Members of the Catholic Church marched through the streets of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, Sunday to protest the widespread killing of Nigerians in the country.
The protest, which kicked off at the National Ecumenical Center, ended at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, where a mass was conducted and parishioners prayed for the country.
It was attended by a large number of Catholics who dressed in black attire and wielded placards and banners to convey their messages.
The crowd defied the rain which started shortly after the protest commenced.
The protesters defied the day’s light showers and proceeded on a peaceful march from the Ecumenical Centre to the Our Lady Queen of Nigeria in Area 3, praying and seeking God’s divine intervention.
They said the protest was on behalf of over the 50 million Catholics and over 100 million Christians in Nigeria.
The President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze, who led the protesters, accused the Federal Government of being insensitive to the plights of victims of insurgency.
Akubueze said Nigerians were tired of the serial claims by the Federal Government that Boko Haram, which had continued to kill innocent Nigerians, had been technically defeated.
He said, “The killing of God’s children is evil; the failure to protect innocent people from the relentless attacks is evil, the lack of prosecution of terrorists is evil, our government’s response to terrorist attack is, for lack of better words, far below average.
“There have been too many mass burials, too many kidnappings of schoolchildren, travellers, invasion of peoples homes, invasion of sacred places like churches, mosques, seminaries.
“We sometimes hear or read of our government sending condolence messages to western countries when there is a terrorist attack which has led to the death of one or two persons.
“We commend the Federal Government for doing this, but we are surprised that in Nigeria, the Federal Government will not even send condolence messages to families that have suffered fatalities in the hands of Boko Haram. Our President rarely visits or speak to Nigerians when there are terrorists’ attacks.
“Your silence is sowing and breeding seeds of mistrust and the longer it stays this way, the more you lose those who could have given you the benefit of the doubt. As things stand now, it appears only a few Nigerians can defend you with reasons, only few Nigerians can argue that your silence is not an endorsement of the barbaric actions of the terrorists and criminals.
“We cannot understand why the government’s reaction to the beheading of Rev. Lawan Andimi (Michika LG CAN chairman) has not shown that there is going to be any consequences for those responsible.
“Nigerians are tired of reading of such killings as that of an orphan seminarian who was just 18 years old and of a young wife and mother. Nigerians are tired of hearing of the inexcusable actions of the government in their response to these and many other sad cases.
“As we match, pray and protest today, we want all Catholics in Nigeria not to be hopeless, we want Catholics and other well-meaning patriotic Nigerians to stand together and fight this terrorism.”
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