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May 21, 2018

Killing of Catholic Priests in Benue: Are they farmers too? – Knights ask

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The Order of the Knights of Saint Mulumba Nigeria has condemned the killing of two Catholic priests and worshippers in Benue State recently.

In a press release issued by the Supreme Knight, Bro. Diamond Ovueraye and made available to The Leader in Owerri on Monday, the knights noted that the killings have rubbished government’s usual argument that the clashes were between farmers and herders.

The Press Release captioned, “Our Descent into Anarchy” wondered whether priests and worshippers killed were farmers; whether they were blocking the cattle’s route.

The Release reads: “The Order of the Knights of Saint Mulumba Nigeria wishes to once again draw the attention of the leaders of our country Nigeria to the continued gruesome, wanton, unprovoked and unprecedented killing of unarmed Nigerians. We are appalled that the mindless and beastly spate of killings have sadly continued unchecked in spite of several assurances by the Federal Government. We are concerned and alarmed about the alleged complicity of security personnel and the rather disgusting narrative of victims reliving their experience. As a result, Nigerians, particularly those in the worst affected areas live in fear, distrust and total uncertainty.

“We register out rightly, our displeasure on the growing number of displaced Nigerians, who have been chased away from their homes, farmland, sources of income and have become refugees in their own country. The children are not spared either, as schools have been shut, thus stalling their progression. The costs are obviously unquantifiable and painfully irredeemable.

“The Federal Government’s earlier christening of the crisis as ‘herders/farmers clashes’ shows a rather poor understanding of the situation, as recent developments question the veracity of that assertion. What with the invasion of a Church and rather repugnant killing of early morning worshippers including two Catholic Priests. Are they farmers? Are they blocking the herdsmen route? In what way have they drawn the ire of their killers by worshipping inside their own Church, in their homeland? Again, Government’s vacuous explanations at various times need to be further studied. First was an admonition to accept to cohabit with their murderous neighbors, then the suspect suggestions of cattle colonies and grazing reserves. Finally, we are told of the Libyan connection. How then can we cohabit with foreign invaders and our avowed murderers?

“We note that the security of lives and properties by any government is the inalienable right of its citizens, which every government swears to uphold and by its inaction, our government seems to be promoting hate, division and mistrust among the Nigerian people.

“We vehemently condemn the killing of Catholic Priests and other workers in the Lord’s vineyard as this is already stoking the suspicion of a religious war. We condole with the Church for this unwarranted assault, the victims of the mindless and avoidable killings in our country, the suffering internally displaced citizens and indeed all Nigerians, who must be truly saddened by our descent to anarchy. We urge the government to do all within its power to stop this shameful show of helplessness. In all these, we see humans but no humanity.

“Let us all work for social justice and pray for peace in our hearts; peace in our homes; peace in our communities and peace in Nigeria.”



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