The Imo State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria refused to hold protests across the state on Sunday as directed by the secretariat of the Christian body, even as Christians from various churches in Oyo, Benue and Kogi states held peaceful protests as directed.
Also, various Christian denominations in Abuja on Sunday embarked on peaceful protests to draw attention to the various killings across the country by persons suspected to be herdsmen.
Some churches in Ibadan, Oyo State, observed the directive by the Christian Association of Nigeria to churches to hold protests within their premises against killings in the country.
Some of the churches that participated are Trinity Baptist Church, Ajobo; Wonderland Baptist Church, Orogun; and Iyanu Oluwa Baptist Church, Ojoo, where congregants held prayer sessions outside their auditoriums and carried placards, demanding an end to the killing of innocent persons in the country.
Some of the placards read: “We say no to the killing of innocent persons” and “End the violence now.”
The pastor of Trinity Baptist Church, Rev. Samuel Akano, called for prayers for Nigeria and its leaders, while asking God to intervene and stop the “needless bloodshed in the country.”
The protest in Benue State focused on the recent killing of two Catholic priests and 17 other worshippers at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, in Ayar Mbalom, Gwer East Local Government Area persons suspected to be armed herdsmen militias.
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle, had, last Wednesday, directed all Christians in Nigeria to embark on nationwide protest over the murder of the priests and 17 worshippers.
The Christian body also declared Sunday (today) a National Day of Protest against what it described as “unending killings in the country,” urging Christians in Nigeria to hold peaceful protests within their church premises.
At the Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Wadata, most of the parishioners, especially women, neither wore necklaces nor earrings as a sign of anger and grief
The Kogi State chapter of CAN on Sunday staged a peaceful protest as ordered by the national body.
The protests, carried out in various church premises, were aimed at drawing the attention of the Federal Government to the need to step up actions against the incessant killings going on in parts of the country.
The placard-carrying protesters with various inscriptions called for concerted efforts to stop the spate of killings before people start to take up arms to defend themselves.
Kogi State chairman of CAN, Bishop John Ibenu, who spoke with newsmen after the protest at his Chapel of Freedom Church in Lokoja, said the protests were peaceful in the state.
He called on the Federal Government to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission over the menace of herdsmen attacks in the country.
Ibenu said, “It is a national day of prayer and protest, Christians don’t protest; if we have to, that means the issues have reached the peak.
“We spend time to pray for the nation and Kogi State and also for the future.
“Kogi State CAN, in obedience to the directive of national CAN, observed the day in our church premises.
However, Imo State chapter of CAN boycott the order to protest the killing of the two Catholic priests.
All the churches that one of our correspondents visited on Sunday in the state capital observed their normal church services without any protest, as reportedly directed by the national leadership of CAN.
Speaking to our correspondent, the CAN chairman in the state, Apostle Godson Ibeji, said that the chapter was not formally informed via any means of communication.
The CAN chairman said that apart from newspaper publications, there was no correspondent from the CAN national secretariat informing them to march round the city in protest against the killing of Christians in North Central of the country.
Ibeji said, “There was no official communication or correspondent asking Imo CAN to march round the city in protest against the killing of two Catholic priests and other Christians in Benue State.