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Friday, 13 February 2015

The Shadows of "50 Shades of Grey" in Africa

By now, most people would have heard about the movie adaptation of the distasteful erotica novel - 50 Shades of Grey by British author E.L. James. This thinly veiled perverse glorification of sexual violence has now generated record sales around the world - 70 million copies and counting. This is probably why Hollywood rushed to latch unto this twisted and depraved appetite for sexual perversion. 

Some insightful articles have already been written about the demerits and detriments of this movie to the society at large. I highly recommend these thoroughly explanatory pieces that bring to the fore, all the socially and morally objectionable aspects of E.L James' 50 shades of Grey. 

This erotica tries to frame sadomasochism and sexual domination as a valid and normal expression of love. This plot in fact epitomizes, in all glitz and glam, the darkened thoughts of the violent rapist who believes that their cruel sexual violence is indeed enjoyable even for the one being violated.
This is dark and depraved. 

So with Africa always on my mind, I tried to find out if this movie had enough global ambitions to cast its shadows over the Continent of Africa. 
And to my great consternation, Africa has not escaped the grey shadows of this distasteful movie. 

Given the heartbreaking reality of the high rate of sexual violence and rape in South Africa (sometimes called the rape capital of the world) , one would think that the 50 Shades of Grey will not be shown here, but some insensitive South African cinema houses like the Ster-Kinekor Theatres have already advertised 50 Shades of Grey as the "hottest cinema experience of the year". I am sure that the hundreds of thousands of South African women who have been raped will testify that there is nothing "hot" about rape other than the excruciating hurt and humiliation a women feels when she is violated.

However, in the insatiable quest for money and business, Ster-Kinekor Theatres also have this movie showing all through this weekend in Namibia and Zimbabwe. And they have put so much efforts to lure as many women as possible to it.

In my country, Nigeria, we have this potent poison of sexual perversion being served to us by Silver Bird Cinemas at all their branches (Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt). 
All in time for Valentines, the Cinema entrepreneurs sell us perversion for peace, lust for love, rape for romance. For the thrill of their big ticket-sellouts , they are willing to throw Africa off the dangerous cliff of BDSM (Bondage-Dominance-Sadomasocism), as long as they can smile to the bank. 

Sexual bondage, handcuffs, blindfolds, whips, chains...these are some of the milder paraphernalia of the BDSM demi-monde which promises nothing but humiliation, manipulation, objectification, isolation and degradation of women (and men). 
This most unhealthy primitive perversion has not emanated from Africa. Ironically it has been formed and fashioned in the glamourous circles of the developed world. 
And I can say with all conviction that its darkness is as far removed from our African cultural heritage as one can imagine. Most African ethnic languages do not even have the words to describe this debased sexual sub-culture, this is why many Africans will just call it - Abomination. 

So I ask the burning question on my mind...how is it that these cinema houses are able to bring 50 Shades of Grey to our big-screens in Africa. 
Surely they have done so without going through the appropriate censorship and broadcasting boards.
Surely no African censorship board or commission will grant permission to this movie. Not when it has been rated "R" in the USA for "Strong sexual content , some unusual behaviour, graphic nudity and strong language". 

Surely these censorship bodies exist to carefully consider the contents of all public entertainment while bearing in mind the moral views and values of our society. 
Surely their duty is precisely to protect the African people from invasions of perverse ideologies woven into movies such as this one. 

Already the censorship commissions of Kenya and Uganda have risen to their full stature to protect their people from this putrid production. And for this, we applaud them. 


There is this constant rhetorical demand by various institutions for an end to sexual violence against African women, and almost every month some international organization or western nation is hosting a high-budget conference to bring attention to this issue. We see them spend a lot of money on colourful posters and media pieces. 
But in the spirit of consistency, one cannot call for the end of sexual violence in Africa with one hand and then stoke the flames of sexual perversion with the other hand. 

So, I call out to all African governments, women's organizations, human rights groups as well as all broadcasting and censorship commissions to carefully consider the corrosive effects that the 50 shades of Grey will have on the hearts and minds of millions of people across our Continent. 
African women deserve peace not perversion.
African women deserve love not lust. 
African women deserve romance not rape. 

So kick and keep these "50 Shades of Grey" out of our Africa !!!! 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Culture of Life Africa on Catholic Answers Focus


Catholic Answers Focus recently featured Culture of Life Africa as Uju was the guest of show host Patrick Coffin in the second half of the show.

It was an excellent interview that captures succinctly the on going battle to protect the pro-life and pro-family stance of the African people and it is a pleasure to share it with you . To listen to the interview click here .

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas Greetings!

Merry Christmas to all the beloved friends of Culture of Life Africa who have walked with us throughout this year, accompanying us on the pro-life mission trail, encouraging us, speaking with us, speaking of us, sharing with us, giving to us, praying with us and praying for us. 
To you we extend our heart-felt gratitude. 
You have given us the will and courage to continue to grow stronger and more resolute in this pro-life mission for Africa. 

May this holy season of Christmas bring to you and yours God's great gifts of grace and goodness.
And may your life be filled with the peace and joy of our Lord in the days and years ahead.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Whose idea was it?



A "Family Planning" conference has just been concluded in Abuja, the capital of my country and what I found most remarkable about it was that this one conference attracted 11 very wealthy, and mostly western sponsors- DFID, USAID, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, UNFPA etc. 
Very wealthy and indeed very western! 
Any one of them could have single-handedly sponsored a conference in any part of the world but to have 11 of these giants gather over one little conference in Nigeria is worth careful consideration. 
Along side these sponsors were also about 25 powerful organizations enlisting as the "corporate partners/planning committee" of the conference, these included major organizations well known in Europe and America for their single-minded radical pro-abortion and anti-life stance. These included organizations like International Planned parenthood Federation, Marie Stopes International, Ipas, Pathfinder and many others. 
Yes, all of them gathered in Abuja so as to nudge and prod Nigeria towards the direction of "family planning". 

