AFRICA/NIGERIA - "The State must guarantee the security of citizens" ask the Bishops on the day of the funeral of the victims of the massacre committed in April

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - The State must protect all citizens, regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation, otherwise Nigeria risks falling into chaos and generalized terror. This is the alarm launched by the Nigerian Bishops, yesterday, May 22, on the day in which the funeral of the 17 victims of the massacre committed on 23 April in the village of Mbalom, in the State of Benue (see Fides 25/4/2018) was held.
Among the victims there are two priests: Fr. Joseph Gor and Fr. Felix Tyolaha.
While the funeral was being held, the Nigerian Episcopal Conference promoted a day of mobilization to protest about the continuous massacres of Christians committed by Fulani herders (see Fides 15/5/2018).
"As humans we are plunged into sorrow and many of us will not recover from the shock for a very long time. There have been unexplainable and inexcusable spate of killings in Benue before April 23 when these matyrs were killed and more have been killed thereafter", said Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, in his homily during the funerals of the victims of the massacre of Mbalom, at the Se Sugh U Maria Pilgrimage Center, in Ayati, in the State of Benue.
"This cannot be allowed to continue. Every human life is precious to God who made us in his image. One life killed is one life too many. This is not the time to count the number of the dead but killing people either in churches or mosques is an affront against God", added the Cardinal who reaffirmed that the authorities must intervene to ensure the safety of all.
A concept reiterated by His Exc. Mgr. Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of Lagos, during a requiem mass for the victims of Mbalom. "President Muhammadu Buhari should act fast and try to restore the confidence of the people; he is the authority and father of the nation. We urge the president to intervene in this problem in a more divisive way in order to save the country from tribal or religious war, we say all of these with due sense of patriotism for our nation Nigeria, because we believe in the strength and unity of Nigeria", said Mgr. Martin.
After the massacre of Mbalom, the Bishops had issued a strong statement (see Fides 27/4/2018) in which they asked President Buhari to step aside if he was not able to guarantee the safety of all Nigerians. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/5/2018)