As Christians in Nigeria mark the Ash Wednesday, the Catholic Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Rev. Emmanuel Badejo, has called on government and other stakeholders to speak out against the incessant killings in the country.
Badejo made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Ibadan.
The cleric, who expressed dissatisfaction over the killings, urged the authorities to do their best to restore peace in the country.
“We, not only the government, will lose if Nigeria dissolved into anarchy and chaos; therefore, there is need for all stakeholders to work against these evils.
“The season of Lent calls for forgiveness but also to justice and restitution,” he said.
He said that Catholics all over Nigeria on Wednesday had expressed their sorrow and disillusionment over those that had been killed in the country.
Badejo advised the state and federal governments to do their best to provide adequate security while prosecuting those who engage in crime in the country.
“On Ash Wednesday, by the sign of the ashes we receive our penance, prayer and generosity to others, and then we try to return all glory to God who gave us life.
“We are all dust and unto dust, we shall all return no matter who we may be, this is true of all irrespective of tribe or religion,” he said.
The Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Oyo State, Rev. Benjamin Akanmu, also urged Christians to use the Lenten season as a period for sober reflection and repentance from sins.
“Let’s always follow the example of our Lord Jesus Christ in terms of humility, maintaining of peace and showing genuine love as well as tolerance and obedience to God’s commands among other virtues while He was on earth.
“If we genuinely repent from our sins and love our neighbours, there will be no case of all these killings and evil vices in our land, and surely there will be progress and serenity in the land,” he said.
He also advised the Christian faithful to use the period to pray for God’s mercy and absolute peace in Nigeria.
NAN reports that Ash Wednesday, often called the day of ashes, is an annual event marked by Christians yearly to show repentance and mourning for their sins.
It usually starts the Lent and always 46 days before Easter Sunday.