When the news of the two priests, Frs Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha, from St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Ayar-Mbalom, in Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue state, who were bloodily murdered by suspected Fulani Herdsmen in Benue States went on air, the whole world especially the Catholic faithful thought that the windows of the Mercy of God had been shut and maybe He had gone to sleep, probably if it were day, he would come to our aid. The fate of the children of God became a fickle mistress. I felt like God has gone on sabbatical leave. The world got their own side of story as it was revealed that among the victims were a catechist and fourteen worshippers. Unfortunately, my precious father was the catechist. Many cried and sorrowed but I wish to shed my tears differently, the tears of an innocent soul.
The church has now become my home and a place of refuge, obviously because of the peace and joy I feel in the midst of the choir. I am a teenager who is struggling to let her voice of innocence be heard in the midst of the world. I joined the choir at the age of nine and since then, I found peace of mind and I have made God my best friend.
That fateful day, we had done our morning devotion of songs and prayers to God. Lateness was what I had been taught to abhor since childhood, so that day wasn't an exception. We prepared for the morning and school since I would be going to school from there. On arrival, it seemed as if we wouldn't be having the Eucharistic celebration as the Church premises remained as quiet as the graveyard. I kept rehearsing the renditions of what Fr Joseph had taught the Choir the previous day. Some minutes later, the faithful began entering the church and in some minutes the church was filled to the brim, although, the church wasn't so big.
“Into your sanctuary, we've come to adore you Lord,
with adoration and praise, we glorify your Holy name,
into your sanctuary we've come to adore you Lord”…
Those were the lines the choir sang as we welcomed the priests into the sanctuary of the Most High. Little did we know they were to see their death some minutes later, maybe, the mass would have been postponed. The Choir continued,
“…Kingly people, Priestly people,
Holy people, God chosen people,
sing Praise to the Lord…”
Soon the procession was over and Fr Gor led the Holy Mass. It was going smoothly and it felt like heaven as the choir sang exceptionally that morning. We were in the middle of the Mass, My father was with the Microphone, and he was leading in the prayer after Holy Communion when we heard gun shots and wails from the parishioners outside. He immediately stopped and the church suddenly became cold. The gun shots continued and we saw them marching coarsely into the church like the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. They shot my father first as he was still with the microphone. My feet began to freeze. My mum and only brother was also in the front seat. Within a blink of an eye, the two officiating priests were sent to the world beyond. They shot anyone who tried to utter a word and forcefully took the gowns of the choristers away. My mum hurriedly rushed to my father but the hands of time wasn't on our side any more, he gave up the ghost, likewise others who were shot. This made the remaining flock to scatter like sheeps who have left their shepherd at the sight of a lion. We were left in church to mourn our father and others who have joined eternity. My brother cried a river and my mum went into hallucination, henceforth she kept hugging the air in the name of seeing my father. We stayed in the church till dawn with my lifeless father.
We had no relatives around. They've all gone out of the state since the history of the Boko Haram began to be heard in Nigeria. My mum refused to go home, I couldn't bear watching her in sorrow, and I left the church after my father was buried in the church graveyard alongside others.
That wasn't all. What I saw when I got home left me asking if God was really alive. How could he allow such things to befall His children? Why didn't He come to our rescue? Why didn't he strike like in the days of the old? I wished I could write a petition letter to God concerning these people. I kept crying to God as I watched our little hut in ashes. I have always confided in God in times of trials so, I knelt to pray. But this was different. Tears became my words. I cried with no one to console me. I was buried in my own tears.
Somehow, I managed to go back to the church. At least if I die let me be buried in the sanctuary of God. My mum remained that way till day break. Hunger flew with the winds and all day, we all went on an empty stomach.
The next day, the news came that our nearby village had been attacked and lives lost. And subsequently, death became a play thing to the ears of my people. Till now the flock of God remains scattered. We all await our savior who could not come to our rescue. Fear has become our companion and sorrow our food.
All I hear is that these people are called suspected herdsmen and nothing has been done to bring them to book. My country Nigeria, according to Kanu Nwankwo, the Igbo man whom I hear of that strongly believes in Biafra, is indeed a zoo, where lives are thrown to the dugs like animals.
Blood is shed every now and then, in the North and South and yet our dear president will definitely claim he knows nothing about it. We are dying in the North and are voices are being swallowed with pain and sorrows. Nowadays, I found myself consoling my soul with the words of the scripture in 1corinthians 15 Verse51-52:Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed”. Truely, we all are deptors to death but I do not wish that anyone dies like my father or any one killed by suspected herdsmen.
#Tears of from an innocent soul#