Communique Issued At The End of The Bishops And Wives Retreat At Bariga LagosJanuary 18, 2023
- NGOZI ADIGHIBE
- May 30, 2018
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The national Christian Centre received guests in their thousands, full to the brim with the Roman Catholic Church members and priests. Christians leaders of Churches from other denominations in solidarity protest against senseless killings of Christians especially two rev fathers slaughtered with seventeen (17) other church members, while worshipping their God in Makurdi Benue State.
It started with the Mass for the repose of the souls of those killed in cold blood.
Formal welcome was made by the Rt. Rev Anselem, Auxiliary Bishop of Abuja.
He said the reason for the spiritual gathering was to pray for the repose of the souls of those who were gruesomely murdered in Makurdi while worshipping God. Mass burial was done for them same day as the protest march took place.
He commiserated with the suffragan Diocese of Makurdi and the Priests who on Tuesday 23rd of April, 2018 were cut down by the bullets of the herdsmen terrorists. He wondered aloud when the killing babarism will end.
The Bishop said the Church that is busy praying for the nation is now completely abandoned. He opined that something terrible is going to happen but advised that something must be done quickly before the big explosion.
He recalled that Pope Francis was troubled by the bad news and on 30th of April 2018 called on all the faithful to pray for peace especially for Nigeria.
He said their blood was shed because of their faith in Christ. He said emphatically that God is always around to comfort those mourning because God detests violence. He prayed for a violence free Nation.
Bishop Anselm challenged leaders of the Nation to hearken to the voice of God because according to him a day of reckoning is coming. He called on those committing atrocities to put a stop to it if they want to enter the kingdom of God.
He called on all to cleanse their hearts from all wrongdoing and pursue love, justice and peace and not allow dastardly acts of miscreants to distract them from doing good.
He said the Holy Bible and the Nigerian constitution is so clear as enshrined that no one has the right to take the life of another person. The Bishop recalled how on April 3, 2015 President Buhari pledged himself to the Rule of Law when he was campaigning saying that no killer has been prosecuted or even arrested. He asked the government to live up to the security of the people and secure their lives.
He called on the congregation to renew their faith, and not be discouraged because God has not forsaken them.
He remarked that Christians that were given mass burial have gone to rest and prayed that peace will return to Nigeria.
In his solidarity message, the CAN chairman of FCT Dr. Jonah Samson quoted 2Timothy 2: 11-13 and said Enough is Enough to senseless killings.
The Rev. Dr. Supo Ayokunle the CAN president in Nigeria was unavoidably absent but was represented by Rev. Dr. Stephen Adegbite. He said the dimension of murderous killing is not acceptable. He asked President Buhari to protect the territorial interest of Nigeria adding that if he cannot do this he should resign. According to him injustice to one is injustice to all. He prayed that Nigeria will not disintegrate.
In his solidarity message, the Most Rev. Dr Nicholas D. Okoh, Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion) delivered condolences from the Anglican Church in Nigeria. He said the Church is grieved. According to him the people were given hope when the government came on board that citizenry shall be safe but reverse is the case today.
The Government Primate Okoh says, is a contract between the people and those who are governing. He said the government should give the security forces the right orders, adding that setting up of committees cannot work but that the herdsmen should be disarmed using helicopters. He opined that this is a psychological warfare to intimidate people. He advised that people should not be intimidated.
Very Rev. Ralph Madu representing the Catholic Secretariat also spoke. In his opinion, the unity of CAN is paramount. He thanked the Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion) for his solidarity and support.
He recalled that when the sad event occurred, Primate Okoh was one of the early callers that commiserated with the Church when he sent a Primatial delegate with a powerful letter of Sympathy. He used the occasion to thank the Christian community from all denominations who came to solidarize with the Roman Catholic Church.
After the Mass, the real trek started to register displeasure for the senseless killing of Christians from the National Christian Centre.
Bishops, the clergy and the laity in their thousands trekked to the Roman Catholic Pro Cathedral at Area 3 in Garki district of Abuja singing and praying was the order of the day in the scorching sun. Never a dull moment.
The long Benediction was later said at the Pro Cathedral still in the scorching sun. May the souls of the departed rest in perfect peace Amen.