Unic Press UK: The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has issued a fresh statement on widespread killings in the country in the wake of the murder of two Catholic priests of the Diocese of Makurdi, Rev Fr Joseph Gor and Rev Fr Felix Tyolaha, and fifteen parishioners of the St Ignatius Quasi-Parish, Ukpo-Mbalom, Gwer West Local Government Council, Benue State, by terrorists suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
The excerpts of the press statement ‘When Will This Barbarism End’ signed by the President of CBCN Augustine Akubeze (Archbishop of Benin City) and the Secretary of CBCN Camillus Umoh (Bishop of Ikot Ekpene) reads:
“We have received with deep shock, sorrow and utter horror, the gruesome, grisly and dastardly murder of two Catholic priests along with fifteen of their parishioners in the early hours of the morning of Tuesday 24 April 2018. These innocent souls met their untimely death in the hands of a wicked and inhuman gang of the rampaging and murderous terrorists, who have turned the vast lands of the Middle belt and other parts of Nigeria into a massive graveyard. Their unrestrained mayhem has become a metaphor for the untimely death that is now the fate of many of our fellow citizens today.
“For over two years now, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, along with many other well-meaning Nigerians, has consistently asked the President to rethink the configuration of his security apparatus and strategy. Along with millions of Nigerians, we have expressed our lack of confidence in the security agencies, which the President has deliberately placed in the hands of the adherents of only one religion. On February 8 this year, when we paid the President a courtesy call, we raised alarm over the security of the Nation and the spate of violence perpetrated with impunity by people who have neither respect for the value of human life nor regard for the laws of our country, urging him to take the most drastic steps to stem the tide of this evil in our land. Since then, the bloodletting and the destruction of homes as well as farmlands have increased in intensity and brutality. Now, our Churches have been desecrated and our people murdered on their altars.
“As leaders, we have consistently asked our people to remain peaceful and law-abiding, even in the face of the worst form of provocation. Today, we Christians feel violated and betrayed in a nation that we have all continued to sacrifice and pray for. We collectively feel abandoned and betrayed.
“Since the President who appointed the Heads of the nation’s Security Agencies has refused to call them to order, even in the face of the chaos and barbarity into which our country has been plunged, we are left with no choice but to conclude that they are acting a script that he approves of. If the President cannot keep our country safe, then he automatically loses the trust of the citizens… It is clear to the nation that he has failed in his primary duty of protecting the lives of the Nigerian citizens.”