Family Planning is a term that is  (or should be) self explanatory. It should mean the planning of one's family. It should be a term that by default points to married committed couples who have a family to plan. It should be family-centred and it should connote self-mastery and self-discipline (for every good plan should be undergirded by discipline) . Family planning. 
It should be a good,healthy, pure and beautiful concept. Couples, guided by the spirit of openness to love and life, can plan their family together while understanding that any life conceived by their union is a gift of enormous value. Family planning should be natural and healthy to both husband and wife. It should not be destructive or detrimental to health of mind and body (as many if not most of the artificial contraception available today can and often do cause much damage to health). 
Family planning should entail a lot of love, understanding, generosity of spirit, humility, patience, self-control, fidelity, communication, care and cooperation. All of these enrich the marital bond and strengthen the rich marriage and family-oriented culture that Nigeria already has.  

However, the "Family Planning" conference that was recently brought into Abuja (by mostly western actors) had very little or nothing at all to do with self-control or fidelity or patience or even marriage! On the contrary it had much to do with promoting a hedonistic, individualistic and selfish view of sex. 
The conference had a very unhealthy focus on normalizing sexual activities among the Nigerian youth outside the context of marriage. They had highly eroticized campaigns targeting the young. They had presentations on topics like "Addressing the Family Planning service needs of youth". 
Well, if they are youth, what need do they have for "family planning"? If they do not have a "family" then what exactly are they "planning"? What is so dire about the family planning needs of our young adolescents to warrant 11 powerful sponsors and 25 corporate partners? 

The truth is that the listed organizers, sponsors and planners of this conference are very much in tune with the FP2020 target and in step with the highly radicalized agenda of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) which is right now sweeping through the western world like a hurricane, destroying countless lives,  homes, marriages and families. 
They gather in our Capital with their "family planning" conference in order to disparage our widely held and shared cultural and religious views on life, love, marriage and family. It is an attack on the natural modesty and innocence of our youth who are vulnerable and so impressionable. 
This conference was not convened out of great necessity in my country and it was not conceived in Nigeria. Rather it was convened at the behest of the cultural imperialists who consider themselves our "betters" and it was conceived in the hearts of powerful western social engineers who are already well known for their commitment to the SRHR propaganda. They are the same people who are mindlessly promoting abortion around the world. They are the same ones who have paved the path for the ongoing LGBT revolution in the west. They are the same ones implicated in various draconian population control programs around the world. And yet, Nigeria opens the door to them. We acknowledge their "superiority" on matters of family life. We allow them access to our youth. We accept their poisoned gifts of contraceptives. We agree to their radical demands made in the spirit of social experimentation. 
If we do not wake up now, we will surely fall off a cultural cliff beyond which there is colossal and irreparable destruction of marriage and family life. 

I appeal passionately to my people, do not fall for the lies of misguided western ideologues. Instead, let us together as a people reconsider carefully and reflect deeply on the true meaning, purpose and implications of " Family Planning".  For this, we do not need wealthy sponsors, donors, partners and planners who have emerged from a broken world where the sanctity of human life is denied, where the law allows for the killing of the unborn, where sex outside of marriage has been normalized, where the divorce rates are staggering and the suicide rates are incredibly high. 
These, are the marks of failure etched on the faces of the same people bringing us the unsolicited gift of "family planning". 
If we are truly wise, we should not give them access to our intimate lives, our precious families, our innocent children and our cherished women. 
We may be poor but our dignity is ours, so let us not fail or fall for what the 21st century cultural imperialists have surreptitiously labelled as "family planning" or what they have cunningly called the most "unmet need" of Africa. 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

STOP CHEMICAL WARFARE ON POOR WOMEN


STOP CHEMICAL WARFARE ON POOR WOMEN: ONE DOLLAR CONTRACEPTIVE?

Press Release by: Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) through its Health Committee has followed with keen interest the recent announcement by the trio of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Incorporated and Child Investment Fund Foundation on the roll out of the so-called one dollar injectable contraceptive “Sayana Press”. This easy-to-administer form of an old drug by Pfizer Incorporated is being hailed by many as the magic wand to reduce poverty and emancipate poor women in over 69 countries around the world especially in Sub Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The active chemical ingredient in Sayana Press is the synthetic analogue of the body biological messenger (hormone) known as progesterone. It is branded progestin-only contraceptive, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate ((Depo provera); a long acting hormonal birth control drug that is injected every 3 months. This medication was hitherto given by trained health workers. But the new packaging form makes it possible for literally any woman to self-inject the chemical agent.

In the current rage to promote and distribute Sayana Press to women in the poorest countries of the world including Nigeria, the whole facts about the drug are not being told to the unsuspecting consumers. For example, Depo provera has long been associated with serious side effects and health conditions that led to its ban in many developed countries. Specifically, the one dollar contraceptive can result to varying degrees of sterility, irregular menstrual periods, or no menstrual periods at all, high blood pressure, excessive weight gain (obesity), depression and nervous breakdown, hair loss, reduced libido with the associated marital disharmony and family breakdown, increased risks of cancers of the breast, cancer of the cervix (neck of the womb) and the ovary as well as loss of bone mineral mass resulting to easy-to-fracture weak bones (osteoposis). Other known side effects include acne, excessive hair growth of facial and body hair.

