Catholic bishops, last weekend, held a two-day Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace in Benue state, to forestall further crisis in the state, ahead of the February elections.
The pilgrimage, held at the Saint John’s Catholic Church, Gboko, brought together all major political actors in the coming elections, paramount rulers and non-Christians alike.
Political actors and leaders of thought across the state, irrespective of political affiliations, seized the opportunity to bare their minds on burning issues in the state and country at large. They also made definite commitments to ensure the peaceful conduct of the forthcoming general elections in Benue.
According to the Most Rev. Peter Adoboh, the Bishop of Katsina-Ala, the pilgrimage was organised to chart the way forward for the conduct of credible, free, fair and peaceful elections in the state and the country at large.
He said the Church was committed to ensuring that the elections were held without incidents as was recorded in the past.
“With the advent of elections, it is important that religious leaders encourage their congregation to exercise their franchise rightly and not coerce them on who to vote or party to support. The pulpit should no be used to canvass for vote”, Adoboh said.
“Traditional leaders should also disengage from obstructing the free flow of the process. Voters should desist from selling their votes while the youths should should shun being used for killings, maiming or destructive actions.
“Our people have suffered enough; politicians must desist from adding to their excruciating pains, poverty and suffering. I admonish you to be united, regardless of your political and party affiliations,” the Bishop said.
He noted that the Church had a moral responsibility to the people, it would therefore not fail to speak out against the ills of the society and the dangers posed to the unity and peace of the country and it’s citizenry.
Among those who were called upon to address the gathering were leaders of thought, past, present and future leaders of the state.