NIGERIA: Bishops Make Solidarity visit to Diocese Marked by Boko Haram Killings

ABUJA JUNE 28, 2016 (CISA) – A delegation of Nigerian bishops from Ibadan ecclesiastical province paid a solidarity visit to the Diocese of Maiduguri that has been devastated by Boko Haram.

The delegation was led by Archbishop Gabriel ’Leke Abegunrin of the catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan, and Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, Bishop of the catholic diocese of Oyo.

“We are on a visit of solidarity with the people and the Church of Borno to see for ourselves the devastation caused by the activities of Boko Haram,” the prelates said.

They were accompanied by the Vicar General of the Diocese of Osogbo, Very Rev. Fr Michael Okodua and Fr Martin De Cross. Speaking at the start of a Eucharistic celebration in Maiduguri, Archbishop Abegunrin told the people of Maiduguri not relent because there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

“The aggression, bloodshed, violence, selfishness and all sorts of greed and disrespect for human life that you have suffered, we say to you: ‘In the world, you will have trouble but be courageous for I have conquered the world’ (John 16:33). In spite of the challenges you have suffered and continue to suffer due to activities of Boko Haram, I say to you never relent for there is always light at the end of the tunnel,” Archbishop Abegunrin said.

In his homily, Mgr. Badejo commended the courage of evangelical Christians in Maiduguri, noting that if the local Ordinary, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme appears serene, full of courage and hope, even in the most painful moments, it is due to his faithful, who have supported and encouraged him with their example.

“When faced with evil, we have two choices to make: Either to run away and to give into despair and die or to continue to believe in the power of the Cross of Jesus Christ who saw suffering, marginalisation, deprivation and death and still emerged victorious,” Bishop Badejo said.

“It is our duty as Christians to be the evidence and witness of Jesus’ cross,” Bishop Badejo said. He concluded by saying that whatever hardship the people of Maiduguri were facing, they should always remember that they do not stand alone.

The Local Ordinary of Maiduguri, Bishop Oliver Dashe Doeme, expressed his joy over the extraordinary show of love and concern demonstrated by the Bishops and their delegation in visiting.

“It is not far from the truth that today Maiduguri is reckoned as the deadliest place to be in Nigeria and despite this, the Bishops, priests and sisters have spared time to come and feel what we are feeling and to encourage us on our Christian journey,” said Bishop Doeme.

The Ibadan Bishops and their delegation visited the internally displaced persons’ camps (IDPs) in Wulari and the Catholic camp in Polo within Maiduguri metropolis.

During the visit, the Bishops donated bags of Rice, Beans, Maize and money.

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