By Edem Edem, Calabar
The Brotherhood of the Cross and Star (BCS) has condemned the heighten security crisis in the country and lamented the numbers of people killed on daily bases.
Speaking at the flag-off of the 10 Km peace marathon race organized by the BCS in Calabar, Cross River State capital on Saturday at the U. J. Esuene Stadium, the International Chairman of BCS Universal Fellowship, Arch Bishop Tom Inyang Akpan call on Federal Government to intensify efforts to stop the killing going on in the country on hourly, daily and weekly bases.
“We are bothered about the present security situation in the country; God does not like shedding of blood that is happening everywhere, not only in Nigeria but all over the world. We are concerned, Nigeria had always been a peaceful state until now.
“You hear of killings every day, so we are trying to preach peace to all and sundry. We have always organized other sports but this year, we decided it would be a marathon” he stated.
Arch Bishop Akpan who is also Arch-Bishop of BCS in the Republic of Portugal said “We came up with the idea of 10km marathon because this is our 42 years of the universal youth fellowship, so we thought of how to reach out to the larger society.
“This race isn’t only for BCS members but for the entire poblic. The contestants cut across the entire country, we have people from states like Plateau, Lagos FCT, Akwa Ibom and many others, it is a race for peace and we want to see how the youths can embrace peace because when they run together and coexist, they will not have the mind of harming each other.
“By God’s grace, after this year’s event and with the success recorded so far, we intend to make it a yearly event. Like you have heard, the prizes are ready and they are mouth watering. The first prize is N200, 000 for each male and female, second prize is N100, 000 for each male and female, third prize is N50, 000 for each male and female and N10, 000 each for the 4th to 10th positions in both male and female categories and we intend to enhance that amount next year” he stressed.
National President, Nigerian Association of Athletes Technical Officials, Prof Ogunjimi Lucas who was the Competition Director said “At the last count, we have given bibs to 77 athletes, 16 females and 61 males but the medical team informed us that more are still coming.
“So we want to give everyone a chance to prove their mettle. For now, we have elite athletes from Nigerian States like Plateau, Lagos, Bayelsa and others, we have about 17 of them. We expect success, good weather and peace, that is the theme of the game.
“In all honesty, we should commend BCS, look at the situation before now, when last did we witness something like this. We pray that God strengthens them for more of this to come” he prayed.
Flagging off the race, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youths and Sports, Mrs Mary-James Ebri said the race would afford the state to discover new talents and also take the youths out of crimes.
Also speaking, Director of Sports Cross River Sports Commission. Jude Amadi said “It is a good initiative, we commend the organizers, BCS for packaging this. I am always of the opinion that government alone cannot sponsor sports and there is nowhere in the world where government alone sponsors.
“We need the partnership and cooperation of private organizations in this regard. Through this event, many talents would be discovered and trained to standard. Race like this are usually graded, It depends on what suits you, those who train in the mountains of Ethiopia don’t wear shoes, you see them with bare feet, it depends on what you are comfortable with”
Presenting the prizes to the winners, the Prince of Heaven, Prince Olumba Olumba Obu said, “It was about time and we truly know what we truly need, in Nigeria especially and by the grace of God, we would continue to sponsor this event and make it bigger and bigger.
“I am very happy with the outcome of today’s event, we thank God because first of all, he gave us a beautiful weather for the event and everything went well, the organizers did a great job. We thank the state also for their commitment, everything was wonderful and there were no complaints” he said.