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CHURCH LEADERS URGE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO BE MORE RESPONSIVE IN PROTECTING LIVES OF CITIZENS
May 26, 2018








ABUJA, NIGERIA -
Leaders of Christian Churches in the country have called on the Federal Government to wake up,  and be more proactive and responsive to using all the available apparatus at the disposal of the administration to protect the lives of innocent citizens from the nefarious activities of Fulani herdsmen and other threats to life and property.
 
The leaders of the Church who represented the other four blocs  the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), at the celebration of the funeral Mass and Prayer Procession protest, organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja on Tuesday, May 22; made the call, at the National Christian Centre, Central Business District, Abuja; while addressing the congregation at the ceremony.
 
Speaking on behalf of Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, the President of CAN; the association’s Director of National Issues and Social Welfare, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, noted that the Mbalom massacre was one too many and not acceptable. He noted the Church of God in the country is in somber mood and mourning over the killing of the two Catholic priests and 17 other lay faithful of St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Mbalom, Gwer Local Government Area, Benue State, while they were praying in the house of God; and other senseless killings carried out by the murderous Fulani herdsmen in different parts of the country.
 
His words: “The Church of God in Nigeria is mourning; so we are not here only in solidarity with the Catholic Church. The Service Chiefs have failed in their responsibility. These killers are no spirits, so they should be arrested, prosecuted and jailed. We will continue to demand for justice.”
 
Also speaking in the same vein, Rev. Jonah Samson, CAN Chairman, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while commiserating with the Catholic Church and the families of those who have lost their loved ones in the hands of the spineless Fulani murderers declared: “ No to killings; No to destructions; No to bitterness and brutality; enough is enough”.
 
In his own remarks, the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion; Archbishop Nicholas Okoh declared: “We are grieved. At inception, we were given hope but this has turned out to be rhetoric. Government is a contract between those in power and the people. The people have kept their side of the bargain by being law abiding and patient. The Government should play its part by giving orders to the security forces to protect the people. No need for committees. Take the arms from the killers. But as long as they carry arms, they will keep killing. He described the activities of the Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram insurgents as a psychological warfare and an attempt to intimidate the people. He added: “We must recover our country from these killers wherever they come from.
 
Addressing the congregation on behalf of the President and members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN); the Secretary of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, commended the over 35 million Catholics in the country for responding positively to call of the Bishops Conference to participate in the Mass/Prayer procession protest in solidarity with the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi for the burial of the two priests and 17 lay faithful of St Ignatius Quasi-Parish Church, Ukpor-Mbalom, Gwer Local Government of Benue State, by Fulani herdsmen on April 24, 2018.
 
He informed the people that while the Prayer procession protest was taking place simultaneously in all but three of the 55 Arch/dioceses in the country, most of the Bishops of the country, led by the President of the Conference, Most Rev. Augustine Akubeze of Benin City were attending the funeral ceremony in Makurdi.  
 
 Fr. Madu while commending the Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja, Most Rev. Anselm Umoren and members of the planning committee, for mobilizing the faithful for the Abuja programme; expressed profound gratitude to leaders of the Church  group members of the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN); for their solidarity and support by participating in the programme. He added that this is a clear indication of the importance of unity in the association which the Catholic Church is aware of. While thanking the Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion for personally attending the programme; Fr. Madu expressed informed the people that the message has been sent to those in government and “it will no longer be business as usual”.
 
 Present at the Mass celebration presided over by Most Rev. Anselm Umoren and assisted by about 200 priests, were: Most Rev. Joseph Ochei Job, Archbishop of the Methodist Church Archdiocese of Abuja and Rev. Victor Paul Umana; Apostle Adebayo Odiri of the CMS Movement; Bishop Dr. Peter Ogunmuyiwa, coordinating Chaplain of the National Christian Centre and Bishop Tina Bawa –Shitgurum, the Apostolic Bishop of Urban Market Place; among others.
 
 Also present were over 500 Rev. Sisters, over 3,000 faithful, including Papal Knights, Knights and Ladies of St, Mulumba and St John International; leadership and members of the Catholic Men Organization (CMO); Catholic Women Organization (CWO); Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria  (CYON) and other sodalities and associations of the Church in the Archdiocese. The celebration of the Mass was followed by a Prayer procession from the National Christian Centre, led by Bishop Anselm Umoren and other Church leaders to the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, where the ceremony was concluded with special prayers and Benediction.

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