Boko Haram: Catholic Church Counts Losses
…Says 154 Churches Deserted In Borno, Yobe, Adamawa
BEVERLY HILLS, October 06, (THEWILL) - The Catholic Church, Monday, lamented the fate of its members in the North East, counting its losses from the Boko Haram insurgency ravaging the area.
The Church stressed that members of the Church were already facing great prosecution in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States currently under Emergency Rule.
A statement issued by the Church, titled: “…While Our People Perish…” signed by the Director of Social Communication, Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri, Rev. Fr. Gideon Obasogie, said no fewer than 154 Churches in the three states have been deserted by worshippers due to the five-year-old insurgency.
“As a church, we are really going through a severe moment of persecution. The ecclesial circumscription is facing sharp disintegration,” Obasogie said, adding “in the last few weeks, our churches numbering 154 have been deserted.”
According to Obasogie, 'While our people perish in action, slow action is what we get. Political activities in neighbouring communities were on-going as though nothing were a stake. The seemingly not so much talked about syndicate would someday be a yoke on all.
“Lately, three Local Government Area of Bama, in Borno State and Madagali/Michika in Adamawa State and their Local Government chairmen were all sacked. The Shehus and Emirs dethroned or overturned, this amounts to what I would rather refer to as (cultural coup), since unknown figures have been placed in such capacities. Thousand have been displaced, many killed, and others forcibly conscripted. These are pointers that Boko Haram terrorism is not just a northern problem, but a Nigerian problem and in fact a global issue.
“Common Nigerians who were supposed to celebrate their independence as a free Nation, were rather counting their loss and regrets as they had been reduced to the status of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs.
“Where is the freedom?? Life is really terribly difficult. We are waiting eagerly to go back home, even as it is obvious that we are going to reconstruct our looted and burnt houses and ecclesial structures. We have been sacked for months, sleeping in uncompleted buildings, camps and school premises. We have been absorbed into houses of relations and friends in 60s and 70s.
“Meals time is always difficult and shameful. We have counted weeks rolling into months. Must we also count years? We are waiting to go back home!! Nigerians are waiting to go back to their ancestral home!!! Our minds are greatly troubled, do we think about our status? Or about our family members yet to be connected with ever since we fled our homes? Do we worry about our aged parents who were not so strong to run, they always fed us with words of encouragement and wisdom. Do we worry about our sick members, women and infants who had been trapped? Most of whom we heard had been raped and killed. Or worry about the health, education and future of our children? We have got a lot of questions yet to be answered.”
Obasogie stated further : “It is over 30 days now that our church communities in Gulak, Shuwa, Michika, Bazza…… were sacked by the callous attacks of the Boko Haram terrorists. While Gwoza and Magadali had been under the tyrannic and despotic control of the terrorists, this is almost the 60th day.
“Our priests are displaced. This act of territorial capturing in our estimation is sad, heart arching and potentially deadly and dangerous to the territorial integrity and the common good of Nigeria.”
The Catholic Church also ruled out the resumption of schools by children of members of the Church in Borno State because of the current reign of terror by the insurgents.
“Talking about resumption, our children have not been fed and well-clothed so resumption to school is practically out of our calculation. In our opinion, if thousands of Nigerian children can't go to school, then in the long run 'Boko is really haram'.
Then their future is a stake, quite bleak. The health condition of our people is truly troubling in their displaced camps,” the statement said.