By Frederick Peters, KADUNA.
Speakers and sympathizers at the Funeral Mass and interment of the first indigenous Archbishop emeritus of Kaduna and Northern Nigeria,Late Most Rev Dr.Peter Yariyock Jatau,on Wednesday,re-eoched the calls for peace,security and good governance in Nigeria.
Giving his homily during the Funeral Mass, at Ahmadu Bello Stadium,John Cardinal Onaiyekan,emeritus Archbishop of Abuja,while describing the deceased as a “silent achiever” who managed to get quite a lot done with little or no applause, said”his reward will all be more great in heaven from the divine master who sees all”
He noted that, his achievements are visible via his ” ecclesiastical structures,nurturing indigenous clergy and tremendous work for Justice,development and peace ” among other laudable strides.
He however lamented that the ideals he stood for over the decades may now be eroding,saying” The project Nigeria is still very much work in progress or is it work in retrogression, it is hard to not to argue with the many who are saying that in our nation things are getting worse by the day”
He warned”that those in pain should be allowed to shout,pointing out what is not going well with the nation should be seen as an act of patriotism which government should welcome and appreciate and not shout down and demonized”
Adding that”in our present serious predicament, what is needed is to bring all hands on deck so that we can together rescue our Nation from sliding into avoidable chaos”Pointing out that the responsibility for facilitating this joint action rests with those ruling us”
According to him, “the late Archbishop Peter Jatau, we are reminded that he is one who firmly believes in the viability of the Project Nigeria. Building a one united Nigeria is for many of us a desirable enterprise. But it is an enterprise that costs a lot in terms of sincere efforts to live with one another in a spirit of mutual respect, and equal opportunity for all, in solidarity and common mind”
He further warned “Before we discard this as a price too high to pay for unity, we must carefully count the alternative costs of tearing ourselves apart, a cost that will surely be much higher than what it takes to stay together. May the Almighty and merciful God lead us through the path of justice, peace and love, to the goal of a united and prosperous nation, under God.”he reiterated
Similarly the President of Catholic Bishops Conference of. Nigeria(CBCN)Most Rev Augustine Oboira Akubueze,in his remarks,noted that the deceased was a Man who offered his life in total submission to God,the church and humanity,stressing that he will be missed at this particular time in our nation’s history
” We know that the level of insecurity in the country is high. The people of Nigeria are killed daily by bandit, cattle rustlers, Boko haram, herdsmen, kidnappers and various criminal elements that our security agents have not been able to deal with. We pray God to grant eternal rest to all who have died in the hands of these criminals, and pray for the conversion of these evil persons”
While rejoicing with Bishop Moses Chikwe, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Owerri; his drivers and all others who have gained their freedom back,said “We also join our voices to many courageous religious leaders, Catholics and non-Catholics who have spoken out against the government performance in the area of insecurity in Nigeria.
” To the Federal Government of Nigeria, let it be known to you that openness to objective criticism is a sign of maturity. Many critics of Government mean well for the Government. There are no religious leaders who will want the Government to fail, neither are there genuine religious leaders who truly feel the pain of their people who will keep quiet when the life and property of the people are not secured.”he noted
According to him” The Government should listen to the cries of Nigerians and take Nigerians seriously when we cry for a secured life; when we asked for good opportunity for every Nigerians. When we ask for inclusion of every parts of the country in the governance of Nigeria and not just a minimalistic approach to fulfilling constitutional quotas of representation.
“As we speak and constructively, criticise the Federal Government,we assure the Government of our prayers and collaboration in seeking to build a nation where justice and peace reign. Where prosperity for everyone is achieved”
He pointed out that” This was what Archbishop Peter Jatau worked and fought for. All of us must continue the fight for justice and peace for everyone in our land.”he stressed.
On his part, the Chairman of the Northern governors Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Barrister Simon Lalong,describing the Archbishop emeritus said ” there’s no better way to describe the deceased as he has been described today,we were very young when he was a priest up to the time he became a Bishop
” I use to admire him a lot,himself and our late Archbishop Ganaka. ,Today, we have missed him,but his legacies, we have not missed,we’ll continue with his legacies and we thank God for his life “he added
On efforts of government in tackling insecurity,he pointed out,that is every body’s business, but assured of their committed through community policing to nip it in the bud,he however called on people not to withhold information,because the criminals are people who live with us
” if we are able to give information, we can get them,but people hide and protect their own in the name of ethnicity and in the name of religion;protecting criminals that is when we’ll not have an end to criminality” He however assured that with efforts on ground and prayers insecurity will be a thing of the past in the North and Nigeria”
In the same vein,the Chairman 19 Northern states,Rev Yakubu Pam,while delivering the condolences of Former Head of Nigeria, General Yakubu,also described the deceased as a “unifier” who lived an exemplary leadership lifestyle in Northern Nigeria and Nigeria
He also presented a condolence message from the Presidency, describing, late Jatau,said he “was a Nationalist,General of the Gospel and one of the key founders of the Christian Association of Nigeria,(CAN),adding that, he served as Chairman, 19 Northern states for 30 years,with laudable structures to his credit.
Representative of the Governor of Kaduna State and Commissioner of internal security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan,said” The passing of His Grace is indeed a huge loss to the people of Kaduna State and he will be missed for his teachings and commitment to the advocacy for peaceful coexistence and religious harmony in the state”he averred
The deceased was aged 89 years old and his remains was laid to rest at St Joseph’s Cathedral, Kaduna.