Nigeria, ravaged by terrorism in its northern flank, featured prominently in the Easter homily of Pope Francis, who called for an end to insurgency in the country.
The Pope, in his Easter message delivered from the central balcony of St Peter’s Basilica, passionately called for peace in Nigeria and other troubled spots in the world even as South Africans used the end of the Christian holy week to pray for their former president, Nelson Mandela’s quick recovery.
He took ill on Wednesday and was rushed to the hospital where he spent his Easter Sunday while receiving treatment for a recurrence of pneumonia.
While the Pope was praying for peace in Nigeria, security agents clashed with gunmen, suspected to be Boko Haram members in Kano during which 14 of the suspected terrorists were killed in the duel.
The Pope lamented the continuous terrorist attacks on Nigeria and prayed that peace should return in earnest to the country where about 4,000 people have been killed since 2009 when Boko Haram began its campaign of terror.
The Catholic pontiff said: “May unity and stability be restored in Nigeria, where attacks sadly continue, gravely threatening the lives of many innocent people, and where great number of persons, including children, are held hostage by terrorist groups.”
He also mentioned Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR) as part of troubled spots in Africa.
The Pope’s message which began with a simple “Happy Easter!” also emphasized on humility, saying: “Christ has risen! What a joy it is for me to announce this message… I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons.”
Reporting for NaijaGospel