The pro-life weekend at Bigard Memorial Seminary in Enugu is a biennial event that emphasizes the importance of preserving human life. In the 2022/2023 academic year, the weekend took place from May 5th to May 7th, 2023, under the theme “Economic Crisis and Human Life: The Nigeria Experience”.
The weekend commenced on Friday evening, May 5th, 2023, with a March for Life at which seminarians and guests participated. The purpose of the march was to raise awareness about the significance of protecting the culture of life by rejecting practices such as abortion, ritual killings, and contraception. Later that night, at 8:30 pm, a round table discussion took place in the Seminary auditorium. The discussion, moderated by Rev. Evaristus Okonkwo, centered around the topic of celibacy and its impact on the proper expression of human sexuality. Various participants from different institutions and seminaries engaged in an intellectual and enriching dialogue, focusing on whether celibacy remains relevant in the present age.
Following the round table discussion, new members were inducted into the Pro-life movement, pledging in a special way to become ambassadors of life. The evening concluded with a brief entertainment and closing remarks by Rev. Fr. Engr. Francis Agu, the moderator of the Bigard Pro-life movement. Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Iloafor said the opening prayer at about 10.15 pm.
On Saturday morning, the weekend continued at the Seminary auditorium. The day began with an opening prayer by Rev. Fr. Dr. Aloysius Ezeoba and the rendition of anthems. The Fr. Rector delivered opening remarks, welcomed the attendees, especially the lead paper presenter, Prof. Mrs. Stella Madueme, and other distinguished guests and priests. He encouraged everyone to stand for the culture of life, particularly in a society that often disregards its value.
Prof. Mrs. Stella Madueme presented a lead paper on the topic “Economic Crisis and Human Life: The Nigerian Experience.” She highlighted Nigeria’s current deep economic crisis, supporting her argument with empirical data. Factors contributing to this crisis, according to her, include poor planning and implementation, low productivity, overdependence on oil, borrowing, and interest and many more. The impacts of this crisis encompass high unemployment, increased poverty, unfavorable business environment, emigration, corruption, emotional and psychological disorders, insurgency, insecurity, underfunding of education and health, increased hardships, decreased investments, and more. All these contribute to devalue human life. Prof. Madueme also proposed solutions for the government to ameliorate the economic crisis, emphasizing good governance, investment in education, economic opportunities awareness, development of non-oil sectors, import reduction, and educational curricula reforms towards entrepreneurship.
Another paper presentation followed, focusing on Comprehensive Sexuality Education by Barr. Mrs. Nwanneka Okolo. She stressed the importance of parents initiating sexual education for their children at an early age, addressing misconceptions and countering harmful teachings children may encounter externally. Barr. Okolo highlighted the need for everyone, including priests and seminarians, to participate in this sensitization effort to prevent potential negative consequences resulting from neglecting proper sexual education.
During the weekend, the 11th edition of the Life magazine, produced biennially by the Bigard Pro-Life movement, was launched. Rev. Fr. Sebastian Nwude said the closing remarks, and Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Iloafor said the closing prayer at about 1.05 pm.
Overall, the pro-life weekend at Bigard Memorial Seminary provided a platform for engaging discussions, paper presentations, and initiatives aimed at promoting the preservation of human life and addressing relevant societal issues.