Paul Samasumo - Vatican City
“The killings in Nigerian have been going on now for a long time. They are very worrisome, and the Bishops of Nigeria have declared a forty-day prayer period which will end on the last day of September. Then a day of common prayers on the 1 October, which is also the nation’s Independence Day,” explained Fr. Patrick Alumuku, Director of communications at the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja in an interview with Andrea De Angelis of Vatican News. He is also the Director of Nigerian Catholic -CTV.
Pray for God to save Nigeria
During the period of prayer, Nigerian Bishops have called upon all Catholics to pray, daily, one Our Father, three Hail Marys, as well as one Glory Be to the Father. On 1 October (Nigeria’s Independence Day), the faithful are to pray the five decades of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary beads “for God to save Nigeria.”
Nigerians frustrated at Government's inability to contain the insecurity
The forty-day prayer period comes against a background of persistent terrorist attacks mostly carried out by Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen as well as other criminal gangs. The attacks are especially rampant in northern Nigeria. Christians are often the victims. However, the violence is also indiscriminate and is calculated at causing as much mayhem and misery as possible. Thousands of innocent citizens are now Internally Displaced in Nigeria or have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. Ordinary Nigerians in villages and public places are haunted by lingering constant insecurity in the face of killings, bombings, conscriptions and the brazen abductions of women and girls.
Fr. Alumuku, told Vatican News that Nigerians, especially Christians, are tired and frustrated that notwithstanding many promises, authorities have failed to contain the widespread insecurity.
“The killings in Nigeria have gone on for a long time without the intervention of the Government. Christians are frustrated and exasperated by this situation and have even called for a change of leadership in the security agencies,” said Fr. Alumuku.
He added that there is a feeling that some elements in the Nigerian Government could be aiding terrorists judging by the Government’s inertia in handling the country’s security situation.
Pope Francis's prayers comfort and sustain the faith of Nigerians
Fr. Alumuku continues, “Pope Francis’s prayer and the appeal for peace in Nigeria made on the Feast of Assumption (last week); also the Nigerian Bishops’ call for forty days of prayer are the things sustaining the Christian faith of the people of Nigeria,” he emphasised.
Fr. Alumuku further appealed to the international community to join in pressuring the Government of Nigeria to “ensure that Christians in Nigeria (can also) live in peace.”
On 15 August, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pope Francis prayed for northern Nigeria after the Angelus Prayer in the Saint Peter’s Square.
“Today I would like to pray in particular for the population of the northern region of Nigeria, victims of violence and terrorist attacks," prayed Pope Francis.