Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Priests and lay faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Issele-Uku in Delta State on Tuesday joined other Catholics nationwide in mourning two priests and 17 parishioners who were allegedly killed by herdsmen during mass at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Benue State on April 24.
Members of the diocese led by the bishop, Most Rev. (Dr.) Michael Odogwu Elue had a rosary procession around the St. Paul Cathedral, Issele-Uku where a holy mass was held in honour of the slain persons.
Rev. Fr. Peter Enuanwa, Rector of St. Felix Seminary, Ejime-Aniogor delivered the homily at the mass presided over by the bishop.
In a message signed by the Director of Communications in the diocese, Rev. Fr. Charles Uganwa and read by the Chancellor, Rev. Fr. John Aduba, the diocese fumed at the incessant killings of Nigerians, and called on the Federal Government to be alive to it’s responsibility of protecting the entire citizenry by having the political will to disarm all herdsmen and militant groups.
“The diocese condemns in strong terms incessant killing of innocent Nigerians, as life is sacred and belongs to God. The diocese knows that there is lack of confidence expressed by the citizens of Nigeria in the security agencies following the bloodletting and destruction of homes and farmlands which have recently increase with intensity and brutality, and calls on members of the government, whose duty it is to protect the citizens, not to fold their arms and watch this mayhem.
“The diocese is angered by this development and urges peaceful existence of all in Nigeria. How can a group of people in the name of herdsmen take over lands and property of other communities, subject them to kidnapping and killings in a sovereign state of Nigeria?
“The government should stand up to its responsibilities and say enough is enough, and rescue the citizens in the hands of these men often tagged as ‘unknown gunmen’. Government must guarantee safety of lives and property of its citizens at all time.
“The diocese hereby calls on government to have the political will to disarm all herdsmen and militant groups in Nigeria, as this will go a long way to bringing lasting peace in Nigeria.”
The message further urged government to consider ranching as the most appropriate method of cattle rearing, a business that is profit yielding.
Besides, the message Implored all Nigerians “to desist from hate speeches and dissemination of fake news especially in the social media, as this can cause breach of peace in the society.
“The negative and dangerous impact and of fake news and fake products in different facets of life cannot be controverted, as they have caused damage to life and relationships in communities and societies within Nigeria.
“Thus, fakeness and falsehood is not limited to the media alone but in all facets of life, and has led to crises in societies, families and communities as well as avoidable deaths in other aspects of human existence.”