He further said, “As Priests, as other Christs among our people, we are supposed to be Pontifical, and that is also what it means by representing the Pope, who is now the supreme pontiff.”
“We are supposed to be Pontifical in our mission, that is, we are supposed to be bridge builders. A diplomat is essentially a bridge builder,” the Nigerian-born Vatican diplomat told CNA Deutsch.
He went on to reflect on the Russia-Ukraine conflict, saying, “We are all praying for Ukraine, because the UN is a platform, it is a forum for dialogue and a meeting place for the parties involved in the conflicts, and also a meeting place of the allies of both parties involved in the conflict. We cannot reach durable peace, lasting peace without dialogue.”
“Peace that is imposed is only war that is postponed, while peace that is agreed, peace that is reached through dialogue, is lasting peace,” Archbishop Nwachukwu said.
His personal experience of the Biafra war (6 Jul 1967 – 15 Jan 1970) in his native country of Nigeria has enriched his diplomatic mission, he said during the 16 March 2022 interview.
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“I was only seven years old when I was caught up in the midst of a civil conflict, one of the most horrible, horrendous civil conflicts of the last century. This was in 1967, the outbreak of the Nigeria Biafra Civil War,” the Catholic Archbishop said.
He added, “I lost two of my own sisters. So, I knew right from a very early age what it means to pass through a situation of war. I know what it means to experience hunger. I know what it means to be an internally displaced person. So, I know the experience of being a refugee.”
“I know the experience of living away from my home. I lost my father and mother for a long period. We were five and we were under my eldest brother, who was only 13. And we had to survive. So, I know what it means to go through suffering,” Archbishop Nwachukwu said.
He continued, “I lost years of education, three years from 1967 to 1970. And therefore, when I'm coming to the United Nations, I know what it means to experience war, not at the warfront, but as a victim, a victim that is innocent.”
His experience of the Biafra war has made him “know what it means to experience anger, illness without the presence of any medication,” he recounted, adding, “I know what it means to feel one has been abandoned by the rest of humanity. Or what it means to feel one has been discriminated against in one's own nation.”
“So, I bring all this baggage of experiences to my current work. When a person is going to talk to me about discrimination, about violence, about injustice, I think I've experienced them all in my own skin,” the Nigerian Vatican diplomat said.
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