Following the recent killings of two Catholic Priests along with 15 of their members in Mbalom, Benue State on Tuesday, 24 April, 2018, the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, under the auspices of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) have called on the federal government not to disarm Nigerians amidst killings.
Rather, the Catholic Bishops said the federal government should encourage and empower citizens to secure themselves and their Environments.
In a statement signed by Most Rev Augustine Akubeze, president of CBCN, and Most Rev Camillus Umoh, general secretary of CBCN, the Bishops said that this is not the time to disarm people with legally procured weapons of self-defense.
The Catholic Bishops stressed that these are not normal times since the security agencies paid to protect Nigerians have failed to do their duty, saying that Nigeria can return to normal times if Nigerians put their heads together with sincerity.
“That our two priests, Fr Joseph Gor and Fr Felix Tyolaha, along with their parishioners were waylaid in the course of the celebration of the Holy Mass early in the morning, suggests very clearly that their murder was carefully planned.
“This wicked act cannot be said to be a revenge attack, as is often claimed, for who have these priests attacked? Indeed, we have just discovered that on January 3 this year, Fr Gor tweeted: “We are living in fear.The Fulanis are still around here in Mbalom (where they were killed). They refuse to go. They still go grazing around. No weapons to defend ourselves.”
“Their desperate cries for security and help went unheeded by those who should have heard them. They could have fled, but, true to their vocation, they remained to continue to serve their people right unto death,” the Bishops stated.
According to the Catholic Bishops, they are sad and angry, saying that they feel totally exposed and most vulnerable, and that they are faced with dark clouds of fear and anxiety.
“Our people are daily being told by some to defend themselves, but defend themselves with what? The federal government, whose primary responsibility it is to protect lives, for its part, alleges that those who ask the people to defend themselves are inciting them to take laws into their hands.”
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