The Order of the Knights of St. Mulumba (KSM), Nigeria has condemned in strong terms the recent killings of two Catholic Priests, Rev. Fr. Christopher Odia and Rev. Fr. Vitus Borogo in less than 24 hours penultimate weekend. Expressing dismay at the increasing rate of kidnapping, wanton killings and banditry across the Country, KSM, Nigeria, called on the Federal Government to urgently initiate measures to arrest the situation. In a statement entitled “Knights of St. Mulumba condemns unprovoked aggression and targeted assaults on Catholic Priests”; signed by Sir. (Dr.) Charles Mbelede, Supreme Knight, the Order re-tabled a four-point-point course of action for the government to swing into action and address the menace of killings in Nigeria. The statement read in part, “The senseless and mindless murder of two Catholic Priests, Rev. Fr. Christopher Odia of Auchi Diocese and Rev. Fr. Vitus Borogo of Kaduna Archdiocese recently, apart from dominating the public space, has once again situated forcefully the rising insecurity in the country, which regrettably the Nigerian Government seems unable to contain, in spite of the huge resources constantly injected into the defence sector. Indeed, no day passes without sordid reports of kidnapping, robbery, murder and wanton killings and banditry across the six geographical zones of the Country. “The Order of the Knights of St. Mulumba, still reeling from the gruesome murder of Ondo State Catholic faithful of St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, on Pentecost Day, in which the Order regrettably lost two of its promising members and their ward, are now confronted with the murder of two Catholic Priests within 24 hours, of each’s death. “A number of Catholic Priests are still in captivity, having been abducted on their lines of duty, with the abductors demanding humongous fees as ransom for their release. The Order is not only alarmed by this sordid development, but it is also at a loss to fathom why Catholic Prelates have remained soft targets for these hoodlums and killers, who apparently reign freely and unchecked by the security agencies and other state actors.” The Order bemoaned what it described as “unfortunate assault on Catholic Prelates”, given the unquantifiable contributions of the Catholic Mission to the development of Nigeria, in terms of training of personnel for government agencies, provision of educational and health institutions and charity bites in different parts of the country. Mbelede further said in the statement, “Only recently, the Order condemned in its entirety these acts of unprovoked aggression on the Catholic Church, many Christians and other Nigerians in general. In a strongly worded press statement titled “Unacceptable Acts of Violent extremism on Christians and the Catholic Church by Islamic Extremists in Northern Nigeria”, the Order bemoaned the senseless bombings, carnage, destructions and killings nationwide with huge and untold losses to the Catholic Church in Nigeria. “The Knights of St. Mulumba reminds the Nigerian Government that National Security is the only premise for economic growth and development. The Federal Government must initiate imaginative and pragmatic models to contain the current, unprecedented series of agitations, expressed in vandalizing, kidnapping, bombing and carnages of all forms. The scenario just painted has unfortunately relegated the unnecessary loss of human lives and the maiming of several others to mere statistics. ” The Archbishop of Kaduna Archdiocese, Most Rev. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso at the Obsequies of Fr. Vitus Borogo recently in Southern Kaduna, lamented that because of the comatose state of the nation’s security architecture, human lives have now paled into insignificance, with many Nigerians believing that government is incapable or unwilling to live up to its primary responsibility of defending its citizens.” According to KSM, this state of helplessness has accentuated spirited calls for self help, with many calling for legislations to enable Nigerians procure light arms to defend themselves. While the Order shares in these sentiments, it called for caution, but urges the Nigerian Government to up its game and take steps to reassure Nigerians of the safety of lives and properties. KSM restated its earlier fourpoint measures at tackling the incessant killings of Nigerians. “In the light of the foregoing, the Order reiterates its earlier position on the dastardly killings of Nigerians and the collapse of the security apparatuses as follows:
• The Order calls on the Federal Government to move beyond routine verbal condemnation and overhaul the leadership of the National Security Adviser with more efficient hands to commence the recovery of Homeland security in Nigeria.
• Overhaul the leadership of the National Security architecture to reflect the Federal Character, with close sectarian balance and emphasis on excellence and capacity to arrest the security challenges in the Country.
• Commence prosecution of all arrested culprits to serve as deterrents to others so minded, and spread the dragnets to apprehend all perpetrators of these heinous crimes.
• The Order calls for strident prayers by Catholic faithful, Novena Masses, Rosary Processions and revivals to seek God’s intervention to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of vandals, murderers, kidnappers, etc. We urge the Catholic hierarchy to promote the ideals of prayers as a major tool for stemming these unfortunate tides in Nigeria.