By Vatican News
"Today I would like to pray in particular for the population of the northern region of Nigeria, victim of violence and terrorist attacks."
Those were the words Pope Francis used after praying the Angelus on Saturday, praying for and asking us to pray for our brothers and sisters in northern Nigeria.
Insecurity and terrorism
On 8 August, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria issued a statement addressing the "increasing insecurity" and acts of violence in Northern Nigeria.
“We continue to hear of increasing insecurity and unabated acts of terrorism in Northern Nigeria. We are all tired of this situation,” said the Bishops' statement.
Using the word "massacre" to describe the violence in Southern Kaduna, the Bishops said the "killings must stop."
Violence on the rise
In June 76 people were killed in an attack on Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State. Five humanitarian aid workers were violently murdered in July by Boko Haram militants after having been abducted in Borno State in June. At least three attacks attributed to the Fulani militia took place in Southern Kaduna in July alone.
On 5 August, at least thirty-three persons, mostly women and children, were killed by unknown gunmen in an attack on five Atyap chiefdom villages in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The State government recently imposed a curfew in the area due to the rising tensions.
Appeal to the government and for prayers
The Nigerian bishops appealed to the country's government of their campaign promises to end corruption, guarantee safety of persons and property and to stimulate the economy. .
In addition, the Bishops turn to all Catholics that we join in prayer, praying praying one Our Father, three Hail Marys and one Glory Be to the Father “every day after the Angelus for forty days.”
This joint prayer will start from 22 August through to 30 September 2020 – the eve of Nigeria’s Independence Day anniversary. On 1 October (Nigeria’s Independence Day), the faithful are to pray the five decades of the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary “for God to save Nigeria.”