Pope Francis on Sunday decried an attack on a church in Nigeria during which two priests and other worshippers were killed.

Associated Press reports that the pontiff spoke on Nigeria during his remarks to the public in St. Peter’s Square.

“The pontiff prayed that Nigeria’s Christian community find harmony and peace,” AP

The pope’s comments came just as a large number of Christians in Nigeria obeyed the call by the Christian Association of Nigeria to, after the Sunday services, protest against the killings by Fulani herdsmen in Benue State and other parts of the country.

The CAN President, Rev. Olasupo Ayokunle, in a statement last Wednesday had said, “CAN urges Christians in Nigeria to hold peaceful protest on the set aside date, on the premises of their churches, asking the Federal Government and security agencies to stop the unending killings and bloodshed in the country.”

Benue churches vow to work against Buhari

Christian across churches in Benue State on Sunday held the protest on their church premises, vowing to work against Buhari candidacy in the 2109.

Our correspondent who visited some of the churches in Makurdi, the state capital, reported that many worshippers of various Christian denominations wore black attire.

Some of them displayed placards with the inscriptions, “Buhari is responsible for the killings in Benue, ‘FG must come out to defend us,’ ‘Enough of bloodshed in Nigeria,’ ‘Enough of unlawful killings in the country,’ and ‘FG, stop herdsmen killings,’ among others.

At the Holy Ghost Catholic Church, Wadata, one of the parishioners, Mrs. Elizabeth Oduh, said, “President Buhari has not lived up to the expectations of Nigerians.

“The Federal Government should protect its citizens and stop paying lip service to security.”

At NKST Church, Iyorter, along Makurdi-Gboko Road, the worshippers prayed and laid curses on killer herdsmen.

The associate pastor of the church, Rev. Samuel Ackaudu, said, “In Benue state, we have realised that our lives are no longer valuables.

“There is no way that the Christian community in Benue State will support Buhari’s second term ambition.”

The resident pastor, NKST Church High-level, Makurdi, Pastor Fredrick Ikya, said the President had offended the Christian community by allowing Fulani herdsmen to kill God’s anointed people.

The Kogi State Chairman of CAN, Bishop John Ibenu, who spoke in his ‘Chapel of Freedom’ church in Lokoja, called on the Federal Government to set up a truth and reconciliation commission over the attacks.

Ibenu said, “It is a national day of prayer and protest, Christians don’t protest; if we have to, that means the issues have reached the peak.

“Killings have continued unabated and have been taken to the church. There is no grass for cattle to eat in the church, but the herdsmen invaded the church and killed worshippers.

Government must act to make sure that this was not something aimed at the church but started in the farm.”

Osun Christians threaten to stop Buhari

Many Christians in Osun State on Sunday also staged protests against the killings by herdsmen.

Worshippers at the Union Baptist Church in the Odi Olowo area of Osogbo, the Osun State capital, led by their pastor, who is also the Chairman, Nigeria Baptist Convention, Rev. Olumide Kehinde, marched through some adjoining streets to the church after the end of the service.

The same happened at the Gospel Faith Mission International in the Agunbelewo area, along the Osogbo-Ilobu Road, where church members were led by Pastor Olatunji Adegbite.

Members of the Calvary Baptist Church, Osogbo, led by Rev. Femi Abiola, also obeyed CAN’s directive.

Although members of the Winners Chapel, Osogbo, did not protest, the Osun State Pastor of the church, Pastor Dapo Olumuyiwa, during the first service, led worshippers in prayers against those using their positions to encourage killings in the country.

At the Union Baptist Church, the NBC chairman and members of the church asked Buhari to stop the killings, kidnapping and persecution of Christians.

Kehinde said, “We want to tell the President that enough is enough. President Buhari should look into all these killings and make sure that they are stopped.

“Buhari should ensure that the Chibok girls are released and Leah Sharibu ( the only Dapchi girl remaining in Boko Haram captivity) should be released. Leah refused to deny Jesus Christ in the face of threat and Buhari must ensure her release.

“We voted him because we wanted change but this is not the change we want. We are ready to vote for another change if he doesn’t stop the killings.”

Time to use our voter cards –CAN president

Members of various Christian denominations in Oyo State on Sunday joined the protest against killings by herdsmen.

In some of the churches where the protests held, church members walked around the premises with a call on the Federal Government to improve on the security situation in the country.

They also warned that Buhari’s re-election bid might suffer unless he stopped the killings.

At the Oritamefa Baptist Church, Ibadan, where CAN President, Dr Supo Ayokunle, worshipped, more than 2,000 members participated in the protest.

Some of the inscriptions on placards displayed were ‘CAN says no to violent killings,’ ’FG, stop this wicked act,’ and ‘CAN says no to religious killings.’

Ayokunle said Nigerians had lost faith in the country’s security chiefs and agencies, calling for their removal.

He said, “It used to be Boko Haram alone, now herdsmen, especially the Fulani people, have joined them and they have been killing people and decimating communities.

“Now they have concentrated on Christian communities; the Middle Belt, which is majority Christians, they have been killing and maiming, and to cap it all, they have now started going into churches.

“If we are still not safe in the house of God, where else do they want us to be safe? The Inspector General of Police is there, doing nothing. What of the intelligence service of the security agencies, why are they inept?

“We have lost faith in the security agencies and all the security chiefs must be sacked and replace with new ones. No more bloodshed; if the bloodshed continues, this administration should forget about 2019. We cannot continue like this.”

The CAN president noted that it was time for Nigerians to use their votes to correct the anomalies of the present government of Buhari, calling on the people to get their Permanent Voter Cards.

However, at the Trinity Baptist Church, Ajobo; Wonderland Baptist Church, Orogun; and Iyanu Oluwa Baptist Church, Ojo, congregants held prayer sessions on the premises of their churches and displayed placards, demanding an end to the killings in the country.