Thursday, 24 August 2017

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NIGERIAN BISHOP DEMANDS GOVERNMENT COMPENSATION FOR CHURCHES DESTROYED BY ISLAMIC MILITANTS


 | by Rose Gamble :

'We want to inform you that the Catholic Church has not received any support from the federal government for the Churches affected'


Bishops in north-west Nigeria are demanding government compensation for churches destroyed by Islamic militants.
"In the past six years, insurgents have attacked churches and other Christian places in the north, but the federal government is yet to compensate the victims,” Bishop Mathew Ndagaso, spokesman for the Catholic bishops of Kaduna Ecclesiastical province said on 22 August at a two-day plenary session held in the city of Minna.
"We want to inform you that the Catholic Church has not received any support from the federal government for the Churches affected," the bishop told attendees of the plenary. 
The bishop said terrorist attacks on places of Christian worship within Kaduna state began in 2011, when St Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla was attacked by members of Boko Haram.
He added that youths had attacked St Philips Catholic ‎Church near Suleja, destroying properties valued at several millions of Naira.
“No one has even sympathised with us," he said, adding that his own house had been destroyed.
Bishop Ndagoso appealed to state governments to issue Certificates of Occupancy for lands belonging to churches, and urged the federal government to help fund the rebuilding of destroyed churches so the church could, in turn, assist with the development needs of the nation.
Over the past seven years, Islamist terror group Boko Haram have killed up to 15,000 people – including many Christians – in their armed rebellion against the Nigerian government.
Both Boko Haram and Islamic State, to which it has pledged allegiance, are suffering military defeats in the country but Christian communities in north and central Nigeria continue to face widespread violence at the hands of heavily armed Fulani militants.
A 2016 report, produced by the charity Open Doors and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), showed a 62 per cent increase on attacks on Christians in northern Nigeria.
In the last three months of 2016, Fulani herdsmen burnt 53 villages, murdered 808 people, and destroyed 1,422 houses and 16 churches, Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of the Diocese of Kafanchan told international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), in February of this year.
Bishop Bagobiri also accused the government of not doing enough to stop the violence.
"The attacks on Christians meet with seeming indifference on the part of the country's leadership – either the police do not have the appropriate weaponry to intervene, or else they have not been given orders to do so," the bishop continued.


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