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Pope launches synod on Africa’s issues until Oct 25



Pope Benedict 2009

Pope Benedict 2009

Pope launches synod on Africa’s woes until October 25

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Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday celebrated a special mass to open a month-long synod of African bishops to discuss their continent’s conflicts, social injustice and grinding poverty. Saint Peter’s Basilica swelled to the strains of a hymn in the Congolese language Lingala, while prayers were also said in Swahili, Portuguese, Amharic, Hausa, Kikongo and Arabic to start the synod, which will run through October 25.

Benedict prayed that the synod of 197 Roman Catholic bishops from Africa’s 53 states would “renew and reinvigorate (Africa’s) Church, the sign and instrument of reconciliation, justice and peace.”

The synod will build on the last such meeting, convened in 1994 by Benedict’s predecessor John Paul II, said Monsignor Nikola Eterovic, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, on Friday. He said evangelisation was “urgent” in Africa, which counted some 146 million Roman Catholics as of 2007. Africa is second only to Oceania in the rate of growth of the Catholic population, from 12 percent of Africans in 1978 to 17 percent in 2006. A planning document for the talks, released in March during the pope’s tour to Cameroon and Angola, warns that “a process organised to destroy the African identity seems to be taking place under the pretext of modernity” leading to “moral laxity, corruption (and) materialism.”

During his first official trip to Africa, the pope angered many AIDS activists by remarking that the use of condoms could “worsen” the problem. The working paper suggests that training in the “promotion of moral social behaviour” was a key to combatting AIDS. The document denounces the conflicts and wars ravaging the continent, as well as political and economic corruption, human rights violations, the plight of women. AFP


Special to and CLASS magazine, Houston

By Chido Nwangwu.

As the facilitator of inter-religious dialogue, Arinze has seen and

Francis Cardinal Arinze. file photo

interacted with differing religionists who, to varying degrees, embody zealotry and reason, lucidity of thought and rock-ribbed dogmatisms. By being a major voice for Roman Catholicism in Africa, he has enriched the goals of the Vatican to win more souls to that unique section of the Christian community.

In deftly respecting and showing sensitivity to the cultural contexts for religious evangelization and work in different regions of the world, Arinze (a Nigerian, like me, from the south eastern Igbo ethnic group as is the literary giant Prof. Chinua Achebe) seems a fitting bridge for a common, shared theology of humankind.

Our brother, The Cardinal, is neither extreme in words nor brash in personal conduct, he also stands as a role model who should be emulated by many, especially in the community of his natural origin, the Nigerian community.

Among other qualities, he shows scholarship and a rare balance of reason and theology. May your pastroral lineage endure. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder and Publisher, and recipient of Journalism Excellence award (1999). CLICK here for full report of this essay first written online on April 7,1999, updated on April 25, 2002 and April 1, 2005

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USAfrica: Buhari to debate Atiku, Moghalu on January 19; rising Sowore not listed



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As the countdown to the February 2019 presidential elections in Africa’s most populated country continues, Nigerian Elections Debate Group (NEDG) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) have announced the “names of political parties” that they have pre-qualified to participate in the 2019 vice presidential and presidential debates.

The Executive Secretary of the NEDG, Eddie Emesiri, listed the parties as the following: Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Young Progressives Party (YPP).

The Presidential debate will hold on Saturday, January 19, 2019 while the VP debate will be in Abuja on Friday, December 14, 2018.

President Buhari, a retired army general who does not warm up to contrary even if helpful views, USAfrica notes, will have the opportunity of counterpoint exchanges with his 2015 former ally Atiku Abubakar, and especially from the  former deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank Prof. Kingsley Moghalu. 

Significantly, the debate excludes Omoyele Sowore, the activist-journalist and young candidate who is among the top canvassers and most travelled candidates (inside and outside Nigeria) in search of votes. By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica [Houston] and



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Global Terrorism Index ranks Nigeria, Somalia and Egypt among the worst hit.




The Global Terrorism Index for 2018 has been released by the Institute for Economics and Peace, which recorded 3 African countries of Nigeria, Somalia  and Egypt among the worst hit. Iraq’s almost daily blasts placed it at the top, followed by Afghanistan, Nigeria, Syria, and Pakistan. 

The GTI found that “the global impact from terrorism is on the decline, it also shows that terrorism is still widespread, and even getting worse in some regions.”

The United States is at number 20. 

The Index ranked 138 countries based on the severity of terror attacks throughout 2017, and found that “The total number of deaths fell by 27 percent between 2016 and 2017, with the largest falls occurring in Iraq and Syria. The overall trend of a decline in the number of deaths caused by acts of terror reflects the increased emphasis placed on countering terrorism around the world since the surge in violence in 2013.”

“In the Maghreb and Sahel regions of Northern Africa, there has been a resurgence of terrorist activity in the past two years, most notably of al-Qa’ida. As of March 2018 there were more than 9,000 members of terrorist groups active in the region, mostly concentrated in Libya and Algeria,” it noted.

The GTI assessed the total global economic impact of terrorism at almost $52 billion. notes that the attacks by Nigeria’s Boko Haram and its affiliates mainly in the north east and exponential rise in the violence unleashed by the Fulani herdsmen negatively affected the country. By Chido Nwangwu @Chido247

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Nigerian army posts Trump video to justify shooting muslim Shiites




Nigeria’s army (has) posted a video of US President Donald Trump saying soldiers would shoot migrants throwing stones to justify opening fire on a Shiite group (last) week.

In the video, Trump warns that soldiers deployed to the Mexican border could shoot Central American migrants who throw stones at them while attempting to cross illegally.

“We’re not going to put up with that. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” said Trump in remarks made on Thursday.

“I told them (troops) consider it (a rock) a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexican military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”

Nigeria’s defence spokesman John Agim told AFP that the army posted the video in response to criticism that its security forces had acted unlawfully.

The Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) said 49 of its members were killed after the army and police fired live bullets at crowds who marched near and in the capital Abuja. The army’s official death toll was six.

Amnesty International said Wednesday it had “strong evidence” that police and soldiers used automatic weapons against IMN members and killed about 45 people in an “unconscionable use of deadly force by soldiers and police”.

The United States embassy in Nigeria said Thursday it was “concerned” and called for an investigation.

“The video was posted in reaction to the Amnesty International report accusing the army of using weapons against pacifist Shiite protesters…. Not only did they use stones but they were carrying petrol bombs, machetes and knives, so yes, we consider them as being armed,” said Agim.

“We intervened only because the IMN members are trying to harm our people, they are always meeting us…at security check points and trying to provoke us, they even burned a police vehicle.”

Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is almost evenly split between a mostly Muslim north — which is predominantly Sunni — and a largely Christian south.

Experts have warned the government that a heavy-handed response to the group risks sparking conflict in a volatile region where poverty is widespread.

IMN leader Ibrahim Zakzaky has been in custody since 2015, when an army crackdown killed 300 of his supporters who were buried in mass graves, according to rights groups.

Zakzaky is facing a culpable homicide charge in connection with the 2015 violence. He remains in jail despite a court order granting him bail.

On Thursday, 120 of 400 IMN members arrested by police on Monday were  charged with “rioting, disturbance of public peace and causing hurt,” said a court official in Abuja on Friday.

According to court documents seen by AFP, the IMN members had been ordered to disperse but they “refused and started throwing stones at the police officers and other members of the public and thereby caused them bodily harm”.

All the suspects pleaded not guilty and were granted bail with the court hearing to resume on December 5.

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