What Pope Francis told me about killings in Nigeria – Onaiyekan

The Metropolitan Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has revealed that Pope Francis is deeply worried about herdsmen’s killings in Benue State and other parts of the country.

Onaiyekan, said even though the Pope will not speak in the media as they (bishops) do, the Pope will respond through diplomatic channel.

The Pope is the head of state of the Vatican and equally doubles as the successor of Saint Peter (Head of the Catholic Church).

Onaiyekan made this disclosure shortly aftet the visit of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) to Rome, where all Catholic bishops of Nigeria gave account of events within their dioceses.

Onaiyekan said the Pope is saddened and that he specifically asked who the Bishop of Makurdi is, and, upon meeting him, held the Bishop, who, in turn, wept profusely.

“The Pope is so concerned about what is happening, not only about the Benue killings, but about the situation that has been going on in Nigeria for many months now, even here. He showed deep concern.

“The Pope will not speak as frankly as we did because this is our country. We can speak like we want; we can speak like we think we ought to speak; as leaders of our Church,” Onaiyekan said.

Onaiyekan further added the Pope is very well aware of what is going on in the country.

He also said there are many ways out of the present situation, even as he said everyone has a role to play.

“The politicians can continue to pretend that everything is normal. But they know it isn’t. The rest of us cannot allow them to deceive us and defend themselves. You can already see that things are not going well and we have elections in a few months.

“So, it is possible that you are going for an election, but you are not going to get a good election and that means we will be postponing the solutions to our problems,” he said.


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