Catholic Church Beatifies 19 Slain Clerics In Algeria’s Oran

Religious art cover the walls of the Basilica of Lisieux, northwestern France, on December 3, 2018.
CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

 

The Catholic Church beatified in the city of Oran on Saturday seven French monks and 12 other clergies killed during Algeria’s civil war, the first ceremony of its kind in a Muslim nation.

May “Monsignor Pierre Claverie… and his 18 companions, faithful messengers of the Gospel, humble artisans of peace… from now on be called blessed,” said papal envoy Cardinal Angelo Becciu, reading the decree of beatification, the first step on the path to Roman Catholic sainthood.

Claverie, 58, was killed with his driver on August 1, 1996, when a remote-controlled bomb exploded at his residence in Oran.

He was among 19 clergy to be beatified, after their murders in a series of grisly atrocities between 1994 and 1996.

The ceremony was held under tight security at the esplanade of the Chapel of our Lady of Santa Cruz overlooking the Mediterranean city.

Some 1,200 people attended the ceremony, including pilgrims, relatives and friends of the beatified, many of whom came from abroad.

Opening the ceremony, Archbishop Paul Desfarges of Algiers paid tribute to “the thousands and thousands of victims of the Algerian civil war”, describing them as anonymous heroes.

A minute of silence was then observed.

Algeria’s 1991-2002 war between government forces and Islamists left up to 200,000 people dead.

In a message read during the ceremony by Becciu, Pope Francis spoke of his hope that “this celebration helps to heal the wounds of the past and create a new dynamic of meeting and living together”.

The 19 clergy were declared martyrs by the Vatican in January 2018, since they were slain “in odium fidei”, or out of hatred for the faith.

Pope Francis himself spoke of the beatification in prayers at Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican on Saturday.

“May this beatification be an incentive for all to build a world of fraternity and solidarity together”, the pope said.

Bayelsa Indigenes Plan Protest To Seek Justice For Kokorifa’s Death

Bayelsa Teachers ProtestA massive protest is billed to take place on August 26 in Yenagoa as Youths, activists, clerics and civil organisations are proposing to protest the alleged extra-judicial killing of a 17-year-old teenager, Master Innocent Kokorifa by the police.

The victim was allegedly gunned down by the Anti-Vice/Anti-Kidnapping squad of the police on August 18 along the Airforce Road, at about 11a.m. local time.

The victim according to his mother was said to be running an errand when he was killed in mysterious circumstances by the police.

Father of the deceased, Mr Daniel Kokorifa, an officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), said his first child out of five children, was murdered in cold blood.

Master Kokorifa was to turn 18 years on September 9.

But the police in a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Butswat Asinim, said the victim died in a gun battle between a three-man notorious armed robbery gang and the police squad.

All arrangements by different groups of people to protest the killing under the auspices of House of Justice have been concluded.

A Niger Delta activist and former Spokesman of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, Mr Jeremiah Owoupele told reporters in Yenagoa that the
protest was to demand justice from the police.

He described the killing of Kokorifa as unwarranted, avoidable saying it had plunged the deceased family into mourning.

He said: “We can’t even comprehend the position of the Nigerian Police Force, an agency of government whose primary responsibility is to provide security, protect lives and ensure peace in our society.

But the police have suddenly become an instrument of death.

“It is even more tragic and more painful, the pace at which the Bayelsa Police Public Relations Officer issued a statement in respect of the late juvenile, Master Kokorifa, as being a criminal whose death was as a result of gun fire exchange between the police and criminals.

“Perhaps most intriguing is the fact that when respected citizenry including legal minds, youth leaders and activists raised eyebrows over this particular death, the police in a meeting with the deceased family pleaded with them to exercise restraint and allow the police command to investigate the matter.

“This statement shows a deliberate attempt to cover up the culprits of this dastardly act. Is it not standard police practice for the police to conclude investigations before issuing a statement to the public”.

Osun State Government Commissions Ayegbaju Ultra Modern Market

osun state governorThe Osun state government has commissioned the Ayegbaju International Modern Market. The market, situated in the heart of Osogbo town, the state capital, sits on a 8-hectare piece of land  and is estimated to have gulped about 2.3 billion Naira.

Inspite of the heavy downpour on Monday, Traditional Rulers, Market Men and Women, clerics and residents of Osogbo Town all sat under a tent to celebrate the commissioning of the market.

The Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Basiru Ajibola,  explained that the market has three phases and that only two phases have been completed, saying that the last phase will soon be ready for commissioning.

According to him, government has approved the construction of two other ultra-modern markets in Ilesa and Ife respectively.

The governor, Rauf aregbesola, who was obviously elated at the fast pace of the  project, which commenced in October 2012, said the whole idea is to develop Osun State as the International Market will enhance the economy of the state.

After the commissioning the governor took a walk around the edifice, which has interesting features like open stalls, lock up shops, office spaces, warehouses , medical centre, mosque, trailer parks, fire station, bank, police post and a cold room .

The Ayegbaju International Market, built on Public – Private -Partnership arrangement, has an indigenous online market.

The third phase when completed is expected to have a three star hotel, a shopping mall and a cinema.

Labour Party Asks Clerics To Pray For Uba

The Labour Party (LP) in Ogun State has gone spiritual over the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra, as it engaged the services of Muslim and Christian clerics to ensure the success of the party and its candidate, Ifeayin Uba.

At an event in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, Christian and Muslim clerics prayed fervently for a brilliant outing for the party in an election expected to be keenly contested by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), All Progressives Congress (APC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).

Addressing journalists at the event tagged ‘Prayer for Victory Meeting’, the state Secretary of the party, Sunday Ogini, stated that the prayer became necessary because there’s need to pray for their candidate in Anambra State to win the poll.

The election is slated to hold on November 16.