The Governor of Lagos state Akinwumi Ambode shunned Catholics in Lagos who came out in their large numbers to protest the incessant killings of innocents Nigerians by suspected herdsmen and government inability to act.
The Lagos State governor whom it was learnt had earlier been informed of the peaceful protest by the Catholic Archdiocese on the killings and gave them the nod to come with the letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, chickened out when the faithfuls, led by the Archbishop of Lagos Most Rev. Adewale Martins, arrived his office.
He however dispatched a junior aide who came to the scene to talk down on the Archbishop and his congregation, warning the Clergy man to mindful of acts by his flocks, as the killing of innocent Nigerians were not done in Lagos.
The pronouncement by the aide angered the Archbishop and his priests and also members of the congregation who started chanting songs against the Lagos State governor.
Notwithstanding, the Catholic Archbishop delivered the letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari to the Aide for onward delivery to the president.
Earlier at a requiem mass at St Leo’s Catholic Church Ikeja, the Archbishop had urged President Buhari to prioritize the security and welfare of the country’s citizens, just as he condemned the killings of priests and lay faithful in Mbalon, Benue State.
The two Catholic priests, Rev. Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, and 17 worshippers were killed when assailants invaded St. Ignatius Quasi Parish, Ukpor-Mbalom in Ayar-Mbalom community of Gwer East LGA on Tuesday, April 24.
The Archbishop urged the President to direct security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of callous killings
“People today feel a sense of helplessness and hopelessness in their homes especially when signals they are getting is that they do not have enough personnel to secure every inch of this nation.
“We ought to have intelligence agencies that will act to prevent attacks and to nip the attack in the bud.
“This is the least we can expect from our government, so that people can feel safe in every part of the country without the presence of gunmen.
“The president should act fast and try to restore the confidence of the people; he is the authority and father of the nation.
“We urge the president to intervene in this problem in a more divisive way in order to save the country the country from tribal or religious war, we say all of these with due sense of patriotism for our nation Nigeria, because we believe in the strength and unity of Nigeria,” he said.
Martins urged the people of Benue to take solace in the fact that the slain priests and faithful are resting in the bosom of God.
“At about this time that we are about to celebrate Mass, the bishop, priests and lay faithful of Markudi Diocese are also gathered together.
“I believe that the representative of Pope Francis I is also with them in order to celebrate the mass for the repose of the souls of two priest one Catchiest and 17 other lay faithful who were murdered in cold blood by killer herdsmen.
“They are far away, but we are united in hope, in heart, in intension, we are far together by the sadness and pain that we feel for the death of these innocent Nigerians who have done nothing else but to gather together to worship their God.
“We are even more saddened by the fact that many times before the 24 of April when they were killed; there have been many instances of similar murder of people in their farms as they went about their day to day lives.
“Many women have been raped on their farms; farmland and villages have been burnt. In January we all watched with dismay as the news that over 70 people- men, women and children have been murdered in Benue state.
“We witnessed their mass burial with deep shock.
According to him, since the murder of the Mbalon 19, there have been more murders and destruction in many villages in Benue, Kaduna, Ondo, Nasarawa, Zamfara, and other states as well.
“Our sorrows have been compounded by the fact that no one has been held responsible, no one convicted for the murder and destruction that has turned responsible people into internally displaced person,” the Archbishop said. (NAN)