The Catholic Diocese of Minna said on Tuesday that security operatives refused to guarantee security for its participation in the public peaceful nationwide protest against the incessant killings in the country by armed militiamen.
The Catholic Bishop of Minna Diocese, the Most Rev. Martins Uzoukwu, made this known in Minna on Tuesday.
Uzoukwu told journalists that when the Police and the Department of State Services (DSS) were contacted, “we were told that it was not safe for us to embark on the demonstration.
“We went to the Police and the DSS to guard us during our peaceful procession, but they told us that our security was not guaranteed.
“As law-abiding citizens we obeyed them; so this is why we are doing the procession within the church premises.’’
He urged the federal and state governments as well as other stakeholders to do everything possible to protect lives and property in the country.
“We challenge our political leaders as stakeholders to ensure a peaceful and harmonious co-existence among Nigerians.
“We want them to live up to their responsibilities so that we can once again live together as one happy people.
“We need the government of the day to give us a different feeling from what we perceive.’’
He said that there was a strong feeling that the government of the day was not doing enough to stop this “great evil that has befallen us”.
Similarly, Rev. Mathias Echioda, the state Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), prayed God to stop the ongoing killings of innocent Nigerians.
Echioda enjoined Christians to remain a united body in Christ, using John Chapter 17 to buttress the message.
Responding the to the allegation, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Muhammad Abubakar, (ASP) told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the police was at the Church to guard them and not to prevent them from embarking on the procession.
NAN reports that some of the placards displayed by the faithful read; “we have a right to live; let us live,’’ “Give peace a chance,’’ and “Government responsibility is to protect lives and property”.
NAN recalls that on April 24, gunmen murdered two Catholic priests and 15 parishioners while celebrating Holy Mass in Mbalom area of Benue.
Other killings of innocent and defenseless Nigerians across the country moved the Catholic top hierarchy to organise the nationwide procession against the killings. (NAN)