Given the many reported side effects of the main ingredient in the “one dollar injectable” contraceptive, we urge the Federal Ministry of Health, State ministries of health, the National Primary Health Development Agency as well as development support agencies to immediately halt the distribution of this harmful chemical to Nigerian women and in fact, all women across the world who now stand in danger of serious untoward effects from the drug.
On the contrary, we would like to reiterate the need and urgency for the promotion of the total health of families with particular respect to the procreative wellbeing of women and young adults. This can be realized through the universalization of natural methods of fertility management – Natural Family Planning (NFP). These methods which are based on the innate features of each woman’s reproductive biology are safe, cheap, easily learned and without the numerous adverse effects of artificial family planning chemicals and devices. Finally, NFP methods do not infringe against the faith, morals or cultures of communities across the world. They encourage communication, mutual respect and responsibility and effective male involvement, thus enhancing family unity, integrity and societal stability.
We firmly declare that this is not democratic and is even unethical to continue the agenda of throwing commodities with known dangers and potential risks at the vulnerable peoples of the world who are often uninformed about all the issues concerned.

We hereby call on all our agencies to study the issues thoroughly and deploy all media, grassroot/pastoral organs to correctly inform our people of the risks they run by patronising these means and methods. No one has a right to suspend parental guidance and spiritual care by the Church from the life of our people and especially the youth.
We call for vigilance from all stakeholders on these issues regarding human life and family.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Post-Plenary Communique of the Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference 2014


COMMUNIQUE OF THE GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE 2014 PLENARY ASSEMBLY HELD AT OSHIUMAN, ACCRA

(4TH - 15TH NOVEMBER, 2014) 
Theme: "The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelisation"
Greetings
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ and all people of goodwill who live in our land, grace and peace of God the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its true name be with you! (Eph. 3:15).
We, the members of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, meeting in our 2014 Annual Plenary Assembly in Oshiuman, Accra, from 4th to 15th November, 2014, send you our greetings of peace and blessing.
Gratitude
We give thanks to God for His grace and mercies for guiding us through the events of the past year during which as a Church we successfully organised a Second National Pastoral Congress in Sunyani to chart a new path of evangelisation for our Church’s mission in Ghana. We also recall with gratitude to God our successful Ad Limina Visit to Rome this year during which we met the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to give an account of our stewardship. These graces of God to the Church, coupled with the fact that our country, Ghana, continues to enjoy peace and good will among the comity of nations, invite us to give praise to God.   We encourage all citizens to continue to seek the face of God and offer fervent prayers for our dear Nation and the Church.
Theme of this year’s Plenary
The theme of this year’s plenary Assembly is, “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelisation”.  This theme was inspired by the just-ended Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family held in Rome, from 5th to 19th October, 2014 to consider the pastoral challenges that the family faces today. Our deliberations on this theme were preceded by four days of prayer and reflection, at the end of which we wish to present to you and to the good people of Ghana and the world at large the following pertinent teachings on the family.
The Church’s Teaching on the Family
The Church’s perennial and unchanging teaching on the family is based on the nature of man but especially on Scripture and Sacred Tradition namely, that God ordained marriage to be between man and woman, when “God made them male and female and blessed them”. God also intended marriage to be open to life when, “He blessed them and said increase and multiply” (Gen. 1:27-28).  Furthermore, God determined marriage to be indissoluble as Jesus affirmed, “What therefore God has put together, let no man put asunder” (Matt. 19:6).

