishop John Onaiyekan, on his elevation as a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI.
In a personally signed statement in Abuja yesterday, the Senate Leader also expressed worry about the timing of the bombing of a Catholic Church in Malali, Kaduna State, coming on the heels of the euphoria of Onaiyekan’s elevation. The bomb explosion reportedly killed 15 people and injured over 100 on Sunday.
Ndoma-Egba noted that evil forces who were obviously not happy with peace ushered in by the Sallah celebrations which saw Christians joining their Muslim brothers to celebrate the festival were behind the weekend bombing.
The statement reads: “Your elevation is a testimony of your outstanding qualities as a devout Christian who has relentlessly propagated the Gospel. This elevation is also a further testimony of the recognition of your leadership as a former President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) who gave voice to the aspirations of many Nigerians and in championing their cause.
“This is also recognition of your invaluable contributions to Nigeria’s growth and development in the course of your chosen career as a priest who speaks the truth to constituted authority as well as a defender of the oppressed. These qualities, I believe, are immeasurable.
On the Malali, Kaduna bombing, Ndoma-Egba expressed worry about the choice of Kaduna State when adherents of the two religions had earlier gathered to celebrate the Sallah together.
He said: “It is curious that two days before the dastardly act, Christian and Muslim faithful gathered together on Sallah day to celebrate the festival.
“This was an unprecedented first which we all thought would usher in the much-needed peace for a state that has reeled from countless bombings in the past.
“I find this new spate of bombing not only wicked but evil for anyone to wreak such havoc less than 24 hours after residents of both religions celebrated together in the spirit of peace, tolerance and brotherhood.
The Senate Leader enjoined those affected not to engage in reprisal killings just as he urged them to leave revenge to God.