Hundreds of Catholics from Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan in Oyo State on Tuesday protested against killings of innocent Nigerians across the country.
The protesters who were led from SS Peter and Paul major Seminary, Bodija to Agodi Government Secretariat by the Catholic Archbishop of Ibadan Archdiocese, Most Rev. Leke Abegunrin, were received by the Chief of Staff to the State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Dr. Gbade Ojo on behalf of the Governor.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, Abegunrin said it was unfortunate that no words of sympathy or consolation had been addressed to the Catholic community since two priests were murdered in Benue state last month.
Abegunrin, while handing over their protest letters addressed to the State Governor copies which were also addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari and Speaker of the State House of Assembly, declared that the aim of the protests going on across the nation was to register their voices in kicking against unwanted killings in the country.
He said, “We gather here to register our displeasure over the killings in different parts of the country which has made Nigeria a killing field. You will recall that on 24th of April 2018, two of our priests, Fr. Joseph Gor and Fr. Felix Tyolaha from Mbalom Markudi Diocese Benue state along with 17 parishioners were gruesomely murdered while preparing for morning mass on that faithful day.
“It will interest your Excellency to known that until this moment, no words of sympathy or consolation has been addressed to the Catholic community in Nigeria for our loss, which is a very serious indictment on this administration. We are baffled and highly disappointed with this insensitively.
He then called on the leadership of the country to act urgently.
Abegunrin said, “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 this country are not able to arrest this situation, they should be immediately relieved of their duties. We want to express openly also our dissatisfaction with the way these killings are handled with kid gloves which gives room to suspicion of complicity between these killer-terrorists and the security agencies.
“Your Excellency, there is too much suffering, intolerance and pain in our land. The land is soaked with the blood of many innocent citizens and it has become a bleeding nation”.
Abegunrin speaking further warned that danger looms in 2019 if the current situation in the country is not addressed.
He said, “Meanwhile, elections are here again, violence has enveloped almost everywhere with little or no interference from the security agencies. With what we have seen so far in the conduct of ward congresses in recent times, danger looms for 2019 if care is not taken. We are not politicians so we have the morality to bring this to your attention.
“As you know, we are peace loving people but it should be noted that a particular group of people do not have a monopoly of violence; peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of justice. So if we want peace in this country, let us together work for justice.
“Your Excellency, this is our message for you. Join us in prayer for the repose of the souls of our dear ones and consolation for the members of the families they left behind.
“On our own part, we shall continue to pray for forgiveness, justice, peace and progress of Nigeria”.