The Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Diocese of Isiala Ngwa South in Abia State has honoured the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, with an award of “A Mission Partner.”
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer was given the special recognition as part of the Church's Synod Thanksgiving Service at the Chapel of Epiphany, Anglican College Owerrinta. Other award recipients at the occasion included Dame Dr Christie Toby, who was acknowledged for her efforts in promoting inclusive education, which embraces all children, irrespective of their challenges and abilities in the same classroom and learning environment.
Presenting the awards, Rt. Rev Isaac Nwaobia, the Bishop of the Diocese, said that the church considered it important to celebrate those who had contributed to the development of education and the spread of missionary work in the Anglican Communion.
He described Mrs Semenitari as a worthy partner in the work of spreading the Christian faith, adding that she made enormous impact as an award-winning investigative journalist and a journalism trainer with the BBC World Service.
“Mrs Semenitari is the first Nigerian female journalist to win the CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards and for her reports in the Nigerian print media, she came second in print journalism in the CNN African Journalist Award in 1997,” the Bishop noted.
Mrs Semenitari thanked the church for recognizing her “modest” contributions to education, especially in journalism and in encouraging missionary work. “The work of God is the same everywhere. That is the more reason I consider it an honour and privilege to receive this award from the Church, It is a challenge to render more service.” she said.
The NDDC boss assured the church that the Commission would intervene in addressing some of its challenges. She declared: “I have the approval of NDDC directors to re-assure you that in the 2016 budget, the Commission will support some structures in the church.”
In his sermon, Rev Prof. Augustine Iwuagwu (Rtd) said Nigerians should continue to show love to one another as Christ loved people of all races and nations. Anchoring his message on Pentecost, he reminded the congregation that it was seven weeks after the resurrection of Christ that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon his followers, who had gathered in Jerusalem.
Rev Iwuagwu stated that what happened on the first Pentecost had continued to happen to Christians throughout the world today, though not in such a dramatic fashion. “We rarely get a heavenly wind and tongues of fire anymore. Nevertheless, God pours out the Spirit upon all who put their faith in Jesus Christ and become his disciples,” he said.
“The languages spoken by the early Christians on the first Pentecost were intelligible and were heard by thousands of Jewish pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem. The content of the miraculous messages had to do with God’s mighty works. Many who heard these messages in their own languages were amazed.”
The Synod Thanksgiving Service, which was attended by Sir Gabriel Toby, top government functionaries, traditional rulers and captains of industries, featured prayers for the nation, the state, legislature and the judiciary, among others.