The Church’s consistent teaching on the importance of marriage and family life as revealed in Sacred Scripture is also emphasised in the Magisterium. The Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et Spes (GS), for instance, speaks about the dignity of marriage and family life (cf. GS 47-52), defining marriage as a community of life and love and placing love at the nucleus of the family (Eph. 5:25).
God the Creator, by forming the first man and woman and commanding them to be fruitful and to multiply (Gen. 1:28) definitively established the family to be a permanent union between one man and one woman. Consequently, the family becomes the sanctuary where life is born, nurtured and welcomed as a gift of God. By matrimonial covenant which the Lord Jesus raised to the dignity of a sacrament, a man and a woman come together to establish between themselves a relationship of love which by its very nature is ordered towards the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring. This covenant of love consequently takes the character and effect of unity, indissolubility, fidelity and openness to life. Marital love also requires the fidelity of the spouses flowing from the gift of oneself to one’s lawful spouse (cf. Eph. 5:32).
Church as Family of God
The Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Africa (The Church in Africa) adopted a new image of the Church: Church-family of God (Ecclesia in Africa, 63). This image emphasizes our common origin and destiny as Children of God (Eph. 3:14). The African cherishes the family as the fundamental base of humanity and of society. As a family, respect, sense of belonging and care for one another are our values. Like the African family, the Church always aims at building up her members, to uphold her image and reinforce her values of care for others, solidarity, warmth in human relationships, acceptance, dialogue and trust (Ecclesia in Africa, 63). This explains why the Church is appreciated as a gift from God given to building the Kingdom of reconciliation, justice and peace here on earth and in Ghana (Africae Munus 7).
The Family as Subject of Evangelisation
The Fathers of Vatican II rightly noted that evangelisation first takes place in the family, as parents “by word and example, are the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children” (Lumen Gentium 11). It is in the family that children first learn about God, love of neighbour and the Church. As such, parents are indispensable in sharing the faith with their children.  Parents are to assist children to make the appropriate choices at the different stages of their lives. 
Challenges of the Family
Today, the family is undergoing significant challenges that rock the very foundation on which God has set the human society. These crises manifest themselves in very many ways.
Philosophy of Relativism and the Family
We are witnessing today the emergence of a new reality that defines man as a free individual with the license to do whatever she/he pleases.  Unfortunately, this reality has crept into the traditional Christian concept of the family, redefining marriage to be a free union between any two people who are attracted to each other whether they are of the same sex or not. The new reality exhorts humans to give free expression to their sexual feelings in all manner of ways. Some people suppress the words, “husband” and “wife,” “father” and “mother” in favour of words such as “partner”, “companion”, etc. The attempted redefinition of these words distorts and clouds the true meaning of marriage. 
Negative Media Portrait of Marriage
The media has become a major source of influence in the way young people conceive marriage. They amplify failing and failed relationships between males and females and further celebrate their separation. Ghanaian young people continually keep themselves updated on the marital mishaps of celebrities, get exposed to explicit immoral scenes in movies and the internet and come to associate human sexuality with a certain casualness and irresponsible experimentation. It therefore makes it easy to treat one’s partner merely as an object of self-gratification. Regrettably, the many good examples of faithful couples are either ignored or not reported by the media. 
Infidelity of Couples
Some Christian men and women, especially those who indulge in casual and pre-marital sex, do not develop the critical awareness of their changed status once they get married. They continue to maintain sexual relations with other men and women outside their marriage. Such betrayal often leads to the break-up of many marriages.
Domestic Violence in Marriage
Domestic violence is a real issue in many Ghanaian homes and is suffered by both men and women. While some wives are battered into silence and therefore live in perpetual fear of their husbands, some husbands are also unable to come home after work for fear of their wives. This often leads some men and women into alcoholism and some enter into amorous relationships with other women and men. The work place, the market and even at times, the Church, have become the refuge for some men and women escaping the hazards of domestic violence. In some cases, innocent children and house helps fall victim to this violence.
Pressures on Marriage and Families
Many a couple has challenges with building their lives together in intimate relationship due to pressures of work.  The phenomenon where couples are regularly absent from the marital home due to work and education does not help in the stability of the marriage.  Children become the ultimate victims in the event of divorce.  Furthermore, demands from either partner’s family for assistance most often incur the displeasure of the other spouse. Some husbands and wives find it difficult relating well to the families of their spouses.  This often creates resentment and may lead to divorce.
In addition, when marriage has been for some time without children, there is always pressure brought to bear on the man but most often on the woman. For many Ghanaian communities, it is only when a child is born to the couple that the marriage is seen as consolidated and no explanation to the contrary is good enough. In some extreme cases, some women, unable to bear the pressure are actually known to have allowed their husbands to marry another woman and get children by her. Such arrangements apart from being wrong and opposed to the teaching on Christian family often result in disaster and tragedy.
Inequality in Marriage
Ghanaian Christians have to be educated out of their belief in the inequality of husband and wife. Most of us in Ghana live in male-dominated societies which believe in the superiority of the man over the woman.  As such, the Christian doctrine on the equality of husband and wife is a teaching that some find difficult to accept. The traditional Ghanaian male believes that the woman is inferior to the man in marriage.  We observe the phenomenon of polygamy among our Christian faithful as some men prefer to marry more than one woman. This is due to the Ghanaian culture which seems to condone polygamy.  These notions are wrong and ought to change.
Bridewealth in Marriage
The issue of bridewealth (also known in some societies as dowry) and its significance for marriages also needs to be addressed. Even though most Christians would not accept the complete abolition of the bridewealth because of its significance for the stability of the marriage, we must do away with the excesses that are making it difficult for poor people to marry. Furthermore, one cannot deny completely the fact that the payment of the bridewealth in some cultures is partially to blame for the low place we give the woman in her marital home and the society at large. An effective evangelisation of our Christian families will base family life on the love that bonds the couple together and not on the bridewealth. 
Cohabitation/Concubinage
We bemoan the practice of cohabitation or concubinage in which couples that have performed the customary marriage see no need to go ahead to regularise their marriages. We call for an end to this practice. Reasons such as the need to study each other, lack of funds to celebrate the marriage, among others, do not hold any significance. For in such a practice, not only do the couples fail to make God the centre of their marriages but they also cut themselves off from the Eucharist as the source of their spiritual sustenance.
Socio-political Challenges to the Family
What compounds these challenges to the family are other serious socio-economic and political problems in our society. Our beloved country, Ghana as a family is beset with the nagging problem of polarization along political and tribal lines. We experience the politicisation of almost every national issue, and a growing religious and political intolerance. We see also the lack of the fear of God and ostentation in our body politic and social fabric. There is deceit, commercialization of religion and the “hijacking” of some religious and opinion leaders to divide and rule the society. All of these are bad examples for our children and youth.  That is why we strongly deplore this state of affairs in our nation and urge all Ghanaians to desist from them and come together to address these evils. 
We also deplore in no uncertain terms a radical and faceless culture of death which promotes among other things the supply and use of the condom in our schools, the in vitro fertilization and the contraception agenda of some national and international institutions in Ghana. Painfully, some Ghanaian homosexual and pro-abortion groups, and even our Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection overtly and subtly support these international organizations. We wish to draw the attention of all Ghanaians to this dangerous “culture of death” being imposed on us and call on all Ghanaians to forcefully reject this so-called freedom which indeed is suicidal. Further, we urge those who represent Ghana at the United Nations and other such bodies to realise that these practices are culturally abominable and morally and spiritually reprehensible.  We therefore urge them to refrain from endorsing such disastrous protocols on our behalf. Whenever they do sign such protocols, they betray the trust the good people of Ghana have vested in them. We are to remind ourselves of the well known fact that a nation that kills its unborn babies has no future.
Ghana’s Economy and the family
The current state of the Ghanaian economy is of concern to all of us and affects the family adversely.  We are witnessing a consistent high cost of living, hyper-inflation, a depreciating cedi and high cost of goods and services. We bemoan the fact that Ghana’s economy is fast becoming one of “buying and selling.”  Unbearably high taxes are causing many nascent private businesses to fold up. At the same time, we are not seeing aggressive efforts to set up more industries to take care of rising youth unemployment and low levels of development.  We join our voices to those of the many Ghanaians who disapprove of the importation of furniture from China for our Parliament when made-in-Ghana furniture could have been patronized to boost the furniture industry and the economy as a whole. Economic practices such as these, impact negatively on most families, leading to despair, poverty, sense of abandonment and marginalization. They threaten the stability of families making it difficult for them to actually live out their expectations as Christian families.
