THE Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan on Tuesday joined their counterpart in the country to stage a peaceful protest against the incessant killings of Nigerians.
The peaceful protest which was in response to the directive by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, tagged, ‘March for Life,’ staged to register their displeasure over the killing of two priests and seventeen other members of the church by suspected the herdsmen in Benue State in April.
The members were directed to be dressed in “all Catholic society groups, apostolate, Bishop’s installation or parish uniforms.” Those who do not have any of those were advised to be dressed in a white top while “priests shall be in cassock and habits.”
During the peaceful protest, the parishioners, priests, vicars and reverend sisters gathered at the ST Peter and Paul Major Seminary in Bodija area of Ibadan, the Oyo state capital and they were led in a procession by Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin to the state secretariat in Agodi, Ibadan, where they were received by Dr. Gbade Ojo, the Chief of Staff to Oyo State Governor.
The protesters carried placards bearing various inscription, among them, ‘No more killing’, ‘Christians are citizens too,’ ‘We say no to herdsmen killing’, Every person is created in the image of God’, Nigerians, arise and stand for justice,’ and ‘We must demand what we deserve’.
Abegunrin in his address decried the incessant killing and attitude of Security agencies and President Muhammadu Buhari to the attack on human lives in the country.
According to him since the killings of 2 priest and 17 parishioners on the 24th of April , no words of sympathy or consolation has been addressed to the catholic community in Nigeria for the loss which he said is a very serious indictment on the present administration.
“ We are baffled and highly disappointed with this insensitivity. The perpetrators of this dastard act are human beings and not spirits from the metaphysical world; they live with us, they are in our midst, it is sickening to note that almost one months after the ugly incident, no one has been brought to book, a situation which is unacceptable”.
“ This protest and prayerful demonstration is to register our displeasure on this killings and at the same time to call on the leadership of this country to act urgently on this .Our security apparatus and architecture must be urgently worked on to act and if the leadership of the this security agencies are not able to arrest the situation, they should immediately be relieved of their duties”
Abegunrin noted further that the way the issue is being handled “ gives room for suspicion of complicity between these killer –terrorists and the agencies.
“ Since the president who appointed the Heads of Nation 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 has been approved of”.
“ If the president cannot keep our country safe, then he automatically loses the trust of the citizens, He should no longer continues to presides over killings fields and mass graveyard that our country has become”
The church argued that repeated calls from many sector on president to take urgent steps to reverse the ugly tragedy that threatens the foundation of our collective existence and unity as a nation has fallen on deaf ears .
The Chief of Staff to the Governor, Dr. Gbade Ojo who received the church on behalf of the governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi said “it is unfortunate that we found ourselves in this situation as a Nation. Nigeria is bless with many tribes but what we are experiencing today Is manifestation of failure of National Integration and a sign that we are not developing very fast as we should, it is imperative that we learn how to live together as one’ he concluded
He however promised to deliver church’s message to Governor Ajimobi, the state House of Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari through the state governor.
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