The occupation by Fulani herdsmen of Yogbo and Mbagwen villages of Benue State has forced the newly ordained priests for the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi who were to celebrate their first Holy Mass at their home parish, St. Michael’s Mission, Yogbo to instead celebrate with their people in the internally displaced persons camps at Abagena and Daudu where they are taking refuge having been displaced by unremitting Fulani attacks.
Fathers Bitrus Abegye and Dominic Tarkighir who in their emotion-laden voices explained that they were at the camps to assure the people that God has not abandoned them even in their present condition, encouraged them not to lose faith in God but rather remain resolute, as their situation was only temporary.
The new priests described as unfortunate the fact that they could not share the joy of their ordination with their families because of sustained attacks by Fulani herdsmen, but appreciated the Catholic Bishop of Makurdi Diocese, Most Revd Wilfred Anagbe for allowing them to celebrate Mass for the people in their forced home, believing that, their visit will strengthen and give them hope to hold firm in their belief in Christ for solution to the unfortunate condition.
Fathers Abegye and Tarkighir prayed God to continue to strengthen and sustain the people in their service to Him who alone can facilitate their return to their ancestral homes.
Leadership of the camps appreciated Bishop Anagbe for always remembering them in their predicament but also allowing the priests to feed them in the spirit, an aspect that they said had been lacking in their lives since they moved to the camps four years ago.
The people equally lauded their sons for remaining resolute to become priests even with the trauma caused by incessant attacks, which, they lamented, thwarted their joy of having them celebrate Masses for them in their home parish. They prayed God to accompany them in their priestly ministry.
Bishop Wilfred Anagbe had during the ordination of the priests and their mates at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Cathedral, Makurdi, re-echoed his stand on the killing of his priests and the faithful at Mbalom and other places that he would stop at nothing in his quest for justice for his people.
Fulani herdsmen have continued to attack Benue communities without provocation, leaving the people in dire straits over the years. It could be recalled that Father Felix Tyolaha, VC, who was massacred by marauding herdsmen in Mbalom together with Father Joseph Gor and other faithful during morning Mass was displaced from Yogbo, the home place of Fathers Abegye and Tarkighir.
The priests during the visits also listened to confessions from the people and prayed for them. They had before going into the camps concelebrated at the main Church of St Francis Daudu on Sunday August 8 , 2021.
Source: Catholic Star