Catholic bishops, priests and faithful in Imo State yesterday embarked on a mournful procession across the major streets of Owerri, the state capital in condemnation of the widespread killings across the country.
The clerics also called on the federal government to take responsibility and fish out the perpetrators of the serial killings in the country particularly the masterminds of the gruesome murder of Catholic priests in Benue state.
The Catholics who marched from the Pastoral Centre on Wetheral road terminated the procession at Assumpta Cathedral at control post urged president Muhammadu Buhari to stop sitting on the fence and rise up to the occasion and protect the citizenry.
The Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna,who addressed journalists at the diocesan headquarters in Owerri during the protest described the killing of the two Catholic priests in Benue state by suspected Fulani herdsmen as very provocative.
The crowd which consisted of Catholic bishops Priests, men, women, youths, and children drawn from the diocese in state caused major traffic gridlock within the metropolis.
Brandishing placards of various inscriptions, they alleged that recent developments in the country clearly suggest that Christians have been singled out for cleansing.
According to the Catholic prelate “We are experiencing the type killings which do not show that we have left the military era.”
He said, “There have been intertribal marriages in Nigeria, and the people have lived in harmony until the rampaging herdsmen made cohabitation an issue.”
Charging Buhari to rise up to his responsibility of protecting lives and properties of Nigerians, Obinna said, “We want President Buhari to disarm these violent herdsmen and criminals. We know he is doing something but we need it to be more visible and impacting. President Buhari should know that he should be a father to everyone and not some as perceived. His public statement and body language should communicate his resolve to protect every Nigerian.”
The Archbishop continued, “Security agencies must ensure they are clean and do not harbour or cover these criminal elements as alleged by Gen T.Y. Danjuma (retd). President Buhari and the security agencies should be on the same page. There seem a bloody competition for power, domination and money. And unless something is decisive is done, the killings will persist.”
The protest march was delayed for two weeks owing to security concerns.