, 24 August, 2020 / 7:36 PM
The Catholic Bishops of Nigeria’s Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province within the territory of Kaduna State have expressed their pain over continued “senseless killings” in their pastoral jurisdiction and urged the people of God in the affected areas to end “the culture of death” immediately.
The Bishops who had paid a courtesy call to the Chiefs of Kagoro and the Emir of Jama’a in Southern Kaduna Saturday, August 22 also said that “the mindless slaughtering” of innocent citizens had painted Kaduna State in a bad light “to the rest of the world.”
“We, your shepherds are calling on you to please pause, sheath your swords and to please end the senseless killings, not tomorrow but now,” Archbishop Matthew Man-oso Ndagoso has been quoted as saying on behalf of the members of the Ecclesiastical Province of Kaduna.
Archbishop Ndagoso added, “Like other Nigerians across the country, we have watched with deep sorrow and pain, the mindless slaughtering of hundreds of our innocent citizens in your different communities across our province and beyond.”
“The Church is pained by the trauma that has been inflicted on our collective psyche. We are pained by the culture of death that has made life so cheap for the most vulnerable in our society,” Archbishop Ndagoso who is the Local Ordinary of Kaduna Archdiocese further said.
He continued, “We are pained by the fact that we are losing our common humanity. We are pained by the shame that these evil deeds have brought to our country and our people. We are pained by the image that we have presented to the rest of the world.”
“We call on you, men and women of various faiths to please know that God is not pleased with us,” the 60-year-old Nigerian Prelate said on behalf of the Bishops that make up the Ecclesiastical Province of Kaduna, which brings together the Archdiocese of Kaduna and the Dioceses of Kano, Kafanchan, Kan, Kontagora, Sokoto, Zaria and Minna.
“Over the years, those who have totally lost the right to be called human beings, not to talk of people who can claim to believe in God have woken our people up to these orgies of mindless slaughter,” the Bishops of Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province lamented in the words of Archbishop Ndagoso.
They added, “Honestly, this is not who we are as Africans. This is not who we are as Nigerians. This is not who we are as people from Southern Kaduna. Over time, we have intermarried, loved, worked and celebrated our joys and shared our sorrows together across faith and tribe.”
“No amount of revenge, bitterness, calumny, hatred or name-calling can bring back those who have lost their lives in these senseless and unnecessary bloodlettings. We already know the stories of these tragedies very well. The greatest honour we can pay to those who have died is to see how we can rebuild our lives again,” they underscored.
As a way forward, the Prelates told the people of God in their respective pastoral jurisdictions, “Learn to embrace all, irrespective of class or status.”
Turning to the traditional and religious leaders in the region of Kaduna, the Bishops appealed, “Please, we call on you, stand together. You are above politics and above ethnicity. Let solidarity remain your watchword.”
They acknowledged the efforts the leaders at the grassroots “have made and continue to make despite the constraints” and encouraged them to “remain relentless in making your sacrifices for those under your care.”
To the women of Southern Kaduna who are “always the first in the line of sufferings that these afflictions bring,” the Bishops assured them of their closeness and prayers and encouraged them “to remain faithful and committed to the future of forgiveness.”
“Our dear Young People of Southern Kaduna, the future is in your hands and to a great extent, it is yours to build. You have the talent, time and opportunity to change our society,” Archbishop Ndagoso said on behalf of his Brother Bishops and urged the youth to “look beyond local differences of religion, ethnicity or even your local communities.”
He further addressed the youth, “We appeal to you to shun violence and, united as young people from Southern Kaduna across religion and community, embrace your differences and start building a future of your dreams. The place to start is here. The time to start is now. Violence has no utility value. It is in your interest that these killings end. Reject any form of violence and enlist in the peace brigade today.”
Addressing members of the Press on behalf of the other Bishops, Archbishop Ndagoso said, “Try to present both sides of what are clearly very complicated stories of our people. Very often, what you say and what you don’t say can change a situation.”
“Use social media well. Very often, some reports add more pain and inflame emotions. We call on you to kindly respect the dead and the privacy of families,” said Archbishop Ndagoso.
The Church leaders of the Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province are the latest to call for immediate action to stop violent attacks in Kaduna State and other parts of Africa’s most populous nation.
On August 20, the Papal representative in the country called on the government to address the hostility between Christians and Muslims and implement the rule of law.
In their collective statement issues August 8, Catholic Bishops condemned the “increasing insecurity and unabated acts of terrorism in Northern Nigeria” and called on the government to bring the violence to a stop.
On the Solemnity of the Assumption marked August 15, Pope Francis prayed for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, “Mother of Hope,” for persecuted Christians in Nigeria and for peace in conflicts in Africa.
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