“Shed no more blood, work toward unity, peaceful co-existence”: Catholic Bishop in Nigeria

Map showing the major towns within Nigeria's Imo State. Credit: Public Domain

Following persistent cases of insecurity recorded in Nigeria’s Orlu Diocese, the Local Ordinary of the Catholic Diocese located within Imo State has appealed to the warring parties to end the bloodshed and seek dialogue.

In a statement issued Saturday, October 2, Bishop Augustine Tochukwu Ukwuoma says, “I come to you with bleeding heart and tears on the state of our dear nation especially in Orlu.”

“Since the spate of violence; killings and destruction of public and private property, I have had cause to speak out and condemn the incessant and unprecedented bloodletting and loss of value for human life with my two previous appeals captioned SHED NO BLOOD AND DO NOT BE AFRAID,” Bishop Ukwuoma explains.

Unfortunately, the Nigerian Catholic Bishop bemoans, “the situation has grown from bad to worse with no sign of abatement.” 

“I hereby reiterate my earlier appeals and exhortations to both the State Security Actors and the Known/Unknown Gunmen to respect and protect life; for life belongs to God. Shed no more blood and work towards unity and peaceful co-existence,” he says in his October 2 statement.


Bishop Ukwuoma says the Church as Mother and Teacher “cannot fold her arms while God's people and indeed humanity feel highly unsafe and suffer danger of life and properties which invariably affect their eternal salvation.” 

“Dialogue and compromise remain the best option towards our common good,” the Nigerian Bishop adds.

Cases of violence and killings have been on the rise in the area covered by Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Orlu in recent times.

In August, some five people were reportedly beheaded after the violence rocked the Orlu community.

Last month, a prominent lawyer, Darlington Odume, was reportedly shot dead by gunmen in Orlu.

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Popularly known as Omekagu, Mr Odume was reportedly shot at a supermarket at Amaifeke in Orlu when his assailants stormed the area on motorcycles.

On October 2, gunmen razed the country home of a former Imo State lawmaker, Gozie Nwagba.

Many were forced to flee their homes following the violence.

In his October 2 statement, Bishop Ukwuoma says, “Orlu zone is now in the news for very insidious and negatives news and our people are petrified to the highest level while the danger ember is in its highest peak of alert.”

“Not even during the fratricidal Nigeria- Biafra war (1967-1970) had brought our people to this unfortunate level of state of lawlessness, brutish and savage experiences as described in the Hobbesian state of nature and jungle,” he bemoans.


The Local Ordinary of Orlu also expresses solidarity and his spiritual closeness with those who have “lost their loved ones.”

“Trust and have hope in God. I feel your pain. May God console you. Do not take Vengeance; for vengeance belongs to God. To the Politicians, Religious and Community Leaders; remember our primary responsibility to work for peace, the protection of lives and properties,” the 67-year-old Nigerian Bishop who has been at the helm of Orlu Diocese since June 2008 says in his October 2 statement.

As a way forward, Bishop Ukwuoma outlines certain directives the people of God are expected to follow for peace in the Diocese.

“Starting from 1st October 2021, in addition to the customary October Devotion, all Parishes, Chaplaincies and all other groupings of Christ's faithful are exhorted to organize Rosary prayers and Benediction daily. Let this year's prayers be approached with desperation and cry for God's HELP. May we repent of our sins,” the Bishop directs.

He invites “Traders in markets, welders, electricians, Okada and Keke operators etc to organize and pray for peace.”

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“Families and Individuals are also exhorted to organize family Rosary prayers and other supplications for peace in Orlu and beyond,” Bishop Ukwuoma further directs.

At all Holy Masses, he goes on to direct, “intentions should include God's intervention and restoration of peace and security in Orlu.”

“Fridays of October and beyond should be observed as days of fasting, abstinence and atonement/reparation for God's intervention in our socio-political and economic problems,” the Bishop adds.

He continues, “As we earnestly seek the mediation and supplications of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael to defend us in the days of battle, we urge all to eschew all speeches and actions that will escalate hatred and provocations.”

In May, the Local Ordinary of Orlu reassured the people in the affected areas of the West African nation of the presence of God amid “fear and anxiety.”

“In this moment of heightened tension, fear and anxiety, I would like to reassure our people that God has not and will never abandon His people,” Bishop Ukwuoma said May 17.

“At this moment, His word, ‘Do not be afraid’, is a constant reminder of His abiding presence and unfailing support,” the Nigerian Bishop added.

He continued, “God calms the heat of war, the storm of ravage, and the wind of extermination. Let us hold firmly unto His unfailing word. Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and of good courage.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.