A seminary has been shut down after some Fulani herdsmen went wild, attacking the Catholic priests in the place.
It has been revealed that the Sacred Heart Minor Seminary in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, has been shut for one week following an attack by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
Two Catholic priests were said to have been beaten up, while another was shot in the leg.
According to Punch Metro, the herdsmen were said to be unhappy with security men in the seminary for trying to prevent them from grazing their cattle on the premises of the institution.
During the attack, which was said to have taken place on Monday, some students were reportedly injured and many cars destroyed.
The herdsmen were said to have shot continuously at the residence of the Rector, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Atsue, and beaten up one Rev. Fr. Stephen Bakari.
Eyewitnesses said the windscreen of one of the vehicles belonging to one of the priests was smashed, while the herdsmen shot and injured one Rev. Fr. Cornelius Kobah in the leg.
While the persons injured were said to be receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo, it was not yet clear if anybody was killed.
He said, “Please, pray for us. Our minor seminary in Jalingo has just been attacked by Fulani men; some students are injured, some cars destroyed, two priests beaten up and one shot in the leg. They are currently receiving treatment at the FMC.”
The rector of the institution also confirmed the attack in a message to our correspondent.
He said, “With permission from my Bishop, Most Rev. Charles Hammawa of Jalingo Diocese; I, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Atsue (the rector) want to announce and inform Nigerians and the international community that our diocesan’s Sacred Heart Minor Seminary was attacked in the early hours of this (Monday) morning at about 12.30am by armed Fulani herdsmen (at least we heard their conversation).
“They shot at my residence, broke window glasses in the process, (live bullets were collected by police), broke the windscreen of one of the vehicles belonging to one of the priests. They shot and injured one of the priests, Rev. Fr. Cornelius Kobah, in the leg and beat up Fr. Stephen Bakari.
“From their conversation, we were able to understand that their grievance against us is that the security men in the seminary have been challenging their decision to graze right inside the seminary: around classes and football field.
“They said if they see grass inside the church, their cows will graze. Normalcy has temporarily been restored, thanks to the prompt response of the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the local vigilance group. All our students are complete, none is missing.
“Two of them, who showed them the way to the Father’s house, suffered injuries from the sticks of the herdsmen. I had a meeting with the officials of the Parent Teacher Association and the Bishop has equally approved one week break for the seminarians to enable them manage trauma and to show themselves to their parents that they are safe.
“For now, this is the situation. Let us continue to pray for and work for peace in Nigeria.”
In his reaction to the attack, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, asked Christians in the country to get ready for war against the killers.
He said time had gone when Christians would fold their arms and watch their enemies kill them like fowls.
The bishop, who spoke at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, Anambra State, accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government of being insensitive to the plights of Nigerian Christians.
He said, “Some people, somewhere have declared a full scale war against Nigerian Christians.
“We have to be vigilant. It is obvious we are no longer needed.
“It is now a full declared war. We have to safeguard our lives. We must defend ourselves.
“We will not allow these bloodsucking demons to continue to kill and maim us like chickens.”