By Benedict Mayaki
The Catholic Bishops of Nigeria are asking the faithful to wear black, or at least black armbands as a sign of mourning and solidarity with the victims of kidnapping and other violent crimes.
In a statement, signed by the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria, the faithful have been invited to join a “Day of Prayer Procession” to kick off the Lenten season, to protest the state of insecurity in the country.
The statement, signed by the president of the CBCN, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, to be read in all parishes on Ash Wednesday, described the procession as a part of the Church’s moral responsibility.
The march, scheduled for Ash Wednesday, is against “the repeated barbaric executions of Christians by the Boko Haram insurgents and the incessant cases of kidnapping for ransom linked to the same group.”
The statement decries the public show of impunity by the perpetrators of these crimes on social media, the constant threats to many communities, and the lack of arrests of the criminals by the government.
No peace/growth without Security
Emphasizing the importance of peace, the statement reads: “May we, once again, remind all the arms of the government in Nigeria and all whose responsibility it is to protect Nigerians that without security there can be no peace, and without peace, there can be no development or national growth.”
The CBCN also called on the international community to come to the aid of the Nigerian government in its fight to restore security and stability in the country.
Nigeria has been on a constant fight against the Boko Haram insurgents who in 2014 kidnapped girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Northern Nigeria. In recent times, there have been multiple instances of kidnappings and violence against local communities linked to the same group.