Thousands of Catholics storm Alausa, protest herdsmen killings

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The protesters

Over 5,000 Catholic faithful have stormed Alausa, the Lagos seat of power to protest massive killings of members and others in Northern Nigeria by herdsmen and others.

Roads leading to the State House, Ikeja were shutdown as the huge crowd took them over in a peaceful protest, which also took place simultaneously across the nation.

The entrance leading to the State House of Assembly was shut to prevent the protesters from gaining entrance, while government officials received the protesters at the gate.

The protesters were armed with placards, some of which read: “Bring these killers to justice now,” “Enough of this madness,” “Make Nigeria safe again,” “FGN stop the kidnapping,” “Stop this carnage,” among others.

In a letter addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, which was delivered to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode and received on his behalf by the Special Adviser on Civic Engagement, Benjamin Olabinjo, the protesters decried the massive killings across the country, especially in the North Central.

The letter signed by Archbishop Alfred Martins, Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, said many Nigerians embraced the change mantra of the Buhari administration, but lamented that three years after, people now live in fear because of killer herdsmen, who actually qualified to be called terrorists.

“We watch helplessly as our hope for a better tomorrow trickles away in the hands of herdsmen who have proven to be deadlier than even Boko Haram, if they are not Boko Haram in another guise. Innocent people are now being murdered at will and their means of livelihood forcefully taken from them.

“Children are being turned to orphans, wives to widows, husband to widowers. Communities are being wiped away in manners that can only be likened to ethnic cleansing. Human life, a most sacred gift from God has become of less value than that of cattle in this art of the world,” Martins lamented.

He said the Catholics decided to cry out against injustice so that the government could be responsible in tackling the issues at hand, as several Catholic priests and members had been killed in Benue State.

Martins urged the president to direct the security agencies to wake up, fish out the perpetrators of the callous killings and neutralize them so that people could once again feel safe.

“We pride ourselves with having some of the best security agencies in the world. This is the time for them to prove their mettle by bringing an end to these killings. We reiterate that our call for your urgent intervention  is borne out of our deep patriotism and desire to save the country from imminent crisis that could snowball into ethnic, tribal or religious war,” he told the president in the letter.