We note the various efforts of government, aimed at improving the economy, including the ongoing discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the Senchi Consensus. We can only hope that these interventions will lead to economic transformation that will arrest the rising spate of youth unemployment and low levels of development. We pray that our own home-grown economic policies such as those implemented under the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA), the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Authority (GYEEDA) and the Youth Enterprise Support (YES) may be led by qualified and competent persons. These policies should be given the utmost priority over externally-funded support programmes. Our experience is that externally-funded economic interventions almost always lead to unbearable consequences on citizens.
Corruption and the Family
We have time and again spoken about the twin-evil of bribery and corruption in Ghana but we regret to note that these evils continue to ravage every fabric of the Ghanaian society. Present-day Ghana is openly and pervasively corrupt. People at all levels of society, including some Christians, are engaged in naked corruption with impunity. We commend the Government for the recent prosecution of some high level personalities in government and for setting up various Commissions of enquiry into alleged corrupt practices at high levels. We do think, however, that our Government could do more to nip this canker in the bud. Certainly, individuals and private businesses should do their part to end corruption in our country. Reports of corruption from the media and on-going national commissions of enquiry such as the Judgment Debts, GYEEDA and SADA, National Service Scheme and the 2014 FIFA World Cup as well as allegations of corruption in CHRAJ are worrying. We decry the mismanagement and apparent failure of these programmes and institutions and call on Government to do all it can to ensure that they deliver on their mandate. We also expect Government to act without fear or favour in dealing with those who will be found culpable in the reports of the on-going investigations. 
We urge the financial institutions, especially the banks, to beware of money laundering and the reported cases of cheating unsuspecting clients by some unscrupulous workers in the banks and financial institutions. We appeal to the Bank of Ghana to come to the aid of all those who loose their monies through some failed microfinance institutions.
Greed breeds hard-heartedness, theft, blackmail, bribery and corruption and even murder. Corruption encourages and condones incompetence, mediocrity at work and disrespect for higher authority as well as unnecessary bureaucracy. It drives away investment and leads to unnecessary suffering and poverty.  We therefore call on all Ghanaians to make a serious self-examination of conscience concerning bribery and corruption and repent. We must all resolve from today never to engage in acts of bribery and corruption or condone the same.
 Road Accidents and the Family
We have observed with growing concern the increasing rate of preventable fatal accidents on our roads. Roads in many parts of the country are deplorable and those in better shape are not properly marked or sign-posted. According to the national Roads Safety Commission in 2013, about two thousand people lost their lives in road and transport accidents. The trend for this year suggests that we may exceed this figure by the end of the year if we do not make immediate and radical changes in the way we use our roads. The lasting trauma and the other untold hardships to the bereaved families are obvious. The country in turn loses its precious citizens and becomes poorer.
 We therefore urge all Ghanaians, especially transport owners, all drivers and other road users, as a matter of urgency, to exercise maximum vigilance and abide by all road and transport regulations. Passengers and pedestrians should protest, and try to restrain and report all drivers who drive carelessly to the appropriate authorities. Further, we urge all our priests and ministers of other religions to use the pulpit to educate and remind their followers about the do’s and don’ts on our roads. All in Ghana need to know that the fatal accidents on our roads are neither the will of God for us nor due to our destiny. Rather, they are the result of our own carelessness and indiscipline. God has given us the responsibility to prevent these accidents from happening.
 Strike Actions and the Family
As Pastors of God’s people, we cannot remain unconcerned about the spate of strike actions which have hit our country recently. We wish to call on the Government and Organised Labour to always use dialogue and negotiations in dealing with labour disputes and agitations. We are prepared to play a mediation role in the resolution of the ongoing impasse among the parties.
 The Threat of Ebola, Cholera and the Family
We regret that the Ebola Viral Disease which has hit the West African region, especially Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, has so far claimed more than 5,000 lives. We pray for the families which have lost their loved ones and ask that intensive prayers be offered for an end to this scourge, even as we urge all Ghanaians to continue to observe all health safety precautions and to refer to and abide by the instructions we issued on the Ebola disease just last August.  On cholera, we urge the continued observance of hygienic conditions to completely deal with it and prevent its recurrence. We appeal to all Ghanaians to take seriously the directives by the Ministry of Health on how to prevent these diseases.
 New Policy Considerations in Education and the Family
We learn that the Ministry of Education is in the process of proposing a new consolidated bill on Education which aims at effectively decentralizing education service delivery and management. We are not opposed to education reforms but feel the need for broad-based consultation on such reforms, especially with all major stakeholders including the Church. Since parents have conferred life on their children, they have the most natural and divine obligation to educate their children in schools and institutions of their choice. This inalienable right has been significantly usurped by the Computerised School Selection and Placement System (CSSPS), a system we continue to decry for reasons many Ghanaians are beginning to understand.   Parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. We therefore call on Government to be transparent on any on-going policy considerations on education reforms. We urge the Government to expedite action on the formalization of the Partnership Agreement on Education submitted by Religious and Other Bodies whose schools are in the public system.
Some Pastoral Recommendations for Marriage and Family Life
In the face of these and other formidable challenges to the family and our society, we, your Pastors exhort you our Faithful to be responsible citizens and to be loyal to what Scripture and the Church teach about the family and marriage.
 Given the demands of married life, we exhort all who are called by God to this vocation to prepare themselves adequately. We call on the National Catechetical Commission to develop a structured and sustained programme of on-going formation for prospective and married couples.
We encourage the formation of Christian Family Movements to promote Christian marriage. Further, we propose a Family Week to be celebrated annually and we urge all Priests, Religious and Laity to observe this week as such.  We equally call on our priests and religious to recognize that home visitation to families is part of their ordinary pastoral duties. We urge all Parishes and Dioceses to create occasions for the unmarried, especially the youth, to come together for retreats, workshops etc., to prepare for their life’s vocations. 
Formators in our major seminaries and other formation houses should continue to deepen candidates’ knowledge in marriage and family life, while priests and religious in the field should equip themselves with periodic on-going pastoral formation and study sessions to keep abreast of Church teaching on marriage.
 We ask the whole Church to show special love and attention to childless couples.  The marriages of spouses to whom God has not granted children should radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality and of sacrifice.
 Commendation of Faithful Couples and Families
We, your Shepherds, commend the good work of all faithful couples who witness to family values inspired by the Gospel in spite of the many challenges. We call on all pastoral agents to give special attention to the family in their ministry, especially to families in distress. Let all parents and guardians take their responsibility more seriously, mindful of the fact that they are the very first agents of the human and religious formation of their families and society at large. As your Pastors, we pledge to continue to work with our pastoral agents and the State to ensure that the fundamental human values, such as belief in God, the respect for life, the virtues of sincerity, honesty and hard work, are acquired first from the home.
Conclusion
The Church will continue to proclaim the unwavering truth that monogamy is what God has ordained and that polygamy is contrary to conjugal love and incompatible with the unity of marriage. She will continue to teach that marriage is between a man and a woman and not people of the same sex.  The Church will also continue to teach that divorce from a living and lawful spouse is not permitted by the Church because it separates what God has joined together. She suffers with those who are not admitted to communion due to their marital status and will continue to journey with them in the faith to encourage them not to despair. 
It is without doubt that the family of today faces formidable pastoral and socio-economic challenges which threaten its fundamental role as the basic unit of society and the Church. We your Pastors assure all families of our encouragement and prayers in the face of these challenges. We call on all Christians and people of goodwill to continue to be strong and committed to the family.
May the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, continue to intercede for all families and for all of us. May the God of all consolation and peace fill you with His grace and peace (1 Cor. 1:3).
MOST REV. JOSEPH OSEI-BONSU
BISHOP OF KONONGO-MAMPONG &
PRESIDENT, GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE

