God save Nigeria!

29 August 2020
Cardinal John Onaiyekan, first Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria, one of the guest speakers of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, has been advocating for quite a time for religious freedom, being the principle of reconciliation.

Since 2015 an estimated 6,000 Nigerian Christians have been massacred by the Boko Haram terrorist organisation as well as by the herdsmen of the Muslim Fulani ethnic group. Despite the international protests, violence has been experiencing on a daily basis in the African country. As a consequence of the Islamic extremists’ persecution on religious grounds there were already more than 600 fatalities until May this year. It happened just this week that Jihadist militants took more than hundred civilian hostages in the town of Kukawa.

40-days of prayer

The “40-days of prayer to save Nigeria” initiative serves to asking for God’s help to stop the killings and the widespread violence across the country. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria’s encourages all the Catholic communities to pray, daily at noon, one Our Father, three Hail Marys, as well as one Glory Be, right after the Angelus prayer.

A bloody and slow occupation

Pope Frances prayed for Nigeria and for all those living there, on the day of Mary’s ascension.

The situation is serious: “There are murders each day, every week and nothing has been done against so far. Suffering is enormous, and no one understands what is really going on. However, the terror is indiscriminate, sometimes even Muslim communities are attacked, though Christians are the primary targets” – said Father Patrick Alumuku, the Communication Director of the Abuja Archdiocese. “Occupation is going ahead slowly but permanently: these militant bandits set fire to houses, kill people and occupy territories.”

“We are tired of all this…”

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CNBC) condemns the situation and strongly urges the Government to put an end to the killings. “Our hearts are bleeding, while we are more and more worried whenever hearing about all the massacres around” – reported the Nigerian Chief Pastors in their announcement and offered their prayers for the victims of the violence and attacks. Trusting in God, the Bishops commit themselves to do their best that is humanly possible to ensure prosperity and freedom for all the Nigerians.

“Let us be the instruments of forgiveness and reconciliation! We should follow the path of justice and peace! May God grant us courage, enabling us to work on these! God save Nigeria!”

- so the statement of the Bishops of the African country has been closed.

Outrage and beauty

One of the speakers of the 52 nd International Eucharistic Congress, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, first Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria regularly reports on the Nigerian volatile situation and the possible solutions that of. „We all should do our best to preserve the principle. The very principle of religious freedom: everyone has the right to adore God on his own way. (…) This means that the rights of all the religious minorities should be fully recognised. Otherwise there is no way to live in peace. Moreover, we should unanimously define the relationship between the religion and that of the politics. It has been well-reasoned by the experiences: wherever the religion and politics are mixed up or confused, the outrage of politics stains the beauty of religion.”

The age of silence is definitely over

The Commission of the Bishop’s Conferences of the European Union strongly called the EU member states “to pay more attention and to increase their efforts to putting an end to the violence in Nigeria, while bringing criminals to justice, supporting the victims, and promoting the dialogue and peace.” On behalf of the European Union, Jean Claude Hollerich, also a guest speaker of the coming 52 nd International Eucharistic Congress in Budapest expressed his solidarity with the African country’s Christian communities.
Cardinal Péter Erdő, Primate of Hungary voiced his thoughts in an interview given to Radio Kossuth. “Literally the baselines of a global Christian persecution have been unfolding in front of our eyes.” - He said. “We need to be very sensitive to persecution, atrocities and incitement to hatred against people and communities. The culture of love cannot be represented quietly, rather it should be demonstrated on a clear, loud and visible way.” – added the Cardinal.

Source: Vatican Radio, IEC
Photo: Vatican News