LAGOS, Nigeria — Three Catholic bishops visited victims of recent attacks in Plateau state to show solidarity, pray with them and donate food and other items.
Archbishop Matthew Ishaya Audu of Jos and Bishops Michael Gobal Gokum of Pankshin and Philip Davou Dung of Shendam — three dioceses in the state — visited Dec. 10, hoping to cushion the hardships from the attacks, in which gunmen killed several people, injured dozens, and destroyed farmers’ houses and crops in late November.
“We are here to tell you that you are not alone,” said Audu. “We have also come to pray with you so that God will heal your wounds and grant total peace to this land, the state and Nigeria in general.
“The attacks and killings are beyond human comprehension; so, only God can come to our aid,” he said.
Gokum advised the people to forgive their attackers.
“You must not (seek) revenge; you must not carry out reprisals, because it will only make things worse,” the bishop advised.
The visit by the bishops came a day after prominent Christian and Muslim leaders condemned what they described as the rising waves of killings in Nigeria.
The Christian Association of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam issued separate statements condemning the killings of 16 people in a mosque in Niger state Dec. 8. They also condemned the murder of 23 innocent travelers by terrorists in Sokoto state and many other attacks on citizens by criminals.
The Rev. John Joseph Hayab, regional vice chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, said the organization was concerned that “the terrorists have taken their crime against Nigerians too far” and called on the federal government and governors in the northern states to take strong measures “to stop this evil permanently.”
“CAN is appealing to security agencies to stop the unhealthy competition among them and work together in unity for the common good of all Nigerians. Our security agencies have all it will take to defeat these terrorists.”
Jama’atu Nasril Islam said, “It is forbidden for human life to be killed unjustly, let alone burning it. And … the government is essentially in place to protect and safeguard human life from being killed.”
It reminded the government leaders that Chapter 2 of the Nigerian Constitution affirms that human life is sacred.