Against the backdrop of the Thursday’s killing of a priest in Enugu State, the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Most Rev Dr. Callistus Onaga, has called on the government to as a matter of urgency flush out “bad Fulanis” from the state.
We recalls that Rev. Fr. Paul Offu, aged 49, was murdered by unknown gunmen suspected to be herders, on August 1, 2019, along Ihe-Agbudu road in Awgu local government area of Enugu state.
His death came barely five months after Rev. Fr. Clement Ugwu, the Parish Priest of St. Mark Catholic Church, Obinofia in Ezeagu local government area of the state was murdered at the parish compound.
Bishop Onaga, while speaking after a special holy mass by the Catholic fateful held at Holy Ghost Cathedral Enugu, on Sunday, said such step would stem the tide of killings, kidnapping and rape of women in the state.
The event was organized to pray for peace and security in Nigeria and Enugu state in particular, as well as mourn their slain priests, lay brothers and sisters in recent time.
In a statement entitled, “Enough is Enough: A Message from the Catholic Diocese of Enugu”, the Catholic Church tasked the state government to effectively equip the vigilante groups to provide protection and security for their various localities.
Bishop Onaga also announced that the slain Catholic Priest, Fr Offu, in charge of St. James The Greater Parish, Ugbawka in Nkanu East Local Government Area, would be buried on August 20.
He challenged the government to formulate policies and enact laws that would checkmate the atrocities being meted on the people.
According to the Bishop, “We seem to be living in a state of anarchy, total breakdown of law and order. In recent times, an alarming number of our people – including priests and government officials has been killed by these murderers.
“The rate of kidnappings has continued to increase both in the villages and in cities. The demand of outrageous ransom and the inability of the victims to pay, have led to outright killings.
“In this era of technology, the deployment of surveillance devices has become very necessary in our effort to combat these security threats.
“Community leaders should desist from actions that would be inimical to the security of their people and any betrayal must be seriously sanctioned. Security agents should not betray the information entrusted to them for the security of the people.
“Traditional Leaders, Town Unions and various youth organizations must work together and speak with one voice in order for the security measures they put in place to be effective and successful. Our people must know that they are part of actions to provide security and should say something when they see something.
“Government should formulate policies and enact laws that would checkmate these atrocities that are being meted out on our people, while it should provide counseling and other services to victims of herdsmen attack.”
Bishop Onaga enjoined the people of Enugu State to embark on intensive prayers, saying “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. We must continue to ask the Lord to be with us in this sad moment of our lives.
“Every family in the Diocese should pray one mystery of the Rosary every day for the security of our Diocese.”
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