Monday, 17 November 2014

Western Giants launch dangerous & controversial contraceptive in Africa

As I tried to catch up on the latest news on Africa, I stumbled upon the recent joint announcement  of Pfizer Inc. the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) to expand access to Pfizer’s injectable contraceptive, Sayana® Press (medroxyprogesterone acetate), for women in the world’s poorest countries. Some of the targeted countries named for this expansive contraception project include Burkina Faso, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, Uganda and my own country Nigeria. 

This announcement was immediately picked and praised by many News Agencies in the western world including BBC News where it was described as "The One dollar contraceptive set to make family planning easier "

One cannot help but wonder, "easier" for whom? For Ugandan, Kenyan and Nigerian women? Or for the multi-billionaire Pfizer, Gates and CIFF? 

Reading this announcement and the related News articles further, I realised that this project is not a new one rather its inception can be traced back directly to the extensive contraception fundraising project launched by Melinda Gates 2 years ago during the Family Planning summit of 2012. 
All of it seems now to be actualised in this cheap contraceptive device targeted towards the poorest women in the world. 
So by sheer determination and will, these wealthy figures - Pfizer, Gates & CIFF, have succeeded in rolling out in the world of the poor,  the $1-per-piece device designed to become the prevalent self injectable contraception of the developing world, the wonder device that will make it all so easy to sterilise millions of women across my Continent. 
They claim that this would be the pathway to development as well as the emancipation and elevation of African women. They tell us that it will give African women control over their lives. 
But I dare to ask them exactly how sterilising the wombs of the poorest women in the world would give them control over famine, draught, disease and poverty. It absolutely will not make women more educated, or more employable. This extensive contraception project will provide food or safe drinking water for women who submit to it. It will not make African women happier or more satisfied in their marriages. No. It will only make them sterile at the cheapest rate possible. 
This is certainly not what the African women have asked. It is not the miracle that our hearts crave amidst the trials and difficulties of Africa. But yet in a world of shocking cultural imperialism, it is what our "betters" have chosen to unleash upon us. 

And what is more insidious is that this product being launched is the self-injectable version of the highly controversial Depo-Provera that has been put into question in the developed world after having been shown in various studies to carry dangerous and even lethal side effects. 

In October 2011 the New York Times published an article entitled Contraceptive Used in Africa May Double Risk of H.I.V. This article was based on a cohort study by prestigious medical Research journal The Lancet that clearly stated that "the risk of HIV-1 acquisition doubled with the use of hormonal contraception especially the injectable methods."
And what is most shocking is that this study was partly sponsored by the Gates Foundation and yet after these findings, they have gone ahead to launch this high risk product in targeted countries of their choice (Uganda, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and many others), countries where the women may never be able to raise their voices when the lethal effects set in.

In addition to the HIV-related effects of this product, there is also the doubled risk of breast cancer demonstrated by various studies like the extensive research done by the Fred Hutchingson Cancer Research centre, Seattle and published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in February 2012, with the research team stating clearly after their studies :
"We found that recent DMPA (Depo-Medroxyprogesterone acetate a.k.a Depo-Provera) use for 12 months or longer was associated with a 2.2-fold increased risk of invasive breast cancer.

