The Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Bishop Anselm Umoren, has called on the Federal Government to rise up to its responsibility to protect lives and property of citizens.
Umoren made the call on Tuesday in Abuja in his sermon at the Requiem Mass for the slain priests and lay faithful in Mbalon, Benue.
Two Catholic priests, Rev. Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, and 17 worshippers were killed on Tuesday, April 24.
They were killed when suspected herdsmen invaded St. Ignatius Quasi Parish, Ukpor-Mbalom in Ayar-Mbalom community of Gwer East Local Government Area (LGA) during Morning Mass.
The bishop reminded the President Muhammadu Buhari of his inaugural speech in 2015 to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians irrespective of their religion and tribe.
“We are here today to remind our President about his promise to secure the lives and property of the citizens.
“Life is sacred; it is only God that has the right to take life, so there should be dignity for human life.
“Therefore, we call on the government to defend the citizens.
“We pray for the repentance of those killing innocent people that they may be converted because God wants them to repent from their evil deeds,’’ he said.
He, however, called on Christians to pray for peace and justice to reign in the country, adding that they should be people of clean hands and clear hearts.
Umoren also urged Christians not to allow the killings to affect their relationship with God and the country.
“We should fear God who owns our body and soul; we should not fear those that can kill our body only,’’ the bishop said.
Umoren said the martyrs of Benue would be remembered for their commitment to their God.
Also, the Primate of Church Nigeria Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, reiterated the need for the government to protect the lives and property of citizens.
“The Army, Navy, Police and all the security agencies should be empowered to enter the bush and fish out these killers and deal with them.
“They are human beings, they have to prosecute them and bring them to face the law.
“If this is not done, this problem will not come to an end,’’ he said.
Okoh urged Christians not to be intimidated with the happenings but should remain steadfast in prayers.
He commended the Catholic Church for it contribution to peace and justice in the country and assured them of the support of the Anglican Communion.
In his remark, Dr Samson Ayokunle, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), President, also called for the arrest of the perpetrators of the Benue killings.
Ayokunle was represented by Dr Stephen Adeghita, CAN Director of Social Affairs.
“We must continue to demand for justice, the blood of the martyrs will not be in vain,’’ he said.
Also Speaking, FCT CAN chairman, Dr Jonah Samson said, “CAN is saying enough is enough; we are saying no to killings, brutality and wickedness of all sort,’’ he added.
There was massive turnout of Christians at the Christian Centre in solidarity with the Catholic Church in mourning of the slain two catholic priests and parishioners.
The peaceful protest and Rosary Procession, which started from the Christian Centre, would end in Our Lady of Queen of Nigeria, Pro-Cathedral, Garki.
The peaceful protest was led by the Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Bishop Anselm Umoren, in solidarity with some Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) officials as well as some Christian leaders in the FCT. (NAN)