Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong, has described the Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Ignatius Kaigama, as a thoroughbred spiritual leader interested in unifying all faiths and fostering reconciliation among people of different affiliations.
Lalong stated this on Wednesday night at a farewell dinner in honour of Kaigama, who until his appointment as the Archbishop of Abuja, was the Archbishop of Jos Catholic Archdiocese for 19 years.
The governor said that Archbishop Kaigama had discharged his pastoral duties with excellence, compassion and passion.
“We in Plateau can testify that we have tasted your compassion and confirm your genuine efforts to foster peace and build understanding among people of different religions, tribes and political affiliations.
“For many years that our state was embroiled in widespread conflict that caused so much havoc, God used you in many ways toward halting the situation and reconciling people to the point that today, we have substantial peace in Plateau.
“We recall the great work you have been doing as the Founder of the Dialogue, Reconciliation, and Peace Centre.
“We will not forget you contribution as Chairman, Plateau Inter-Religious Council for Peace and Harmony which you started with the late Emir of Wase, Alhaji Haruna Abdullahi.
“The sacrifices of your years of toiling and perseverance have saved lives and rebuilt shattered hopes among many of our people,” he said.
He added that Archbishop Kaigama had been fearless in standing up for the truth and for the Christian Faith in all the assignments he had been given.
Lalong recalled the role Kaigama played in facilitating the enactment of the legislation to outlaw same-sex marriage in Nigeria despite the enormous pressure and blackmail mounted by some Western governments using aid as a bait.
Archbishop Kaigama in his remarks, said that Lalong and indeed Plateau people had demonstrated eloquently that Plateau is his home.
Kaigama said that there was no alternative to peace and urged the people to always work for peace.
According to him, life is a series of beginnings, urging the people not to despair in the face of challenges.
“Wherever we are and whatever we do, let’s promote the good of humanity,’’ he said.
The cleric lauded the governor’s genuine passion for peace as exemplified by the establishment of Plateau Peace Building Agency.
He said that the efforts had yielded results with the return of peace to the state.
The archbishop urged the people to shun religious and ethnic sentiments and work together as one people created by God.
Alhaji Muhammadu Sambo Haruna, The Emir of Wase and Chairman, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) said that Kaigama stood for religious tolerance, peace and harmony.
The Emir said that Plateau would miss the archbishop for his invaluable contributions to the entrenchment of peace in the state.
Rev Dr Soja Bewarang, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Plateau Chapter ,described Kaigama as a peace-builder.
Bewarang said that the Archbishop was committed to the unity of the Church irrespective of denominational differences. (NAN)