• Catholics urge FG to disarm herdsmen, protests held nationwide
Paul Osuyi, Asaba; Geofrey Anyanwu, Awka
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to stop his second term campaign and attend to security problems occasioned by criminal activities of terrorists, herdsmen and bandits across the country.
The association spoke through its President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, yesterday.
CAN also urged the president not to forget his 2015 campaign promises which includes fighting insecurity and keeping the country united; upon which Nigerians overwhelmingly voted for him.
In a statement by Ayokunle’s Special Assistant (Media and Communications), Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, the CAN president said:
“Buhari’s government should not fold arms and watch misguided Nigerians, mostly Boko Haram and herdsmen, promote killing as a pasttime, in the name of politics and ethnicity while solutions appear elusive.
“It is disheartening to note that criminal Fulani herdsmen, bandits, kidnappers and other hoodlums have reduced Nigeria to a Banana Republic.
“This development is unacceptable and we call on all well-meaning people, anywhere in the world, to join hands in praying for the deliverance, freedom and liberty from this self-inflicted bondage.”
The association also reiterated that while “it is not opposed to the president’s exercise of his civic right, by seeking re-election to the office for the second time, we urge him to halt it meanwhile and attend to the security problems occasioned by the criminal activities of the terrorists, herdsmen and bandits.
“CAN asks president Buhari to suspend his re-election bid until he restores sanity to the country while ensuring the release of Leah Sharibu, the remaining Chibok girls and other abductees from the captivity of the Boko Haram terrorists…”
Meanwhile, priests and lay faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Issele-Uku, in Delta State, yesterday, joined other Catholics nationwide, to mourn the two priests and 17 parishioners killed by herdsmen during mass at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Benue State on April 24.
Members of the diocese, led by the Most Rev. 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 its responsibility of protecting the entire citizenry and byhaving the political will to disarm all herdsmen and militant groups.
The faithful, in Benin City, Edo State, defied the early morning rain to join members, across the country, to protest the incessant wanton killings.
Thousands of protesters, drawn from the 18 local government areas of the state, gathered as early as 8:00am at the St. Paul Catholic Church, Airport Road, Benin City before marching through the major streets with placards of various inscriptions.
They later converged at the Holy Cross Cathedral at Mission Road.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the procession, the Catholic Archbishop of Benin, Most Rev Augustine Akubeze said the wanton killings in the country has become unbearable thus, necessitated the peaceful protest.
Meanwhile, Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has said the prolonged silence of the federal government, over the recent killing of two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers in Benue state, is indication that the penetrators of the heinous crime acted on instructions.
He spoke 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.