Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, on Tuesday, said the prolonged silence of the Federal Government over the recent killings of two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers in Benue State was an indication that the perpetrators of the heinous crime acted on instructions.
Expressing displeasure over government silence, the Bishop said it was regrettable that the federal government has been unable to defend the lives and property of the citizenry.
Speaking through the Chancellor of the Diocese, Rev Fr. Dr. Francis Chidume, during a peaceful protest march against incessant killings of Christians all over Nigeria by herdsmen, Bishop Ezeokafor said there was a calculated attempt by unseen forces to wipe out Christians in the country.
The protest, which coincided with the burial of the priests and parishioners he said, was in fulfillment of the directive of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria on the insecurity of lives and property of Nigerians.
He said, “It is unfortunate that since the killings of the priests and parishioners, the President is yet to make any statement, proving that the so called Fulani herdsmen are acting on a written instruction.
“The protest which is going on simultaneously across the country is also to remind the Buhari-led administration that the protection of lives and property of the citizenry is his constitutional responsibility, and anything short of that is failure on its part.
“We are engaging in a protest march evoking the power, mercy and intervention of God. We are here to let the whole world hear us concerning the blood of Christians, especially the Catholic faithful that are being shed regularly.”
Describing as worrisome, the Bishop said the action a calculated attempt targeted at wiping out the entire Christians from the face of Nigeria adding, “That can never happen because God is with us and he abhors killing of any form.”
The parishioners, in their large numbers, marched from the Alex Ekwueme square to the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Church, carrying placards with various inscriptions like “Christian killing should stop”, “Life is sacred, life is precious, defend it,” among others.