Nigerian Catholics to wear black against violence on Ash Wednesday
The Catholic Bishops of Nigeria are asking the faithful to wear black, or at least black armbands as a sign of mourning and solidarity with the victims of kidnapping and other violent crimes, Vatican News reports.
Archbishop Augustine Obiora Akubeze, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria has signed a statement addressing the faithful and invited them to join a “Day of Prayer Procession” to kick off the Lenten season, to protest the state of insecurity in the country.
The call of Archbishop Akubeze to participate in the procession is against
“the repeated barbaric executions of Christians by the Boko Haram insurgents and the incessant cases of kidnapping for ransom linked to the same group.”
According to the statement, there will be no peace without security: “May we, once again, remind all the arms of the government in Nigeria and all whose responsibility it is to protect Nigerians that without security there can be no peace, and without peace, there can be no development or national growth.”
As Vatican News noted, the CBCN also called on the international community to come to the aid of the Nigerian government in its fight to restore security and stability in the country.
Nigeria is suffering under the sequential attacks and kidnappings of the Boko Haram terrorist organization. Among other threats, many people on the countryside (with a significant proportion of Christians) are affected by the Fulani herdsmen’s violent attacks as well, however, this conflict is a struggle for tillable land, and has rather not a religious aspect.