Saints Peter & Paul Major Seminary
Bodija, Ibadan, Nigeria
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The spate of inhumane and anti-life acts – killings, maiming, kidnapping, etc – inflicted upon vulnerable Nigerians, especially in recent times, has robbed thousands of families of their joys, their hopes of a bright future, and a peaceful state of mind. Of great poignancy is the brutal massacre of two Catholic priests and 17 parishioners of St. Ignatius Quasi Parish, Ukpor-Mbalom, of the Diocese of Makurdi, on the 24th of April, 2018, during the solemn celebration of the Holy Mass. This rather unfortunate situation has attracted attention and evoked sentiments of concern from sympathizers within and abroad, religious groups, international bodies, and especially the Catholic Church – all presenting their displeasure and making reverberating summons to the government, who have kept a seeming suspicious silence about the ugly state of affairs.

Remarkable, however, is the national peaceful protest tagged ‘March for Life’, declared  by the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, and executed by Catholics all over the nation on the 22nd of May, 2018, as a mark of solidarity with the Diocese of Makurdi and in honour of the lives of those killed in such gruesome encounter. This was concurrently observed with the funeral ceremonies of the victims at the Ave Maria Prayer Pilgrimage Ground, on the Ayati hilltop in Gwer, LGA, Benue state. The Seminary of Saints Peter and Paul, Bodija, was not exempted from this honourable event, as the earlier hours of the day witnessed the convergence of Catholics – priests, religious, seminarians, lay faithful, and others of the archdiocese of Ibadan – at the seminary compound, from where they begun the peaceful and prayerful protest. The march was led by the Metropolitan Archbishop, Most Rev. Gabriel Leke’ Abegunrin, through the streets of Bodija to the Government Secretariat in Agodi, Ibadan, where they were received by the Chief of Staff, Dr. Gbade Ojo on behalf of the Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi. In response to the Archbishop who urged the federal government to protect the sanctity of human lives and calm the growing tension in the country, Dr. Gbade Ojo expressed his sympathy towards the pains of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, especially in these trying times, and assured them of sending their message to the appropriate quarters. This decisive step carried out by the Catholic Church in Nigeria would have its mark on the pages of history and would forever be treasured. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.


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