Abuja — John Cardinal Onaiyekan, archbishop of the archdiocese of Abuja has described the ongoing violence and suffering of the people as, “forgotten,” by the international media.
“It’s almost as if they are tired of us,” he said. “But no matter how forgotten it is, the people who are themselves concerned cannot forget, especially the victims.”
He raised concerns on the escalation of the level of violence over the past two months, whose cause he says, has shifted from what was earlier perceived as a religious strife, to socio-economic clashes between farmers and herdsmen.
“But what we have seen recently is more political,” Cardinal Onaiyekan said.
He blamed political opponents of fueling the clashes where “instead of simply going to vote and letting their votes be counted so that the winner may emerge, they deploy all kinds of violent means to outdo one another.”
Cardinal Onaiyekan also noted that there are also “large-scale accusations that the government – that in this case also happens to be party to this context – is misusing state security apparatus to intimidate and oppress opponents” warning that this may set stage for state of lawlessness in the country.
Cardinal John Onaiyekan expressed gratitude to Pope Francis for his plea to pray for the victims of violence in the West African Nations of Nigeria and Mali.
“I’m sure most Nigerians are very much delighted and grateful to the Holy Father for publicly announcing his concern for the situation of insecurity and violence in our country,” said Cardinal Onaiyekan.
Pope Francis highlighted the situation in the West African countries during the Sunday March 24 Angelus praying that, “May the Lord receive the victims, heal the injured, bring consolation to the families and convert cruel hearts,” reported Vatican News.