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Aid to the Church in Need
Nigeria bishops protest feb 2020 photo credit Aid to the Church in Need.jpg
Aid to the Church in Need
World News

'The lack of prosecution of terrorists is evil': Nigerian bishops protest horrific killings

by Tola Mbakwe

Senior church leaders in Nigeria have led a mass protest against the "brutal killing of innocent Nigerians".

Despite heavy rain on Sunday, hundreds turned out to support the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) to take a stand against a surge of Islamist extremist violence.

Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, president of the CBCN, said there was a "high level of insecurity in every part of Nigeria".

"We are protesting against the brutal killing of innocent Nigerians by Boko Haram, and terrorist herdsmen…We are gathered to mourn the women, children, babies and men who have been killed by the terrorists," he said.

"We are gathered to let the Federal Government of Nigeria know that we are tired of hearing from them that Boko Haram has been 'technically defeated' even when they still attack with impunity."

Archbishop Augustine added that the Nigerian government's poor response to the attacks was making the situation worse.

Photo Credit: Aid to the Church in Need

"The failure to protect innocent people from relentless attacks is evil. The lack of prosecution of terrorists is evil. Our government response to terror attack is, for lack of better words, far below average," he said.

"There have been too many mass burials. Too many kidnappings of school children, of travellers, invasions of peoples' homes, and invasions of sacred places like churches, mosques, seminaries, etc."

The archbishop was also critical of western journalists' silence about the crisis.

He said: "If the western media give comprehensive steadfast coverage to the atrocities happening in Nigeria, they will discover that people are dying daily in Nigeria from the hands of Boko Haram.

"May our prayers wipe away evil from our land, soaked by the blood of innocent citizens and melt the stony hearts of people who rejoice at the suffering of other brothers and sisters whom they keep in captivity."

Fr Sebastain Sanni, who attended the march told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) he was discouraged by the decline of the country. 

He said: "We are all in black to mourn not only our Christian brothers and sisters that were killed by Boko Haram, but to protest the collapse of security in the country, the escalated activities of Boko Haram, and the government's lame response."

Ten Christians were beheaded by an ISIS-related group. In January, Boko Haram killed Rev Lawan Andimi, chairman of the Adamawa state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria.

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