In addition to this publication the team also made a compelling press release following their research. 

Furthermore, this same product Depo-Provera has been clearly linked to permanent bone density loss and on this very note, Pfizer has had a staggering number of  prosecutions, class-action law suits and out-of-court settlements all to the tune of millions of dollars.

As a direct result of this, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a compulsory "black-box" warning on this product that reads : 
"Use of Depo-subQ Provera 104 or Depo Provera may cause you to lose calcium stored in your bones. The longer you use Depo Provera, the more calcium you are likely to lose. The calcium may not return completely once you stop using Depo Provera. Loss of calcium may cause weak bones that could increase the risk that your bones might break, especially after menopause. It is not known whether your risk of developing osteoporosis may be greater if you are a teenager when you start to use Depo Provera. You should only use Depo Provera long term (more than 2 years) if other methods of birth control are not right for you".

This product is flawed. It is dangerous. And from all indications it could be lethal.
And in the developed countries, it has been marked as such.
In spite of this glaring reality, that which has been deemed unsuitable and terribly flawed in the land of the rich, has now been brought in to the land of the poor. 

As an African woman my heart is racing today as I consider this latest collaborative move by Pfizer, Gates Foundation and CIFF. 
I think about the full implications and ramifications of this on my people, my sisters, my aunties and my friends. 
I think about the poor women in Africa who will have no means at all of filing class-action lawsuits against these giants from the western world. 
I think about our sorely inadequate healthcare systems in Africa that is not in any way equipped to deal with the fallout or onslaught of the medical side effects like breast cancer, osteoporosis (bone density loss) as well as increased HIV infection rates, all associated with this contraceptive product. 
I cannot help but think about the thousands of African women who will die as a direct result of this $1 per piece product. 
Yes, my heart is racing and my mind is reeling as I try to take it all in. 

Simply put, this is racism, it is imperialism and it is a form of colonialism where the poor African women are being treated as subhuman subjects to the wealthy and worldly. 

Who will speak up for the women of Africa? Who will lament the crass disregard for their wellbeing? Who will complain about the cruel disrespect with which they are being treated? Who will shed tears for the irreparable damage that could befall them? 

I am only one African woman, but from where I stand I choose today to speak up, to lament, to complain and to shed silent tears for my fellow African women, with the hope that by the end of today, my words and tears may reach and touch the hearts of people of goodwill around the world who will join me in defending the dignity of the African women.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Please Listen to the African Synod Fathers

A RESPECTFUL OPEN LETTER TO A SYNOD FATHER...  

Many Africans have been prayerfully following the reports from the Extraordinary synod. As I say this I think of my seventy-year old mother who is living out her faith in the small city of Owerri, Nigeria. She has assured me that many of the women in her small parish are fervently praying for all the synod Fathers, that they may be strengthened and sustained by the Holy Spirit during this important synod. Many of these women in my home parish where I grew up are materially poor but spiritually rich with tremendous love for the Church. And it is such a marvel to me that the Catholic Church is so universal that it embraces people of every race, nation, culture, tribe and tongue. 

So imagine my shock today as I read the words of one of the most prominent Synod Fathers  who implied that the views and values that our African Synod Fathers have expressed on certain issues will not or have not been listened to (probably by the synod fathers from the Western and more wealthy parts of the world). 
He also went further to say: 

"...the questions of Africa we cannot solve. There must be space also for the local bishops’ conferences to solve their problems but I’d say with Africa it’s impossible [for us to solve]. But they should not tell us should not tell us too much what we have to do."

Reading this interview brought much tears to my eyes and much sadness to my heart because as an African woman now living in Europe, I am used to having my moral views and values ignored or put down as an "African issue"or an "African view point".  I have had people imply that I am not sophisticated or evolved enough in my understanding of human sexuality, homosexuality, marriage, sanctity of human life from conception, openness to life and the so called "over-population". 
So as a result, in many circles, any contributions I make in discussions are placed in second or third rung. 
How can Africa stand shoulder to shoulder with other cultures if our views are considered uncouth or uncool by a standard strictly scripted by Western, worldly and wealthy nations? 

This is touching and troubling to me but in spite of this unfair reality, I have always been confident that the one place where there is true universality and unity is within the Catholic Church. The one place where the standard is scripted by God Himself through the Scriptures and Magisterium. 

I am a third generation Christian and the Gospel has been accepted and handed over to me from my Grandparents through my parents. I, and millions of Africans like myself, have been raised to love the Church and to trust that the Church will always hold up the unchanging truth of the Gospel. That she will hold up this truth high enough for every Christian in every part of the world  to see, even the most far-flung, uneducated and poorest ones in the most rural parts of Africa. Yes. I know many people where I come from who cannot read the actual words of the Gospel, but they have heard and embraced the goodnews brought to them by the Church. Some of them could have chosen polygamy but because the Church has taught them what true marriage is they have resisted and overcome this lifestyle. Some of them could choose infidelity but the Church lovingly has taught them that this choice is contrary to the Gospel. Some of them may have wanted to get into a convenient and cheaper arrangement of cohabitation but the Church says that is not consistent with the Gospel. 
Through all of this fidelity to the teachings of Christ, African churches have flourished and blossomed even in the midst of the most difficult tragedies, even in the most extreme conditions and in the face of a growing cultural imperialism from the Western nations. 
When Africans lose everything, they still have their families and they have their faith. And this is how we remain resilient even in the darkest and most turbulent times by leaning on the unchanging Faith preserved at the heart of the Church and by clinging to our unbroken families protected by the heart of the Church. 

