Benue Killings: Catholics In Nationwide Protest As Two Priests, 17 Others Are Buried

The Catholic faithful on Tuesday began a nationwide peaceful protest to register their displeasure over the killing of two priests and 17 other members of the church by suspected herdsmen in Benue State in April.

The protest is in response to the directive by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria that all Catholic faithful across the country should embark on a peaceful and prayerful protest, tagged, ‘March for Life’.

The Punch reports that the members were directed to be dressed in “all Catholic society groups, apostolate, Bishop’s installation or parish uniforms.” Those who do not have any of those were advised to be dressed in a white top while “priests shall be in cassock and habits.”

The 19 victims of the attack were buried at the Ayati pilgrim site near Ikpayongo in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State on Tuesday.


The parishioners, priests, vicars and reverend sisters gathered at the SS Peter and Paul Major Seminary in Bodija area of Ibadan and they were led in a procession by Archbishop Gabriel Abegunrin to the state secretariat in Agodi, Ibadan, where they were received by Dr. Gbade Ojo, the Chief of Staff to Oyo State Governor.

The protesters carried placards bearing various inscriptions, among them, ‘No more killing’, ‘Christians are citizens too,’ ‘We say no to herdsmen killing’, Every person is created in the image of God’, Nigerians, arise and stand for justice,’ and ‘We must demand what we deserve’.

OGUN State

The Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Abeokuta, Olukayode Odetoyinbo, led the peaceful protest along a major street in Abeokuta, the capital city, as the two slain priests and 17 parishioners killed in Benue State were being buried. The protest was preceded by a requiem mass held at St. Anne Catholic Church, Ibara, Abeokuta.

After the mass which ended around 11.30am, where the Bishop prayed for the repose of souls of the departed, and for peace to reign in Nigeria, the march started from the precinct of the church and moved from there to and fro Ibara Roundabout.

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