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May 26, 2018

Bishop Camullus Etokudoh of Port Harcourt Diocese has expressed concern that present economic and political problems can tear the country apart if care is not taken, while her  moral and religious fabrics are at the lowest ebb.
The bishop made this observation in his message delivered during the Requiem Mass and Solidarity Procession to pray in solidarity with the Catholic diocese of Makurdi  for the repose of the souls of the two priests of the diocese and 17 other lay faithful murdered by Fulani herdsmen, while they were at Mass in the morning of April 24; and also for the repose of all other victims similar spurious attacks in different parts of the country.   The ceremony, which was a nationwide event, was at the instance of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN).
The local ordinary of Port Harcourt Diocese declared: “We are living in a very difficult time of moral economic and political problems and we need to pray vigorously for our country Nigeria in distress.” He continued:: “The moral and religious fabric of our nation is at its lowest ebbs. We have become polarized along political and religious lines. The one Nigeria that was bound in love and unity is now torn apart.
Explaining the rationale behind the directives of the CBCN, Bishop Etokudoh remarked: “The intention of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria, among other things is a match in solidarity with the defenseless Nigerian citizens and to address the general issues of killings in many States of the Federation as well as to show displeasure over total disregard for the sanctity and sacredness of human life and to condemn jungle justice and ritual killings as well as kidnappings and assassinations of political opponents.”
Noting that the CBCN has expressed deep concern over these nefarious activities to President Muhammadu Buhari on different occasions, the bishop added: “Deaths in the hands of herdsmen and other bloodletting individuals and groups require us to take our petitions to God in prayer.
Using available statistics to confirm that over one hundred thousand innocent Nigerians have been wickedly murdered by the spineless herdsmen, Bishop Etokudoh called on the Federal Government to know that life is sacred and “it is the responsibility of government to protect”. Urging that the barbarism must stop, Bishop Etokudoh called on politicians and religious leaders not to divide the country along the fragile political affiliations and ethnic nationalities or religious divides.
At a similar ceremony in Warri Diocese, the Bishop, Most Rev. John Okeoghene Afareha expressed concern about the growing sense of fear, uncertainty and insecurity in the country, noting that the situation is not only palpable but also unacceptable.
The bishop declared: “We cannot take to arms to defend ourselves but we can arm ourselves with prayer  and voice out our displeasure to the Government, even as we challenge them to rise up to their constitutional responsibility  of safeguarding the life and property of all Nigerians everywhere and at all times.”
He added: “Through this peaceful prayerful procession/demonstration, we condemn in unequivocal terms the incessant and senseless killings in all parts of the country. We reassert and call attention once more to the sanctity of life.”
Bishop Afareha urged the Federal Government to “deploy its machinery without complicity to stop the bloodletting and killings in our land, bring to justice these enemies of peace and save Nigeria from anarchy and disintegration.”

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