AFRICA/NIGERIA - Cardinal Onaiyekan: Massacres in the southeast, "there are those who are fanning the flames of religious discord"

Monday, 9 May 2016 armed groups   bishops  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "There is a terrible wind blowing around our country right now. There are so many people who are fanning the flames of discord and of hatred and it is becoming very difficult to preach unity and mutual natural love and there are those who are already envisaging a clash between Christians and Muslims". This is the alarm launched by Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Archbishop of Abuja, after the recent massacres attributed to Fulani herdsmen in the southeast of Nigeria (see Fides 02/05/2016).
Referring to the massacres Cardinal Onaiyekan said: "There are those who are interpreting the clash between herdsmen and farmers as the front line of this battle. Some are sharpening their cutlasses getting ready for the big battle". The Cardinal pointed out that "one of the primary duties of government is to ensure security of life and property of all Nigerians; which means that where you have any group of people, whether they are herdsmen or kidnappers, or armed robbers, government should device ways of effectively checkmating them".
"Thank to be God - he remarked - there are many Nigerians who believe that we are not doomed to kill one another and that there is hope for us to live together as fellow Nigerians". A fact that Cardinal Onaiyekan always remembers when he is abroad. "I will go all over the world boasting of this, telling them that in Nigeria, we have not less than 80 million Christians, 80 million Muslims, living side by side, day by day at every level of our lives".
The Cardinal recalled that common evils, like Ebola or corruption, affect without distinction all Nigerians, whatever their religion, there are thieves and corrupt among Christians as among Muslims. "We all suffer because of corruption. We have a common task to insist on good government, to insist also on honesty in government. To do this, we must come together and fix our common", he concluded. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 09/05/2016)