The Christian community in Benue state yesterday staged a peaceful protest to express grievance over the killing of two priests and worshippers among other Christian faithful in the state by herdsmen militia.
This is even as security was yesterday tightened within and around churches in Makurdi, major towns and villages in the state. In Gboko, Otukpo and Makurdi, security men from the Nigeria Police Force, SSS, Civil Defence and stern looking soldiers, were seen in convoy patrolling the streets while the police helicopter conducted air surveillance. In Makurdi the Benue state capital, worshippers wore black attires to churches to protest and express their grief over the killing of their members and two Catholic priests. Two Catholic priests and 17 worshippers were killed by Fulani gunmen last Tuesday at St. Ignatius Ayar Mbalom in Gwer East local government area of the state.
Following the incident, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had directedits members to stage a peaceful protest over the killings in their various churches yesterday. Speaking during the protest, Assistant Resident Pastor of Reformed Christian Church of God, High Level, Makurdi, Rev Frederick Ikyaan, saidthe church in Nigeria and Benue in particular had been thrown into deep mourning because of the killing of Christians by herdsmen in thestate. He said that the protest staged by the Christian community in the state wasto express their feeling to the immediate society, leadership in Nigeria, especially President Buhari that the church is off ended over the killing of its members.
“This is to tell our immediate society, our leader President Muhammadu Buhari and of course the world that this is not correct.
“Nigeria appears to be a failed country, because our president is not defending us. He plays lip-service when we are killed and he is nottaking any proactive measures to prove that he wants the killings to end,” he said. He said the killing of the two priests and worshippers in the church had left Christians now with deeper meditation that the fight is no longer about vegetation but attempts to Islamise Benue. Also the Assistant Resident Pastor of NKST Iortyer, Rev. Samuel Terungwa Akaaunde said the protest was in honour of their fallen heroes. Rev. Akaaunde urged the federal government to stand up to its responsibilities of guarding lives and property.