Benue Christians: Pope reacts to herdsmen killings as CAN takes protest nationwide

Benue Christians: Pope reacts to herdsmen killings as CAN takes protest nationwide

- In reaction to herdsmen killings in Nigeria, Pope Francis has prayed for peace and harmony among Christians

- The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) throughout the country has protested the killing of worshippers in Benue by herdsmen

- The association called on the federal government to address the troubling issue of insecurity in the country

The recent killing of Christians and priests in Benue state was on Sunday, April 29, bitterly condemned by Pope Francis. Associated Press (AP) that the pontiff prayed that the Christian community in Nigeria should find peace and harmony.

Pope Francis' statements came just as a large number of Christians in Nigeria obeyed the call by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to, after the Sunday services, protest the killings by suspected herdsmen in the state and other regions in the country, The Punch reports.

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Olasupo Ayokunle, the CAN President, in a statement on Wednesday, April 25, said: “CAN urges Christians in Nigeria to hold peaceful protest on the set aside date, on the premises of their churches, asking the Federal Government and security agencies to stop the unending killings and bloodshed in the country.”

The Punch reported that with placards, Christian across Benue protested the killings by the herdsmen, adding that they will work against President Muhammadu Buhari's candidacy during the 2019 elections.

The recent killing of Christians in the state triggered several reactions from CAN in major parts of the country like Kogi, Osun, Lagos, Kano, Sokoto, Plateau, Ekiti, Taraba, Delta state, and Ondo.

For instance, John Oladapo, the CAN chairman in Ondo decried the alleged nepotism in the appointment of security chiefs in the country, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to address the issue.

Oladapo said: “Why is it that all our security chiefs are from the same region. We condemn this appointment. Our government must listen to us. Let Buhari forget 2019 for now and face security issues in the country."

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Sunday Adoayoke, a pastor in Asaba, Delta state, lamented federal government's inability to end the bloodbath. Adoayoke said: "If the killing doesn’t stop, the protest will continue. The church in Nigeria is under siege.”

Meanwhile, reported that CAN had called on the federal government to compensate victims of January killings in Benue state.

The association said victims of the clash between herdsmen and farmers in the state had been abandoned by the presidency.

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