By Ononye VC
Bishop Wilfred Anagbe CMF of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi Benue State Nigeria is meeting Hungarian government officials in Budapest at the invitation of the host countryThe Bishop arrived in Budapest and went into meetings different groups concerned with the persecution of Christians around the world with particular attention to Nigeria.
Benue State has been the epicentre of attacks by armed herdsmen on defenceless farmers who are predominantly Christians. The killings that began as far back as 2001 took a dramatic turn when two priests of Makurdi Diocese: Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha and 17 members of their congregation were massacred during mass at St. Ignatius Church Mbalom on April 24, 2018, and since then, there has been no let up in the killings and kidnappings of men, women, and children and the destruction of homes and farmlands. The state has over two million internally displaced persons in recognised and unofficial camps living in subhuman conditions. The Ordinary of Makurdi is accompanied on the trip by Father Remigius Ihyula, the Coordinator of Foundation for Justice, Development and Peace,FJDP, who is responsible for the IDPs. This advocacy by the Bishop has kept the story of the persecution of Christians in the Benue valley in currency against the narrative of the former regime of Buhari that insulated the jihadists from any culpability and trivialised the conflict as herders-farmers and communal unrest. The IDPs have been abandoned except for the Church’s intervention since 2001, and today, with the support of Aid of Church in Need ACN, many of these IDPs have received full scholarship for secondary school education. Unfortunately, the story of the persecuted Church in Benue Valley does not get the same attention other stories receive in the international media , but the killings are going on and are worse than what Hamas did in Israel. On this day, November 22, the bishop and the coordinator will meet the deputy prime minister of Hungary in Budapest. It is our prayer that the government of President Ahmed Tinubu will follow up on gains made to drive the terrorists out of Benue lands and return the IDPs to their ancestral homes in Benue and Nasarawa States.
Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe CMF has fully given himself and his office to speak out for the voiceless mass of the people and to give voice to their fears and travails.
His trips to Europe over the years underscore the urgency and vehemence of the insecurity imbroglio in the midst of which hapless plant farmers live every moment of their misery in dread of the unknown.