“Nigeria is bleeding. Our land is soaked in blood”, Catholic Bishops Say

Altar of St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish of Ondo Diocese. Credit: Ondo Diocese

Catholic Bishops in Nigeria are bemoaning the high rate of insecurity in the West African nation, saying the country is “soaked in blood”.

The reaction of the Catholic Bishops follows the Pentecost Sunday attack on St. Francis Xavier Owo Catholic Parish of Ondo Diocese that reportedly left dozens killed.

Speaking at the golden jubilee celebration of the Apostolic Administrator of Owerri, Archbishop Anthony John Valentine Obinna, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) said the Church continues to pray for the happy repose of those killed in Ondo church massacre. 

“Nigeria is bleeding. Our land is soaked in blood. From North to South, East to West, blood is flowing like a river. Nigerians now live in fear and anxiety, as a dark cloud of uncertainty hangs over the nation,” Archbishop-elect Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji has been quoted as saying in a Friday, June 10 report.

He added, “Nowhere is secure. Our homes, our highways, our institutions of learning and even our sacred precincts of worship centers, are all unsafe.”


“Why has our country become so insecure while we have a government charged with the responsibility of defending the lives and property of one and all?” the Catholic Church leader posed, and continued, “Why has life become so cheap and short in Nigeria? Why must people who slaughter unarmed and law-abiding citizens in our communities be allowed to go scot-free?”

He added in reference to those behind the Pentecost Sunday attack, “The killing of innocent worshippers is outrageous, sacrilegious, condemnable and totally unacceptable.”

“It has become obvious that our country is under siege by Fulani militia, masquerading as herdsmen,” Archbishop-elect Ugorji was quoted as saying in the report. 

He went on to highlight other cases of violence orchestrated by the Fulani militia saying, “A few weeks ago, it was the heartless killing of Deborah and the callous attack of churches in Sokoto.”

“Recently, it was the kidnapping of the Prelate of the Methodist Church, Nigeria, who later disclosed that he and his two co-travelers were abducted by armed Fulani, with the active connivance of the military. And last Sunday, the story was the bloody attack on the Church in Owo,” he recounted.

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“As we celebrate here, my heart returns to the bloody scene at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State, where many unarmed worshippers, including couples, women, little children and infants, were gruesomely murdered and many others brutally wounded on Pentecost Sunday,” Archbishop-elect Ugorji said.

The Nigerian Archbishop-elect added, “We continue to pray for the happy repose of the dead, the speedy recovery of the injured and the consolation of the bereaved.”

Reflecting on the general elections scheduled for 2023, the Archbishop-elect said, “We have watched with dismay, the recent cash-and-carry primaries in different political parties, primaries characterized by greed, graft, manipulation and exclusion.”

“To say the least, what took place in some of those primaries were disheartening and disgraceful. Given that genuine leadership is selfless service, involving enormous sacrifice, people who try to bribe their way to power must have ulterior and questionable motives,” he said.

The Archbishop-elect urged Nigerians to “stand together to say no to money politics, terrorism, kidnapping and corruption in our country.”


“One effective way of doing so is through exercising our franchise during general elections, by trooping out to vote,” he said. 

Archbishop-elect Ugorji further urged Nigerians to “shun apathy and indifference and stand together to elect only credible candidates with character, competence and capacity; candidates with proven records of achievements and who are known for putting the common good above their private and selfish interests.”

The Catholic Church leader called on Nigerians to “ensure that they have their permanent voters card, in preparation for next year’s general elections,” adding that voting “is very crucial for the survival of this nation.”

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.