Easter: Forgive yourselves over Nigeria-Biafra war - Archbishop Ibezim urges Ndigbo 

Easter: Forgive yourselves over Nigeria-Biafra war – Archbishop Ibezim urges Ndigbo 

The Archbishop, Province of the Niger and Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Reverend Alexander Ibezim has charged persons of Igbo extraction to forgive themselves over the excruciating Nigeria-Biafra civil war which occured over 50 years ago.

Ibezim gave the charge at Saint Peters Anglican Church, Amawbia, Anambra South Local Government Area, during the 2024 Good Friday Retreat of Awka Diocesan Council of Knights.

He linked the reason Ndigbo preferred safeguarding their wealth and businesses outside Igbo land to their inability to forgive themselves of the ugly experience occasioned by the war.

He said, “The Igbos have not forgiven themselves for what they went through during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war. That’s why they keep their wealth and businesses outside Igbo land. 

“In Nigeria today, the Igbos are suffering as a result of marginalization. There is injustice because there is bitterness towards us. 

“We the Igbos should forgive ourselves first. When forgiveness starts from home, it’s unstoppable.”

Speaking on the theme of the retreat, “Father Forgive Them”, taken from Luke 23:34, the Prelate described forgiveness as a nature of God which every faithful Christian must imbibe. 

“It is a practical theme, which we must practice before we leave here. Many of us suffer medical certain conditions due to bitterness we harbour against our offenders. 

“Your blood pressure rises as you see the person who offended you. Forgive him to show that you have the love of God in your life. Forgiveness help you to relieve emotional burden. Forgiveness shows that you are a really professing Christian,” he added.

The Prelate further enjoined admonished the knights, ladies and others in attendance to begin the healing process by letting go of bitterness they have harboured towards their offenders. 

“Everyone should take this theme home and not leave it here in the church. Usually the practice of forgiveness is minimal though we vocalize it every day”. 

“One of the things that can take people to hell fire is bitterness. Some husbands are bitter towards their wives and wives towards their husbands. Children are bitter towards their parents and vice versa. 

“Bitterness pollutes. It controls persons physically. Bitterness breeds negative actions,” he warned.  

While appealing to the congregants to confess their sins and seek forgiveness from God, Ibezim quipped, “God does not close the chapter of forgiveness. He is always willing to forgive and we must learn that from him today. 

“We must love our enemies as Jesus loved those who tortured him. Stephen also emulated Christ and his prayer for those who killed him produced Paul the greatest Apostle.

Earlier, President, Council of Knights in the Diocese, Prof. Emma Ezenwaji, challenged members to rededicate themselves to the service of God. 

He appreciated the Archbishop for ensuring that those to be knighted demonstrated some level seriousness and commitment to the church. 

“Today, all our programmes are online. For this retreat, we have members joining from various locations across the world. 

He frowned at the practice of according recognition to dead members who were inactive in the activities of the Council while they lived. Like his Grace said, I pray that the people to be knighted will cooperate with the leadership of the council to achieve its mandate and purpose. 

Addressing the congregation, Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Onyekachukwu Ibezim, who is also a knight of the diocese, encouraged his colleagues to spare no effort in moving the council forward. 

“It is a good thing to come together in the presence of the Lord. We have achieved a lot in Awka Diocese. Your Grace, your predecessor did well but you have taken the Diocese far. 

“I encourage our President to reach out to those of us in government. Visit us in our offices because there’s so much to do in the house of God. 

Ibezim further charged the knights and ladies not to take their being alive for granted. “When you are alive, remember it is for a purpose. I am encouraging all of us, this is the time to come together to do the work of God. 

“I also bring you the Easter felicitations. Remember, it is a moment of great reflection. Regardless of what Nigeria goes through at the moment, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There’s hope for Nigeria,” Dr Ibezim concluded.

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