WORDS FAILED ME last week to describe the senseless murder of two priests, Rev. Fr. Joseph Gor and Rev. Fr.Felix Tyolaha killed while serving at the Altar of God during Morning Mass. The horrendous act perpetrated by Fulani Herdsmen occurred at St. Ignatius Church, Ukpor, Mbalom in Gwer West Local Government Council of Benue State. Time and the appropriate reaction of

the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria CBCN have combined to jolt me out of shock.

A hallowed place of worship was turned into a slaughter slab. Men set apart to offer our sacrifice to God were themselves sacrificed on the very Altar. They became the offertory in a land under the merciless stranglehold of evil. The men of darkness chose that time and place to attack us. On that day, Nigerian Bishops were away in Rome for the Ad limina and the men of darkness knew. They also chose a location where help would be slow to arrive; they knew what they were doing, for their masters knew.

Close your eyes and imagine that you are at Morning Mass and then some men invade your Church, murder the two priests saying Mass and kill seventeen of your fellow worshippers. Open your eyes and ask yourself if you are still alive in all sense of the word. The death of Fr. Felix and Fr. Joseph is the death of all of us – individually, and collectively. Their death is further proof that there exist in our country, powers that seek to prevent us from the free exercise of our faith, and on the pain of death. They are killing us, body, mind, and soul. They have set for themselves the task of killing the Body of Christ; and fail they shall.

Believe it or not, there is a Muslim agenda in Nigeria aimed at the islamisation of the country by all means necessary. It is a long standing agenda, one whose root predates the amalgamation of Nigeria by a century and a decade. There has been no rest and no let since that time. The protagonists have subjected the rest of us to unrelenting assault on several fronts – political, economic, institutional and all. The Fulani of Northern Nigeria is emblematic of this agenda. Disproportionate political and economic empowerment and choice privileges are some weapons of this war.

Fulani Herdsmen constitute just another plank of a network of carefully orchestrated modality for religious attrition in the plan of a vengeful stock, steeped in an ideology of hate-filled intolerance, hiding under dubious religious tenets, to subjugate the rest of the land in furtherance of the unfinished agenda of their forefathers. To provide cover for this agenda of hate are “security agencies, which the President has deliberately placed in the hands of the adherents of only one religion”(CBCN)

The principal culprit in all of these is none other than President Muhammadu Buhari, a man to whom much has been given, from whom much is expected, but of whom it has been rightly concluded “It is clear to the nation that he has failed in his primary duty of protecting the lives of the Nigerian citizens. Whether this failure is due to inability to perform or lack of political will, it is time for him to choose the part of honour and consider stepping aside to save the nation from total collapse,” (CBCN)

Buhari, a serial loser of elections, was in 2015 embraced by many on a much flaunted shamrock agenda of improved economy (jobs), diminished corruption, and entrenched security. A man who by his own admission ought to be home attending to his grandchildren, was in the evening of his life dragged around the country and sold to us as our last hope. Destined for another round of hope betrayed, we bought into a change mantra.Like a people under the powerful Yoruba spell ‘Edi’,  a condition that makes a person work tirelessly towards his own destruction, we offered our prayers, works, and sufferings for the electoral intentions of a man whose definition of a Nigerian does not extend beyond being a Fulani-Muslim.

How else do you explain our escape from the throes of cluelessness, only to proceed to an embrace of ethno-religious zealotry? Some say it is our ill-fortune; I say it is our carelessness. Our eyes were wide open when we exchanged incompetence for nepotism. Rather than reject both as being unacceptable, we excused one on account of the failure of the other. Now the cows have

come home, and we are being made to lie in the bed we purchased with our PVC on March 28-29, 2015.

Buhari and the government that he heads remain powerless by choice to arrest the atrocities of his kinsmen, Fulani Herdsmen, who roam the farms of settlers with their cows in tow, destroying farmlands at will, treating their cattle to meals of cultivated farm crops, and whatever is not consumed is destroyed. Armed to the teeth with AK 47 and other sophisticated weapons, the Fulani constitute a menace that cannot be confronted. Encouraged by the protection they enjoy from their kinsmen in political power and at the head of the nation’s security forces, Fulani Herdsmen are no longer satisfied with laying farms to waste. They now kill and rape villagers, setting homes on fire.

That boundary too, has been crossed. The ultimate battle is on; the gravest of impunities, the rape of our souls and the desecration of our places of worship plus the murder of our priests. What else shall we endure as Nigerian Christians before we raise the standard of Christ? Abandoned to our fate by President Buhari and his collaborators, we only have ourselves to blame if we fail to fashion our own strategy in defence of our faith. The war against Christianity started long before now in Nigeria and, for this long, some of our own leaders became apologists for the enemy arguing that it was not a religious attack but a reaction to economic situations. I have always disagreed; I do now.     

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