Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has described yesterday’s killing of two Catholic priests and 15 parishioners in Ayar-Mbalom, a community in a church in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue State as “an act of sacrilege.”
The attackers also burnt 50 houses and sacked the entire community.
The name of the church is St. Ignatius’ Catholic Church and the murdered Catholic priests were Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, both reverend fathers.
Osinbajo expressed the disappointment at the killings when he inaugurated a 40, 000-capacity auditorium of the Deeper Life Bible Church, in Gbagada, Lagos State, yesterday.
He, however, assured Nigerians that the Federal Government is in touch with security personnel to and would do everything possible to protect citizens; and put an end to bloodshed in Nigeria.
Osinbajo also called on Nigerians across religious divide to rise in unison against growing cases of religious intolerance.
“On my way to this event, I was notified of a sad happening in Benue, of armed killers who went to where a burial mass was taking place, to kill.
“It is an act of sacrilege and high wickedness to kill persons at a place of worship. A few days ago, a mosque was burnt in Bama, in Borno State. These are to discourage Christians to gather in church or Muslims, in mosques, to worship their God.
“No matter the killings in the name of Boko Haram, herdsmen or anybody, we, as a body of Christ, must not lose hope. These are signs of end time,” he said.
Osinbajo commended the General Superintendent of the church, Pastor Williams Kumuyi, for the modern edifice, and added that it was unfortunate that many bad elements in the society are preventing churches from being erected in different parts of Nigeria.
He disclosed that government is doing everything within the law, to ensure the rights of all Nigerians are preserved as enshrined in the Constitution.
“Persecution of Christians is on the rise. The devil is hard at work, stoking religious tension.
“I call on all Christians not to be broken, even as security personnel are working hard to prevent such occurrences and protect the lives and property of every citizen,” he stated.
He extolled Kumuyi’s virtue and described him as “a man of uncommon humility with strong commitment to the widespread of the undiluted gospel of Jesus Christ.”
On his part, Kumuyi thanked all church members in Nigeria and abroad, for their contributions to the completion of the church building, even as he charged the congregation to make heaven their ultimate goal.
Pastor Kumuyi took the gathering down memory lane to the modest beginnings of the church and said Deeper Life has remained true to the propagation of the message of love embodied in the life of Jesus Christ on earth and promised that the new auditorium will be a pilgrimage centre for spiritual development.