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Herdsmen killings: Catholic bishops plan nationwide protest May 22

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The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, CBCN, has fixed Tuesday, May 22, as a day of protests for Catholic faithful across the country.

This came as the Tor Tiv, HRM, Prof James Ayatse, said he would soon convene a peace meeting with the governor of Nasarwa State, Tanko Al-Makura, and Chief of the Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai to find a lasting solution to killings of Tiv people in both Benue and Nasarawa states.

The CBCN said the protests would coincide with the burial of the two priests and 17 parishioners killed by herdsmen during a morning mass at Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State.

The directive

This was contained in an announcement made by the bishops in the Sunday Bulletin of the church and circulated to all the dioceses of the church in the country yesterday.

The announcement, entitled “Peaceful Demonstration,” read:  “The CBCN has directed that every Diocese in Nigeria should organise a peaceful demonstration/ rally against the barbaric but intolerable killing of two priests and 17 others by herdsmen last month in Benue State, Date May 22, 2018. Time:10am, as the funeral of the innocent victims would be going on.

 “Details of how this all important solidarity action will take place in our dioceses will be communicated through the parish priests. Every Christian and all men and women of goodwill are hereby called to participate.”

 Suspected herdsmen in the early hours of April 24, 2018, stormed St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Ukpor-mbalom parish, Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue, killing two priests and 17 parishioners. 

The attack came barely four days after the murder of  10 persons by herdsmen in neighboring Guma Local Government Area and the destruction of  300 houses by military personnel in Naka, Gwer West Local Government Area of the state. 

Also in a demonstration of solidarity with the victims of the dastardly act, the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos has perfected plans to hold a requiem mass for the two slain priests on Tuesday, May 22. 

According to a source close to the Archdiocese, the mass will hold at St. Leo Catholic Church, Ikeja, by 10.00 a.m. and immediately after the mass, there will be a peaceful procession from the church to the Lagos State Governor’s Office at Alausa, Ikeja.

Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop, Metropolitan See of Lagos, who disclosed this, described the “atrocious terrorist attacks” that witnessed the brutal killings of two Catholic Priests and a number of parishioners as “one of the ugly incidences that calll our attention to the insecurity in the country and the failure on the part of the government to ensure the security of lives and properties of its citizens.

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