By Sr. Josephine Odorwike and Neta Nwosu
The Apostolic Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop Antonio Guido Filipazzi, has taken a swipe at people seeking the Holy See’s interventions in addressing incessant killings in the country. He said rather, the Nigerian government should deploy its God-given institutions appropriately as a country to secure lives and properties, noting that security is largely the business of government.
Archbishop Filipazzi said this recently in an exclusive interview with The Catholic Herald weekly newspaper in Lagos.
According to the Vatican ambassador, building a viable nation is consequent upon conscious statesmanship and dynamic processes of utilization of institutional frameworks in tackling challenges, instead of waiting for God with no concrete action. He said, “The problem of the violence here in Nigeria is a problem of the state of the government because the duty of the government is to ensure that the people are safe and their goods secured. So, Nigeria is not to wait for help from heaven or from abroad. No. If they are a country, a nation, a state, these institutions help to work in order to achieve the security for everybody.”
The Papal Nuncio however clarified that the Holy See is concerned about the security issues in the country and has thrown its weight behind the numerous actions of the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria in resolving the challenges. “Of course, the Holy See is following the situation and is supporting, especially the actions of the bishops who are very keen to see to the end of the security problems in the country.
He expressed his displeasure at those seeking interventions from the Holy See. Hear him, “But I find it sometimes a bit strange when the people are asking intervention from the Holy See. So what they can imagine is that the Holy See is sending soldiers. No. We have to be objective and realistic.”
Archbishop Filipazzi advised Nigerians against voting on sentiments of emotion, religion or tribe as he called on the entire country’s citizenry to come out and vote. The Vatican ambassador admonished Nigerians to vote in the right leaders that will address the challenges of the country and deliver the right governance come February, 2023. He said, “I think I can lend my voice to the collective Bishops of Nigeria’s call that all Nigerians have to go and vote first of all because if the people are not voting, everything will be decided by few people and it’s not a true democracy.
And secondly, as I mentioned when I spoke about the role of the religious, the people have to vote after reflection, not guided by material interest or by emotion or by other questions like ethnic groups or religious groups. They have to think; they have to find the best person to fix the problems of Nigeria. And this is a difficult choice because they are to evaluate. We can only pray as ministers of God that the Holy Spirit will enlighten everybody. But at the end we also know that the only messiah is Jesus Christ. We are not to put our trust in human about being the messiah even from Nigeria.”