AFRICA/NIGERIA - "But how can you preach love in a country where violence has become a rule?" asks the Bishop of Nsukka

Wednesday, 18 May 2022 bishops   violence   persecutions  

Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "But how can you preach love in a country where violence has become a rule?", asks His Exc. Mgr. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, Bishop of Nsukka, in the State of Enugu (south-eastern Nigeria), saying he was shocked by the murder, on May 12, of the young student Deborah Samuel at the hands of an angry mob who accused her of blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad. The girl, originally from Tunga Magajiya, in the local government area of Rijau, in the state of Niger, was studying at the Shehu Shagari College of Education, in the northern state of Sokoto.
"My dear friends, I must he honest with you, today, I would have preferred to lock myself up in my chapel to pray and to weep for my nation where darkness has descended", said the Bishop of Nsukka. "To weep and pray for my church that is being folded out of existence in the world and Nigeria, to weep and pray for Deborah Samuel who was killed because she found herself in a part of the country where she thought was a home but not".
Monsignor Onah also recalled the recent attacks against the bishop of Sokoto, Monsignor Mathew Hassan Kuka, after the arrest of some people who are believed to be responsible for the death of the young student. "To weep and pray for friend and brother, Bishop Mathew Kuka, the world acclaimed voice of the voiceless who has become a target by the same voiceless people who now see him as part of their problem rather than part of their solution", says Monsignor Onah that he has also turned his thoughts to Deborah's killer "deliberately left ignorant and unemployed so that he e can be brainwashed, instrumentalized for the political end by religious bigots and political egoists". " I would have preferred no to be standing before you here now to tell you about love, the liturgy of today to reflect on the essence and meaning of Christianity, the love we should have for one another", continues Msgr. Onah . "But how can you preach love in a country where violence has become a rule? A country where corruption has become a norm and tradition, where impunity has become law, where the government feels so helpless that it is now appealing to religious leaders to talk to non-state actors not to make the security situation in our country worst. Those were the words of the Vice President when he spoke to all Bishops of Catholic Church in West Africa (on the occasion of the Plenary of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa CEREAO/RECOWA, see Fides, 9/5/2022)", he concluded. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 18/5/2022)