So I respectfully turn to your Eminence and to all the Western synod Fathers who may not want to listen or consider the African contributions at the synod, and I appeal to you as a woman raised in the world of the poor and faithful ones. Our moral views and values are not irrelevant to the universal church. Even when we express views that are considered countercultural and politically incorrect by the preeminent worldly and western standards, our unflinching hope is that all the synod Fathers will listen to us and consider the devastating effects that will be unleashed upon millions of faithful families in Africa if our world is redefined and reshaped. 
Our heart-felt appeal for Gospel values to be upheld is indeed a cry for survival for our people. Because in this year alone many African nations and leaders have been terrorised and threatened by powerful and well funded homosexual lobbying groups who have tried to bend us or break us into acceptance of their lifestyle. We have seen humanitarian aid withdrawn by Western nations at the insistence of these totalitarian groups. We have seen a new brand of "comprehensive sexuality education" targeted at our African children. We have suffered the scourge of abortion lobbyists from the West. We have been forced to welcome extremely rich western philanthropists bearing the unwanted "gift" of contraception. 
All of these have become a heavy cultural noose around our neck which could very easily enslave us or destroy us if we resist. And this is why we weep and cry at the feet of all the synod Fathers to hear and respect the voices of our African synod Fathers on these issues that have been blown into Africa by a powerful wind from the West. 
No, these are not just "African problems", they are global problems that have violently ravaged many western societies with an unacceptably high toll on marriages and families. 
If the structure and stature of marriage and family life is to be protected everywhere for peoples of all cultures, all races, all nations, tongues and tribes, if this our Catholic Church is truly a universal church where the poor are considered the "treasures of the Church", then all the Fathers of the Synod should protect us by unanimously and heroically rising in defence of these "unsophisticated", "unevolved" and "uncool" Gospel views and values that are still being proclaimed loudly and clearly from the Altar of the tiniest and poorest parish church in Africa. For we are the Church Universal.

Respectfully and humbly I lay down my appeal at thy feet your Eminence. 
Consider the tears of the poor who confidently turn to you.




Monday, 1 September 2014

The Mission of the Final Quarter...

As we step into the last quarter of the year, the need increases for continued tenacity and audacity in our pro-life work and mission. 
We give thanks to God for the great fruits and favours received. And we resolve to work more diligently to spread the Culture of Life and Civilisation of Love wherever we find ourselves. 

On this note, let me share with you some of the exciting upcoming events that we will be a part of. 

This coming Friday (September 5th), the 3-day SPUC (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) annual conference will begin in Derbyshire England. And I have the great and undeserved honour of being a keynote speaker at that important pro-life event. 
My topic will be entitled : 
The Clash of the Cultures; how to keep Africa Pro-Life in the rising tide of Pro-Abortion ideology 

This in fact has been the overarching theme of many of my writings and pro-life reflections, so I am delighted and grateful to SPUC for giving me the opportunity to present it at their conference. 
And as I know that it will be such a great Pro-Life event, I cordially invite anyone who is able to attend this conference (see all the details on the flyer) . And I ask for the prayers of everyone who cannot make it to please pray for me and for the success of the events. 

Another exciting event that I will be participating in the International Forum on Large Family and Future of Humanity . 
This will take place next week in Moscow Russia from September 10th & 11th and I have been invited to speak during the RoundTable Forum on the timely topic: 
Upholding the dignity of African women in the age of radical "sexual and reproductive rights" agenda

It will be a real privilege for me to present the views and values of African women at such an international gathering. 

After these two pro-life events (in UK and Russia), I will begin to prayerfully prepare to travel to Rome during the upcoming Synod on the Family. 
For anyone who isn't very familiar with the Synod, it is the gathering of representative Catholic Bishops from around the world who convene at the invitation of the Pope in order to discuss and deliberate on various issues. 
So this October, Pope Francis has chosen to convene a Synod from October 5th-19th on "The Pastoral Challenges of the family in the context of Evangelisation". 
This synod will bring to the fore, so many issues that touch on our core mission - marriage, family, sanctity of life, openness to life,etc. 
For this reason, I will be in Rome during this season so as to render service and support to our Bishops who will be laden with the task of protecting and promoting the Gospel of Life in this our age when the attack on the family is at an all time high. 

So, I solicit your prayers and your support for Culture of Life Africa in this quarter as we seek for ways and opportunities to serve and promote life and dignity. 
Stay close to our Facebook page because I intend to share many precious moments and messages from the missions. 
And whenever you can, please comment on our postings because I see your comments from wherever I am and they fill me with even more strength, courage and passion to continue to walk this path with renewed tenacity and audacity! 

Yours in all humility,
Uju 


Thursday, 31 July 2014

IPPF and their campaigns

In a twitter message today, International Planned Parenthood Federation insists that THEY are responsible for providing "comprehensive" sex education, so that the next generation is healthy and empowered their own development outcomes. 




In a new campaign (the idecide campaign) they claim that it's a tragedy for some countries and various traditions to deny the youth their "basic rights" to decide: 

-what you do with their own body

-whether to get pregnant

-who to love and how


So now IPPF is trying to garner support in their one-million signature petition drive to present their distorted views on sex-ed at the UN in order to influence the new Development Goals by integrating these "basic rights" into the global priority list. 


Why can't they just accept it that there are still parts of the world where children are raised to respect human life, sex, marriage, motherhood and fatherhood. 

Knowing what we all know about the graphic and very misleading sex-ed that Planned parenthood has been giving young children in some western countries, why would we want to hand over our African youth to them? 

Their "comprehensive" sex-ed has included elements of BDSM, pornography, casual sex, premarital sex and abortion rights, all morally objectionable, all considered depraved by the wider African society. 

Yet they want to claim authority in the sexual instruction and education of young minds around the world! 


Pls join us to keep IPPF away from African youth. 

Consider joining our COLAfrica prayer initiative !