A weeping Catholic Church is petitioning God for the many killings of innocent people in Benue, particularly the brutal murder of its Priests and laity during a Holy Mass.
Catholic Bishops have therefore, called out the faithful to a prayer-protest, on Tuesday, in solidarity with the victims of the recent Makurdi killings.
“Following the directive, of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, (CBCN), Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna, Archbishop of Owerri invites the faithful, other Christians and people of goodwill in the State to a special Day of Prayer in Solidarity with the victims of the recent Makurdi Killings. This Catholic Prayer-Protest is against insecurity, violence, and bloodshed in Benue State, Imo State, and other States in Nigeria, “A release signed by Rev. Fr. Alphonsus Oha, Owerri Archdiocesan Chancellor/ Secretary said.
Scores of people have been killed in Benue, Enugu, Taraba, Adamawa and Kaduna States by so-called herdsmen, now known to be terrorists. Two priests and 17 worshippers were murdered in Makurdi during Mass on April 24, an incident that further shocked the nation.
This gruesome murder in Benue State has since been followed by further heartless killings. Unfortunately, since 1945, this nation has known periodic blood-letting climaxing in the coups d’etat of January 1966 and July 1966 which led to a massive pogrom and the civil war atrocities,” Archbishop Obinna said in a heartfelt message.
The Archbishop lamented the growing disunity and division in Nigeria, blaming the political, military, religious leaders and traditional rulers of Nigeria who have failed to be nationally inclusive in their care and concern for the nation.
“But where the moral, religious, political and military will exists to include every Nigerian in our national care and concern, this hateful divide will begin to crumble and eventually disappear,” His Grace said, adding: “As we mourn and pray for the repose of the souls of all Nigerians hatefully and brutally murdered in this nation, we prayerfully and spiritually protest the hatred, the enmity and the murderous divide at the heart of Nigeria. May God raise for us God-fearing and people-caring leaders, who will take us from this nation of sorrow, anxiety and tears to a new Nigeria, where inclusive care and concern will prevail; where no more blood would be shed, no more Nigerians terrorised, persecuted or oppressed.”
Tuesday’s prayer-protest will start with a Rosary Procession from Villa Maria, along the Wetheral Road passing through Government House roundabout and proceeding through the Maria Assumpta Avenue. The procession concludes with Holy Mass at 12 noon at the Marie Assumpta Cathedral.
The protests will be going on simultaneously with the funeral Mass of the two priests and the 17 worshippers who will be laid to rest on Tuesday May 22 in Makurdi.
Analysts say “what is going on in the middle belt and some parts of th South is not herdsmen/farmers clash as government claims, but a calculated murderous campaign against Christians.