By Jessica Dogo
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, on Tuesday in Abuja called on Nigerians to exercise patience irrespective of the barbaric killings by herdsmen in the country.
Onaiyekan made the call in an interview with newsmen following the nationwide peaceful protest by the Catholics and other Christians, for the slain priests and lay faithful in Mbalon, Benue.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that two Catholic priests, Rev. Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, and 17 worshippers were killed on Tuesday, April 24.
They were killed when suspected herdsmen invaded St. Ignatius Quasi Parish, Ukpor-Mbalom in Ayar-Mbalom community of Gwer East Local Government Area (LGA) during Morning Mass.
The peaceful protest held in Abuja was tagged: “Peaceful March and Prayer for Nigeria’’.
He said that Christians should make it a duty to live in peace with everyone, adding that God Himself enjoins Christians to live and walk in peace.
“Our nation is in dire need of peace. The patience of those who speak peace and strive to live in peace is being over stretched every day.
“We must continue to work for peace with the support of the grace which comes to us every day from God.
“We who are Christians need to counter the evil intensions of those who desire a nation that is soaked in blood.
“The time has come for us to unite and to act as one people with a destiny, a focus and a programme of fulfilling the desires of our own people,’’ Onaiyekan said.
In his remark, Mike Omeri, former Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), advised the Federal Government to lead the way by having a dialogue with neighbouring countries to come up with diplomatic solutions.
Omeri said that Libya and Mali should be reached out to, in order to bring lasting solutions to the crisis in Nigeria.
“The government normally has a number strategies to combat issues and we have to get involved.
“Time has come that the government should reach out to the governments of Libya and Mali so that we will find diplomatic solutions to the crisis at home.
“We have been losing productive citizens in their primes. They can contribute positively in various ways to the development of this country and we cannot afford to be a nation that grieves every day,’’ Omeri said.
Also, Rev Fr. Patrick Alumuku, Chairman Planning Committee, called on the Federal Government to get involved in bringing peace to the country.
Alumuku explained that without peace in the nation there would be no development, progress and future in the country.
“We intend to send a strong message to the nation that life is sacred and important; without life there will be no nation.
“What we have experienced in this nation is completely unacceptable, unjustifiable and it does not lead to good governance.
“As everybody is saying, ‘enough is enough’ I do not think these are strong words but to say that we cannot go on this way.
“We are calling for peace in Nigeria and we know that without peace there can be no meaningful development, progress and there can be no future, so we are praying for peace.
“We are expecting that peace will come to reign in our land. We want a stop to these killings,’’ Alumuku said.