The Cardinal of the Abuja Catholic Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has called on Nigerians to rise above religious, political and ethnic divides to save the country from drifting into anarchy.
Onaiyekan stated that Nigeria is in a state of emergency, noting that saving the country from anarchy required the cooperation of all citizens irrespective of their religious and political affiliation.
He said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a mass at the National Ecumenical Centre shortly before a procession by Catholic faithful in protest against the killings across the country.
The mass was held in honour of two Catholic priests, Rev Frs. Felix Tyolaha and Joseph Gor, and others who were murdered at Ayati in Gwer East Local Government Council of Benue State by unknown gunmen.
The Cardinal said the killings across the country must stop and called on well meaning Nigerians to unite in fighting “the great evil that had befallen the country.”
He added, “This must not be politicised. The nation is in a state of emergency. We demand synergy; division, especially on tribal lines will only throw our nation into anarchy.”
He called on the federal government to act decisively to end the spate of killings across the country, warning that if murderers were allowed to continue killing, it would come to a time when people will begin to use other means of self-defence.
The cleric further admonished the people to be vigilant and be their brother’s keeper.
Onaiyekan called for forgiveness and warned against reprisals, adding that the souls of the righteous are in the hands of God.
He appealed for calm and advised the Christian faithful to show appreciation to God in all situations.
“This is our hope which is based on our trust in God,” the cardinal said.
The procession which attracted a huge number of participants took off from the National Ecumenical Centre, Central Business District, terminated at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Garki.
A woman, however, fainted during the mass and was rushed to a health facility for medical attention.