Nigeria deliberately refuses to identify killers, says church council
The Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria has said that Nigerian authorities deliberately refuses to identify murderers who call themselves bandits or unknown gun men while they kept unleashing terror on innocent people across Nigeria.
In a statement signed by its president, Henry Yunkwap, in reaction to the killing of over 50 parishioners in Nigeria’s Owo, Ondo State, the church said it was yet to recover from the unprovoked killing of Deborah Samuel in Sokoto, Northern Nigeria when the Owo incident happened in Southern Nigeria.
The Statement read: It is very important that I address you this moment considering the happenings in our country as regards insecurity. We are all aware that, yesterday around this time, more than 50 parishioners of St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, in Ondo State were killed by gun men suspected to be bandits. Am addressing you today as the president of all Catholic Laity under which the over 50 victims belonged.
Am heartbroken and I find it very difficult to address my people at this moment knowing fully well that we are yet to recover from the recent murder of our daughter and friend, the late Deborah Samuel by some heartless religious extremists in Sokoto State.
While we are making frantic efforts to console our people and also plead with our youth not to take laws in their hands but to abide by the bible injunction which admonished us, as Christians, to allow God take control and vengeance in all circumstances, over 50 innocent worshipers on Sunday, June 5, 2022 at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo State were gruesomely murdered by the people we’ve deliberately refused to identify them by their names but prefer to use ‘unknown gun men’ when referring to them. This is uncalled for, this is unacceptable at this time.
I want to categorically state here again that as believers in Christ Jesus, we are called to be peace loving people and to preach it with both words and actions but that does not mean we shouldn’t be sensitive to happenings around us and take action when necessary. To our leaders and to all those who feel they have the monopoly of violence to know that every life is sacred and nobody has the right to take it in whatever way be it under the guise of religion, ethnic or political differences.
The crime committed by those killed were just two; one; they were Christians and secondly because they were in the Church on Sunday worshiping God.
As a Christian group and direct mourners of this sad incident, we do not want to only condemn this barbaric act carried out by this animals in human form but use this medium to let the government know that we have taken enough of this killing of our people and we now find it very difficult to chew what they’ve forcefully put in our mouth. The only option left is to throw it out.
For any government who cannot provide security for her people, it is indirectly telling them to defend themselves by whatever means they can. We are indeed tied of words, we want action and the urgent arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of this evil act.
‘Our leaders must rise against just condemning this act by using the over used words like ‘bringing the perpetrators to book’. They must see the life of every Nigerian as very important not minding where he or she comes from.
What the victims want from the government now for their souls to rest in peace, is the assurance that their killers will be arrested and dealt with according to the laws of the land.
I hereby on behalf of the entire Catholic Laity in Nigeria sympathize with the Bishop, priests and the Laity of Ondo Diocese over this act. Our hearts are with you. We pray for the departed souls and quick recovery to the injured.
Hon. Sir Henry Yunkwap KSJI
Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria