Anambra church killings: Catholic Bishops flay arms proliferation

Catholic Bishops in Ibadan Province have pointedly told the Federal government to curtail arms proliferation as a measure of curbing insecurity in the country.

The Clerics spoke in reaction to the invasion of a Catholic Church in Ozubulu, Anambra State last Sunday, and the gruesome murder of several worshipers by gunmen.

The Bishops condemned the gruesome murder of no fewer than 12 worshipers in the congregation of Saint Philip’s Catholic Church, and commiserated with the people of Anambra over the deaths.

The Bishops spoke in a communiqué signed by the Province President and Secretary, Most Reverends Gabriel Abegunrin and John Oyejola respectively, at the end of their second meeting held at Saint Kizito Pastoral Centre, Oke Gada , Ede, Osun State, on Wednesday.

The Bishops said: “We sympathize with the reverend in charge of Nnewi Diocese, Most Reverend Hillary Okeke, and the faithful of the Diocese, ‎the government and people of Anambra State and several families directly affected by the mass murder which occurred on Sunday 6th August, 2017, at St Philip Catholic Church, Ozubulu, Anambra State.

“We uphold still the sanctity of every human life given by God and not to be taken away by anyone and therefore can never denounce enough the ‎evil of such a horrendous and callous killing of innocent worshippers right in the Church during the Holy Mass.

“The bottom line is that the security situation in Nigeria remains at best, tenuous. We strongly condemn whatever may be at the root of this and similar occurrences. Those who are charged with securing human life and property in the nation must simply do more to protect the citizens. One must ask how murderers like the perpetrators of the Ozubulu mayhem came about such deadly weapons.

“The proliferation of arms in Nigeria deserves urgent and decisive action. We call on all our faithful to pray that the souls of the departed may rest in perfect peace and that God may bring enduring peace to Nigeria. We also reiterate that the right of all Nigerians to freely adhere to any religion of their choice is sacrosanct and must be protected by all legitimate means,” they said.

The Bishops lamented the resurgence of Boko Haram activities in the North Eastern part of Nigeria, saying the criminal group seemed to have returned with double strength to decimate the people.

“We commend the Presidential order that has returned the Nigerian Military Service Chiefs in full force to the centre of the battle. Sadly the wanton destruction of lives and property in Southern Kaduna is also yet to abate.

“While commending the military and other security agencies in Nigeria for their commitment to the integrity of the nation, we urge them to eschew all forms of corruption, nepotism and betrayal and fight for the unity and integrity of Nigeria. History and humanity will honour their sacrifice and commitment. All Nigerians have the responsibility
to collaborate with the security agencies by giving information where necessary and obeying the rules of vigilance and personal security at all times.”‎

The body backed the restructuring of the country and lamented that an issue of such importance that should be an issue of justice could be subjected to so much “intellectual gymnastics, political sentiments and personal interest.‎

“Most people in Nigeria agree that, as it is currently constituted, our country is simply not serving the development and self-realization of most of its citizens and therefore needs to be revisited. In other words, let all of us, leaders and people agree to jettison political machinations and self-serving interests and restructure Nigeria according to the laws of equity and justice. We will thus be saving our own lives and the future”.

The Bishops pleaded to Governors in all the 36 States of the federation to take the issue of prompt payment of workers and pensioners an issue of premium priority

They said the current epileptic payments in most states of the federation had forced productive Nigerians into agony and sufferings.


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