The senseless and mindless murder of two Catholic Priests, Rev. Fr. Christopher Odia of Auchi Diocese and Rev. Fr. Vitus Borogo of Kaduna Arch Diocese recently, apart from dominating the public space, has once again situated forcefully the rising insecurity in the country which regrettably the Nigerian Government seems unable to contain inspite of the huge resources constantly injected into the defence sector. Indeed no day passes without sordid reports of kidnapping, robbery, murder and wanton killings and banditry across the six geographical zones of the Country.
The Order of the Knights of St. Mulumba, still reeling from the gruesome murder of Ondo State Catholic faithfuls of St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, on Pentecost Day, in which the Order regrettably lost two of its promising members and their ward, are now confronted with the murder of two Catholic Priests within 24 hours, of the death of each other.
A number of Catholic Priests are still in captivity, having been abducted on their lines of duty with the abductors demanding humongous fees as ransom for their release. The Order is not only alarmed by this sordid development, but it is also at a loss to fathom why Catholic Prelates have remained soft targets for this hoodlums and killers, who apparently reign freely and unchecked by the Security agencies and other State actors.
The Order condemns in very strict terms these unfortunate assault on Catholic Prelates, given the unquantifiable contributions of the Catholic Mission to the development of Nigeria, in terms of training of personnel for government agencies, provision of educational and health institutions and charity bites in different parts of the Country.
Only recently the Order condemned in its entirety these acts of unprovoked aggression on the Catholic Church, many Christians and other Nigerians in general. In a well worded press statement titled “Unacceptable Acts of Violent extremism on Christians and the Catholic Church by Islamic Extremists in Northern Nigeria”, the Order bemoaned the senseless bombings carnage, destructions and killing nationwide with particular huge and untold losses to the Catholic Church and faith in Nigeria.
The Knights of St. Mulumba reminds the Nigerian Government that National Security is the only premise for economic growth and development. The Federal Government must initiate imaginative and pragmatic models to contain the current, unprecedented series of agitators, expressed in vandalizing, kidnapping, bombing and carnages of all forms. The scenario just painted has unfortunately relegated the unnecessary loss of human lives and the maining of several others to mere statistics.
The Arch Bishop of Kaduna Arch Diocese Most Rev. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso at the Obsequies of Fr. Vitus Borogo recently in Southern Kaduna, lamented that because of the comatose state of the nation’s security architecture, human lives have now paled into insignificance, with many Nigerians believing that government is incapable or unwilling to live up to its primary responsibility of defending its citizens.
This recourse to helplessness has accentuated spirited calls for self help, with many calling for Legislations to enable Nigerians procure light arms to defend themselves. While the Order shares in these sentiments, it calls for caution but urges the Nigerian Government to up its game and take steps to reassure Nigerian citizens of the safety of lives and property.
In the light of the foregoing, the Order reiterates its earlier position on the dastardly killings of Nigerians and the collapse of the security apparatuses as follows:
The Order calls on the Federal Government to move beyond routine verbal condemnation and overhaul the leadership of the national Security Adviser with more efficient hands to commence the recovery of Homeland security in Nigeria.
Overhaul the leadership of the National Security architecture to reflect the Federal Committee with close sectarian balance and emphasis on excellence and capacity to arrest the security challenges in the Country.
Commence prosecution of all arrested culprits to serve as deterrents to others so minded, and spread the dragnets to apprehend all perpetrators of these heinous crimes.
The Order calls for strident prayers by Catholic faithfuls, novena masses, rosary processions and revivals to seek God’s intervention to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of vandals, murderers, kidnappers, etc. We urge the Catholic hierarchy to promote the ideals of prayers as a major tool for stemming these unfortunate tide in Nigeria.
The Knights of St. Mulumba urges a thorough re-orientation of Nigerians on the sanctity of human life and efforts to reassure every Nigerian citizen of his worth and the need to live peacefully without threats or intimidations in any part of the Country.
Sir. Dr. Charles Mbelede, FNSE KSM JP