Boko Haram: Catholic Church Laments Over N400m Loss In Eight Years
…Demands compensation from Federal Government
BEVERLY HILLS, CA, May 15, (THEWILL) â€' The Catholic Church Thursday put its loss to the eight-year Boko Haram insurgency in the three North-eastern States of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in terms of physical structure at over N400million.
The Church made the disclosure at a media briefing in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, addressed by its Maiduguri diocesan's Director of Social Communication, Fr. Gideon Obasogie, the diocesan secretary and procurator, Fr. John Bakeni Bogna and the Project Manager and the Editor -in- Chief of The Truth Newspaper, Rev. Fr. Joseph Bature.
Lamenting that the Church had received no aid in the rebuilding process of the destroyed structures, it said the time has come for the Federal Government to compensate all those affected by religious crises in the North East.
'The Catholic Church in Nigeria is never silent on the abduction of our Chibok girls. It might interest you to know that the church in Nigeria is quietly but yet strongly involved in the ' Bring Back Our Girls Campaign'. No wonder the Catholic Church in Nigeria observed an hour adoration for thorough prayers for the release of our daughters,' the Church said in a statement read at the occasion.
Maintaining that though the Catholic Church was not singled out for attack by Boko Haram, the church said it has been severely affected and would need the compensation of government.
Speaking at the briefing, Obasogie said based on the report from across the diocese covering three states from Potiskum in Yobe State to Hong in Adamawa State, the number of persons killed by the insurgents since 2009 to date was 500.
He disclosed that some corpses were retrieved and given befitting burials and others corpses are still missing as he put the total number of churches or rectories burnt down at over 50.
He also put the number of persons displaced within the diocese at over 90,000 with total number of children killed at over 170 while 300 women were turned into widows as 1,500 children became orphans.
The Reverend Father decried that churches in Pulka, Bama and Gamboru Ngala have been under siege for some times now.
On his part, Fr. Bogna lamented that for some time now, not only had the area where the Maiduguri diocese of the Catholic Church is located become a theatre of violence but has snowballed into an abode of terrorists and blood bath.
He noted that this has adversely affected churches, rectories and the state of the faithful in the area with the population of the church dwindling daily.
He disclosed further that the situation has had tremendous psychological effect on the people , saying 'fear is a killer and people are living in fear.'
According to him, the 'only weapon we have is prayers and we have been praying that people see the reason for peace,' adding ' We have been praying for conversion and that the enemies change to do what is right.'
Briefing the journalists present on the state of the diocesan schools, Rev. Fr. Joseph Bature, lamented that the schools built by the mission in the area were attacked with many teachers and students deciding to stay at home for fear of attacks.
According to him, health institutions established by the Catholic Church in the area were also attacked several times with drugs carted away as he lamented that the fluid and stability of schools in the diocese have been adversely affected with schools having to be closed intermittently.
'Most schools have been decimated as the parents have had to flee and take their children with them. The church is still planning to rebuild the burnt schools. A lot of teachers have had to flee and it has been difficult to get new teachers. Potiskum and Pulka health facilities have been closed down, the one in Shuwa vandalised by the insurgents the last time the town was attacked,' he stated.