AFRICA/NIGERIA - Protest demonstration promoted by the Bishops against massacres of Christians committed by the Fulani

Tuesday, 15 May 2018 persecutions   bishops   martyrs  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - A mass demonstration in Nigeria is being organized for May 22 by the nation’s Catholic Bishops in Nigeria to protest the continued killing of Christians by Muslim Fulani herdsmen.
Since the beginning of the year more than 100 people have died in these attacks. The last one was carried out on April 24th in the parish of St. Ignatius of Ukpor-Mbalom in Mbalom, in the Gwer East Local Government Area in the State of Benue (see Fides 25/5/2018).
According to a press release from the Nigerian Episcopal Conference, sent to Agenzia Fides, the protest demonstration will be held in Makurdi, the capital of the Benue State, which is part of the so-called Middle Belt, in the center of Nigeria which divides the North, mainly Muslim, from the south largely inhabited by Christians. The two murdered priests, April 24, will be buried the same day.
In the statement the Secretary General of the Nigerian Episcopal Conference, Fr. Ralph Madu, invited all the dioceses in the country "to organize a peaceful rally or rosary procession or any other appropriate demonstration of solidarity while the protest is happening in Makurdi".
However, Fr.Madu encouraged as many people as possible to travel to Makurdi for the national demonstration.
“Bishops who can make it to Makurdi for the funeral Mass are encouraged to do so, as we pray that this directive be communicated to the clergy, religious and the faithful in the most effective way possible", the statement said.
The Nigerian Bishops, who at the end of April were in Rome for the ad limina visit, had issued a statement (see Fides 27/4/2018) in which they said they were shocked and saddened by the massacre in which the two priests had been killed , and had accused state authorities of not doing everything possible to put an end to the violence, to the point of asking President Muhammadu Buhari "to step down with honor to save the nation from complete collapse". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 15/5/2018)