Following persistent killings by suspected Fulani herdsmen, Nigerian Catholic bishops have invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit Nigeria, saying that such visit will strengthen troubled Nigerians and encourage them to cope with different challenges.
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins, who was part of arecent “Ad limina” visit by the Nigerian bishops to Pope Francis at the Vatican, announced the invitation in a recent interview with the Vatican News (the mouthpiece of the Holy See), an extract of which was obtained by THISDAY yesterday.
The Lagos prelate remarked: “Oh yes! We’re looking forward to seeing him. Yes, we did invite him and of course, as expected, he couldn’t give us a response then but we hopeful he would react to that. If he does come, it will not only strengthen the people, it will also encourage the people to be able to cope with these different challenges.”
Even though, the Catholic spiritual head had not responded to the invitation to visit Nigeria, Most Rev. Martins noted that the Pope was concerned about the killings going on in the country.
Martins said: “Well, of course, we also asked him what message he wanted us to take back home as a message to our people. He said we should be courageous, particularly with regards to the recent troubles with the terrorists that masquerade as herdsmen. He told us to tell our people that he is with us in spirit and he is with us praying for us; that whatever it is that is possible in order to ameliorate the situation, he is willing to journey with us. We thought that was very good.”