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Catholic Church to immortalise Benue State massacre victims


Benue State

The Makurdi, Gboko, Otukpo and Katsina-Ala dioceses of the Catholic Church are to convert the grave of the 73 persons killed by suspected herdsmen in the New Year Day carnage in Benue State to a pilgrimage centre and a monument of prayer.

The Catholic Bishop of Gboko Diocese, His Lordship William Avenya, dropped the hint yesterday during a memorial mass for the victims in Makurdi, the state capital.

According to the cleric, the move was to sustain their memories for centuries, just as he cautioned the people against despondency, stressing that their alleged neglect by the Federal Government notwithstanding, God would not desert them.

He called on security personnel to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators, adding that justice must be seen to be done in the entire matter.

Avenya stated that God would give the people victory not minding the twisting of facts regarding the unfortunate incident.

He admonished the citizens against posting negative information on the social media in order not to heighten the tension.

In his remarks, the Chairman, Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, tasked the people on unity, noting that it was only the way they could effectively brace the insecurity posed by the acts of the herdsmen.

He observed that unity was sine qua non to nipping the attacks in the bud.

Reiterating that political, religious and traditional leaders must work in unison for the common purpose of protecting the people and their property, Kaigama pledged to present the plight of the state to the bishops’ conference for consideration.

Governor Samuel Ortom appreciated the church for the memorial mass as well as its show of love and condemnation of the killings in parts of the country.

He specifically commended the religious organisation for standing for justice and the downtrodden, promising that his government would continue to heed the counsel of the bishops.

The governor vowed to always stand by the people as long as their actions do not contravene the constitution of the nation.

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