Catholic Church faithful in Nigeria have resolved to observe this year’s Ash Wednesday by donning black attire to show their displeasure over growing insecurity in the country.
The march on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of 40-day fasting and sacrifices for Christians, has been described as a sign of mourning and solidarity with the victims of kidnapping and other violent crimes in the country.
The church, in a statement by the Catholics Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) to be read at Catholic Churches on Wednesday, described the solemn event as part of the church’s moral responsibility.
The statement signed by the President of CBCN, Bishop Augustine Akubeze and Secretary, Camillus Umoh, said: “As a mark of mourning for all our brothers and sisters who have been victims of the most recent wave of violence against Christians, we are to dress in black and offer our prayers and penance for their repose. We invite the universal church and all Christians to join us in prayers for our dead brothers and sisters and for peace and security in Nigeria.”
It tasked the federal government to live up to its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and properties of the citizens, saying “The consequences, should they succeed, will be healthier not only for the West African sub-region but also for Africa as a whole.”
The Catholic Bishops appealed to the international community to come to the aid of the Nigerian government in the fight against daredevil terrorists, who want to destabilise the country.